I’m More Than The “If Only”

This blog post is from my archives…..I think I needed to read it again today.

The paper was yellowed with age, and it was deeply creased. I gently unfolded it and was taken back to decades past.

Electronic typewriter - the final stage in typ...

The report card(s)made me smile, as former teachers faces flashed before my eyes.  I was an A and B student for most of my school career. Grades were important to me, I always wanted to do my best. If my grades didn’t match what I thought my effort deserved, then I was disappointed in myself.

There is was. My eyes caught that dreaded letter. “D”. One of two that I received in my entire school career. It was in typing of all things. Yes, typing. It was my sophomore year in high school and it was a mandatory class. Computers in the early 80’s were still not “personal” and most people didn’t have one. This was the pre-social media age. (haha)  I learned to type on an electric typewriterwhose size took up an entire desk. The timed tests are what got me. Too many mistakes. Oh, how I teared up when the teacher told me the bad news! I was devastated.

I wasn’t good enough. How could I let this happen?

Almost thirty years later, I still struggle with the not good enough. Oh, not the “D”…that has long since melted into history…but, the underlying question remains, “am I good enough?”

How many times do I set the bar in my life, only to fail? To come up short. At times, not even be in the game?

I am guilty of believing that I was the one in control. That when bad things happen I could have, should have, done something. Done better. Tried harder.

I was never in control. Never. Not once. Not, really.

That is a profound statement, isn’t it? So many times we think about the “if onlys”.  If only I was smarter, faster, prettier, skinnier, more organized, more outgoing, more capable……more. more. more. If only I met all these requirements, then everything would be alright. I’d be in control of my circumstances.

It is a struggle. I wish it wasn’t. I want to see myself, like Christ sees me.


“But, Lord……if only I’d pray more often. If only I did my devotions every day. If only I loved more and forgave more. If only I was more of a reflection of you in my daily life.”  And the “if onlys” widen the gap between me and the One that calls me worthy.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12 NIV

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— Colossians 1:22 NIV

And the tears fall, as the words sink in.

At The Scene Of The Accident


I had to run some errands today, in town. On the drive in, I was listening to music and singing. The sky was blue, the sun was out. It was chilly, but not yet cold. After going to the store to pick up some groceries and supplies, I jumped back in my truck to head home. Just up the street I saw the aftermath of what looked like a serious accident. My eyes were riveted to the black mini-van that was crunched and laying on its side in the middle of the intersection. A mini-van, on a Wednesday morning. Were there young children in that van? Was there a mom in the van that had also been out running errands on this sunny November day? Many men had pulled their vehicles over and were there to help whoever was inside. The emergency vehicles had not arrived yet. As I slowly weaved my way through the intersection, I could hear sirens. A little further up the road I pulled over to let two ambulances, a firetruck and a police car pass by.

“Dear Jesus, please be with the emergency personnel as they work that accident scene. Father, have Your hand on the people involved in the accident. Calm their spirits. Give all involved, peace.”

On the way back home I was listening to David Crowder sing “I AM”. The music was playing as I passed by a local cemetery. I noticed a tent set up and a hearse in the driveway. Someone was going to be buried today…….and the song played on…..

“I am,
Holding on to You.
I am,
Holding on to you.
In the middle of the storm,
I am holding on,
I am

This is my Resurrection Song
This is my Hallelujah Come
This is why to You I run
This is my Resurrection Song
This is my Hallelujah Come
This is why to You I run
There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place that we can’t find peace
There’s no end to Amazing Grace”     ——-David Crowder, I AM 

Tears trickled down my face, as I thought about that accident in town, the soon to be burial of someone at the local cemetery, and the words “in the middle of the storm, I am holding on…..” At times, worship happens in even the most mundane of settings.

Our days are tenuous and this life we live is so fragile. Can we take just a moment to be reminded of that? That accident today, had I left the store only a couple of minutes earlier, might have been me……and I whispered, “Thank you Father that I know whatever storms life brings me, You are there. You are my anchor in all of life’s storms. Whatever happens.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?………37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8 NLT

None Of Us Will Make It Out Alive


I just read a story about Rory and Joey Feek. Joey, of the husband wife country duo, Joey+Rory, is dying. She doesn’t have many days left on this earth. I recently saw the picture of her laying in bed with her baby girl. It was so touching. She knows she is dying, and so the moments are all the more precious. Every. Moment. Is. Precious.

I can’t help but remember and relive those feelings of being in “the last days”. It was fifteen years ago this week that my husband died. Fifteen years is a long time. If he had lived, he would now be 49. Our son, was 5 when he died. That 5 year old is now a 20 year old college student. Back in November of 2000, I didn’t know what my life would be like, at the time I couldn’t even imagine.

