Paul Gave Thanks


Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

I laughed with them. But inwardly, I thought glaucoma.

“Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not like other people- greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me – a sinner!’ I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14

Funny thing about my eyes. Seems they’re pretty good about looking outward and finding fault in the world. And yet, they can be totally useless when looking inward… back at me.

That’s where I find myself today. Looking inward. And it was the Apostle Paul’s words that pointed me in that direction. See, we’re on the eve of Thanksgiving and the world at large is feeling grateful.

We give thanks for our full bellies and good health. For the roofs over our heads and the clothes upon our backs. For God’s mercy and goodness and grace. And Paul gave thanks, too. However, his prayer sounded a little different than one I’d utter at Thanksgiving…

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry- one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. 1 Timothy 1:12-13

The Blasphemer

Paul called himself a blasphemer and the word stumped me in recent days. Because really, what is blasphemy? I just didn’t know so I dug it up. I just had to in light of Paul’s words to Timothy.

Timothy was exhorted to follow Paul’s instructions, to engage strongly in battle, having faith and a good conscience. He then gave an example of two people who rejected these and suffered the shipwreck of their faith. Furthermore, Paul said he delivered them to Satan so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.

And that scared me. Horrified me, actually. Because what does that have to do with me? What in the world?

The Persecutor

To blaspheme is to spurn or contemn (not condemn), to despise and to abhor. Blasphemy is slander, detraction, or speech injurious to another’s good name. To blaspheme is to be impious and reproachful, evil speaking and railing.

Basically, a blasphemer is scurrilous. Calumnious against men. Most especially, impious against God. And let me assure you, I had to look up at least four of these words.

But within these words I discover why Paul gave up some up to Satan. And why they needed to be taught not to do and be all these things. Because blasphemy is so utterly harmful.

And Paul would know. Because that’s what he formerly was. A blasphemer. And it’s what caused him to persecute Jesus and His followers…

 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, either men or women, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me” Acts 9:1-4

The Arrogant Man

Paul used to be an arrogant man. If a man thought he had grounds for confidence, Paul had more: circumcised the eight day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, persecuting the church; as to the righteousness that is in the law, blameless (Philippians 3).

According to the religious sector, Paul had and was everything. The best of the best. The most religious of the religious. So much so, he murdered and imprisoned those who didn’t do or act as he did.

Like Stephen…

The first Christian martyr.

Oddly, Stephen was falsely accused of very thing that Paul really did. Blasphemy. Seems some hyper-religious dudes incited the crowds to speak out against Stephen, claiming he spoke blasphemous words against Moses and God.

This didn’t sit well with the Pharisees, of course. Nonetheless, when Stephen had an opportunity to speak, he spoke truth which enraged the leaders. They were filled with hate and fury and screamed and rushed at him, throwing him out of the city.

Then they stoned him.

The witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And this man, Saul, was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man.

But later, he became Paul. On the road to Damascus.

And after he became Paul, he was thankful. Because Jesus strengthened him. It was Jesus who considered him faithful, and who appointed Paul to the ministry.

The miracle, though?

It happened when Paul was the vilest of men. So deeply entrenched in sin. Blaspheming and persecuting and boasting and proud. And murdering. Let’s not forget that one.

But he was Jesus’ choice. A murderer appointed to ministry.


the blasphemer, the persecutor, and the arrogant woman

One who becomes stiff-necked, after many reprimands will be broken suddenly-and without a remedy. Proverbs 29:1

A dear friend of mine wondered out loud recently… she said she felt that God has just given up on her and let her go her way. That he was done with her. And deep down, I’ve had the same ponderings.

Because I read the above proverb last month. And it was mid-October when I learned that Paul gave some over to Satan to teach them a lesson. And honestly, I was terrified.

I wondered if this was happening to me…

Because God told me to stop something. Over and over and over and over. But I keep doing the thing He tells me not to. And the thing is, it has to do with Paul’s issues. When he was still Saul.

Paul’s a picture of me for I am a blasphemer. Because I judge and criticize his chosen people. His leaders. Oh, I’d say it began in earnest five years ago when I gained a little knowledge. And honestly, at times, I think I know more than they do. So I become arrogant.

And here I sit looking at others and criticizing, thinking I know best. And because someone sits in the place I feel I should be, bitterness and resentment fill up my heart. All traces of love dissipate in the fogginess of hate…

And because hate is present, that makes me no better than a murderer. It’s just as Jesus says in Matthew 5: murder begins in the heart. So I’m just like Paul when he was Saul. Breathing out fiery threats as I point out a speck I see in another’s eye. And all the while, there’s a huge plank in my own.

It’s blinded me. I’ve not been able to see clearly.

This log of my own…

So the truth is revealed. And I realize it’s not glaucoma, after all.

And so, I regain my eyesight as I dislodge the plank from my eye. And it’s only then I’m able to hear His words clearly. He says, “Pam, Pam, why are you persecuting me?”

Because that’s what I’ve been doing. In persecuting them, I persecute Him. No different than Paul when he was Saul.

The Wretch

I love the story of the adulteress in the Bible. There was a riot and a whole bunch of ultra-religious folk surrounded a poor woman caught in adultery. They wanted to stone her.

But that wasn’t Jesus’ way. Basically, He ignored their railings and rants. Their injurious speech. And when they persisted in questioning Him, He answered simply, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”

And so beginning with the oldest to the youngest, they left. The older ones being wise enough to recognize their own sin first. One by one they left till not one accuser remained.

And Jesus, He didn’t condemn the woman. Just said go and sin no more.

And this gives me hope today on the eve of this Thanksgiving season. Because He says the same to me. No condemnation… He just says go and sin no more.

So by an adulteress woman’s story, I understand Jesus never gives up on anyone. Not me or my friend. We don’t have to think this way again. Wondering if He’ll eventually tire of us… our antics.

God will never give up on me. What a gift. No matter how many times I screw up – or how royally – He won’t ever give me up utterly. No one can pluck me from my hand.

And the reality is, if He can convert a man like Saul, who later became Paul, surely He can do the same for me. Because we’re really the same, Paul and I.

It’s just his sins were easier to see. Outward. And mine are inward. Some things that only I can see.

So this Thanksgiving, I find I am thankful indeed. And miraculously, I can pray just like the apostle Paul. A man just like me.

I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry- one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant woman.

For this, I am thankful.

And for this, I rejoice.

And oddly enough, the awakening of who I really am, a wretch in need of conversion, coincides with my eye clearing up. Mom gave me some drops and they seem to be working. Looks like the red is receding.

So it turns out she was right, after all. Mom wondered if I’d gotten something in my eye and I did.

It was a speck.

Either that or a log.

Shooting Star


Mom brought by a few books yesterday for Annabelle. And my mind must have been a million light years away as Mom sat at my kitchen table, Annabelle upon her lap. Because I didn’t hear any of the story. Not one word penetrated my ear.

No, I was somewhere in outer space. Day dreaming as I chased the thoughts and dreams around the corners of my heart while simultaneously swiping away crumbs from the corners of my kitchen counter.

Uninterested in a child’s story, I simply didn’t listen. I was lost in thought. And space. Thus, completely losing my way…

Traveling in the wrong direction.

Shining morning star, how you have fallen from the heavens! Isaiah 14:12

Interestingly, we talked about the listening ear just a few days ago at church. Or the non-listening one. And a question was posed… When was the last time you heard from God? And not in a vague “I picked up the Bible, read a verse, and went on my merry way” kind of way.

Rather, when was the last time you heard something from God that was earth shattering. Life altering. And direction changing.

Our Bible teacher quoted Jesus who said, “He who has an ear, let him hear,” and the verse stuck out. Because though I have an ear, it doesn’t always hear. Or simply, I choose not to listen. Like when Mom read to Annabelle.

No, all too often I sweep away unwanted words along with the crumbs from my countertop. And alarmingly, I dismiss what God has to say in favor of my own ramblings. I chase the words that flutter about in my head, which leaves me scattered as I follow unmet dreams…

seeking out star dust.

But you know, I heard Him this morning. My Father’s voice fell on a listening ear for His words resonated deep within my soul. And of all things, He used a child’s book to speak to me.

It was the very story Mom read to Annabelle. The one I chose not to hear yesterday spoke volumes today as the words fell from my lips. My voice tickling my little girl’s ear as she perched atop my lap.


I thought it was odd that Psalm 51:17 was at the very front of a child’s board book. “The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.” Because it seemed beyond a child’s rationale.

Afterward, though, the verse made complete sense. At least it did to the forty-two year old little girl that I am. Because my Father’s voice went deep today, penetrating my heart as I sat perched atop His lap.

“The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand and who walks among the seven gold lampstands says: I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not and you have found them to be liars. You also possess endurance and have tolerated many things because of My name, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you: you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then how far you have fallen; repent and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place-unless you repent. Anyone who has an ear should listen…” Revelation 2:1-5, 7

It all has to do with the stars in my eyes. See, star gazing has turned into star seeking. Or me seeking. And a child’s story painted the picture…

See, Baby was in a boat that sailed through the night. And amidst the blanket of darkness, bright spots of light dotted the sky. The stars floated by as baby fished for her dream. And her bait?

It was a silver star.

And this is how she caught her dream. A star. And baby is encouraged to go her way and chase her dream. However, she’s prompted to remember. A voice calls out, “Only don’t forget to sail, Back again to me.”

And that’s when I heard my Father. And when Psalm 51:17 made sense. Because it’s a story of turning back. A story of repentance. It’s my story for today.

And as Annabelle sat on my lap, it was as if I were on His own. And words meant for my baby girl resounded in my ear instead. Because my Father cautioned me to remember. To turn back.

He called out, “Return to me.”

Humble yourselves before the LORD, and He will exalt you. James 4:10

My Father says to repent. And it’s a hard word to choke down. One I’m tempted to sweep under the rug or into the dustbin along with the lint from my floor. Because repenting is not easily accomplished.

Know why? Because it’s a change of mind. It’s turning from your old pattern of thinking to a new way. To the mind of Christ. And this is incredibly hard to do. Because Christ and the world are at odds with each other. God’s kingdom doesn’t mesh with earth’s. But the thing is they both have a way that lead upward.

The world says work harder. Put yourself first. And eventually, it’ll all pay off. However, once you work your way to the top, only status will support you. Or money. Or power. Or beauty. Or talent. Or whatever it is that got you there in the first place. And before you know it, you fall right off your pedestal.

