Posts Tagged With: imperfections

Show Your Chips


Revelation 19:11-22:21


I am a nut when it comes to being “fancy”. I love doing my nails, I love doing my hair and make up and getting dressed up. When I first started working at the school I had TWENTY-EIGHT outfits laid out and ready to grab out of the closet and go to school. Accessories and everything, I’m not kidding. One thing I loathe is chipped fingernail polish, it’s just so annoying to me, and a little gross. I mean, I could care less about your chipped polish but mine had better not be! Yet I’ve been so busy this week that a few days ago when my nail started chipping I chose to ignore it and keep going and I haven’t stopped since. BUT being a teacher, my hands are constantly pointing things out to students. Usually with my right index finger. So to have my right index fingernail polish chipped and have every single one of my students see that has been really annoying to say the least.
This morning the chip caught my attention even more than usual, in a different way. Like a chink in my perfectly fashioned armor it’s been right out there for all of them to see… I’M NOT PERFECT. And what’s more important, that it’s OK to not be perfect!
NOBODY IS PERFECT, not a single one of us. Yet we try. OH how we try. We try to fool ourselves by trying to fool others thinking maybe if I can convince them that I’m perfect then maybe I will be… at least in their eyes. But the truth always comes out in one way or another, nobody is perfect; and that is perfectly OK.


Categories: 365 Life, Revelation, Season 3, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Permission to Fail

Friday was an anniversary of sorts for me and my ministry. And looking back over it all I am so overwhelmed with how far we’ve come and how much things have changed. And looking forward at the calendar, things are still changing! It’s all very exciting, and a little nerve wracking as I’m trying my best to simply keep up with everything that God is doing. But He is so faithful and He has held me through it all. I am so blessed by you all and the work that I have been called to do for you. It has changed me in ways I NEVER could have expected and yet I look at myself today and I am so very thankful for the work the Father has done in me. I love myself today. I love who I have become and who I am. I don’t know that I could have said that four years ago; at least not in a completely honest way. I didn’t love who I was because I wasn’t looking at myself from God’s point of view. I wasn’t seeing my situations, my past or my faults through His eyes of complete love. I was choosing to see them through Satan’s eyes of condemnation. When I think back on how I treated myself it makes me want to weep. I never gave myself permission to fail. And when I did fail, I would lay there and let Satan beat me brutally – because I thought I deserved it.

Last Thursday I visited a home for troubled girls. I didn’t really sit and talk with any of the girls, but I was able to hear a few of their stories and experience a small nibble of their day with them. I walked the same halls they walk, I ate the same lunch they eat, and I talked with their teacher. And through it all I realized how alike we all are. We all deal with the same demons, we all fight the same Enemy, we all allow him to beat us verbally until his face turns blue. And we do that because he has us convinced that we deserve it.

There was a time when we might have deserved it, if we had lived before Christ came. But we don’t. We have the luxury and privilege of living after Christ’s death. And what a privilege it is! Because of Jesus we can look at ourselves through Son-glasses. Glasses that were forged through the fires of hell as Jesus walked through them FOR US, because He knew that they were far too hot for us to stand.

In a strange way I almost envy those girls. Because at the ripe old age of 17 (give or take a few years) they will have walked through something so tremendous, with Jesus, that their faith will be far less shakable throughout the rest of their lives. Their foundation for their life will be so much firmer having gone through what they have been through. Not to mention the works that the Lord will have them do once they have finished the program! Yes. While I do not envy their sufferings, I do envy the relationship with Christ that will come from those sufferings. These girls will be leaders, strong leaders, you just wait and see! God has big plans for them!

Categories: Sheridan Reporter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


1 Kings 7:1 – 8:32

Word of the Day:

“O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like You, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before You with all their heart,” 1 Kings 8:23

It may come as no surprise to you that God and I have been talking a lot lately. I’ve been angry with Him… maybe you noticed… and I’ve been letting Him know about it. And while I was acting like a small child stomping her feet in anger at not getting her way, our ever patient God, just waited out my fury. I’ve been feeling led lately to fast, perhaps simply because it’s Lent, maybe not, but this past Monday morning I gave in and started a complete fast – water only. On that first day of the fast I wrote about the frozen fence and finding beauty in the blech. Friends, that was the first picture I’ve taken in weeks! But the healing it brought was immense. I don’t know why photography does that to me, but it’s amazing. I can be in the cruddiest mood, go out with my camera on the hunt for “the shot” and come back a different person, having gotten what I went out for and so much more. I guess it’s my way of stopping and smelling the roses or being still and knowing that He is God by celebrating His creation.

Anyway, while I was fasting the second day I worked feverishly to prepare the new blog to house this Bible Study. I was compelled by the love of Christ to share this thing we’re calling 365 Life. It has completely changed my life! In far less than 365 days too J. It was when I fasted from the voices of the world and ate ONLY the word of God, with nothing but the Holy Spirit to guide me to all truth did I discover the radiance of God’s Grace.

From that moment on, I’ve wanted nothing more than to share that revelation with you every day. Jesus said He was the manna from heaven, our daily bread and that’s the truth! We need reminded of His Amazing Grace every day lest the Enemy come and steal it from our hearts, because he does! So, while my flesh wants to apologize for these last few days of anger, I won’t because I know the Holy Spirit has told me to be raw and naked and honest with Him and with you. Why, because, that’s how we connect the best with one another. You can’t have sex with your clothes still on and you can’t connect with God with your spiritual armor on either. You’ve got to take it all off at the door. And that’s what I was fighting Him on, being naked and vulnerable with you. That was the end of the fast, giving into the message He was sending me, “be vulnerable with them so that they can connect with Me through you.”

