Preparing a Plan of Attack


There are two ways to do just about anything – carefully plan or wing it.

Most of the time, I’m a carefully-plan-it kind of girl. I love making lists. I used to write out menus by the month. When planning a vacation, I’ll spend hours online finding the best places to stay, recommended stops along the way and highest rated restaurants. When my kids have a birthday, you can be sure I will create a Pinterest board and hunt the Internet for the cutest party ideas.

When I’m presented with the opportunity for a date night, I search movies and read reviews. I poll Facebook friends for best places to eat and search my closet for just the right outfit.

But somehow when it comes to my prayer life and dealing with those situations that seem impossible, I find myself winging it. Satan will throw me a curve ball, and I wildly swing my bat hoping to make contact.

Today, as I was reading in 2 Samuel about David trying to defeat the Philistines, I found good advice for creating a battle plan to overcome the obstacles in my own life. First David asked God, not his friends on social media, for direction. (Ouch. Let’s move on.)

“…so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered…” 2 Samuel 5:23 NIV

David asked God first IF he should attack the Philistines and then HOW he should attack. God responded, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees.” (2 Samuel 5:23) The Hebrew word used in this verse for “circle around” is sabab. It means, “To go around, surround, encircle, engulf.” It can also mean, “to change direction, to be surrounded, to change.”

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God gave David a plan of attack, but he gives us that same plan. When trials come our way, often we come straight at them and are knocked backwards from the blow because we aren’t prepared. Instead, we need to establish a plan of attack for any obstacle – for your failing health, for your marriage that grows stale, for your mounting bills and empty bank account, for the addiction you’ve been hiding, for the loss of your closest friend.

Friends, it’s time we fight back God’s way. We need to sabab our issues with prayer. Circle them. Engulf them. You see, because its only through prayer, praise and thanksgiving that we can “change direction.” You are not defined by the series of events that have happened in your life.

You are not defined by your diagnosis, your divorce, your size, your upbringing, your financial status or your education.

You are who God says you are. And He says you are chosen. (John 15:16) You are an heir. (Galatians 4:7) You are part of a royal priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9)

Satan will try to distract you and get you off your game. Don’t let him. He’ll tell you you’re not good enough. Don’t believe his lie. Be ready, friends. Arm yourselves for the battle by preparing your plan of attack. You see, in the woods that day when God told David to sabab, or circle around, He also told him to listen for the sounds of marching in the tops of the trees, “because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” (2 Samuel 5:24 NIV)

Don’t be shaken. Don’t be afraid. The Lord your God, the Sovereign Creator of all things will fight for you. Put on your armor and sabab. The battle has already begun.


Walking in the Dark

When I woke up this morning, it was dark. But knowing I had to get up and jump in the shower so I could get the kids ready for school and out the door, I put my feet to the floor.

I couldn’t see, but I made my way across the room to the bathroom. You see, in the bathroom, I knew there was a light switch. I didn’t bump into anything on the way because I walked slow, moving one foot in front of the other, feeling my way, looking for things that might trip me. I knew there was a shelf along my route.

How did I know? I knew because I’d seen the shelf. I’d placed things on the shelf. I’d had experience with the shelf. I knew Alan was still sleeping in the bed. I couldn’t see him either, but I could hear him – his deep steady breathing let me know he was there.

And after inching my way along, I finally felt my way to the light switch and turned it on. You know what happened when light hit the room? It only confirmed what I already knew in the dark. I could see the bed, the shelf and Alan asleep.

Walking in faith is just like walking in the dark. When we can’t see in front of us, we immediately head to the spot where we’ll find Light. We slow-foot shuffle, feeling our way little by little. We may not be able to see God, but we can stretch out our hands and feel His presence.

Are you struggling with a situation because you can’t see? Perhaps you are scared because you don’t know the outcome. You desperately want to hear from the Lord but you don’t see Him.

Friend, I am with you. I’m looking for Him, too. No one said walking by faith would ever be easy. Just remember to head towards the Light. Because when Light hits the circumstances in your life, it will only confirm what you already knew in the dark. God was there all along.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV


*Photo credit


Learning to Be a Mom


I watched my daughter Grace on the swing set yesterday. Dinner was cooked and waiting on daddy to arrive, so I ventured to the back yard and pulled up a chair to watch my youngest girl. The other two were holed up in their rooms, probably glued to an electronic device.