But God says there’s another way. He says the way up is down. To clothe yourself in humility, and He’ll lift you up. And when He’s your support, you won’t easily fall.

shooting star: a visual meteor appearing as a temporary streak of light in the night sky

I have to be honest. A part of me still hungers what the world has to offer. I gaze upon those silvery lights that sparkle amidst a backdrop of darkness and I chase them. Dream seeking morphed to self-seeking as I long to be like one of those shining stars.

And oh, I’ve hungered for the world’s approval. More so in the past four months than in my entire life. But you know, I realize that’s made me nothing more than a shooting star. Just a temporary flash of light before I burned out. And fell to the ground with a thud.

An so God’s words ring clear today. I hear His warning…

“Lose your pride, daughter! It’ll be the death of you. You cannot keep looking to the world for validation. And affirmation. And value. Likes and follows will not support your frail sense of security. They will not hold you up as high as you long to be. And eventually, they’ll run out.”

I find that to be so true.  That which I’ve hungered for has dried up. And so it’s with a smile that I think of God’s chosen people, the Israelites. Their story depicts my own…

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. Exodus 16:2

See, God was devoted to the Israelites. He chose them and loved them. Not because they were more numerous, though. Rather, it was because they were the fewest. He brought them out of the land of Egypt with a strong arm and led them through the wilderness.

That’s where they were thirsty. Hungry. And that’s where they complained.

After their trek, Moses reminded the people how God led them forty years so that He might humble them and to test them to know what was in their heart.

God humbled His people by letting them go hungry…

And I see that like me, God’s chosen people hungered. And I, like them, complained.

Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation among whom you shine like stars in the world. Philippians 2:14


God spoke to me this morning. Here in this chair. I climbed up on His lap and He caused me to remember. Through a child’s book, of all things.

He reminded me of how He brought me through the wilderness and caused me to enter a good land full of milk and honey. But I forgot Him when I’d eaten my fill… when the world sated my voracious appetite.

When I began to seek me and my own name rather than Him and His name, likes and follows bolstered my pride. They preceded my fall. And when the world’s affirmations dwindled, I grumbled. I compared. I doubted. And my light burned out…

But God is so good. My Father tenderly reminded me of how He chose me and devoted Himself to me. Not because I was more than, though. Rather, because I was less than. He loved me. And loves me still.

So, I fondly reminisce on how good it was in the beginning. Before my dream led me from Him. When my heart and motives were pure. When I sought nothing more than God. My first love.

It becomes clear. How far I’ve fallen. And I comprehend that just as there are two ways leading up, there are also two ways leading down. One way is like that of a shooting star. Nothing more than a streak of light.

But the other is when you lower yourself. When you choose to step down off your pedestal on your own. It’s called humility. And ultimately, it’s the only real way up.

And so, I find that God has indeed spoken. She who has an ear, let her hear. For the earth has shaken and my life has altered. Today I change my direction. And I do what my Father tells me to do.

I repent.

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. Micah 7:8

The Soup Nazi


I cooked up a blog last week. Or began to. I thought I’d title it The God Thing because when I started writing, I thought I was doing the God thing. Turns out I was wrong.

See, last Wednesday was hectic from the get-go. I’d been out of state over the weekend, a long road trip on Monday, and a late night on Tuesday. So come Wednesday morn, I was tired. And behind. The icing on the cake came with a phone call from the school announcing a two hour delay. Problem was my child had already boarded the bus and I was unable to find out what would happen to him… would he be returned or go on to school?

So, without knowing the fate of my child, I put my other child down for a nap. That’s when I finally invested in some quality me time. I sat down on the potty and relished the silence. Alas, much too soon, I heard the deep roar of a bus engine and the whoosh of air brakes. Then a horn.

Honk, honk!

Seems Levi was home.

Thus, my moment on the toilet was abruptly called to a halt. I ran up the driveway sans shoes while frantically waving my hands. I’m here, I’m here, they indicated. Needless to say, I felt utterly rushed and not at all peaceful by the time 7:30 rolled around. And yet, my morning had just begun. I had so much to do…

The God thing


The God thing for me on Wednesday was to make soup. It was the last session of a women’s Bible study and we were to luncheon afterward. And though I knew I should get started immediately, I decided to meet with God instead. My daughter napped, my son watched a cartoon, and I went behind closed doors hoping to hear a word from God.

And so it must have been 8:15 when I started the soup. But I’d forgotten how long it took to peel potatoes. And wash and chop celery. And onions. And before I knew it, it was time to take Levi up the hill to the bus for his second boarding. And I had to scoop Annabelle out of the crib before I was ready to do so.

Before I knew it, it was 9:17. And the potatoes had just started to boil. And I was plying my daughter with Lil’ Crunchies to buy more time. See, I had to get the soup done by 9:45. And yet, there I stood in loungewear. And Annabelle was clad in a diaper only. And she was eating junk food for breakfast. Just so I could make soup to take somewhere else.


That’s when I had a defining moment. I thought no. No. I will not rush myself silly. I will not live in chaos. So I made a phone call. I apologized profusely but canceled last minute. I would not bring soup as I said I would. And for the briefest of moments, I felt good about my decision. Wise, even.


For I put my family first. And I met Annabelle’s needs. Because when the soup was ready, I spooned out a bowl for her and she loved it. “Ummm,” she said. Later, she ran around without clothes and was as free as a bird. Happy, even.

And so was I.


But all too soon, darkness entered my bones.

The Defining Moment

One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound judgment. Proverbs 18:1

Truth is, I felt wise for only an hour or two. But then, regret darkened my soul. And guilt. But I couldn’t pinpoint why I felt the way I did. Because when I said no to the Bible study, I was sure I’d made the right choice. That I was doing the God thing by staying home with Annabelle.

But by the time nightfall settled, I had the nagging sense there was more to my decision. Deep down, something was lurking. The next morning, I discovered what it was.

On Thursday, Psalm 139:24-25 stood out on to me. Likely because I’d recently prayed it. Search me, oh God! Know my heart! See if there’s any offensive way in me. I voiced the words aloud as I wanted to know if there was something separating me from God. Because I’d been feeling a barrier. Like something was blocking me. Turns out there really was…

It was me.

Proverbs 18:19 enlightened me to a problem. It reads, “An offended brother is harder to reach than a fortified city. And quarrels are like bars of a fortress.” So my realization was this… An offense kept me from attending Wednesday’s study. A hectic morning was simply an easy out. An excuse so I wouldn’t have to deal with the real issue. My heart issue. For I was offended.

It happened at the previous Bible study. After sharing a bit of my testimony, one woman gave me wise counsel and I felt a blaze erupt inside. Instead of welcoming her advice, I resented it. And because I allowed the remark to become offensive, I became defensive. I tried to justify my feelings as a barrier went up. Then I shut down. And shut out.

One week later, this is what I held to. An offense simmered and stewed on a low boil. And ultimately, it led me to withhold what I could. I withheld me along with my soup. A wall erected between me and the women I love. Isolated and harder to reach than a fortified city. An internal quarrel were the bars of my fortress.

Reality? Saying no to chaos last Wednesday was not the defining moment. That was a lie. Because the truth came on Thursday when I realized how tightly I held to my offenses. And how it caused me to lose my grip on what matters most… relationship with people. And relationship with God.

No Soup for You!


I used to watch Seinfeld every night. Oh, I bet I’ve seen every episode at least four times. One of my favorites involved the soup Nazi. This man served up the most delicious of soups however, he was not very nice. Rigid. And in order to get a serving, customers had to walk just right and talk just so. And if they deviated from his rules just the slightest, he’d withhold. “No soup for you!”

So this becomes my ultimate defining moment. For this is a picture of me. I am no different than the soup Nazi. You better walk my walk and talk my talk. Or else! No soup for you! If you look at me funny or say something that doesn’t sit quite right, I’m liable to take offense. Skin way too thin. This is what God wants me to know about myself. He wants me to see I allow myself to be offended. Way too easily.

And this is what fills my heart.

Offenses. Little ones. Big ones. From last week, and the week before, and the week before that. All the way back. Burned on, encrusted offenses. I swear, I’ve been mad for years. But see, eventually what’s simmering underneath shows. It comes to the surface.

What’s your Stew?

Oh, my potato soup was pretty darn good that first day. It even tasted good on Thursday. But by Friday, after the third reheating, it turned dark. Jason stirred it around and asked about the color. “Why’s it so dark?” Problem was some of the burned soup made it’s way to the top as I stirred. It darkened the light. Just like with me.

My heart has been darkened by offenses. I’ve held things underneath where no one can see them but they cause rifts. Separation. And eventually, something stirs up the burnt pieces. And as blobs of darkness mix with the light, every part of me becomes darkened. Dimmed. Light snuffed out.

Funny thing is, I was recently asked a pertinent question. “What’s your stew?” It was nearly two months ago when I heard it but I’d forgotten all about it. Beth Moore asked through the video, “What are you stewing in?” What are you holding tighter than God?” And yesterday, God prompted my memory. He caused me to look at my notes.

And there I found it. The question reiterated…

“What’s your stew?”

Mine? It’s potato soup. I cooked it up a couple of weeks back and I decided to hold it. I held it back along with a string of offenses and internal quarrels. And today I know it’s keeping me from life. Bars of a fortress built upon thin skin. Separating me from every good thing. From fellowship and connection. With women. But more importantly, from God.

Holding offenses keeps me from God.

This has been my stew.


Today, I trade in my stew for something better. By letting go of my offenses, I tear down the walls of my fortress. I let go and place my trust in Him. In what He calls me to do. I allow myself to be vulnerable. And approachable. And teachable.

And this is the God thing I started to write about. The defining moment. But it had nothing to do with me staying home to avoid chaos. And tending to Annabelle’s needs. I wanted it to be that and if it where, it would have been okay. But instead, it was about my potato soup. And withholding it.

And withholding me…

But today I say no. No more shall I rely on the bars of a prison composed of offenses. I thought they kept me safe. Instead, they simply kept me inside. Isolated. So I break through the chains and thrust open the door. I demolish the barrier that keeps me from grabbing hold of what God wants me to. Because what He has for me is on the outside. Beyond my walls.

Thus, I venture out again…

I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Psalm 91:2

the English assignment


But I protested, “Oh no, Lord God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.” Jeremiah 1:6

Maybe it was two years ago when I stumbled across the question, “What’s undone?” And it seemed to be a charge to me. From God, no less. So I pondered and I meditated. I studied and I scoured my journals and memories. I sought to find the one thing that remained incomplete in my life.

I came to the conclusion it was me. I was the undone thing. Totally unfinished.