There is so much in this reading that I would LOVE to share with you theologically, but I only get to do one verse today and this is it. I only get to write for 30 minutes and my time is up. I ask for your prayers for me, I can use all of them I can get! Have a great day in the Lord my friends, I love you so much more than you could know!!!


Just in case you’re curious, the “new blog to house this study” has gotten pushed to the side. It’s still there, but I’m not using it currently – as beautiful as it is. God told me to build up not out, so that I wouldn’t water myself down. So I “enlarged my tent pegs” right where I am and made more room.

On a side note: I wanted to make you aware of some ministry updates. I am very excited to announce that I have a Mother’s Day speaking engagement scheduled for May 11th. I would LOVE to have books on hand for the women to buy, and even some to give away as gifts. However, the current funds in the ministry account are running drastically low. If you are able, I would love for you to prayerfully consider giving a book or Bible to someone who can’t afford one. If you are able, please click here! Give a book bible button

Categories: 1 Kings, 365 Life, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Monday! Let’s start something new shall we!?!

So as many of you know, and some of you don’t, one Sunday afternoon (March 11th 2012 to be exact) I was attempting to nap after church and just as I was beginning to fully relax into my bed the Holy Spirit spoke life-changing words into my spirit: “Write through the Bible in a year”. I literally sprang from my bed and went straight to my computer to update my blog ( I’ll admit, there have been times when this challenge has been…well… a challenge! But the rewards that I have reaped have far outweighed the cost. That afternoon as I tapped away on the keys to my computer, updating my “followers” of the news, I had no idea the true changes that God had in store for me within this challenge. His Holy Spirit truly is the best teacher any of us could ever have, and asking Him to come and teach us as individual children of God is the best choice we could ever make in this life after choosing Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

I am praying that this simple little Bible Study will help you grow and learn about the love of God through Christ Jesus. It has been through reading the Word of God daily and writing about it that I have been able to see God’s hand at work in my life like never before. I pray that this journal does the same for you!

Here’s how it works…

Every day we hold our Bibles to our chest (like they’re Jesus Himself greeting us before sitting down with us to chat) as we pray:

“Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your fire so that I may be more like You. Father Open my eyes so that I may see You clearly. Open my ears so that I may hear You soundly. Open my mind so that I may know You more. Open my heart so that I may love You more. Open my mouth so that You may fill it with good things. Open my hands so that I may give generously and receive humbly. Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your fire so that I may be more like You. Help me Jesus – I trust You.” (Click here for a printable card.)

While praying this prayer picture the Holy Spirit coming and opening these things up like French doors to let in a spring breeze – you may even feel the breeze enter your heart as you pray! The Holy Spirit has taught me this prayer over the years and it is so near and dear to my heart as EVERY time that I pray it I can feel my heart burning within me in acknowledgement to His fiery presence.

Next we open our Bibles to that day’s reading and read the entire selection. Now, I know that some of you may have trouble doing this, BUT, I am giving you permission to… *gasp*… write in your Bible. Yes, really. It is a book with pages of paper and words written in ink just like any other textbook. The pages and the ink are not holy or sacred, THE WORDS themselves are. We are doing this as a study of His words so act like a student. Highlight those pages, mark them up with your own ink, dog-ear the pages and fill them with bookmarks and sticky notes! Make this book your own; special and unique just like you. By the time you’re done with this study in about a year, (or more if you’re like me) when you flip through these pages a rainbow of color and life will greet your eyes and make you smile, it’s a very beautiful thing! If you would like a new Bible to mark up for less than $5 click here! Or email me and I’ll do what I can to get you one for free, you may just have to wait a bit longer for it.

After reading for the day go back over the verses you highlighted, which one(s) speak to you the most? That verse is your very own “Word of the Day” straight from God Himself just for you. Write it down (we have created a companion journal just for this purpose if you would like one click here). As you are writing picture yourself writing with a supernatural pen that writes the words straight onto your heart. Where nothing can erase them or blot them out because God’s words are alive and as powerful as a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) and they never return to Him void, they always accomplish the purpose for which He sent them out. (Isaiah 55:11)

Lastly there are the notes. I will share mine here and I encourage you to do your own; write down any insights that you have gained from your reading, anything that really struck you or changed you. I encourage you to write down your prayers and thoughts toward the LORD. I have been amazed at the things that God has told me through my own writing and I pray for the revelations that He will show you through your writing! The main purpose of me being here in this place is to help others build a RELATIONSHIP with the Almighty, not just a religion. This blog is a place for us to meet and fellowship with one another and I encourage you to leave comments, talk to one another, ask questions, interact with each other and me but most of all HIM. He is here, with us in this place, let us rejoice and be glad in it!!!

In Revelation 12:10-11 tells us that the Accuser is defeated by the blood of the Lamb AND the word of OUR testimony! I want this to be a place where the Enemy can not tread because it is so filled with our testimonies of how the Lamb of God has been working in our everyday lives!!! Let’s fill this place up with so many testimonies of how Jesus conquered the Enemy in our lives that EVERYONE will come just to see what all the fuss is about. This blog isn’t about me, and it’s not about you, it’s about HIM. So lets do that shall we? But I can’t do it alone, I need your help, your input, your participation. Even if you’re just reading what I write and commenting, that’s great. But the REAL power will come from reading His word for yourselves and allowing His voice to come to the forefront of your mind.