“Mama!” she yelled, so excited to have my undivided attention. “Watch me!”

I sat back into one of our patio chairs and propped my feet on the tiny plastic picnic table in front of me and relaxed in the evening sun. I watched as Grace swung her legs to and fro, pumping herself higher and higher.

When did she get so good at swinging, I wondered. Just yesterday she was outgrowing the baby swing with the bar to keep her from falling out. I thought of those first few times putting her in the big girl swing and praying she didn’t fall out the back. I would stand with my hands out to catch her if she accidentally let go of the chains.

“Hold tight!” I’d tell her, barely pushing her high enough to catch wind in her hair.

I was thinking of how many times I’d stood in the yard behind the swing, pushing her when she jolted my thoughts. “Mama! Do you see me? I’m almost touching the sky! Woooooooo!”

Without warning, my eyes filled and blurred the carefree girl across the yard. When did she get so good at swinging? I wondered again.

Next year, she’ll be in kindergarten. She’ll be six on her birthday. It doesn’t seem that long ago when I stared in shock at that positive pregnancy test and walked out of the bathroom to tell Alan, “You’re not going to believe this.”

“Waaaaa-hooooooooo,” Grace called out. “Look at me now, Mama!”


“Wow! You’re great at swinging, Grace! Be careful.” I cautioned her.

“Don’t worry. I just hold on tight to these chains. Really tight. Just like you told me, Mama,” Grace said.

And my hands, in tense fists in my lap, loosened a bit. This is the way of things for moms. We place them into swings when their tiny bodies aren’t big enough to do it alone. Then we stand behind them, coaching them on what to do, close enough to catch them if they fall. In time, we are across the yard, watching from afar as they practice what we’ve taught. We relish in their accomplishments.

Because soon – my breath catches a little – soon, they will leave the yard. God help me when that day comes.

I bit my lip a little, to keep from the ugly cry. “That’s great, Grace. I’m glad you remember. Just don’t ever let go.”


One Thing that Completely Changed my Walk with God


Eight years ago, my life changed completely.

I hint about it in my story on my “About Me” page. But let me tell you more. I lived a good life – attended church, prayed when needed and was a Christian. But I had a suspicion that I was missing something. I loved God, knew Jesus died for my sins and had accepted that He was my salvation. But still. I wondered if there was more.

My Christian life was mundane to say the least. I made a decision to accept Christ at age 10. I sang all the songs, heard all the Bible stories and attended Vacation Bible School every summer. When I joined Facebook quite a few years ago, I reconnected with some high school friends. One of them had become a Christian after high school and was very vocal about it on Facebook. After I posted a Bible verse, she private messaged me and asked, “Did you become a Christian after high school, too?” She was super excited for me.

Only one problem. I was a Christian all through high school. Why is that a problem, you ask? Because she should have known it by the way I lived. I didn’t attend parties or drink alcohol with my friends, but my Christianity was so subtle that people didn’t know for sure.

I think I lived most of my life that way. I was a checkbox Christian.

Do you attend church? Check.
Are you a Christian? Check.
Do you know Christ as your Savior? Check.

But there wasn’t the passion to back it up. Honestly, I believe this is an issue with lots of people who grow up in church. You lose the spark. You somehow lose connection to the fact that someone allowed their only child to suffer and die for you. Your relationship with God has as much passion as an old couple watching TV on the couch – her snoring, him with his hand tucked in his waistband. Blah.

Wondering if there was more to my relationship with God, I became fascinated with the idea of seeking Him. The Bible tells us if we seek Him, we will find Him.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NIV


So I made it my quest to find God. I decided to start with reading the Bible. I grew up in church, so I could tell you the books of the Old and New Testament in order. I could quote passages. I had completed many a Bible study. But I had never read all of it – straight through. So that’s just what I did. I had tried it before but never made it past Leviticus.

But this time I was determined. I would read a few chapters each day and then ask myself what God was trying to teach me. Then I’d pray. I tied my boots tight, pulled up my socks and began the hike through those gilded-edged pages. Determined, I even marched through Leviticus.