However, today I think it’s something else entirely. And it goes back. Way back to my sophomore year in high school. For in  1989, there was an English assignment I half way completed. An oral report. But words weren’t my strongpoint. Speaking caused me immense discomfort.

If I found myself with an audience, I clammed up. And if I were forced to open my mouth, I’d stutter and stammer. There was the time in Geometry where I repeated “um, um” no less than twenty times. I felt put on the spot as I stood up front, all eyes on me. And the more the teacher quizzed, the emptier my brain became.

Oh, and there was Art class. Teams of four were to make a presentation. And though underserved, I received an “A.”  This due to an oversight, luck, or the mercy of my teacher. See, the first three spoke articulately and intelligently but I just stood there nodding along. And when a question was directed to me, I answered “Ditto.” That was all I had to offer.

And then there was that English Assignment I mentioned. Of all things, I chose abortion as my topic. At sixteen, I stood in front of my peers and argued in favor of abortion. And quite poorly, I might add. Because I didn’t really prepare for it. No, procrastination was my game plan back then so I don’t think much research was involved.

I stood up, opened my mouth, and simply regurgitated something I’d been spoon-fed. I said it wasn’t really a baby. Nothing more than a blob of tissue. And my argument? An acorn. I said just as an acorn wasn’t really a tree, same thing went for pregnancy. That’s all I can recall about that assignment.

My totally inadequate argument. 100% incomplete. And thus, it remains undone to this day.

Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the technique of deceit. Ephesians 4:14

I tell you, I never had a mind of my own. I was a sponge and soaked up the mindsets of those surrounding me. And so my young life confirms it… you are indeed who your friends are. Or at least I tried to be. Thus, I was unstable. And naïve. Tossed about by every wind of teaching. Fickle for sure.

But one day, I grew up. I think that might have been yesterday. Or sometime within the past couple of years. Because finally, I began to develop a mind of my own. And the timing of it all doesn’t escape me. See, I began to form my own opinions and passions and convictions about the same time I began seeking God with my whole heart.

That’s when God’s wind filled me rather than the wind of every teaching. It blew out all the false notions I’d adopted as my own and miraculously, I found my voice. Oh, it was lovely. To have my own mind. Moreover, to be able to speak it.

But you know, growing up and speaking your mind can be a hard thing. Because truth is not everyone’s going to like you for what you have to say. In fact, you may find rejection instead of acceptance. Backsides instead of faces. And for a girl like me, that hurts. A lot.

Alas, this is part of growing up. For the fact is the closer you walk with God, the harder things will be. Wind no longer at your back like when you went along with the flow… rather, you find the winds of change battering against you (Mark 6:48). Thus, the hardest part of walking with God, for me, has to be going against the grain. And the wind. At least with regard to the winds of every human teaching…

I am young in years while you are old; therefore I was timid and afraid to tell you what I know. Job 32:6

Part of growing up is doing the right thing. Speaking out against injustice. And for me, I think my part has to do with babies. Because last night, they were all over me in my sleep. I dreamt about sonograms and the unborn. Problems within the womb. The dreams likely due to a video I saw on Facebook just before bedtime.

A woman discovered she was pregnant with conjoined twins at twenty weeks. However, the doctor advised she should abort. He didn’t think it would be possible to separate the girls. And yet, now they are two years old. For the mother could feel her children kicking when she heard unwanted words. And thankfully, she said no to the doctor. And abortion. She said yes to her children, instead. Now, they play at her feet…

So I find myself back at abortion one more time. It’s where I was twenty years ago. Two times in the Summer of 1995, to be precise. And I think about that oral report I flubbed in 1989. So today I can’t help but wonder if I’d properly prepared back then, would I have done what I did six years later.

Perhaps if I’d fully prepared for my English assignment at sixteen, I wouldn’t have done it at twenty-two.

Just maybe I’d have made another choice.

“Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work.” Jeremiah 1:5a

God doesn’t make accidents and he doesn’t make junk. As such, He knew what He was doing when He made me. And in my book, the fact I share a birthday with Roe v. Wade is fraught with significance. Abortion made legal the very day I was born. It seems we’re conjoined, abortion and I. And it seems to be part of my life. Part of God’s plan for me…

To use my past and speak out today…

And share what I know.

But even deeper, I think God wants me to complete the English assignment. Though I didn’t complete the task in 1989, I can for sure do it now. And perhaps I was created for this very thing. The English assignment becomes my “for such a time as this” moment. For in finishing my homework twenty-six years later, I believe I’ll find some closure on this matter. The subject of abortion.

And in the writing, perhaps like the twins I watched last night, I’ll find we can be finally part ways. Abortion and I no longer conjoined.

No longer one.

I too will answer; yes, I will tell you what I know. For I am full of words, and my spirit compels me [to speak]. Job 32:17-18

In my day, the cost of abortion was around three hundred dollars. Now, it’s considerably more. According to Planned Parenthood’s site, you can have one for approximately fifteen hundred dollars if it’s during the first trimester. Of course, the second trimester (months four through six) increases the number.

And from what I understand, you can have an abortion up to 26 weeks. Per Planned Parenthood’s website, though, you may have difficulty finding someone who will do so. Of course, they will help you find a doctor who will:

It can be difficult to find a health care provider who performs abortions after the first trimester. To find one of these providers, call The National Abortion Federation at 1-877-257-0012. Please keep in mind that after about 24 weeks of pregnancy, abortions are usually performed only for serious health reasons.

Their site is oh, so helpful regarding the feelings a woman may experience afterward. Anger, regret, guilt, sadness… for a little while. And serious, long-term emotional problems are rare (according to the site) and could be attributed to several factors. Number one being you had emotional problems before the abortion.

Speaking from experience, my long-term emotional issues didn’t present till later. Much later. Not till after I married and decided to have children. And amazingly, what I once considered to be nothing more than an acorn, or a blob of tissue, or a group of cells, or an embryo, I considered to be a baby. From day one of my pregnancy. No, not an embryo. But my baby…

Funny that as a young woman I could easily discard what I considered to be a blob of tissue, and yet ten years later, I deemed him to be a baby. My son valuable to me before I even saw him.

My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; and my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began. Psalm 139:15-16

I think about my English assignment. That if I’d taken the time to investigate pregnancy and abortion at sixteen, I may have learned that though a baby begins as a ball of cells… the sex is determined as soon as the fertilized egg is implanted. And by the time a woman misses her menstrual cycle, the baby already has a bit of a head and tail developing. Even then, the heartbeat is visible. Just when she suspects she’s pregnant.

And that by the time a woman considers abortion, the ear canals are developing and the heart beats 80 times a minute. That at three weeks late, arms and legs are developing along with kidneys and a mouth. One month late (which is 8 weeks pregnant), there are lips, nose and eyelids. Little webbed fingers and toes. And the baby moves as his heart beats 150 times a minute.

At nine weeks pregnant, a woman can hear her baby’s heartbeat. Just one week later, bones and cartilage are present. Knees and ankles and flexing elbows and teeth. And her baby has digestive juices and urine. At thirteen weeks, he may suck his thumb and his vocal chords develop! Two weeks later, he practices swallowing and breathing.

At sixteen weeks, his eyes work. He frowns and squints. At seventeen weeks, he has fingerprints and noises startle him. One week later, he yawns. Perhaps tired from his nervous system developing. At twenty-one weeks, he moves and he has taste buds and sleeps.

At twenty-two weeks, the little guy can see and hear.

At twenty-four weeks, his face is fully formed.

At twenty-five weeks, there’s brainwave activity… he responds to what he hears.

And yet, the wind of teaching tells us it’s okay to abort this baby. Totally acceptable to dismember his little arms and legs and pull them out of the security of his home… the womb, which should be the safest of all places. Politically correct and acceptable to our society to cast him out.

But if we speak out against it, we’re fools. Ignorant. Intolerant.

But see, he can hear the noise of the vacuum. Perhaps it startles him. And he can see the tools coming his way. In fact, one woman who previously worked at an abortion clinic walked away from it all. It was the day after she had to assist with the procedure. And when she saw a precious baby try to move away from tortuous instruments (via ultrasound), she couldn’t condone it one more day.

And today, she uses her voice to speak out against it…

She tells what she knows.

Speak up for those who have no voice,
for the justice of all who are dispossessed.
Speak up, judge righteously,
and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy. Proverbs 30:8-9

I think most people have heard or seen the Planned Parenthood videos that surfaced in July. Three months ago. I was inflamed. The remarks of Dr. Deborah Nucatola outrageous, “I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.” And why? Because people want intact hearts and livers these days. Research.

“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part…”

Yes, as many intact livers as possible. She went on to explain lower extremities were in demand, too. But according to her, that’s simple. Easy, even. She imagines they want it for muscle.

One thing Dr. Nucatola said really stood out to me, though. “Calvarium – the head – is basically the biggest part. Most of the other stuff can come out intact. The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is calvarium.” I was struck when I heard it. For Calvarium (skull cap) sounds so much like Calvary. And at Calvary, there was a cross. The one Jesus died on. For the sins of the humanity…

And so, Dr. Nucatola was right in her statement. Calvary is the biggest thing.

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). John 19:17

And because of that, I have hope today. For though I did what I did at twenty-two, my sins have been wiped away. My tears, too. And one day, every tear will be wiped away. No more crying. No more suffering. And all this heartache will fade away in the face of Jesus. Oh, what a day that will be…

No more innocent bloodshed.

No more killing.

And finally, no more throwing away babies.

But as for today, we live in a luxurious world where babies are not valued. Easily discarded. Ultra politically correct is how the wind blows these days. And if you dare face the wind head on, you run the risk of a reputation. You’ll be deemed a Bible-thumper. Intolerant. And bigoted.

Nevertheless, that’s my task today. God bids me to go straight into the wind and speak out about what I know. And really, He just wants me to finish the English assignment from my sophomore year. For in doing so, I’ll end up completing both tasks. And I believe I just did that.

What was undone has been completed.

It is finished…

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be silent and a time to speak… Ecclesiates 3:1, 7

My good friend and I talked about procrastination yesterday. It’s been a part of me for a long time now. All the way back to my school days when I used to wait until the last minute to do homework. And in recent days, it has to do with this post. See, it was mid-July when I felt impassioned to write it. And when those Planed Parenthood videos came to light, the undone English assignment surfaced. I’d forgotten all about it till then.

But I got side-tracked. Derailed, even. And here I am three months later…

There’s good news, though. See, it’s never too late to finish up what’s undone. Not with God, it’s not. For His mercies are new every day. And His patience is infinite. I know because that’s just what He’s been with me.