Happy Reading & Writing! Here’s the Intro video to the series, enjoy! (There is an outline below the video if you would like to use one.) Please please please let me know if the video doesn’t work for you, this YouTube thing is still very new for me!!!


This is the outline for the video if you’d like to use it to follow along. You can also click here for a printable version if you would prefer.

Masks of Perfection Introduction Video Guide

-This Bible Study is all about getting into the W______ of God daily, letting it sink into your l______ and shut out all the outside v______ to focus on H____.

-The benefit is in taking off the M______ of P______ and allowing people to see your:


how you’re f______

w______ you really are.

-We as Christians, women, mothers, friends, wives and as daughters of Christ need to allow ourselves to s______ so that the p______ around us can see the effects that they have on us.

We are justified! We are j______ as if I’d n______ s______ . We are justified!

-The Mask of Perfection says, “I d______ s______, I’m perfect!” Taking that mask off allows others to see that we’re h______ and gives us something to t______ about.

-The Bible is the W______ of the Word .

-The Water of the Word washes away the dirt and grime that builds up while we’re l______ l______ and being human.

-As they build up in our hearts, the Words of God become part of w______ we are!

-When we get married to Christ we become o___ f______!

-The Spirit of God lives in m__!

-I am a p______ child of God.

-2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

-We need to look at God and say to Him, “You are e______ for me.”

-I don’t have to be p______ because HE IS!

After the video:

(Feel free to answer these questions in the comment section below!!!! 😀

-Read Romans 3:23-26

-What part does the word AND play in verses 23-24? What difference does that one little word make in these verses?

-How important do you think it is to read the verses in their context? How does taking them out of the context change their meaning?

-Has this one little word (and) changed your view of how God sees you? How?

-Has it changed the way you see you? How?

Categories: 365 Life, John, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


Today’s reading: Acts 7&8

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56

Today has been an interesting day so far. I had this post started before I went to Parks & Prayers this morning and now I’ve come back to it and I’ve just got to go in a whole different direction than what I started with. First I suppose I’ll start with Parks & Prayers, it’s a group of moms of all ages that get together once a week to lift one another up in prayer. We meet at a park or an indoor play-place so that the kids have something to do so that there’s no childcare necessary. While the children play we moms are free to share our burdens with one another. We’re all reading through the bible alphabetically so when we are finished sharing prayer requests and praying we talk about that as well…but generally we never get there in the two hours we set aside for our group time.

Listening to all these beautiful ladies’ requests I was amazed at how many were dealing with words. They were asking God for the right words to say to this person or how to deal with that situation and it struck me how wonderful God is to answer those prayers! Follow along with me on the rabbit trail that God lead me on this morning through the scriptures!

Stephen, in Acts 7, saw the heavens open and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. As the stones were being thrown at him the heavens opened up and he could see into the throne room of heaven! He could see the Father, he could see Jesus, he could see it! Isaiah saw the throne room of God while still alive as well. In chapter six we read:

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say this to the people…” (Isaiah 6:1-9a)

God apparently called for Isaiah, because Isaiah was suddenly whisked away to the throne room of God Almighty where he encountered angelic beings and God Himself. And what was Isaiah’s reaction? I’m not good enough! But God had a solution for that and the angel brought the coal to remove the sin from Isaiah’s mouth. How incredible is that? While Isaiah had a hot coal brought to his lips, we have the blood of Christ to atone for our sins. And with that God follows up the coal with a question. To whom He is asking the question is unknown, perhaps He is simply pondering the question out loud for Isaiah’s benefit. “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Kind of like when I want to tell my kids that we’re going to the park, but I want them to think that it was their idea, “Hmmmmm…. I wonder who would like to go to the park with me?” Both kids jumping up and down with their hands in the air reply, “OH, OH, OH MOMMY! I’LL GO, I’LL GO!” I don’t know, maybe He was actually thinking about whom He would send, but it kinda makes sense to me that since He had already called Isaiah up there it was pretty obvious who He really had in mind to do the job to begin with. So when Isaiah offers to be a part of God’s plan God then starts to explain the plan to Him. “Go, and say this to the people…” God GAVE Isaiah the words to say. Isaiah didn’t need to come up with them on his own, he didn’t have to be educated or a brilliant speaker, he only needed to be available to do God’s bidding.

What about Moses? God called him to speak for Him too. God brings Moses into His presence by luring him with a bush that is on fire but isn’t burning up. I like in Exodus 3 & 4 where it says “When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!‘” It wasn’t until God noticed that Moses was taking an interest in the bush that He actually spoke to Moses. It was at this point that God starts to explain to Moses part of His plan, that He has seen the suffering of His people and heard their cry for help and… I want you, Moses, to go talk to the most powerful man in all the world and tell him to let my people go. Now, for Isaiah it was when he realized that he was in the presence of God that he felt unworthy, for Moses it was when he was given this mountainous task that he replies to God:

“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel…

Both Isaiah and Moses were given huge tasks to do in the name of the LORD, and both questioned their own ability to accomplish those tasks. Both men were face to face with the holiness and majesty of God and asked themselves “Who am I that I would be called to do this?” And yet they are who GOD CHOSE to do those tasks. Both men were called to be God’s spokesperson and neither was able… on their own.

After a slew of questions and semi-reasonable arguments that Moses offers God to try to “help God” understand that He’s picked the wrong guy for this job Moses tries one last resort.

Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” Exodus 4:10-12

Who has made your mouth? Who has called you into His service to be His hands, His feet AND His mouth? We, like Moses, can offer up a page full of excuses as to why we are ill-equipped to fulfill the calling that He has given us; but just like Moses, it won’t do us any good. God has chosen YOU for this, so you might as well get used to the idea. God chose YOU, probably not because you were the best prepared or the best educated person for the job, but because you weren’t. I find it no small coincidence that God chose a man with a speech impediment to be His spokesperson. Because it is through our imperfections that God’s perfection shines the most brilliantly. Don’t dwell on your own inabilities; instead dwell on God’s abilities. Don’t stare at that mountain that you can’t seem to climb, stare at the One who MADE the mountain. HE is able. And because He is able, you don’t have to be. HE is perfect. And because He is perfect, you don’t have to be. HE is equipped. And because He is equipped, you don’t have to be.

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. Isaiah 50:4 (NIV)

I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar – the LORD of hosts is His name. And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, “you are my people.” Isaiah 51:15-16

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11

Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Proverbs 30:5 (NIV)

Categories: Acts, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , ,


Once upon a time, in a high school far far away from here there lived a cute, short, curly-haired Freshman girl who had a friend named Carey. At this same school, with the same friend there was a Senior football player. He was handsome and funny and was extremely muscular. On the first day of school, the girl was nervous at lunch time. “Who will be in my lunch group with me this year?” she wondered, “Who will I sit with?” As she emerged from the lunch line and into the bright lunchroom she immediately spotted her friend Carey, a senior on her dance squad. She rushed over to see if she could sit with her. “Of course!” Carey said, and the girl sat down relieved that there was at least one familiar face in her lunch group. Next, Carey’s other friend, the Senior football player came up and asked if he could sit with Carey too! Seeing as how there was plenty of room and he was her friend too they said “sure”.

Almost every day after that, lunch was spent with these three friends chatting over one thing or another, high school issues, those kinds of things. And the more the girl got to know the boy, the more the girl liked the boy. He was fun to be with, he liked a lot of the same things that she liked. But the best thing of all was how he made her laugh. He had such a strange sense of humor that she just adored about him. After several months of this, Carey and the girl were waiting in the lunch line when the boy walked up behind the girl and covered her eyes with his hands, “Guess who?” he said. Of course she guessed immediately, and he let go of her eyes and stepped into line next to the girls to wait for lunch. That afternoon Carey, their mutual friend, mentioned to each of them that they might make a cute couple. Hmmmmm…. But alas, at the time he was single and she wasn’t, maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

However, it wasn’t long before the girl broke up with the boy that she was seeing and took a bit more interest in the boy. He WAS handsome, very handsome now that she was looking a little closer. And wow! Look at those arms, he MUST lift weights, a lot! But, it was too late for her now too, he was asking another girl out by now. Siiiiiigh……

By this time Christmas was getting nearer and nearer and it was basketball season at the school. The girl was busy preparing for the halftime shows at the games and the boy was busy preparing for wrestling season (Oh, yeah, he wrestles too), and pursuing that other girl. So our girl started focusing less on the boy and more on her dancing, and a little on school too. The time came around for the dance squad gift exchange and the girls all filled out their short wish lists, placed them in a bag and then one by one drew them out to see who they had for the Secret Santa gift exchange. The girl, just as a joke put the boy’s name at the bottom of her wish list, because EVERYONE on the dance squad knew that she liked him and whoever got her list would think it was funny. Little did she know, but her friend Carey had gotten her list! The last few weeks of school went by quickly and the girl quickly forgot about her little “addition” to her list. The night of the last game of the year came around and there was a dance planned for after the game. All the girls from the squad were planning on going together, it was the last dance of the year before Christmas, they HAD to go! The game ended and the girl was in a small storage room next to the band room putting her things away when she looked up to see the boy changing his shirt. She nearly swooned at his rippling muscles! “Ahhhhh,” she sighed, “maybe someday”, as the boy then walked past her to the hallway on his way to somewhere else in the school.

Suddenly Carey came storming into the storage room with her coat. “Why does she have her coat?” the girl thought, “I thought she was staying for the dance.”

“I have another present for you!” Carey said with a giant grin.

“OK” the girl said suspiciously, one eyebrow cocked to the air. They had already done their gift exchange and she had said nothing of more gifts being in store for her, what was going on? Carey flung her coat over the girl’s head and led her in the direction that the boy had just gone. She wanted to say that she had no clue what was going on, but she did have one glimmering hope that it would be the one thing that she expected the least to get from a colorguard gift exchange. As Carey wrangled her into the hallway the rest of the girls in the squad chattered and giggled excitedly in a circle around her as she came to stop in front of two red wrestling shoes on the hallway floor. Carey asked her, “are you ready for your surprise?” “I guess so”, she replied, what DO you say in a moment like that? When Carey pulled the coat off her head the girl raised her eyes from the shoes on the floor to the jean wearing legs that were attached to them, to the familiar black shirt that she had just swooned over moments before, to the absolutely beaming face of that handsome Senior football player she’d had her heart set on for the last few months. The look on his face was PRICELESS to say the least, he was so proud of the fact that she had asked for him for Christmas and that he was able to deliver that gift himself. A trophy date for the dance to be sure! She nearly passed out as ALL the blood in her body seemed to flock instantly to her face! Boy, he sure was cute, and all hers for the night. After months of crossing paths, there they were, both single and staring at each other… with the entire dance squad standing around them watching! They all walked off toward the cafeteria where the dance was being held that night, the boy and the girl still in a bit of a daze as to what to do with themselves. The girl asked the boy, “I thought you liked Katie, what happened?” He said, “she told me ‘no’ because she knew that you liked me”. It looks like things might actually work out for these two.

