“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55: 8, 9)

Why is it so hard to just trust God to go with his own thoughts and ways? I know mine are tiny and limited. If I need a bill paid, my thoughts are so simple: I have a bill. Bills get paid with money. I need money. I can get money from …. But we have a God whose has unlimited resources and whose creativity is absolutely unfathomable. I have a tiny checklist of options, and he has all of creation to work with!  I make God so small. And when I make him small, it tends to make him about as useful as I am. And if he’s no more useful than I am, what’s the point in even having him around? Essentially, I put Him in a tiny box that I can carry around and say, “Yep. I’ve got him!”

What if I were to let him loose to do what he wanted – without any suggestions from me? What if I were to give him “permission” to show off? What if I were to start expecting the Red Sea to part instead of asking God to misdirect the Egyptian army?

How different my life would look if I quit imaging solutions and gave up offering suggestions! What an amazing testimony my life could be if I let God do what he wanted instead of limiting him.




I’m having one of those days today. I didn’t have days like this until I had emergency surgery for an Ascending Aortic Dissection in July of 2013. Which means that I have been having days like this since July of 2013. I don’t like them! In fact, I’m quite tired of them.

Before I write another word, I want to let you know that, yes, I am aware that there are people out there who have it worse. My heart goes out to them and I sympathize with their challenges. I don’t know how they do it. That being said, if you don’t want to attend my pity party today, take your comfort food and go before we play pin the tear on the sad girl. 😀

On the outside, I think I appear to be fine. People say they don’t usually notice the difficulty I have with my speech, although I am aware of the effort it now takes to speak clearly. Many of the people I know now didn’t know me when I did public speaking in high school or even when I did community theater here in New Ulm.  And they can’t appreciate how painful it is to me to work so hard on something that was once so effortless and fun for me. I’ve always said my favorite thing to do was to talk.

When others read my handwriting, they often don’t have my pre-dissection handwriting to compare it to. If they did, they would see a difference between today’s shaky, labored handwriting (which they say they can read) and my prior assertive, fluid handwriting that leaned forward in anticipation for the next word. I was so proud of my signature. It was me. It’s now as ordinary as I am. Today, I have to carefully sign my name as if it were simply any other word.

People might notice the care I take with my steps, but I fear they might also think I’ve been drinking when they see me saunter to the side or lose my balance. I can say with confidence that it is not because I’m drunk. Alcohol is no more responsible for my unsteady gait than it is my slightly poor driving and even worse parking. Those are more a result of my poor judgment of distance.

And it’s frustrating to have poor short-term memory when I’m accustomed to being able to juggle several different thoughts. Now, I have a hard time keeping a single thought in my head until I get it out. I often feel like I did when I was a kid and had to repeat “milk, eggs, bread” all the way to the grocery store so I wouldn’t forget what my mom had sent me after.

Anyone watching me type today would never imagine that I had excelled at that, too. I did. When I was in my late 20’s, I won 1st and 2nd places in national competition for Business Professionals of America in Information Processing. Today, I have to constantly correct myself in spite of how slow I go.

Since I was on heart-lung bypass for nearly eight hours to repair my aorta and save my life, everything seems to take more concentration and deliberation. It’s exasperating to have to carefully do simple things that I used to do with ease.

And on days like this, I feel a little broken and frustrated. I’ve prayed for healing, but I think God has his own idea of how I’m going to be healed. See, before my dissection, I was always in a hurry and usually managed to get myself in over my head with work and responsibilities.

I seldom took the time to relax, and I didn’t relax I assumed anyone (especially my family) who wasn’t doing something was lazy. I took it upon myself to feel burdened and offended by their lack of busyness.

I can’t hurry anymore. I can’t talk fast or write fast or type fast without the words coming out unintelligibly. I can’t walk fast without tripping or tiring myself. I don’t care to drive anywhere and prefer to leave the errands to my husband.