Oh, so patient as I’ve struggled with the winds of change. Upholding me by His right arm so I was never utterly knocked down. Going before me, shielding me from the most violent East wind.

And I was unbalanced for a long time. Easily swayed one way or the other depending on what direction the wind blew in. But one day I found my footing.  For I grew up. And as a big girl, I was able to stand on my own feet. Perhaps that was yesterday. Or sometime in the past couple of years.


Makes no difference when it happened, really. The point is, I’m all grown up now. And I found my voice. And along with my voice, I found my stance. I chose a side called Pro-Life based on the proof of life within the womb. My womb. Not according to what the world says.

And turns out, being pregnant has nothing to do with an acorn at all. Not one thing.

Amazing, really.

lap of luxury


When I was really little, I didn’t want much. And because I was somewhat sheltered, I retained my innocence. I was satisfied with my lot in life. At least for a while.

No, I wasn’t embarrassed that my backyard was asphalt or my playground a cow pasture. Or that our apartment on the backside of a store consisted of only a small kitchen and living room, one door-less bedroom and a teeny-tiny bathroom sans bathtub.

I simply hated it, though, when Mama (that’s what I called her back then) wanted to wash my hair. Sometimes I’d hide under the bed as long as possible, the coolness of concrete against my cheek. If I wasn’t jerked out, I’d eventually succumb to my fate and army crawl out so I could step up onto a pile of books in front of the miniscule sink. But I’d struggle a little with Mama as she washed away the dirt and grime.

None of this bothered me. And the only reason I objected to my brother’s bed being at the foot of Mama’s and Daddy’s was because I had to sleep on the couch. All by myself. I’d lay there overcome by terror awaiting an attack from the boogie man.

So I’d say, at four or so, I was happy. Contented. Back then the most luxurious thing I craved was attention. And I got that from Grandma. All of us grandkids did. It seemed as if we were her sole purpose in life for she loved us so.

Indeed, Grandma’s lap was a place of luxury when I was small. A coveted spot where you could be special. If only for a moment. And the center of someone else’s world as you were lavished by love.

It’s Grandma’s lap I fondly remember this day. How for a sweet moment in time, that’s all it took to make me happy. And I wonder when things changed. When was the day I exchanged her lap of luxury in search for another one… the kind the world could afford me.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

My roots are blue-collar all the way. Working class to the core. One grandfather was a farmer and the other a housepainter. My Mammie was a housewife and mother to a huge brood of youngins. And Grandma? Before she was widowed, her husband was a farmer. And much too soon, Grandma was left with four kids to raise all by herself.

I can’t imagine the strain. And I don’t know when she began working for the hospital but that was her means of income for the longest time. Because that blue polyester uniform is attached to so many memories I have of her…


Here’s the thing, though. I don’t remember Grandma complaining about her lot. Or pining away for a better life. She was always sensible and when one of us got upset, she’d soothe and comfort and settle things down. She had no need of silver spoons and golden coins for it didn’t take much to make her happy…

Bingo once a week and a basket full of yarn for crocheting. The Young and the Restless on the tube and a shopping trip to the thrift stores. Grandma was content.


And I was, too. Till one day, I decided I wanted more out of life.

The leech has two suckers
    that cry out, “More, more!”

There are three things that are never satisfied—
    no, four that never say, “Enough!”:
the grave,
    the barren womb,
    the thirsty desert,
    the blazing fire. Proverbs 30:15-16

I believe most folks want more for their kids. That’s the dream, right? Making things better for our offspring. But I question that today. Because if each generation handles life in that manner… when is better enough?

See, my Grandma had a hard life and yet, she was happy. Content. And though my mom faced great trials, she too found contentment. In the end, she ended up with more than Grandma had. My dad, too. And in looking back, I see my parents gave me and my brother more than they ever dreamed of having.

It’s Christmas that stands out. Daddy would bring home a cedar tree and place it in a 5 gallon bucket. Oh, the scent would fill our nostrils as it filled every nook and cranny of our small abode. Sonny and I’d eagerly watch as Mama covered the bucket with wrapping paper and string the tree with lights. Then our turn came to decorate.

Later, when gifts were piled underneath, I’d count them. And Mom knew to have the same number for each of us. Value meant little in the face of quantity. It could have been a pack of gum, but there darn well better have been an equal amount of presents. I’d shake them and press them and wonder…

One Christmas, though, as I was covered up to my neck in paper, I dared ask… “Is this is?” That was the year of the Golden Dream Barbie. And what an affront this must have been to my mom. But she didn’t yell. Instead, she was gentle as she called me to her and sat me in her lap. She shared with me about her own Christmases, and how very little she received.

And though I felt sad for her, I don’t think the lesson really took. Not till now. In the face of my own children. Because I’ve been trying to give Levi more than I had. And let me tell you, he has a lot. Spoiled, even? And I’m noticing a problem. The more I give, the more he wants.

Moreover, my son seems to think everything is replaceable… that there’ll always be another one coming his way.


It was a gun that opened my eyes. Levi just bought it a couple of weeks ago and I found it covered in mud. And though I applaud his creativity in making a fort and using his imagination, it pains me I didn’t think to tell him… “Bring your toys inside!” Because without my instruction, he wouldn’t think to on his own.

Now, the gun doesn’t work. The firing noises silenced by the downpour of rain. When I mentioned it, he said it was only four dollars and he can always get another.

And so today I see there’s a problem. We’ve wronged him. In our attempt to give Levi a better life, we’ve inadvertently given him the idea that items have little or no value. Easily replaced. No need to take care and appreciate what we do have because there’ll always be another.

And I’d have to say, this mentality is the epitome of living in the lap of luxury. Because luxury always affords you another…


Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. Numbers 11:31

I love to read about the Israelites in the Old Testament. Particularly the 15th and 16th chapter of Exodus. Because on the heels of receiving freedom at the hand of God, we find the people grumbling and complaining early on in their journey. I can relate.

Oh, they were thirsty and hungry. All too quickly, they forgot the miracles. They chose to focus on the one thing they wanted. Discontentment set in.

God provided manna, bread from heaven, but it wasn’t enough. Eventually, the people remembered all the good foods they partook of in Egypt. Before God. Leeks, melons, cucumbers. And meat. Oh, they wanted meat. So they voiced it. Basically, they were sick of their lot in life and what God provided. They wanted more. Something different. Something better.

God gave them their desire. He told them He’d send meat so much so it would come out of their nostrils. And it did. Quail making them sick. Some even died there in the midst of their journey. In their graves of craving.

And that term strikes a chord with me. For I know I spent most of my life right there… mourning my lot in life and grumbling and complaining. Always wanting more and more and never getting enough. Refusing to accept what God lay before me. Resisting to rest in the gift of the day.

Grieving instead, alongside my tomb. Wasting my life as I pined away for what was out of reach…

I died in my grave of craving.


I tell you the truth, I journeyed for years seeking the lap of luxury. I lived life just like my son. I guess he learned it from me.  Because my parents gave me more than they had. And Grandma gave me more than she had. And God gave to me. Everything. He gave me everything He had…

So I lived carelessly. Recklessly. I always thought there’d be another coming my way. I discarded things way too easily. I didn’t place enough value on what life, and God, handed me.

And because I walked it, I can say this. Not always, but sometimes the lap of luxury makes no room for babies. At least for me, it didn’t. Or I didn’t. Because in seeking more out of life, I thoughtlessly gave up what I had been given. I threw away the gift of motherhood, making no room in my womb. For sure, at twenty-two, I made no room on my lap. Placing no value on the life inside me, I threw it all away.

Because one day, there’d be another.


And after all, tomorrow is another day.


Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14

Funny thing about my name. Pamela means as sweet as honey. But for so long, I was anything but. Sweet turned to bitter as I grumbled and complained. Luxury complaints as my husband termed them. Things like, “this mattress has plastic on it,” as I grumbled about my sleeping arrangements at our high-dollar lake house.

And then there’s my son. Lukewarm water easily spewed from his mouth as he said, “My water is warm.” And the ultimate? We rented a jet ski for four hours. We didn’t think two would be enough. Turns out three was plenty as Levi became bored with the activity.

Oh, my son… definitely following my lead. Always wanting something different. God help him to not follow my path. Or God help me to help him not to. From this moment on.

For I always sought that lap of luxury. I didn’t realize there was already one in reach. Like hers. Grandma’s lap. What a treasure. And how I missed it. I completely overlooked what I had looking for something more. But one day, God said enough.


God called to me…

“Pam!” And because I was listening, I heard Him at the open door of my tomb. For I am His daughter and I know His voice. He told me everything I ever did and what was to come. And indeed, I am blessed for I chose to believe what He foretold.

It’s true, I saw the risen Lord. He rose alongside the hope that rose in my chest. And I rose, too, from my grave of craving. He filled me with His wind and His Spirit caused me to move on from there. That’s when He commanded me.

Go! Tell others the story. And so I do.

Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. John 14:23

God called my name long ago just before returning me to my home. But in coming home, He calls me to really return. All the way… to Him and also to my roots. To my heritage. To a time of simplicity in which things matter more. A time in which value is placed on each day. And the small things. And everything. Because this may be the last day we have.

God calls me to not take things for granted. Like my grandma’s lap. Because it may not be here tomorrow.

God calls me to appreciate what He gave me. And He calls me to make room for more. In my heart and in my lap. Because that’s what mothers do. They make room in their hearts and on their laps for children. And pining away for all the other stuff takes up that space.

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Today the miracle is like Grandma’s, mine becomes a lap of luxury, too. A place sought after by my own children. A place where they can be the center of my world as I lavish them with love. Extravagant love. And so, I don’t have to look to tomorrow anymore. Not as I hold my little ones tight.

In truth, I find I’m content with what I already have. And like Grandma, I am satisfied with my lot in life. Simplicity. Thankful God brought be back home. And back to reality. To my reality. Amazed to find I’ve lived a lavish life after all.

But only in coming home to my roots could I discover it. And as my eyes were opened, I asked God for His forgiveness. Please forgive me, my God, for I never realized how extravagant you really were with me.

Yes, right here in the heart of my small home, and in the midst of my small town, I find I’m living in the lap of luxury…

And it’s the place I always wanted to be.

house painter’s daughter


Does the clay say to the potter,
    ‘What are you making?’
Does your work say,
    ‘The potter has no hands’?
Woe to the one who says to a father,
    ‘What have you begotten?’
or to a mother,
    ‘What have you brought to birth? Isaiah 45:9-10

It all comes to this. My heritage. 42 years old and I see the truth of what I’ve been doing. Fighting God on my very existence. The core of who I am. Forever trying to rise above my station in life… and what He created me to be. For I was born a servant. And that’s what He bids me to be today. Servant.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. However, I’ve not wanted that. Resisted my destiny. I denied my heritage and hoped to be something more.