The next Monday at lunch the girl found herself sitting alone for some reason, I don’t remember why. Until just a few minutes before the lunch bell rang. She was just getting ready to get up and take her tray to the kitchen when the boy came strolling through the lunchroom door headed right for her lonely table. He plopped himself down and said “I’ve got a question for ya”. “OK” she replied, “what’s up?” He tossed his huge class ring across the table at her and said “will you go out with me?” As she sat there watching the ring spin like a top in the middle of the round table, what else could she say but “YES!”? And right there, in that small town school lunch room she and he became “they”. “They’re a couple now”, “they’re dating now”, “they’re an item now”. And they were, and have been for the last SEVENTEEN years, today. I am that girl, my husband is that boy, and he still makes me swoon when he takes his shirt off! Our “they” has increased from just the two of us, to the four of us plus two cats and a tank full of fish. As for everything in between that day and this day? Well, most of that is for another day’s blog, but parts of it can also be found in our book True Intimacy, the story of how our love became cursed through the sin of pre-marital sex and then adultery. And how Jesus redeemed that love and broke the curse, and the details on how you too can have a truly intimate marriage! Jesus can help, He helped us, and He’s more than willing to help you too! Trust me, it’s TOTALLY worth it. I thought that we had lost that high school romance long ago, but we hadn’t lost it, we had just cursed it, pushed it back away from us with our sins. But with God’s help we learned how to change all that, how to get that lovey feeling back, only it was better this time. Because it had depth and meaning and healing in it. Yes, this time our love was rich and real and founded on what it should’ve been founded on it the beginning, JESUS and His grace. I am more desperately in love with my husband today than I ever was seventeen years ago, and this morning as I snuggled up to him in bed I told him just that, and then said “and just think, if I love you this much more now than I did then, how much MORE will I love you seventeen years from today???” And he squeezed me tight in his warm and still very muscular arms and said “I love you” in that way that always makes my heart melt for him.

God has blessed us with something that many couples never get, a second chance at love with the person they fell in love with in the beginning. Through what I can only account as the grace of God, we have stayed together through some really tough stuff, and I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am for it! The love that I feel for this man is so much deeper than anything I’ve ever felt for anyone in my entire life. And honestly, that’s only possible because of the forgiveness and TIME that we have invested into each other. Neither one of us was willing to give up on “us” when I was so very ready to give up on him. During those cursed years of our relationship, which in all honesty was the majority of those seventeen years, we stuck together, many times just for the sake of sticking together. But I can’t tell you how glad I am today that we did stick it out despite those really cursed years. It’s funny how breaking a curse can change things. Happy things happen now, and we’re happy, not so happy things happen now… and we somehow manage to still find happiness, in each other. Nothing is perfect, and we’re just as not-perfect as everyone else, but we’ve found joy in our not-perfect-ness though. 🙂

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So now what? I’ve taken an entire day off. I’ve rested physically by sitting and reading and NOT working. I’ve rested spiritually by spending quiet time in the pool of Living Water that just happens to fill my Bible and my bookshelves in the multitude of Christian books I’ve collected and I’ve rested emotionally by spending time with my husband and my kids, the way they make me laugh always fills me up. But now I’m back to Monday and facing what feels like a tidal wave of work to do. How do I deal with this? Lord, How do I keep from losing my newly found peaceful sanity on the first day?

Well, two short chapters before the Ten Commandments were passed down, Moses was dealing with this same problem. He had an entire nation of people all looking to him to solve their quarrels. To be their judge and to be their intercessor to God. Moses’ father-in-law noticed the problem immediately and said to Moses “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning til evening?” (Exodus 18:14)

Why is it that as moms we alone stand as the “do-er” in our homes? Is your home like mine was? I was breaking my back and my spirit trying to do everything all by myself, and I still catch myself doing it to this day! My kids had no chores, my husband went to work, but came home and did zero around the house. I did nearly EVERYTHING for my family while they “stood around” and did NOTHING! TV was their best friend. It took several years of frustration and tears and trying to do it all myself and not succeeding to finally help me realize I am not able to do this all myself! Even more, I was never created to do it all by myself! God has NEVER expected that from me or anyone else for that matter! So who am I to expect it from myself? I mean really? Please!

Exodus 18:17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law had it right! Delegation is the way to go! Doing it all yourself wears out everyone, not just you! Cause if Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy! And I have been that Mama! Just this weekend in fact! I was sitting in the umpteenth restaurant for the weekend, attempting to have a conversation with my brother (whom I never get to see) over my son’s head. Which wasn’t too big of a deal until he started holding his balloon above his head trying to balance it there. So  now I had to not only yell over the din of the restaurant noise but I also had to keep moving back and forth to make eye contact with the person I was yelling down the table to. I was tired from ballet recital week, trying to run a household and a ministry all at the same time and the stress of trying to do it all myself caught up to me and I snapped right in front of God and everyone. Thankfully I didn’t yell at my son like I wanted to. God is gracious and kept me from hurting him in that way. But I did angrily snatch the balloon from his hands and put it behind me. My family was shocked! They’ve never seen me react to any child that way. Probably because it’s so rare of a reaction that it shocked me just as much as it did them! Immediately I was desperate to get alone, get away, get sane. But I couldn’t, there was nowhere to go. I was in a crowded restaurant in a busy town. How do you find peaceful solitude in a place like that?