Death is always difficult…to the one that is dying, and to the loved ones left behind. None of us are going to make it out of this life, alive. That is why, in my opinion, it is so important to live the moments of life with that in mind. Yes, we forget. Yes, we get busy. I know. We all allow the minutiae of the day to fill our calendars and clocks. It is so easy to push back the important moments, the simple yet beautiful moments, for the urgent.

Try, just for today, to live your day with your eyes wide open to the beauty. Be grateful. Begin to make it a habit. That way, when you find yourself in your last days, you will remember a life well lived.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”… James 4:13-15

The Lost Ring


Two years ago, while drying my hands in a public restroom, I noticed my silver ring was missing! It was a favorite ring I wore every day. Where could I have lost it? I actually dug through the paper towels in the restroom trash can looking to see if my ring had slipped off while drying my hands. It was not there. I looked in the car, I looked at home, I even looked in the yard. After searching for days and, coming up empty, I decided that I had lost the ring for good and would probably never see it again. I knew it was just a ring and there are worse things to lose, and I realized it would probably not be valuable to anyone else but me….still, I was sad that I had lost it.

Now, this is going to sound crazy but, here is the story. A few weeks ago I was looking at my hands and noticed my wedding ring/bands were sliding around on my finger. Noticing my rings and worrying they might slide off made me think about the silver ring I had lost. I wondered if it had ever been found, and was now being worn by someone new? Sigh….. I thought to myself, “God, I know it is silly, but I miss that ring.”

Yesterday evening, my husband and I were cleaning our car, getting ready to trade it in for a newer vehicle. My husband down on the floor of the car, vacuum in hand, was reaching under the front seat. He said, “Look what I found!” I looked over at him and he was holding my long lost ring! A smile lit up my face.

Yes, it is a simple thing. Yes, there are much more important things in life than a lost ring. Yet, the story of the ring reminds me that there is nothing too small for God to care about. Often times we only want to come to God with the big things. The heavy burdens. The things we feel are worthy. We forget that although God is big, He still cares about the small. He knows our hearts.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:7 NIV

The World Was Not Worthy Of Them


Those words are Shafia’s.  Shafia was kidnapped, raped, family members killed….she lost so much. But she did not lose her faith in Jesus Christ. Her world could take everything that she had, but it could not take away her Jesus.  Scripture tells us,       ”No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 37-39

I got my Share Their Voice kit from Voice of the Martyrs yesterday.  Stories of Christians around the globe…modern day martyrs for their faith. Stories of Christians in China, Turkey, North Korea, and Sudan. Christians in Pakistan, and Columbia. People that are kidnapped, raped, tortured, imprisoned, lose their families, their homes….everything. Some people even lose their lives. All this because they refuse to deny Jesus Christ. Their love for Him far outweighs what mere man can do to them. When I read their stories, stories that the main stream media will never tell us, my heart cries out! Lord, forgive me in my selfishness, my excess, my ambivalence to those brothers and sisters in Christ that suffer around the world for You. I am so ashamed that it is easy to forget them as I go on with my daily life. Help me to share their stories with others, so that their voices won’t be silenced. Father, I know that You will never forget them…. that You know each of these souls intimately.

These countries are considered restricted nations: Cuba, Belarus, Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, northern Sudan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Oman, U.A.E, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan,  Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, China, North Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bhutan, Maldives and Bangladesh.  In these countries there are government policies and practices that deny Christians the ability to obtain Bibles or Christian literature, also laws against Christians that cause them to be harassed, imprisoned, killed, or deprived of their possessions or liberties because of their witness.

These countries are considered hostile areas: Chiapas (Mexico), Columbia, Turkey, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Mindanao (Philippines). These countries have large areas where governments consistently attempt to provide protection for the Christian population, but Christians are victims of violence because of their witness.

Remember the Christians in these countries mentioned. Even if you don’t know them by name, God knows them. Many times pain cannot be avoided by these warriors for the faith, but you can pray for them to have  strength and determination until their journey is done. Pray that no matter what may befall them, that they will be found faithful.

“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”  Hebrews 13: 3


Her Last Words


It was the last word on her lips before she was murdered. The only word that mattered.


The name above all names.

Blessed Redeemer. Emmanuel.

A moment of Holiness in the midst of the heinous.

Witnesses to her murder said she was smiling. Yes, smiling…as she whispered, “Jesus”. Then she was beheaded. Her crime? She was a Christian in Syria. She identified as a follower of Jesus Christ. Her love for Him sentenced her to death.