So I quarreled with my Maker. I bucked under His yoke.

But today I stop. Instead of struggling, I accept. And embrace. For I am a servant…

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

Daddy painted houses and until my mom went back to school, she was a waitress. And my grandma was a house cleaner at the hospital while the other, Mammie, was a housewife who tended to a large brood of children. One grandfather was a house painter and the other a farmer. This is my stock. My roots.

My heritage is blue-collar all the way.

But the truth is, I’ve fought my birthright all my life. Because from the get-go, I understood the difference between us and them. Those who don’t matter and those who do. At least according to the world’s set of scales. The one I adopted as my own.

And I’m sad to say, this made me ashamed of who I was. And am. Because when I looked to the rock from which I was hewn, I always wished it had been different. That my family’s station was more than it was.

Deep down, I felt it all. 2nd class. Inferior. Servant. The Help. Low. Thus, I felt respect was unattainable. Ultimately, that I had a name not even worth mentioning. Likely stemming from a time I accompanied Daddy to work. I must have been five or so. We lived on the backside of a store and the big brick plantation home across the highway was our destination.

It was exciting to walk across that road. Mine and Sonny’s feet working to keep up with Daddy’s longer strides. The feel of the gravel driveway crunching underfoot till we came upon the sidewalk. The smell of boxwoods overpowering and synonymous with money even to this day. Again, in my mind.

Oh, the thrill of a hundred cats swirling about my shins as the dame of the house was a cat lover. These outside kitties within reach, but those of the kitchen untouchable. Majestic on their high perches. One atop a refrigerator and the other on the counter. Imposing animals as they reigned over the cool, darkness of a room at least a hundred years old.

After entrance to the grand house, Daddy would leave us to our own devices as he got to work. And my brother and I had the whole of the estate. This became our playground. Up and down, in and out, we roamed. One day, a visitor to the house noticed us and asked. The mistress answered, ‘Oh, that’s just the painter’s children.”

And it stuck. Just. The painter’s children. Lowly in station. And not worthy of a name.

So I spent most of my life trying to be more than that.

Fighting my destiny and God’s plans for me. Hoping to make a name for myself.

“Set up road signs;
    put up guideposts.
Take note of the highway,
    the road that you take.
Return, Virgin Israel,
    return to your towns.
How long will you wander,
    unfaithful Daughter Israel?
The Lord will create a new thing on earth—
    the woman will return to the man.”. Jeremiah 31:21-22

At eighteen, I left my hometown. There was a short stint in Florida with my best friend but it didn’t work out. I returned within 2 months. I left home a second time one year later when I joined the U.S. Air Force. There was no quick return that time as a four year tour turned to nineteen years away.

And though I never thought I’d want to upon my departure, eventually I longed to return. I ached for my family and the soil of my homeland. With all my heart, I wanted to put down lasting roots amidst my people. And when least expected, God gave me what I desired most. It was exactly five years ago when He returned me home for good.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ Luke 15:17-24

Amazingly, I discovered the truth about God & me right here in my hometown. Because I realized I was the same girl I always was. Though I came home at thirty-eight believing myself to be someone different, and something more, a new creation… I was still a house painter’s daughter at heart. And all that implied.

Truth remained far off throughout the years because God’s word was distant. Unknown. Not desirable to me…

Made no difference that my aunt Shirley gave me a Bible when I was eighteen. No, I never cracked the cover. And even though my friend Celeste gifted me with a Gideon’s Bible from the airport just months later, God’s word was afar. While in Korea, a mere acquaintance left a Bible on my doorstep. Oh, I must have been twenty-two. That one stayed in its plastic cover for a long, long time.

Finally, though, I received a Bible from someone who meant a great deal to me. God’s word became important to me when it was a gift from my husband. We were dating at the time. December of 1996. Jason’s words grace the front…

The keys to life, and beyond, can be found in this book. With love, Jason

This is the Bible I first opened. And though sporadic at best, I began to read it. Short bursts of God’s words. Over time, they began to spring to life. I just couldn’t get enough of Scripture as it leapt off the pages into my hard heart. I was voracious.

His first specific word to me was about my hometown. A promise. He said He’d bring me back and I believed Him. Sure enough, months later I was home. It was then that God led me to my past. He said uncover it. So His words led me step by step and layer by layer till I dug deep enough to hit roots. Further still till I hit the rock bed of my heritage. My inheritance.

I sifted through all my belongings. Yearbooks and letters. Pictures and sentiments. And eventually, I found that first Bible. The one from my Aunt Shirley. Therein lie a note from her. She encouraged me to read Luke 15… the story of the prodigal.

The thing is, I never did. I didn’t even remember the note. Likely, I’d never read it. And even if I had at eighteen, or nineteen, or twenty-two, or thirty-eight, it wouldn’t have meant much. But today, as a forty-two year old woman, her note means the world to me. The story of the prodigal most hopeful.

Because that’s what I am.

In every way imaginable. I’m returning to Daddy and his foundation. And I’m returning to my heavenly Father and His foundation. After running in the other direction for so long, I find myself turning…

Inside and out,

steps leading me backward,

to him, Daddy.

And to Him, Abba Father.

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15


I was wrong for so long. Deep down I felt God kept the good life from me through an upbringing that denied me silver spoons and golden coins. But finally, I realize He gave me everything.


My God and my Father denied me nothing but instead, gave me all He had. His most prized possession. His Son.

And yet, I wasted years by feeling less than because I had less than others. What a farce. But oh, I swallowed it down. I bought the lie that respect was only due the person of status. Renown. Someone with a four year degree and a title. Letters after a name.

Someone who had a name…

You ignored the Rock who gave you birth; You forgot the God who brought you forth. Deuteronomy 32:18

God has been lavish with me. Luxurious, even. But so focused on attaining a name for myself and status, I easily overlooked His blessings. Never noticed that He’s given me more than I could ever hope for. No, I chose to fixate on the fact He seemed to be withholding the one thing that would bring me what I so desired.

See, a name in lights would bring respect. And honor. At least in the worldly realm, it would. So leaving God behind, I tried to make a name for myself. Self-seeking instead of God-seeking. Sacrifice to self instead of pure offerings to Him. I left Him in the dust…

Forgetting all He did. For me.

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
Who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were hewn
And to the quarry from which you were dug.” Isaiah 51:1

God showed me something huge this Summer. It has to do with name-seeking and my father. See, my daddy was nameless, too. For a while. Seems his family called him boy. And though the nick-name came about because he was surrounded by so many sisters, it occurred to me to ask in July… did it bother you?

Today, though, the epiphany is deepened. I think about the lady of that great house and her remark. Just the house painter’s children. And my heart feels a pang. See, the selfish girl I was saw only what it meant to me. However, to the woman God is making me, I see it in another light. I see it with regard to Daddy.

Turns out it wasn’t just me who’s walked through life feeling nameless. Or invisible. Because perhaps Daddy did, too. This is his legacy… my heritage. It’s what’s been passed down. Namelessness.

The good news, though, is this doesn’t have to be my inheritance any longer. Or Daddy’s.

Because the truth is if the One who really matters knows our name, nothing else matters. Not at all. Oh, we may fall through the cracks of the world and its value system, but we won’t escape His notice. He sees us right where we are. And just as we are.

And He calls us by name…

I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. Isaiah 45:3

I allow this truth to settle in my bones today.

It allows me to embrace my destiny as servant… my heritage as a blue collar worker. A stay at home mom whose works go unnoticed by the world. Nameless in a sea of people, but noticed by the One who calls me by name. And for this, I am thankful. And I rejoice. For my God has been lavish with me. Luxurious, even.

Oh yes, I am a house painter’s daughter. But more than that, I am daughter of a King.

Child of God, that’s who I am.

It’s who He’s making me to be.

i am woman

She said, “Do you demand respect? Or do you earn it?” And my heart thudded as her voice boomed out through the sanctuary. It was February of 2013 and my insides screamed out YES! Let them have it! Because I burned inside. Anger and wrath ignited. All directed at the opposite sex, of course. The male population. Or more particularly, the male population within the very traditional church I found myself.

The speaker used Titus 2…

In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered. v. 3-5

She used Ephesians 5:25 as back-up. If husbands would only love their wives as Christ loves the church, then women would respond more willingly. Or submit. And in my ignorance, I thought the message was for all the men surrounding me who sat in pews. However, the longer her voice droned on, the more uncomfortable I felt.

And thirty-two months later, I know why.

Because those words weren’t meant for their ears. They were meant for mine. The question was directed at me.

God said, “Do you demand respect? Or do you earn it?”

And in looking back, I’d have to say I demanded it. I felt it was deserved. Along with honor. But none of that was coming my way. Not there. So I picked a battle and chose my side. And I stood for women. More particularly, women’s rights in the church.

Yes, that’s what I chose.

Listen to me!

 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12

Today I have absolute clarity. It has to do with respect. See, when I left home at 19, I didn’t have any. I didn’t possess one ounce of self-respect. And to compound matters, after only five short years away I managed to do everything I could to lose the respect of those who knew me. No details necessary.

But one day, I met God. I wasn’t even looking for Him. Eventually, I learned to call out to Him. And five years ago, He talked back. Through Scripture… words specific to me. Yes it’s true, God heard my cries. He listened, and miraculously, He answered.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

God sent me back to my hometown. I asked and asked and finally, in His infinite mercy and grace, He gave me what I desired most. And after settling, He spoke again and again and again. Revelation to revelation and glory to glory. I swear, the fall of 2011 was one of the most wonderful times of my life.

Because God listened to me. And I listened to Him. A relationship was formed.

I am woman

I wanted to share what I knew. I was simply on fire and wanted other women to feel as I did. Because what a discovery. The fact God really is real astounded me. Before God, it was empty religion. I merely sat in church and went through the motions. I followed rules and did all the right things.

Thus, I didn’t have much to say. No voice at all.

But one day, He spoke. To someone as insignificant as me. And that was miraculous. That God would look down from His throne and speak to me in the midst of an ordinary life was remarkable. Noteworthy. So, I tried to share. Because if it happened to me, it could happen to other women.

So I wrote manuscripts and endeavored to lead women’s Bible studies. I wanted women to discover what I had.