In that morning’s devotional it talked about how Jesus would spend His day surrounded by the masses but in the evenings and early mornings He would retreat alone to the hills whenever possible to pray and be with the Father. I suddenly understood why! Because He was EXHAUSTED! It’s one thing to be physically exhausted, but if you’re spiritually exhausted… there’s no pushing through it! There’s no moving on until you’ve rested in the LORD in prayer. I didn’t know this until this weekend. And I didn’t really understand it until right now. Yes, I was physically exhausted, but I snapped because I was spiritually exhausted. I was done dealing with the masses and the chaos and all their pain. I couldn’t respond to their needs because mine had become so overwhelming. My own pile of needs got so high that I couldn’t see over it to be able to see what anyone else needed. Or maybe it was that I had taken on so many other people’s burdens and responsibilities for them. I had gone so long without passing those burdens on to God and asking Him if I even should continue carrying them, that my arms were so full I just couldn’t carry anything else… including a conversation with my brother. My mom’s concerned “Are you OK?” got answered with an exhausted “I’m tired” sigh, but I didn’t realize why I was so tired.

I took the first opportunity I could to retreat to the restroom where I found solace in a stall only big enough for ONE! ME! Alone. There were other people in the room but none of them could see me and that, at least in some small measure, helped. I took as long as I could – without drawing even more worried suspicion from my already concerned family – to pray and just BE with God for that briefest of moments. I came out able to finish the rest of the evening we’d planned with as much composure as I could muster. But it wasn’t much I have to admit.

I am resolving to do my best to get  back onto the schedule that God keeps giving me every time I’m frustrated – pray and write and sing daily, no matter what! It’s just what keeps me healthy, wealthy and wise. Staying grounded, rooted in His Word, it’s the only thing that works for me. That and remembering to delegate! My children are four, nine and thirty-five they’re fully capable of pulling their own weight and putting away the dishes and cleaning their own rooms! Hmmmmm….. I just got a new rule from the LORD for my family and I like it!!! The TV is not allowed to come on unless ALL the chores (including Daddy’s) are finished! We ALL work together so that we can all rest together too! We’re a team at the Knochel house, and there’s no “I” in team now is there??? Looks like “I” won’t be doing all the work by myself anymore! :)

God bless you in your own efforts to find ways to manage your home without doing it all yourself!

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Day 27: Forgiveness

A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger; and it is his glory to overlook a transgression. Proverbs 19:11

A man’s wisdom gives him patience.  This verse isn’t talking about “book smarts”, well at least not in the sense that most of us would think of it anyway.  Wisdom is gained by learning more about God’s word.  The more wisdom you have, the more patience you have, giving you the ability to overlook offenses more easily, which brings you glory, that you in turn give to God.  Honestly, I’m finding with increased frequency that the more time I spend with God, the less likely I am to be concerned about trivial things like, well, how the toilet paper hangs for instance.

In Matthew 6:9-15 Jesus teaches us how to pray in the Lord’s Prayer.  In Verse 12 it says “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Jesus is letting us know that we are forgiven in the way that we forgive.  Honestly, that’s a really hard truth for me to share with you.  It was difficult for me to swallow at first, but you know what I’ve learned?  Forgiveness is extremely powerful.

“Forgive”, according to, means: 1) to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.  2)  to grant pardon to (a person).  3) to cancel an indebtedness or liability of: to forgive the interest owed on a loan.  4)  to pardon an offense or an offender.  You see, forgiveness is a choice, an action, a verb, not an emotion.  Forgiveness means you decide to “let it go”.  Will the offense still hurt?  Possibly, however, it will hold no power over you anymore.  Forgiveness is like a ball of fire.  When someone does something to you, you have a choice.  You can forgive them, or you can hold onto that flaming ball of anger.  Many times when someone hurts you, they don’t even realize that they’ve even done or said anything wrong.  Either way, whether they are aware of the offense or not, from that moment on the ball of fire grows.  The ball is in your court, so to speak, it has been passed to you and now you stand holding it.  It’s time to decide what to do with it.  Say “I forgive you” to your offender and give the ball to God, or keep holding the flaming ball of fire.  If you choose to keep holding back that forgiveness, who is it going to burn?  The person you’re upset with, or you?  Who’s holding on to it again?

Two weeks after our wedding I was cleaning in our bedroom closet and found a box filled with blank cards; cards that Christian had bought for me and had never given me.  In among all these cards was a letter from a woman I had never met.  As I opened it my heart started to flutter and I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks.  In this letter she told him how glad she was that he was her “first time”.  I got to this point and absolutely dissolved into a huddled mass of tears on the floor of our bedroom as my knees gave out and I fell like a ton of bricks.  We had been each other’s first lovers, or so I had thought.  Now I wasn’t so sure, this woman was saying that she had intercourse with MY man, the one that I had been with for 6 ½ years at that point.  I called him at work and asked him to come home for lunch; I needed to talk to him.  When I asked him about the letter he claimed that “she was just weird” and it had been her first kiss that she was talking about.  Now, I’m a very innocent and trusting person, but I’m not stupid.  I knew that he was lying to me to make me feel better, but I wanted the pain to go away, so I allowed myself to “believe” him.  However I did NOT forgive him and I managed to push the situation to that back closet of my mind.  Every few years since then she would come up again in my mind, usually at VERY inopportune moments, like during sex.  I would wonder if he thought she was a better lover than me, or if he thought she was prettier than me.  Every time I would remind myself: “He picked you in the end Tamar”.  But it didn’t really help that much.  Eventually after weeks of mental torment I would approach him about her again, seeking the truth that I knew in my heart, but never receiving from him.  He stuck to his story like glue, it was just a kiss.  Honestly, I can’t tell you which hurt more, the fact that he slept with her or the fact that he lied about it for 13 years.  And for the 9 years that I knew about it, asked about it, and was straight-faced lied to about it, I withheld that forgiveness.  You know who it burned?  Me.

