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 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. No quick return that time as four turned to nineteen years away.

Though I never thought I’d want to, I eventually wanted to come back. I ached for my family and longed for 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.

Amazingly, I discovered the truth about God & me right here. 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, I was still a house painter’s daughter at heart. And all that implied.

 “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

My aunt Shirley gave me a Bible when I was eighteen. I didn’t crack the cover. Not once while I was away from home. My friend Celeste stole a Gideon’s Bible from the airport as a going away gift. This was after my short stint in Florida. I never cracked the cover (other than to read her words in the front). While in Korea, a man left a Bible on my doorstep. I left it in its plastic for a long, long time.

Finally, though, I received a Bible from someone who meant a great deal to me. 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. And over time, they began to spring to life. I just couldn’t get enough as Scripture leapt off the pages into my hard heart. I was voracious.

His first word specific to me was about my home. It was a promise. He said He’d bring me back. And I believed Him. That’s just what He did.

After returning, though, God led me to my past. He said to uncover it. So His words led me step by step and layer by layer till I dug deep enough to hit the 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. Most likely, I hadn’t ever 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 everything 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 back…

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, 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. Self-sacrifice instead of pure offerings to Him. I left Him in the dust…

Forgetting all He did. Just 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, Daddy was nameless for a while, too. Because 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, 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 walked through life feeling nameless. Or invisible. Perhaps my daddy did, too.

This is my heritage. What’s been passed down.

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 really matters. Though we may fall through the cracks of the world and its value system, 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.

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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

my enemy danced…


the Funyun story

Know what Funyuns are? It’s an onion flavored corn snack. A treat. Salty/crunchy, so right up my alley. It’s what my two cousins had in hand as they sat outside my Mammie’s house when I was about five. They sat on a bench together with the bag nestled between them… within their reach but out of mine. They smugly munched away.

I was on the outside in every way that day. And it burned. Not a part of their group and not a partaker of their snack. I hungrily looked on as they gleefully withheld from me. And though they saw me salivating a short distance away, they didn’t offer me a one. No, I had to ask for what I wanted. Begged, really. The conversation went something like this…

“Can I have one?”


“Please let me have one.”

“Well, we’ll let you have one but you have to eat dirt first.”

So I did. Or at least I tried to. I crammed a handful of dirt in my mouth for just a few seconds before spitting it all out. I sullied my mouth in order to gain a moment of satisfaction. A treat.

And what did I get in return for my labor? One stinking Funyun. They tossed it in the dirt beside me. That was my reward. And so I picked it up from the filth and ate.

Yep, it’s this Funyun story that’s played out in my head again and again in recent months. And I used to laugh about it. But the truth is, it hurts. Because I was reacquainted with that feeling just a month ago. Mind you, my situation was nothing at all like the sought after Funyuns. And I had no real cause to feel as I did all those years ago.

Nonetheless, that’s exactly how I felt.

Begging for crumbs and pilfering through dirt…

the explosion

Several of those closest to me have said on more than one occasion I’m too hard on myself. And in this season of my life, I’m finally coming to see things their way. I’m ready to admit the truth.

Why yes, I have been too hard on myself. And yes, I have set the bar too high. Indeed, I’ve set unrealistic goals impossible to attain through my current station… as a busy mom of a nine year old and a baby, I simply cannot do everything I want to do. Not now, at least. Understanding dawns and I’m at peace with it.


But for years and years, I didn’t. And I tried. I strived for the one thing I wanted. Perhaps ever since the day I ate from the dirt. For over thirty years I’ve struggled to attain the one thing denied me. Until last month, that is. See, it all came to a head. There was a climax of sorts. An explosion as the truth erupted from my fissured heart.

And when I dared voice what lie within, I trembled. I quaked in terror. And when I told my husband, he asked me incredulously, “Is that what’s in your heart?” He shook his head…

“You better be careful,” he said.

His words lay heavy on me. As did my own.

dancing with the devil

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat. Luke 22:31

My enemy danced on the dark night of my soul. It’s true. And likely, he’d been dancing for months. Because I let him deceive me. I entertained the accusations he whispered in my ear. “Now Pam, does God really care about you? Look at what’s happening… you’re trying to do all this stuff for him – cramming an already tight schedule – and yet, he won’t even give you a good night’s sleep? Surely, if he loved you he’d give you what you wanted.”