In the midst of all this revelation and glory, we joined a church. A traditional one. And at first, I was eager to share. I reached out immediately and there were quick dividends. For within months I was asked to read Scripture at the women’s Sunday. It was that February service in 2013 when I heard the Titus 2 talk.

You know, my spirits were dampened even before I heard that woman speak, though. It was after I’d told a couple of gals I wanted to lead a women’s Bible study and learned I wouldn’t be able to. There was a two year rule in place and it didn’t sit well with me. Because, I felt I knew so much. And had so much to say. Important things. Meaning, I was important.

I blurted out,  “I can’t just sit here for two years.”

Well, turns out I did. It goes back to the respect thing. And only in looking back can I see what I did. I rolled up in that church demanding respect. I expected people to want what I had to offer. But they didn’t even know me. And because it felt like rejection, I began to feel so small there. Unworthy. In truth, I’d never felt so diminished as a woman in all my life.

And so, my light got dimmer and dimmer as another flame was fanned. Over the months, it blazed and consumed me.

I shrugged on a new mantle and adopted my battle cry.

It was, “I am woman. Hear me roar.”

the wrong fight

It’s with clarity I speak today. See, I left home feeling like a nothing. But before and upon my return, God spoke! To me. I felt so important. And when it seemed as if my church didn’t want my offering, I was offended. Highly. And an internal war raged. I wanted the woman in me to be heard.

This is what I carried into my home life. Because I wrote and wrote. With all my heart, I wanted a published book. But pure intentions became tainted by pride. Getting a book deal began to have less and less to do with God and His glory, and became more and more about me and mine.

See, a book with my name on the cover would really show those people who rejected me. All of them. Then they’d know I was worth hearing. Especially the men who surrounded me… who dampened my spirits. You know, the ones who needed to hear the Titus 2 message. Those who demanded respect.

The utter realization, though, is I’ve been slandering God in this manner. Denying my true mission in life by failing to submit to the one thing He really wants me to do. And by resisting His leading, I realize I’ve been fighting against my own family. I didn’t comprehend my stance on women’s rights caused me to lose ground in my own home.

love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands

This is what God wants me to do. He commands me to love my husband. To love my children. To be self-controlled and pure. A homemaker. Kind. He wants me to submit to my husband. And this…

All this…

I’ve been fighting.

Because my eyes have been clouded. My perspective skewed by the secular world in which I live. See, it’s society that places value on status, ego, fame, self-seeking, and the list goes on. I’ve been hanging on to this set of values. Not His.


For this is what motivates me to write when I have a pile of laundry and dinner to prepare. Not always, but often enough. Because if I could just get my name in lights, it would validate all I’ve been doing. I would be validated. Good enough. Worthy of respect. Worthy to be heard.

Because, oh how my heart skips a beat when my little alarm shows orange on my blog site. It means someone liked what I had to say.

Oh, I am woman. I do roar.

Hear me…


I’m gonna say no

Today, I choose to say no. To the world and it’s scales. I say yes to God, instead. I submit. I give. Because with all my heart, I want to please Him. I want to do the one thing He wants me to do and do it well. And that means I give place to Him by giving place to my family and my home.

Today, I embrace biblical womanhood and all it implies. I submit to my husband as the head of our household. And it’s a blessing. I am blessed because I have a good man who loves me. Just as Christ loves the church. And we have a mutual respect for each other. We have love.

Today, I choose to be the mother God wants me to be. And that means saying no to my children. I will discipline them because they need boundaries. Training. Upbringing. It’s my job. And they will rise and call me blessed.

And I will enjoy being a homemaker. And all the chores that surround it. For it’s a blessing. And an honor. It brings me pleasure to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for my family.

Yes, today is the day. I say no to the world and what it has to offer.

I say yes to God instead.

Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. 1 Peter 3:3-4 

I am woman and wife. I embrace it. And I am mother. I cherish it. Because it’s such a gift. Motherhood.

And so, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention something I read yesterday. It has to do with all this. The role of womanhood…

Trevor MacDonald is a self identified female-to-male transgendered gay man, who’s given birth to two children since he transitioned. He’s expecting another baby in April. MacDonald explains he was born female but transitioned to male by taking hormones and having chest surgery. “When my partner and I decided to start a family, we got advice from my doctors and I stopped taking my testosterone. Because my surgery removed most of my breast tissue, I don’t know how much I’ll be able to breastfeed, but I really want to try.”

He’s accused the midwifery community of “transphobia” in The Huffington PostMacDonald argues that suggesting that trans guys who give birth are not men — but actually women, because of their biology — is “highly offensive to trans individuals because it denies our gender.” Michelle Jesse

I cried as I read the above

And I have to tell you, I say, no. No, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too. You’re either male or female. And if you choose to have a baby, then you’re a woman. Women have babies.

Though Trevor MacDonald identifies as male, she relies on her female anatomy to carry her children. “He’s expecting another baby in April…” Again, no. Emphatically, I say it. No. Not he but she. Because motherhood belongs to the woman. Childbirth belongs to the woman.

It is a woman who carries a baby for nine months. It is she who develops stretch marks and pees twenty times a day. The woman suffers labor pains but then immediately forgets it all in the face of her infant. And she tenderly nestles her baby at her breast for nursing.

The woman nurtures. She soothes. And kisses boo-boos. She is mama. So I say No!

Do not take this away from us. Motherhood belongs to women. Birthing babies belongs to women.

Not to men.

I am woman. Hear me roar.


A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. John 16:21

I say yes

I’ve been fighting God on this one. I wanted to be more than what He made me to be. I wanted to be more than wife and mother because homemaker just didn’t seem to elicit enough respect. At least not in my book.

So, I demanded it. Like that fateful February in 2013. I finally had my platform for I’d been asked to read Scripture. But me being me, I used it as an opportunity to be heard. It was a sermonette I prepared, not a verse. And I droned on and on. And you know what? My little boy was at home sick that day.

The evening before, Levi’s fever spiked to 103. I was so worried. I prayed and called relatives. I fretted. But the next morning, I went off to church anyway leaving my husband to tend to my son. I left my husband to fulfill my role as mother. Nurturer. Why? Because I had important business to attend to. I had to speak at church. Important stuff, you know.

So I opened my mouth but got little in return. Not the respect I’d hoped for.

Today, I know why. It’s just another step in my journey with God. And I realize I’ve been wrestling Him. Demanding that He give me the respect I feel I’m due. Thus, I’ve disrespected Him by denying His words. And what He expects from me.

But today’s another story. Because today, I say yes to Him and all that implies. Especially with regard to my womanhood.

I am woman. And finally, I’m willing to submit. I yield as I embrace my role as woman. Wife and mother. Total submission. And the miracle is, I end up finding the respect I’ve been seeking.

Self-respect returns.

Just because I said Yes.

To God.

the mama I want to be

I have three blank pages left in my journal. And that always excites me. There’s just something about cracking open a new notebook that fills me with expectancy. Not only that, I’m supposed to hear a well-known Bible teacher speak this weekend. And I just know I’ll hear from God. Because whenever I hear one of this lady’s messages, it’s as if the voice of God parts her lips to deposit fresh words directly into my listening ear.

Specific words…

Just for me.

And me being me, I put two and two together. The upcoming conference along with a new journal seemed to underscore my thinking. For surely I’ll soon have a new word and a new direction. BUT…

I don’t know if the weather is going to cooperate. Flash flood warnings may keep me from attending the conference.

What of that?!?


My current journal dates back to mid-July. I cracked it open just before attending the She Speaks conference (a huge writing event). I was full of expectancy back then, too, as I lovingly wrote out a portion of Proverbs 31 on the front….

At the time, I wanted this to be true about me. All of it. I longed to be cloaked with strength and honor as laughter cascaded from upturned lips. And when I opened my mouth, I wanted wisdom and loving instruction to fall gently on those closest to me. Oh, how I wanted to shrewdly watch over my household. And for my son, Levi, to rise and call me blessed.

Yes, I wanted it to be true then.

And I want it to be true now.

Instead, I am me.

And me being me, I just have to think this Proverbs 31 woman can only be true in fairy tales. Because who can really do all that she does?


Who is she, the P31 woman? Well, the heart of her husband trusts in her. And because she is she, he doesn’t lack any good thing. She rewards him with good and not evil all her days. Furthermore, she rises while it’s still night and provides food for her household. And she’s sturdy. Her arms reveal strength.

Despite being super busy at home, the P31 woman finds time to reach out to the poor and extends a helping hand. And it’s true for her. All of it. Strength and honor are her clothing. She does laugh at times to come. And when she opens her mouth, wisdom is found as she sends forth loving instruction.

No, she’s never, ever idle. Her household reflects that. And when her sons rise up, they do in fact call her blessed. For she is indeed a woman to be praised.

Because that’s who she is. The P31 woman.

And I want to be her.

Instead, I am me.

And me being me, I compare myself to her…


What does the P31 woman look like in modern times? Well, she’s ultra-cool and always looks trendy. No matter what. Good hair and shoes. No blemishes or bulges to hide.

Her laundry is always under control and her family has exactly what they need in closets or drawers. And amazingly, you can eat a piece of cake right off her floor. It’s that clean. How about that.

Yeah, her shopping cart is filled with all the right foods. Organic, no less. Veggies and whole wheat and fish and such. And when she makes a meal, the family sits together. Grace is always said out loud and bowls are passed. The family shares their highs and lows and she really listens. And when something is askew in her child’s life, she always has the right words to make things better.

Of course she recycles. It’s her responsibility. And of course her kids participate in all the programs and sports. It’s her duty to help her children become well-rounded and sociable. And despite keeping an overloaded calendar, she always seems to look rested. She stays calm and peaceful. Always.

And when her kids act up (if they act up), she knows exactly how to handle them. If the need arises, she surely knows how to administer discipline.

And for this reason, her children respect her.

They rise up and call the modern P31 woman blessed.

Oh, how I’d like to be her.

But instead, I am me.

And me being me, my life resembles none of the above. At all.



My shopping cart doesn’t look so good. Like tonight when we went to prepare for the potential flash floods and hurricane. Yep, all the necessities there.

And my house hasn’t been so clean lately. I do my best to keep stray things off the floor and yet, small pieces appear hourly. Just days ago, Annabelle found a tiny bit of dried leaf and tried to eat it. She then started gagging and choking. Honestly, I don’t think she could breathe.

So I fell on the floor beside her and she kept making retching motions. I patted her back and started screaming out, “Jesus!” And finally, it came up along with throw-up. Down her shirt, on my arm and pants. Afterward, she was fine. Me? A mess. Because I totally panicked.