Here’s what I’m finding out as I find slowing down a necessity: A lot of the things I thought had to be done by me can actually be done by someone else. A lot of the things I thought had to be said, don’t need to be said by me. Most of the thoughts in my head really don’t need to be shared at all. And even if I get there slowly, I will eventually get there. All in all, the work gets done somehow.

Sure, my pride has taken a big hit in the last 4 1/2 years. I’ve prayed for healing. The body isn’t healing that well, but if God wanted to heal me of busyness, pride and arrogance…I think it’s starting to work. What God has done is to force me into relationship with others in a way that is much deeper and more vulnerable.

And if I wasn’t sure that God is working on my, he confirmed it just now. As I looked for an image to go with this post, I found on Pinterest the two graphics I’ve used in this post without having to do a search. My God has a sense of humor!







hes after your heart

I saw this on Pinterest, and it absolutely captivated me. From as early as I had an interest in the opposite sex, if any boy or man had said to me, “I’m after your heart.” I would have melted and sighed, “Okay….” (Unless he was wielding a knife with a maniacal look in his eyes, of course. That would have been scary, you know? Just sayin’.)

Just know that I’m no expert on scripture, and I’d never read Hosea until last night. And even then, I can’t claim to have studied it, but I’m excited to share what I learned about God’s nature in loving his people when I looked at this book.

The book starts out with God’s conversation with Hosea about the punishment Israel is about to receive for being sinful and unrepentant. He’s using the prophet as a visual aid for the poor state of the Israel’s relationship with himself. But we don’t get far in the narration before we see the sheer depth and breadth of God’s love. We see how he longs for reconciliation; he’s willing to forgive and waiting to see the hearts of his people turned back to him.

But before they can be reconciled to him, the people will be punished for their faithlessness and wicked choices. Blood will be spilled, the land will be dried up and the people will be defenseless in battle. He even goes so far as to declare that he is no longer the Israelites’ “I AM”. Still, the time will come when God’s word will not return void. He called the people of Israel his people, and they will be restored as such.

“Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God. (Hosea 1:10)

So if reconciliation is on the horizon, why would he punish them? They had been unfaithful to him. They forgot their God, the one who delivered them from slavery, saw them through the wilderness and took them to their promised land. You can hear the sorrow in his heart when he says:

“I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rigs and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,”  declares the Lord. (v. 13)

The good news is that we have a loving and forgiving God who is always willing to take us back after we’ve repented. The words he uses are filled with gentleness and compassion. He says:

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:12 – 14) “In that day,” declares the Lord“you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’ (v. 16)

Such love and wooing is in these words! Wouldn’t we all much rather have a “husband” who loves us, protects us, and desires us than a “master”? Although both a master and a husband will see to our needs for food, clothing and shelter, there is so much more commitment and mercy in being a spouse than a slave. Slaves can be bought and sold. Spouses are meant to be kept for life and cherished.

What’s more, he speaks of himself as a loving parent.

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them.  I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. (Hosea 11:3 – 4)

Further, he goes on to affirm his holiness. While he loves us as a husband might and tends to us as a parent might, God is still holy above all else.

I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I devastate Ephraim again. For I am God, and not a man—the Holy One among you. (Hosea 11:9)

Not only will the Lord love us again, he will restore us.

“Come, let us return to the LordHe has torn us to pieces but he will heal us;
he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.” (Hosea 6:1)

So that’s it? Some harsh punishment and we’re good with God because he loves us so much? Not quite. Our part is to repent and return to him. It takes action on our part. We must see the Lord for who he is – holy and sovereign. There is none equal to him, no substitute for him, and we have to live with that as our truth!

But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always. (Hosea 12:6)

That’s our call to action. Jesus made this even easier for us through his sacrificial death. We no longer have to make sacrifices to restore our relationship with the Lord. God doesn’t want sacrifices. He wants your heart!