And so, he led and I followed. The devil’s such a good dancer, I couldn’t help myself.

One, two, three, four, twirl…. why isn’t Annabelle sleeping through the night? She had been before! Why now when it’s most inconvenient?

One, two, three, four, dip… what in the world! Doesn’t God know I have to do so much tomorrow… why is she up from 1 to 3 a.m.

One, two, three, four.

One, two, three.

One, two.

And, one.

My enemy had me. I was dancing along with him. His whispered words became my own vocal ones. And worse, they filled my heart. A heart deceived. Falling for the one who told lies. Believing the lies he told.

I quit

Truth is, I quit God this past Summer. I petered out. It began in June. That’s when my time diminished. And yet, that’s when I had the most to do. A deadline. Self-imposed, of course.

Naturally, this is when Annabelle began waking through the night. The pressure was on. I did my best to stay even-keeled but failed miserably. There was late-night cussing. An exploded diaper as it hit my kitchen floor. Hard. When Jason roused, I yelled out “I quit!”

“What do you mean, you quit?”

A logical question. I shrugged or said I didn’t know. But I did know. Because that was the night I quit God. In my heart, I did. Because I thought I was doing all this stuff for Him. I thought the deadlines were for Him. I thought I was knocking myself out for Him.

And so the fact He didn’t give me a full night’s sleep for weeks on end pushed me to my limits. I was angry. Worse yet, I was angry at my God. Because I felt He was denying me the one good thing I wanted. And needed. Sleep. I needed the sleep to do the things I wanted to do. For Him.

I don’t believe

The dark night of my soul came the end of July. That’s the night I told God I didn’t believe He loved me. I know, I know. This is shocking. And terrible. And so ridiculous. A flat out lie.

But this is truth. This is what I said. It’s what I meant. I believed it as I lay on the couch in the midst of darkness and Annabelle’s cries. My insides boiled. I said it more than once, too. Loudly. Vehemently.

“I don’t believe You love me!”

I accused God. All because God didn’t give me the one thing I wanted. He said no to my requests. I repeatedly asked for Him to quiet Annabelle. To soothe her. To let her sleep so I could sleep.

His answer was no, though.

And it caused me to stumble in the most grievous of ways.

Ultimately, I denied Him. I denied Christ. For Romans 5:8 tells me that God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For me.

And the realization that I denied Him caused me to weep bitterly.

the end of me

What happened this Summer was inevitable. All of it. It had to happen because it led to the end of me. The end of striving and overachieving. Because I was forced to ask a question, “Who am I really doing all this for?”

Is it really just for Him? And His glory? Or is it for me and mine?

Thanks to this Summer, though, I have a clear understanding of why I do what I do and what makes me tick. Or what makes me go tick-tick-tick-boom. It goes back to the Funyuns. The incident that was part of my foundation. And my make-up.

See, the world’s upbringing shaped me into a woman scrounging around in the dirt begging for a scrap of something I deemed to be good. My one aim.

As a child, it was Funyuns. As a young girl, I craved love and notice. And now, as a forty-two year old woman, I just wanted a little recognition. Some appreciation for all the stuff I do. And to get that, I kept a full calendar. Thus, sleep seemed to be a necessity.

But God denied my request for the one thing I desired. My journey became more difficult. The road wasn’t paved with ease. And so I faltered. And doubted Him.


I have to be honest. I worried for a while after the things I said. Because what in the world?? Today, though, I’m thankful. It all had to happen. The Funyuns, the explosion, sleeping with the enemy, the doubt and despair, and yes, even the end of me. Because finally, finally, He has me just where He wants me.

I’m done. Nothing left of me. Stripped of all I’ve been striving for. And all I’ve been longing for. Because after saying what I did, I was scared He was done with me. DONE. And that’s when I realized just how much I need Him.

Him and only Him. And so I’m ready.

Finally, finally, I let His grace wash over me. Because I need it. I need Him.

Oh, how I need Him. More than I need me. More than I need a Funyun coated in dirt. More than recognition. And yes, even more than sleep.

Because I can’t do this thing called life without Him. I just can’t.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

I can’t help but think of the Apostle Paul. What might his affliction have been? Three times he pleaded with God to remove it but the answer was no.

And I think of me. What a weakling I am to get so bent out of shape over lost sleep. However, I’m thankful I did. Because it led to my meltdown. To my explosion. And for me to say what I was really thinking. The ugly truth.