A few weeks back, Levi had an ENT visit. And me being me, I tried to ultra-prepare. I actually charged an old cell phone so Annabelle would have something to entertain her while I tended to Levi and the doctor. Well, turns out you can still make a 911 call even if the phone doesn’t have a plan.

Annabelle delighted over the electronic device when the voice said, “911, what’s your emergency?” Of course, the doctor chose that moment to walk in. And me being me, I stood still for a second not sure of what to do first.

I grabbed the phone, “I’m so sorry, doctor, my daughter just called 911” The voice repeated… “What’s your emergency?” I explained. Of course, I’d tell my thirteen month old daughter that 911 is for emergency calls only. “Yes, yes, sorry and good-bye.”

Annabelle shrieked the whole time so I gave her my necklace. Another illicit toy, as I call them. This she managed to break so a hundred little beads went all over the floor of the exam room. And the doctor? He didn’t even acknowledge the chaos. Just examined my son and carried on a conversation with me as I hunched over the floor picking up beads…



I’m taking this Bible study called Unglued. The last chapter mentioned the negative labels we carry and encouraged the reader to think of some. I thought of bad mama. That’s the badge I’ve worn for years now. Ever since Levi was young.

And though my house can be messy and my shopping cart could use a few more veggies, those aren’t the reasons I wear that badge. No, it has to do with discipline. Or rather, the lack of discipline. See, I just hate to say no. In every way imaginable.

It began when I was young. I never said no to my friends when I wanted to. Even when I knew something was wrong and feared the consequences, I chose to go with the flow. No just wasn’t part of my vocabulary. Not as a child, or a young woman, or even now as an older woman.

At forty-two, seems as if I still have trouble saying it. To myself when I want to indulge in a treat. Or to someone I want to please when I know I’m too tired or my calendar is too full. But most importantly, to my children. I’ve been remiss in using this most powerful word with them. No.

Like Annabelle and her illicit toys…

IMG_2321IMG_2322  IMG_2324

I use whatever I can to buy me a few minutes. A watch or a toothbrush. Something to occupy her time so I can do the thing I need to do. Or want to do. I’ve resorted to phones and remotes if it’ll afford me five more minutes. However, I don’t always want her to have those things.

And so later, when I want to say no, she’ll be confused.

And then there’s Levi…



He’s the one. See, he’s already nine years old. And the truth is, he doesn’t seem to respect me very much. A few weeks back, I was on a rant… No, it wasn’t loving instruction that fell from my lips. Rather, shrill condemnation and fury. Because I was at my wit’s end.

“You don’t respect me, do you!” (me to Levi)


“You don’t?” (surprise on my part he admitted it) “Why don’t you?”

“Because you say I don’t.”

That’s when my senses returned. He was simply repeating what I had said. So I asked if he knew what the word meant. No, he didn’t. I told him that if he respected me, he’d care about what I have to say. That my words would mean something to him. That I’d matter. And he assured me they do. And I do.

And yet, his actions and mannerisms seem to convey otherwise.

Unlike the P31 woman, my son does not rise up and call me blessed. But the thing is, I haven’t given him a reason to.

find out what it means to me

I’ve indulged my boy. From the beginning. As a tiny tot, too much TV when I needed more time to answer work emails. And as he grew, I let him get away with more than I should have. I had a light hand. Very few spankings. I said yes when I should have said no. And as time progressed, he started listening less and less.

So I got louder and louder. I began demanding that he respect me. I swear, I’ve even stamped my foot. Just like a child.

So unlike the P31 woman. So unlike the she and her I want to be.

But so much like me.

And me being me, I hear the voice of God. He whispers the word respect in my ear. For it’s tied to discipline. And the word no.

And the wonder of it all is, it means love.

Because when you use the word no, you’re really saying I love you.


Do not despise the LORD’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; for the LORD disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:11-12

In perusing the pages of my journal, I found the word RESPECT no less than four times. So I decided to look it up in the Bible. I was led to Hebrews 12:9 which says, “Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them.” And so I see. Truth. But this isn’t the first time I’ve been here.

About six months ago, I was right here contemplating all this. My son and how I handle discipline. And back then I knew what to do.

However, I forgot what I learned…

See that you do not reject the One who speaks… Hebrews 12:25

Truth is the relationship I have with my son is so much like the relationship I have with my heavenly Father. A mirror image. I want my boy to listen to me. To acknowledge my words. And most importantly, to do what I say. But so does God.

And God told me then and He tells me now… discipline your child!

Say no!

Because no means I love you. When I say no to the donuts, I practice self-discipline and love myself. When I say no to overstuffing my calendar, I’m loving my family. And when I say no to my son, I’m loving him.

So I have a choice… I can indulge my children. Or discipline them.

I can’t help but think of her. The P31 woman. What would she do? Makes no difference, I guess. For I’m not her. I’m just me…

me being me

I’m disappointed about the weather. See, I really want to go to that event Saturday. Poised for a fresh word from God. A new journal at the ready. I wondered about that today, though. I thought why would God give me a new word when I still haven’t got the last one right. Because it was at least six months ago when He told me to discipline my child.

But you know… that’s what I did.

Today, I was firm with my son. And a weight was lifted. Because I know I did the right thing. The thing God bids me to do. Thus, I showed respect to my Father. And one day, my son will thank me for it. Because he’ll know he’s loved.

And if I continue the way I’m going, it might all come true after all. I may actually become the woman I read about. The mama I want to be.

Me will become she

And like her, I’ll open my mouth with wisdom. Faithful instruction will be on my tongue. And my children… for it’s all about them, anyway.

They will rise and call me blessed.


when cuteness ends…


This morning I can’t help but wonder when cuteness ends. Because though I chuckled, the behavior displayed by my 13 month old was borderline not cute. She had been too quiet so I took a look. That’s when I discovered she’d pushed my son’s bedroom door open a few inches (a no-no because there’s just too much temptation). However, she didn’t propel herself inward till she saw me looking at her.

When our eyes locked, she took off. She turned from me and crawled away at lightning speed.

I couldn’t help but smile because she’s just too darn cute. I said, “No, no,” as I picked her up. But then, the ugliness appeared. A tantrum from hell. Yes, I said hell because hell hath no fury like a baby scorned.

Annabelle’s head went backward as she arched her back. And she growled. She shrieked. All I could do was lay her down on my living room floor where she proceeded to thrash about like a little animal caught in a trap. And I chuckled.

But then, laughter fell from my lips. And I wondered… cute? Or unacceptable.

Because really, when does a child’s bad behavior become un-cute.


Look at my boy. Most definitely, cute. God, how I love him. But you know… we’re going through a tough time right now. We seem to have words every, single day. Heated words. I rise thinking this day will be different and I’m going to remain calm. And yet something sets me off. Always.

The other night it happened at bedtime. We got through the whole day unscathed so it was with a sigh of relief I lay down beside him. However, as I read from his book, I could tell he wasn’t paying attention. No, utterly distracted as he rubbed his eyeball raw. He rubbed and rubbed and rubbed making a statement without saying a word. So I tried to engage him.

“Do you know the song they’re talking about? Blueberry Hill?”

Silence and blank stare on my son’s part accompanied by more rubbing.

“Do you know it? It’s an old one… “I found my thrill, dum, dum, dum, dum-dum-dum, on Blueberry Hill.”

More silence. More blankness. More rubbing.

So I lost it. I told my boy (loudly) I was not reading him a story and how dare he ignore me. How dare he completely disregard my words and sit there without answering me. And there were other words. Choice words. Too many to remember, really.

But my demeanor was most telling. Chilling. Ice-cold. See, I made the decision to withhold myself from my little boy. At least for the night. Because I decided I was not going to lay by his side after lights out, which is what we normally do. No, I wanted to punish him in that instant by keeping something important from him.

So I withheld the only thing I could in that moment. I removed myself from his presence and left him in a dark room.

And I can assure you, I didn’t think Levi’s behavior resembled cuteness in the slightest as I stomped out of his room. Not. One. Bit. So clearly, a change takes place sometime between infancy and childhood. Somewhere along the line, cuteness most definitely ends. A time when chuckles turns to huffs and sighs and stomps.

And looking back on my son’s life, I can’t remember when that moment occurred.


Look at that woman (me). I guess I’m kind of cute. At least my husband thinks so. And surely God does because He made me. But you know what… we’ve been going through a hard time, God and me. Because He’s been trying to teach me something. For years and years and years.

And yet, I’ve resisted. I’ve been as stubborn as a mule. He speaks and like Levi, a blank stare covers my face. I lay mutely as I rub my eyes in a dumb-founded way. And worse, my actions imply I’ve been ignoring Him. My heavenly Father. Because by not taking what He tells me to heart, I reject what He says.

Does He feel as I do? Was there a point in time in which He chuckled because He thought, “She’s just too cute.” But when my tantrums escalated as Annabelle’s did this morning, did He see me differently? And later, when my cold silences settled, did He want to stomp out of my room?

Did my heavenly Father get to a point in which He decided my cuteness ended. Like I did with Levi. And like what’s happening with Annabelle.

In looking back, I’d have to say yes. I’m sure He must have.

Because something happens as you grow. You reach the age of enlightenment. Understanding dawns. And when comprehension settles in your soul, knowing right from wrong, and you pitch a fit anyway… I believe your time is up. When you know what you should or shouldn’t do and decide to do the opposite… that’s when cuteness ends.

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.  Luke 15:11-16

I’ve been thinking about the prodigal son lately. And honestly, I didn’t know what prodigal meant until today. One of the definitions means wastefully extravagant. That’s what the prodigal did… he squandered away all his father gave him on frivolous living.

You know, that’s me. Today I realize I squandered away God’s words. Precious words specific to what I needed to hear in a time of need. And though I heard what He said, I didn’t really listen. My thick heart wasn’t penetrated. Staring blankly, rubbing my eyes, I ignored what He said.

It was, “I love you.” It happened a year ago. As I delighted over my baby girl, I squealed, “I love you, I love you, I love you!” And I stopped in my tracks. I thought, “This is how God feels about me?” Notice the question mark. Almost immediately I received a message from a man who hardly knows me. He confirmed exactly what I had been thinking. A virtual stranger told me that God said He is a daddy to me… that He loved me as I love my own children.

And yet, eight months later I dared to disbelieve. I was reckless in my actions. Totally ignoring what God gave me.