Ephesians 5:13-14 tell us “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’”

In my last post, I talked about validation. Today, I want to take a closer look at Ephesians 5:13-14 again because I find it very encouraging. We’ve looked at shining the light of Christ on our pain and shame in order to find validation and start healing, which is beneficial for ourselves. If we take a closer look at this passage, we see how the light of Christ can shine through our pain to bring others to Christ.

How long have you felt dead inside? Have you numbed yourself, thinking that you’re inoculated from pain? Have you been going through your days on automatic pilot? Are you missing out on fully enjoying the life that Christ died to give you? Do you feel like a shell of a person, doing the same things every day, feeling no joy at all? It’s not a very victorious life, is it? Certainly not the life Christ died for us to have.

It’s time to wake up! There can be purpose to your pain. God can use that pain. Verse 13 tells us that “everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” I know – why would you want to illuminate a painful past? It’s ugly. Why would you want to illuminate your own pain and shame? It’s vulnerable, and vulnerability can be dangerous. So why would you want to shine a light on the very things you want to bury and forget?

For one thing, all the numbing in the world will not erase your pain. For another, when the light of Christ is shone on your pain, through your pain, it can become a beautiful beacon of hope and promise for others. Second Corinthians 4:6 tells us, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” Only by letting God heal us and sharing the story of that healing, can God’s glory and Christ’s purpose be served.

Imagine the beauty of a stained glass mosaic. God can take your broken pieces and make something new and beautiful out of them. And when the light of Christ shines through the new picture…Ah! What beauty! It’s this beauty that draws others to Christ. Are you willing to let the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ shine in your life, through your brokenness? Then wake up! Rise from the dead, and let God use your pain for the purpose of bringing the lost to him for his glory. Become a beacon of hope for others.



When you’ve been hurt, I believe there are two you need: validation and permission. Validation tells you that, yes, something painful has happened to you or you’ve struggled with something that’s taken a lot from you. Permission allows you to move forward when you don’t believe you have the right to.

Today I want to talk about validation. I lived in silence for years about my home life, mostly because I wasn’t aware that it was different from anyone else’s. I lived with a mentally unhealthy mother who was emotionally and verbally abusive, often withholding attention as a means of punishment, and punishment was unpredictable and came on a whim. I never knew when to expect it, so I anticipated it constantly.

Even after I learned that this was not normal parenting behavior, it didn’t make me feel any better. And for the longest time, I thought I wanted pity. It took me a few years to realize that pity wasn’t very satisfying and not especially forthcoming when no one knew what I’d gone through. Through years of therapy, I felt sorry for myself when what I was really looking for was acknowledgement that what I’d gone through was, indeed, abnormal and that it was painful. I needed validation so I could start healing.

As I said, though, validation is hard to come by when no one knows what needs to be validated. So often, we don’t talk about the pain of our past (or present, even) because we don’t want to appear pathetic or vulnerable. No one who has felt weak wants to appear weak. We want to appear fearless and seamless when we may very likely be very broken. We keep our pain in the dark, hidden.

But here’s the thing: There is no healing as long as our pain is hidden. Ephesians 5:13-14 tell us “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. I believe this is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’” As long as our pain and any shame that goes along with it are kept in the dark, they’re in Satan’s domain. He can continue to use them to destroy our relationships and self-image.

But if we shine the light of Christ on what is hidden, we can be healed of that pain and shame. We can heal our relationships. Best of all, we can have a self-image that reflects who we really are – children of God. And how incredible would it be to see yourself as the child of God, rather than the child of a parent who hurt you? Ultimately, we have been made in God’s image. What a lovely, beautiful image that is!

So whether you endured years of unspeakable abuse or someone simply hurt your feelings today, don’t be ashamed or afraid to shine the light of Christ on your pain. It wasn’t your fault, and the one who hurt you can’t heal you the way God can. Let God dispel the darkness that Satan delights in. Let the Lord do a good work in you today and begin living the life he wants for you – a life that glorifies him.