Christian’s comments:

Yup, I’m a dirtbag. No, it’s OK, you can call me one if you want. Go ahead.

Have you ever been in a situation where no matter what you do to try to make the situation better, it just keeps getting worse? You know, you do what you think you should do to spare someone else’s feelings. My grandpa has a saying: “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”
I started digging a hole the first day and didn’t stop for thirteen years. By the time I confessed, that hole was extremely deep. I needed a head lamp and timbers to shore up the sides of the hole.

Husbands (and this goes for you wives too), if you are hiding something from your wife, you are not helping them. You may think you are sparing their feelings by holding back and lying to them, but you are doing more harm than good, because they are going to be hurt more when they find out later than if you just come out and tell them. Stop digging, climb out of your hole and confess.

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Day 25: Intoxicating

I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam.  I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk.  Eat, friends; Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers. Song of Solomon 5:1

Nine days left, you’re almost there!  So many things have happened in the last 20 days haven’t they?  God works that way; I love how He manages to make everything fit together so that we learn the things that He wants us to learn in the time that He wants us to learn them.  I’m dedicating this chapter to telling you about Intoxicating love.

Although the physical act of sex was what I always thought I truly wanted, it turns out that the physical intimacy of sex was not what I was searching for; in the end it was never enough.  What I had been searching for was spiritual and emotional intimacy with my husband.  While sex is important and healthy and necessary, it’s only a portion of the picture of marriage.  When we have sex our bodies’ physical need is fulfilled, and with sex our souls and emotions are completely tied into the act of intercourse as well.  But, it’s possible to have physically satisfying intercourse; all while leaving our souls wanting more.  If you’re only having intercourse it can be physically satisfying for you, and your emotions will go along with it, for a time; but after a while you just feel emptier inside, instead of fulfilled.  There’s a look in Christian’s eye that I cherish.  It’s a look of complete adoration and love for me; a look that in an instant tells me how lucky he feels that I’m his wife.  In that instant, I’m emotionally, physically and spiritually connected with him.

So often in our lives we settle for “good” when we could have the “BEST”.  We settle for the “good” sex of the moment, pre-marital sex, self-pleasuring and adultery, instead of continuing to strive for the BEST sex of monogamy; where we can fully and completely give ourselves to one another without the fear of loss or rejection.  I know that’s what Christian and I did.  Instead of waiting for the “ocean” of married sex, we settled for the “pond” of premarital sex.  It wasn’t until we went through this fast, invited God into the marriage and our bedroom, that we experienced intoxicating sex and true intimacy for the first time.  And MY OH MY!  We will NEVER go back!!!  Now prepare yourselves, this next part is a little “R-rated”.  But it’s OK, because God is in it too.

One night while “getting intoxicated” with my Beloved, in that moment of near climax I was marveling at how perfectly his body was… ummm… shall we say… fitting, with mine when I loudly thanked God for creating him for me to enjoy in this way.  God proudly whispered in my ear, “Isn’t he just perfect”.  It was more than I could bear, because he is!  God created my husband just for me.  He created him to balance me perfectly in every possible way.  He created him to chemically and electrically balance me, perfectly.  He created him in a way where our personalities balance each other, perfectly.  Christian is my other half.  And although I’ve had my moments of doubt and frustration with him, the fact still remains.  God made him for me and me for him.  My beloved is mine and I am his.  (Song of Solomon 2:16a)

How can I doubt God’s judgment in putting us together?  He is God after all.  Your husband is the opposite of you in many ways and that can get annoying occasionally but, cherish it because it’s those differences that create the perfect balance between the two of you.  He’s your other half, together you create a whole.

Christian’s comments:

Wow! Is it getting hot in here? Whew!  That pond looked good when we jumped in it. It felt pretty good to swim in too. For a while that is. But there was always something that didn’t seem right. I think about the first time that Tamar and I had sex. It really wasn’t that good. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. Let me tell ya though, the first time we made love after our fast it was AMAZING! I would like to imagine that it would have felt like that on our wedding night if we had waited.  I encourage you to hold on and fast for a little while longer. Trust me, it will be worth it.

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Day 22: Pot and Kettle

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” and behold, the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

To translate this passage into modern lingo, Jesus was basically saying “it’s like the pot calling the kettle black”.  I believe that it is simply human nature to be able to see the flaws in other people before we see the flaws in ourselves, especially if it’s the exact same flaw.  It’s so much easier to see the speck in someone else’s eye isn’t it?  But for shame if they point out the log in ours!  In marriage we have to be especially careful of this, I mean you are living with the person after all.  You get to see ALL their flaws that way!  In his letter to the Philippians, Paul says to Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have the attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:3-5  In this verse Paul is telling us we are to do nothing out of selfish ambition and to put the interests of others before our own.  It’s too easy to get so focused on what we’re doing that we forget all about our husband’s needs and interests.  And that is what was happening in my marriage.  I was so focused on me and how mad I was at Christian that it was all I could see.  I was so focused on the speck in his eye and trying to “help” him take it out that I never noticed the log in my own eye!  Then one night God held up a mirror for me to see myself.  “Hey look!  There’s a log in my eye!  When did that get there?”