But, something she knew, that her killers did not understand…..could not understand…….her faithfulness to her Savior meant that death could not separate her from the love of Christ. To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. I have no doubt that she is with Him right now, in His presence….now and forevermore. She is more alive today than she ever was here on Earth.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 

As a Christian in the United States of America, my faith has never been a life or death matter. I don’t know what it feels like to be persecuted, imprisoned, beaten, to lose all my possessions, and yes, to be murdered for my belief in Jesus Christ. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but one day it might. I used to think being a Christian was safe……..

“What is your religion? Do you believe in God?” Yes. I’m a Christian. “Good, because you’re gonna meet Him in one second.” What started out as a typical school day at a local community college ended in tragedy. I daresay that none of those murdered expected that, that day was going to be the day they died. When they got up that morning, none of them knew what lay ahead for them.

But, when it came down to it, when their very lives were on the line, they said, “Yes”.  I’m sure they were scared….terrified. I don’t know what it was like in that classroom in Oregon, but in their final moments I have to believe they knew. They understood that identifying with Jesus meant their death. Rather than deny their Savior they said, “YES”.

Christians murdered on foreign soil. Christians murdered in my own country. All of us, brothers and sisters in Christ. Although the thought of this is scary, if I should ever be put to the test, I pray that I would remain faithful to the very end.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28 ESV

Article on the Syrian Christians is here. Article on the Oregon shooting.

Living in Grace

The past couple of weeks I’ve been doing a long term substitute teaching job at a local middle school. The school is about twenty minutes from my house. I don’t really mind the drive, because most of the roads I take are out in the country. I take the time to admire the late summer corn surrounding the white farmhouse and barn in its sea of green. I stop and watch a mama deer and her two babies (still with white spots on their backs) cross the road. I wind through turns and pass by more farmhouses. I notice some trees with the slightest hint of beginning to turn from summer’s green to autumn’s golds and oranges. I always watch the black and deep chestnut colored horses. Friday morning they were standing close together, right next to the fence, looking as if they were whispering to each other.



As I drove along, radio turned down low, I started to think about my life and how it has played out thus far. Driving alone tends to make me contemplative. I started to list all the ways that God has shown Himself to me….throughout my life. The good times, the hard times, the thrilling times and the heartbreaking times. My life, much like yours, truly is a tapestry of the moments of each day, woven together to create something unique to each of us.

Hebrews 4:16 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.

Life has not always been easy or fun, but even in those difficult times, I can look back and see God at work in my life. Like most of us, I’ve made some good choices and some poor choices through the years, especially as a young adult. I shudder to think what might have been. I realize and am humbled to know it is only because of God’s unending mercy and grace that I am where I am today. My life is no mistake. Neither is yours. Dwell on that for a minute. On that early morning drive, I thought about that. Tears squeezed out the corners of my eyes and slid down my cheeks. I tried to stop, because I didn’t want to mess up my make-up on the way to work, but a few more slid out leaving me with a tear stained face. When one truly understands God’s mercy and grace as it pertains to him/her personally, it SHOULD overwhelm you, because His grace truly is amazing. Mercy is when God chooses to withhold the consequences of punishment for what we DO deserve, and grace is when He gives to us, and gives to us (unmerited favor) …all the things we DON’T really deserve. The realization is humbling. How can we not give thanks, with each breath that we take?

“Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come; ‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun.” 

Allow The Beauty To Shine Through


Over the next month, the vibrant greens of summer will begin to fade. The evenings will take on an early, almost- autumn chill, and the leaves on the trees will turn. I enjoy this time of year. This time of anticipation that leads up to full blown Fall in all its glorious splendor.

How many of us feel we are in the late summer of our lives? Youth has faded, and the days take on a different hue. Some people mourn the passing of time, and long for the fresh days of Spring…..but, not me. I am living in anticipation for what is about to come. Life in autumn, that is ablaze with color, with the warmth of family and friends, and filled with thanksgiving.

The older I get, the more I have learned to appreciate the gifts each day offers. This mysterious truth: When I am thankful for all things in this life, at all stages, the more beautiful life becomes.

Thanksgiving in big and small ways, allows the beauty to shine through.