And somewhere in the middle of the Old Testament, I started having “A-ha” moments. Pieces of the puzzle fit together in my brain. I had a new understanding of how things happened. All those stories I had heard and studied before made sense in a brand new way.

And I found God.

He was there all along. In the pages. In my prayers. In my praises.

And friends, He changed me. My close friends will tell you how different I am. I can’t help but bring God into my conversations. I look at the world through different eyes. My sister-in-law once told me I was like Moses after the burning bush experience. When you have been in the presence of God, YOU WILL BE CHANGED.

Reading the Bible through changed my life. It took me a while to complete it. I don’t remember exactly how long, but it was more than a year. When I finished, I flipped back to Genesis and started again. When I finished that time, I bought a chronological Bible and started the third time.

This week, I finished my chronological Bible. It took me two years and a month to do it. I tell you this not to brag but to encourage you to read the Bible from beginning to end. “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (2 Cor. 10:17) I challenge you to start with Genesis and work your way through.

If you feel stuck in life, if you are struggling with your marriage or finances or family issues or health problems, if you see God working in the lives of others and want Him to do the same with you, seek Him. Look for God in the pages of His Word.

I promise He will accomplish more than you can imagine. You will be changed. You can NOT encounter God and walk away the same. It’s just not possible.

Are you ready to see God up close and personal? Then get started.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… Gen. 1:1 NIV


All Lives Matter

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I woke with the rain this morning. And I was sad. I drug myself from bed and into the morning routine of waking, feeding and preparing three kids for school. But my heart was heavy.

I can’t get certain events off of my mind. A video I watched last night of men in Nepal digging a small child out of the ruble from the earthquake sticks with me. News stories of the rioting and hatred in Baltimore won’t leave my thoughts. And the knowledge of my best friend’s lung cancer is never far.

There is so much hurting and pain in this world. Last night, Alan and I spent some time discussing race relations in light of the events of Baltimore and Ferguson, among others. Just this weekend, we watched “42,” the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American Major League Baseball player. He joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in April of 1947. My mother was born the same year. The prejudice and injustice he experienced happened not that long ago. Those of us who are white might like to think it’s a thing of the past, but I’m afraid we must pull our sandy heads upright and think again.

I remember clearly coming home in the second or third grade one day to tell my mom what I had learned about slavery. I was shocked and outraged. Teary, I asked my mom to explain how people could be so cruel. Friends, slavery wasn’t that long ago in the grand scheme of things. And the hurt was real.

My mom once told me about a teacher friend of hers who was black. She and her family had gone out to dinner in a nice restaurant but had been treated like they didn’t belong. This was late 80’s – early 90’s. I’m ashamed to admit it but it still happens today. Just last week, the husband of a kind and sweet friend (who is also black) was pulled over on the way to CVS for driving suspiciously. What?!

It’s time we open our eyes. If you’re white, try to imagine how you would feel if you were treated with injustice just for your color. If you are black, don’t look for race in every situation – sometimes people are just mean because they are mean and color doesn’t play into it.

I’ve seen so much stuff on Facebook – everyone having an opinion.

Police Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter.

How about this? All lives matter. Hashtag that! #alllivesmatter

God created each of us in His image, and each and every one of us matter to Him. When you say “Purple Lives Matter” (we’ll just choose a random color) – while it’s true, it’s also insinuated that you are saying purple lives matter more than others.

All lives matter. People matter. You see God is looking at each one of us, and He loves us. He loves the mean people, the innocent people, the people steeped in sin – all of us. God doesn’t look at color. He is not white, nor black, nor yellow, nor red – He is GOD. And God looks deeper than color. He looks at the heart.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

All of this meanness in the world around us – the racial issues, the dishonesty in politics, human trafficking, ISIS – all of it is a heart matter. People need Jesus. To give a Sunday school reply to the aching question: What are we going to do about this world?


Jesus is the answer. Jesus can right all wrongs. Jesus can mend broken hearts. Jesus can lift people from poverty and a lifetime of injustice. Jesus can open the eyes and minds of self-centered individuals.



You see, world change is not really that complex. Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself. Repeat.

It’s time we work towards reconciliation with our fellow man. Are you in?

*photo credit: screen shot, personal photo; cross