I have an activity that I’d like for you to do.  This was a complete turning point for me and I’m praying that it will do the same thing for you as well.  You’ll need a couple of pieces of lined paper and a pen.

Dream husband (from Dannah Gresh’s book And the Bride Wore White: 7 Secrets to Sexual Purity): Now, this one is really fun.  Make a list of everything your dream husband would be.  What would he look like?  How would he dress?  What personality traits would he have?  Is he funny?  Is he witty?  What would his goals be?  Does he want to run a marathon?  Or maybe write a book?  Be detailed in your descriptions.  Don’t just say, he’s funny, say why he’s funny.

Now look at your list, how many of those qualities does your husband already possess?  If you’re like me, he has the majority of them.  By the time I got down to the end of my list I realized I already HAD my perfect husband.  No he wasn’t actively doing all the things on my list but he had, at least in the past, done all of them!  And, no, he wasn’t perfect, but he was the perfect husband for me, and I found that I still loved him.  And after this activity, I decided to start liking him again too.

That’s also when I realized that it’s not my job to change my husband.  That’s a job only God can do.  However, God could (and did) use me to change my husband.  He used me, by changing me.  In Luke 6:27-31 it says:

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.  Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.  Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.”

You see, it’s in those moments when we’re being un-loveable, that we need our husband’s love the most.  Don’t return harsh words with harsh words, return them with love.  No, it’s not easy, but it’s worth it because when you act out in love instead of anger, or hurt, the negative cycle is broken and a new cycle of love is started.

God loved US first.  God’s love is perfect, never-ending, never goes away and never dies.  If we don’t know that kind of love how can we give that kind of love to our husbands?  When we mess us, and I mean really mess up big, God never, not for a second, stops loving us.  Never.  So when our husbands mess up, we can’t stop loving them, not for a second.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails; (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

To love your husband means you are patient when he is late.  You are kind when all you want to do is be mean (which, for me at least, is extremely hard to do).  You don’t envy or boast.  Don’t be conceited or act rudely.  Don’t be a selfish pig (another of my faults), life is not all about you.  Don’t be provoked into a fight, don’t keep a record (written or in your head) of all the things he’s done wrong.  To love your husband means to take no joy in ungodly things, but rejoice in the truth!  If your husband has done something against you (adultery for instance, as in my case) and he tells you about it, REJOICE IN THE TRUTH!  Bear all things, he’s human, not God, bear with him.  Believe in your husband, hope in him, endure him, but most of all NEVER GIVE UP ON HIM.

No matter how you’re feeling about your husband right now, deep down you still love him don’t you.  In fact, usually, if you’re mad at him it’s because you still love him.  If you didn’t have love for him anymore you wouldn’t care anymore and would have no reason to be mad.  One night we had a fire in the backyard with the kids.  When it was time for us to go inside for the night there were no flames left in the fire, only a few embers.  We wanted to make sure that it was completely out before we went in, so I got a gallon and a half of water and poured it on the embers.  While the flames were long gone from the fire, there was still enough heat in those few little embers that it boiled the water, created steam and a lot of cool popping noises.  Plus, it took the whole gallon and a half to put them out!  Don’t give up, while there may not be any flames right now, there are most likely at least a few embers and so, there’s still hope!

You see change has got to start somewhere; the cycle’s got to break.  If you want your marriage and sex life to change, then YOU’VE got to be the one to change, not him.  You’ll be amazed at the difference a little attitude adjustment will do for your sex life!  One last Proverb and then I’ll go for the day.  “The crucible is for silver and the furnace for gold, and each is tested by the praise accorded him.” (27:21)  The true test of how good of a wife we are comes from the praise we receive from our husbands.  Is your husband praising you?  I know mine wasn’t praising me, because I wasn’t earning it.

Christian’s comments:

OK, husbands, I want you to stand up. Go ahead. Now, clear your throat and say “I am a selfish pig”. Did you do it? I just did.  OK, go ahead and sit down before people start to stare at you.

I believe it is human nature to put ourselves first. The reason I was coming home late wasn’t (entirely) because I didn’t want to be around my wife, I was out late doing what I wanted to do. After I realized what I was doing and how it was affecting my marriage, I changed. I try to put my wife first (especially in the bedroom, if you know what I mean). If you start putting her first, she will start putting you first and your marriage (and sex) will be amazing!

In Tamar’s second to last paragraph above, she stated that change needed to start with the wives. This isn’t just up to them, though, guys. YOU have to be willing to change too. YOU can be the one to start the change. You can’t expect your marriage to get better if you keep doing the same stupid things after your wife has changed.

I’d like to put a little twist on Tamar’s activity: the shopping list. I would like you to make a shopping list for your perfect wife. I’m not going to suggest any questions, but I would like you to come up with at least five, but no more than ten. Go ahead and take a minute right now to make your list.

Done? Good. This may shock you, but I’m not interested in your answers. I’m interested in your questions. More precisely, what you were thinking about while you were writing them. I’m willing to bet, that when you were writing most, if not all, of your questions, you were thinking about your wife, i.e., if you asked about what color her hair would be, you thought about your wife’s hair. That’s what happened when I made my list. Interesting, isn’t it?

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