However, I didn’t find God’s wrath or punishment. Or condemnation.

Instead, I found grace.

In the most unexpected place.

In a little tan house on a small back road, a sleepy, forty-two year old woman finally accepted the gift of God’s grace. Finally. Because for the first time she stopped depending on herself and began to depend on Him. Because she needed to. She needed Him.

And finally she realized it’s true. Finally. His grace is sufficient for thee.

It’s sufficient for me.


The fact I polished off a family size bag of Cheetos this week almost deterred me from working out last night. Because I thought, what’s the point? I already screwed up royally. I cheated again on my diet. Forever unfaithful to the healthy lifestyle I seek to nurture. Forever cheating with Cheetos… or whatever other salty/crunchy snack lies in wait on my pantry shelves.


Alas, I exercised anyway. I worked out and was drenched in sweat by the time I finished. And it felt good.

But then, I went home. And unavoidably, the hours of temptation arose. From nine p.m. on marks the hours of my downfall. Because when temptation beckons after dark, and everyone else is asleep, there’s no one to stop me. Or see me. And I just can’t seem to exercise self-control. Chester the cat (this week’s love) is just too darn cool. And too hard to resist. So I don’t.

I run to him…


After binging, I always feel upset. Guilty. And hypocritical. Because I’m trying to teach my son what is good and healthy and what’s not. I tell him what to eat and not eat. And yet, I don’t follow my own advice. This is 100% do as I say and not as I do. And though I try to sneak things in at night, sometimes I leave clues behind. They’re discovered the next morning.


The above picture is from last week. Before entrance of aforementioned family sized Cheetos. We buy my son those big bags of smaller bags for lunch. Levi says he prefers the soft cheese curls to the hard ones so that gave me license to dig through his lunch supplies seeking out Chester.

But don’t let that little bag fool you. This was the first of several. I started with one but my voracious appetite for snacks wasn’t satiated. So as I tossed away the trash, I grabbed another. Then repeated the process. Laid out on the couch, I devoured these little bags of chips.

I got chip-faced.

But afterward, I felt shame.


Yesterday my husband noticed a look on my face. “What’s wrong?” I confessed later when I emailed him a small grocery list. I told him I ate the whole bag of family sized Cheetos (the one he specifically said, “these are not for you.”)

cheese, milk, cat litter, gain dish soap

And the reason I looked the way I did this a.m. is I’m ashamed. Past three nights I’ve been chowing down on family sized cheetos, which are all gone now, by the way.

I keep feeling sick but no wonder.

Jason’s reply is priceless…

So just one bag of family sized Cheetos then?  Or 2?

Oh, I love him. Funny guy. And how well my boys know me. Both of them. For my own son has told me, “Don’t eat the whole bag.” Or “Save some for me!” Or “I got some first because I know if you get them there won’t be any left.”

Despite my trying to stealthily eat at night, I’m found out.

Moses saw that the people were out of control, for Aaron had let them get out of control, so that they would be vulnerable to their enemies. Exodus 32:25

So I had this interesting conversation with a friend yesterday. She’s been fasting one day a week and she told me that when hunger comes, she focuses on a situation she’s going through. And she says she finds clarity. She also told me when she eats something unhealthy, like cake, she feels so lethargic. It spoke to me.

See, I’ve been so tired lately. More so than usual. Three cups of coffee have turned to four or five a day. And that’s not good. So I realize I’ve been caught up in a vicious cycle. I eat too much. Carb overload. To compensate, I depend on caffeine. And around and around I go.

Basically, because my eating is out of control… I am out of control. And you know what… that makes me vulnerable.

The LORD then said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why are you on the ground?” Israel has sinned. They have violated My covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart (for destruction). They have stolen, deceived, and put the things with their own belongings. This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. Joshua 7:10-12

I just love the Old Testament. And though it’s about God’s chosen people, the Israelites, so much speaks to me today. I look at Joshua, Moses’ predecessor. How God appeared to Him. He said to be courageous. That He was with Him. And Joshua led the people to take the city of Jericho. The walls came tumbling down…

But you know what. On the heels of victory, Joshua and the people suffered defeat. Failure. A set-back. But it boils down to one thing. The people were unfaithful to God. They made other gods. In Exodus 32, they fashioned a golden calf. In Joshua 7, it was the spoils of war… items set apart to be destroyed were secreted away instead.