You know, my little boy is such a parrot. He mimics me in countless ways. In fact, I must be the same age he is. Spiritually, I can’t be any more than nine years old because that’s how I behave so often. Acting out when things don’t go my way. Like Levi does.

And honestly, I don’t handle his antics well. Adult-like. Because I clam up when I feel frustrated, withholding myself from those I love the most. Oh so cool and reserved. But you know, that’s not right. My behavior is totally un-cute. And today I wonder if Levi has just been mimicking me in this manner…

Like what happened the other night. See, he wasn’t happy at bed time. He wanted to watch another five minutes of TV rather than have a story. Instead, I wanted to have my own way. I said so… No, I want to read a chapter of your book.

So Levi huffed as he brushed his teeth and flopped down in bed. And he was aloof. Rubbing that eye and withholding his words from me when I tried to engage him…

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. Luke 15:17-20

Oh, my boy. He follows me. Walks just as I do and parrots me in every way. Not a week ago Levi brought me ten dollar bills. He said He wanted to give it to Daddy because he takes care of us. Sweet, yes. But why would he think to do that? Have I inadvertently shaped him into thinking he should pay his way? That he has to bring something to the table in order to receive our love? My love?

Fortunately, Jason’s a good father. He hugged Levi when he tried to offer his gift. He said, “Son, I don’t want your money. I take care of you because I love you.”

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:20-24

It’s true, Levi’s time is up. Cuteness ended long ago. When he behaves badly, there will be consequences. The lesson for me, though, is how I dispense those consequences. Seems as though discipline has been doled out by a nine year old woman (me) long enough. My reactions on par with a fourth grade maturity level.

And it’s apparent Annabelle’s time is almost up, too. Almost. Because she’s still so darn cute she can get away with it.

And as for me, the jig is most definitely up. Cuteness ended long ago. But fortunately, Abba is a good Father. He’s kind and generous. And oh, so loving. Like the one we see in the prodigal son story. When his son returned to his senses, he opened his arms wide.

And that’s good news for me. Because like the prodigal, I’ve come to my senses. Oh, it may have taken some time. But eventually I turned.

And finally, I’m moving the right way…

toward my Father’s open arms.


Turns out I’m not as bad a mom as I think I am. It goes back to that night with Levi. Blueberry Hill and the eye rubbing.

See, I may have stomped out but I didn’t stay out. I just couldn’t. As I thought about my little boy in that room all by himself, my compassion broke through the coldness. I didn’t want Levi to go to sleep feeling bad. So I returned to him.

Without words, I lay down and put my arm over his chest. Protectively. I kissed his forehead and loved him with my presence. And gave him what he desired most in his moment of need. I gave him his mama.

That doesn’t mean I handled the night perfectly. Or that there won’t be more nights like it. But what it does mean is I love him. Forever. My love is constant. Lesson being that though his cuteness ran out long ago, my love never did.

And that goes for me, too. My antics and theatrics no longer fly. Not with God, they don’t. But despite my cuteness ending, His love remains. Constant.

A Father to me forever. No matter how I act. Or act out. Cute or un-cute… nine or forty-two, I’ll always be His daughter.

That’ll never change.

Place Cards

Daddy made an observation this morning about Annabelle. And though his remark was casual, it resounded in my heart. He spoke a deep truth and didn’t even realize it…

“Now! Annabelle’s at the table. That’s better than her high chair.”

Huh, I thought. This is it. Within Daddy’s simple statement, I find the heart of my struggle. But also, therein lies the key to moving forward. For my battle has everything to do with placement. Fighting for my place in life… in the worldly realm and in His. Let me explain.


Earlier this morning, Annabelle cried out. Seems she found herself in a precarious position for she managed to pull herself up to a high place. Problem was she couldn’t get down on her own. No, I had to rescue her. Fortunately, though, she realized she’d fall flat on her face if she tried to. My wise little one year old sensed danger and had the foresight to call for reinforcement. She needed the strong arms of her mama.

Too bad I’ve not been as smart as her…

We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God… 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

I stumbled across the above verse three years ago. And I thought, “This is exactly what I’m supposed to do.” I thought God had given me charge to pull down that which stands in opposition to Him. To Christ. And I was. And am. The problem, though, is I got off-track.

See, I thought it was abortion. In September of 2012, that’s where I found myself. Uncovering a buried up past. And the days leading up to that point, and the months following, were profound. Awe-inspiring. I stood in a place called revelation and glory. Indeed, I stood on holy ground as the presence of God surrounded me.

Back then, there was no question in my heart. About placement, that is. My mission was clear. Tear down that which was set-up against God and His throne. Alas, I ventured on from that place much too soon. Slowly but surely, I began to seek higher ground.

And so, as time progressed, my mission changed. Though I thought I was to speak up and renounce abortion, my objective changed. For over time, I became the target.

It was me.

I became the high-thing standing in opposition to Him. My baby girl shows me how…


Just look at her. Annabelle was trying to get off the floor even then. She used her little arms to pull up to a kneeling position. Then standing. And within months, she could climb right up onto that piece of furniture. And there, she could sit on her throne and look out.

The only issue now is she cannot get down. She’s not strong enough. Or agile enough. If she tried it, she’d fall. Hard. Thus, she needs a rescuer.

Like me…

Annabelle is a picture of me.


Three years ago was a heady time. Oh, what a thrill to be awash in God’s glory. For He poured Himself into me and I was filled with fresh revelation again and again and again.

But for a girl like me, that can be a very dangerous place. Because there, standing on holy ground, it’s too tempting to exalt oneself.

See, my battle has been insignificance. Inferiority. Invisible for too many years. But then, He saw me. God chose to reveal great truths. To me. Surely that meant I was special. Worth something. And not just in His realm, but the worldly realm.

And so…

Just like Annabelle, I peeled myself from the prostrate pose of worship and used self-seeking arms to pull up. Before I knew it, I was kneeling. And before I realized what happened, I found myself standing up. Standing on holy ground. And unlike Moses who had the presence of mind to remove his sandals, my feet remained shod. Way to casual with a holy God.

From there, I tried to gain a foothold. I used the force of my legs to propel myself upward yet again. And finally, I sat down on the throne of my heart… without a doubt, I displaced God from His rightful place.

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?” Joseph 50:20

I dared stand in the place of God. And worse, I dared sit in His place. Casually. And rather than casting down abortion as I so thought I was supposed to do, I used my lofty position to cast down everyone else instead. Everyone but me, that is.

So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them:  “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.  But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:7-11

In looking back, I see I’m not as wise as Annabelle. I didn’t know I was too high to get down on my own. Not a clue I needed to cry out for a rescuer. The writing conference I attended in July opened my eyes, though. Trying to find my place at a table is what did it. Seeing that I wasn’t going to cry out on my own, God gave me a nudge…

Right off my throne.

I arrived late to dinner and chose a table at the back. No less than six people sat side by side leaving five unused chairs opposite. I selected the one in the middle which left me flanked by two empty chairs. I mustered up courage and spoke to the only man there.

“Is this seat taken?”

He hesitated. Just a brief pause but enough to hurt my fragile ego. After a less than enthusiastic offer, I sat. Alone. Those at the table completely engrossed in important discussion. I took a second look at that man because he looked familiar. And as fate would have it, and by fate I mean God, he happened to be my 9:00 a.m. appointment for the next day. I was going to present him with a book idea. And I felt sick.

Because he didn’t even notice me. Not at that table. Oblivious to my existence. He was engrossed in conversation with a lady I later realized was important. In the worldly realm. Because she had status. A position with a publishing company.

And so I swallowed down the herb of bitter with my meal. In my heart, I deemed the Christian realm to be no different than the world. In truth, there are those who matter and those who don’t. At least that’s how I saw it that night. Because in my most vulnerable of places, I was wounded. And it was then, I fell off my throne.

It felt just like God was pecking me on the shoulder and telling me to take a lower seat.


Look at my girl. This was just months ago. Mouth filled with eggs. Her place was not at the table back then. Her high chair was off to the side and I’d pull it as close to us as I could when we dined. She didn’t seem to mind.

But finding myself in the same position, I did mind. And worse, I was mad at my heavenly Father. Because I wanted Him to acknowledge me. Moreover, I wanted Him to acknowledge me in the presence of others. To honor me. I wanted Him to put me on display…

“See her. This is My girl. My beloved. My chosen.”

At that conference it felt as though God pushed me off into the corner. And perhaps He did. Because wanting to be set apart in a special way kept me removed from everything. In truth, I was sitting in the high chair of mind. The truth revealed as a speaker said, “Remember me, God?”

My heart echoed her words.

She said, “Don’t they know who I am?”

My heart whispered the same…

“Do not come closer.” He said, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 33:4-5, 6

All these years I’ve been struggling to find my place in life. I’ve been vying for other people’s notice because for some reason, I’ve bought into the lie. That if other people think I’m worth something, then I am.

My husband knows this better than anyone. When I don’t feel enough appreciation, he’ll humor me by patting my hair and speaking softly, “Oh, praise Pam. Praise her!” Then we both laugh. I realize how silly I’m being.

But Jason’s words are telling. Because really, should it be praise Pam? Or praise God? And why isn’t it enough that God sees me. Intimately. And privately. Because He does.

Shouldn’t that be enough?

The LORD said, “Here is a place near Me.” Exodus 33:21

I can’t lie. My experience in July hurt. Trying to find my place at God’s table amongst all those more qualified than me nearly did me in. Nearly. The fact my offering was rejected struck an already raw nerve. Because what I had to offer was deemed not good enough. Thus, I wasn’t good enough.

And not only was my gift discarded by those at the table, but also by my Father. At least in my mind, it was. Today, though, I know this was a lesson. A necessary step. Truth to be applied to my heart.

It has to do with placement. Finding my place in life. But more importantly, finding my place with Him. See, God doesn’t share His glory. He doesn’t stand aside so His children can stand in His place. And that’s what I was trying to. And had been doing. I didn’t even know it.


And as for God’s table, it’s not exclusive. Room for one and all. Whether the world deems you to be special or not.

It’s a process, walking with God. And just as Annabelle is growing up, so am I. I made a special place for her at our table recently. I realize God did the same. He made room for me. A place card etched with my name.

Only, sitting in the highchair of my mind, I didn’t see it. Sitting up too high, I overlooked it. But it was there the whole time.

IMG_2353 (2)

Today, I have to smile. And I let Daddy’s words tickle my ear…

He says, “Now! Pam’s at the table. That’s better than her high chair.”

And a laugh escapes my lips. Just like Annabelle. In every way.

How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Exodus 33:16-17