I am thankful: For a fresh mowed yard and a daughter who actually enjoys the job. Morning glories winding their way over the porch banister. A fluffy puppy who loves to play fetch and head butts me until I play too. The smell of the home made vanilla bean lotion that I picked up at the Farmer’s Market last weekend. Fresh, ice cold water that satisfies my thirst. New exciting ideas for my new business. A supportive husband who has faith in me. Rides in the car with my adult children and our conversations that make me laugh out loud. Slow sunsets that melt into the horizon. Standing out in the yard at night, with my family, watching as the space station flies overhead. Marveling at the wonder of it all. My faith in Jesus Christ, the Name above all others….who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

Life is good.

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 106:1

Only A Short Time To Live

On this warm Sunday evening in mid August, I take a few minutes to read back through some of my old blog posts. It is interesting to me how the words I wrote years ago still apply today. My own words remind me to keep the proper perspective.




I’m currently watching a movie about a young man that found out he had terminal/stage 4 cancer. In the movie he takes off on his motorcycle, on a journey of self discovery across his homeland of Canada, seeing things through new eyes. It’s the knowing that he is dying that causes him to really live…to truly see. To appreciate.

His perspective changed.

What would I do if I was told I only had a few months left to live?  This question makes for a good movie plot, and allows for me to view some gorgeous scenery while watching this man’s trek across the country…..but, the truth is….

for all of us, it is the change of attitude that causes the change in action.

What are the things that are important to us? Are we thankful for what we have? Or do we take what we have for granted? Who do we thank for this day? This moment? This life?

Do you believe that your life is just a cosmic experiment, and therefore your life is not really important in the big scheme of things? That you are here and then you are gone? That death is final?

Or do you know that you were fearfully and wonderfully made, by God that loves you? He that knows every hair on your head? That understands your motives? That catches all your tears? That sees and knows your heart better than you know yourself?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 NIV

It depends on your perspective…in how you choose to live your life.

None of us is promised tomorrow. Oh, we like to think we have eighty or more years on this earth. That we will die peacefully in our sleep. That we have all the time in the world to….live.

Not true.

The doctor gives the diagnosis. The other car crosses the center line. The heart stops. The brain ceases thinking. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The accident happens. Not waking up.

We are all terminal.

God tells us not to worry about tomorrow, not to live in fear, but to remember that our lives on this earth are like a vapor.

A mist. A swirling mist that is seen in the early morning, soon dissipating with the rising of the sun.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14  NIV

My life is for a purpose. I am here for a purpose…and so are you.

God chose each of us. There are no mistakes with Him. He is not caught off guard by surprises.You are no surprise.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17  NIV

That changes perspective, doesn’t it?

Although it is good, in my opinion, for each person to take stock of their life, to explore new and exciting things, to change what we need to change, to check off the wishes on the “bucket list” ….. it is equally important to be grateful for the life that we have.

This is the life we were gifted with.

I don’t need to travel the world, to see the sights, to know…

that God infuses wonder in each moment.

Whether a person lives only one hour on this earth, or lives to be one hundred years old…in the scope of eternity, it is all a short time.

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:22 NIV

You Are Not Too Old


The other week, on my blog, I posted about dusting off a dream. I’ve been excited about making an official leap into having my own business. I have been an intervention specialist (sped. instructor) for the majority of my adult life. Even before I worked in special education professionally, I worked in it with my heart. Decades later, with much experience, many stories, and multitudes of people that I have helped in some way, I wanted to start my own consulting business. I have been consulting and doing advocacy work with parents and their children informally for several years. Recently, I have felt led to do more, say more, help more, and try harder. My husband continues to be a wonderful support for me, always having faith in my abilities and seeing my heart, even when my vision sometimes became blurred.

A couple of days ago, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I was wondering if I had what it takes to do this big thing? Would I be able to follow through? Was I too old to take more graduate level classes? Would parents care about this? What if the whole thing just blew up in my face? Sometimes negative self talk is more dangerous than anything else we may come across.

So, this morning, I arose early as I normally do. I straightened the house, started the coffee, and fixed breakfast. I slipped into my boots, grabbed the feed pail, and started over to the barn. The morning was quiet and the clouds were low on the horizon. Peaceful. Just then, God stepped into time and space. My time. My space. Although His voice was not audible, He spoke to my heart. Now, I am just as sane as you are, but something happened there in the yard, on the way to the barn. God spoke. He said, in a whisper only my spirit could discern, “You are not too old.” Just like that. I nearly dropped the chicken feed. Tears streamed down my cheeks. I stood rooted to the place. I looked out over the back field, tinged with the early pinks and purples of the morning. “You are not too old.”

I began to think about all the people that I’ve read about in the Bible, from the time that I was small. Many times, God had His children wait. Years would pass. Life went on. They wondered. They wandered. They grew older.  Until God told them, “go”.

“You are not too old.”

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isa. 55:9