And really, this is what I’ve done. Eating is one of my gods. I bow down to it. I adore it. I allow it to control me. Rather than mastering my eating habits, I’ve allowed them to master me. A slave to carbohydrates. And Cheetos Chester. And to King Utz and Lord Lays.

When my household goes down, I go up. To the high place of my pantry. And I sacrifice my health to the god of overeating.

God help me.


This is one of my battles. Always has been. Ever since my youth. I love salty/crunchy. My mid-section always an issue. Up and down. In the 9th grade, a boy actually commented on my tummy. “If you could get that under control, you’d have a really good body.” In the 11th grade I added about 10 pounds. That’s when an old acquaintance said, “Pam, you’re fat!” It hurt.

Ever since then, it was one failed attempt after another. Diet pills and exercise spurts. The above was taken one year after the birth of my son. I had some baby weight. I decided to do Body for Life. My husband helped me with before pictures…

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I dropped 12 pounds in a couple of months. I felt so good. Healthy. Energetic. Alas, the pounds came back with ten more. And so I’d try something else. Atkins diet. Hydroxycut. Jillian Michaels DVD’s. Up and down. Back and forth…

Up till now. Oh, I’ve lost ground by gaining pounds. More than ever. Most definitely, I’ve been unfaithful to God… choosing another lover. Cheetos. And I almost didn’t work out last night. But I did it.

Regardless of my failure, I took a small step forward. Afterward, I had the courage to say no to Chester. Or whatever other salty/crunchy snack tempted me.

And I find a small victory. Because the sluggishness of my carb coma seems to be wearing off today. And I find clarity. Awareness. I’ve been trapped in that cycle far too long. That vicious cycle. Going in circles.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I choose to move forward today. Onward in my journey with new resolve. Because I don’t want to go down this way. I don’t want food to trip me up any more. Food the cause of my sluggishness. Excess calories weighing me down in every way.

I just get so tired. So very tired. Lethargic. Till I’m immobile and on the ground. But today I hear my one true God. His voice cuts through the din of other false voices… my tempters.

He says, “What are you doing on the ground? Stand up!”

And in His strength, and only by His strength, I shall… I have to.

And not just for my sake. And for His sake. It’s for theirs… I have to stand up so I can be there for them. My babies.


This won’t be easy. For it’s been a battle. My weight and me. Most of my life, really. But the choice is an easy one to make… it’s them or Chester.


So this day, instead of Chester, I run to God. I peel myself off the ground and run to my children. Onward in my journey.

a slap in the face


I must have been seven or eight when it happened. Close to my son’s age. That’s when my grandma disciplined me. And with more than words.

There I sat in Grandma’s tiny two-room abode. Flanked by my brother and cousin, I thought it was all over with. The drama. But instead, it was just beginning. My stomach dropped as my aunt approached Grandma’s screen door. And as limp as a ragdoll, my younger cousin lay draped across my aunt’s strong arms… cheeks streaked with mascara tinged tears. A stark contrast to the happy blue sequined leotard my cousin sported.

Not surprisingly, Grandma’s voice rang out. “What happened?”

My aunt sighed in response, “Linda said Pam smacked her.”

And that’s when the most startling thing happened. My grandma snatched me off the couch and swatted my bottom with her homemade newspaper fly swatter. But nothing like that had ever happened to me before. Not by Grandma’s hand. So I was stunned. And though my rear didn’t hurt, my heart did. Before long, my cheeks matched Linda’s own. Albeit, my trails of tears were clear. My lashes were undone.


I remember feeling unjustly punished when Grandma disciplined me. Because I felt justified in what I’d done. And I hadn’t a chance to explain. See, we’d been arguing about ice of all things. Unlike me and my brother, who’s choice of snack was sugary and carb laden treats, my cousins snacked on ice cubes. And cabbage wedges.

So that’s what we’d been doing before the incident. Sucking down ice cubes. Afterward, me and my two cousins stood in the bed of a truck. And for some obscure reason, I accused Linda of having about 10 pieces. It must have bothered me… her having more than me. Apparently, I was a score keeper even in my tender youth.

Despite my accusation, my cousin declared she did not. Adamantly. And so we went back and forth a time or two. When she became increasingly irate, I decided to try out what I’d seen on movies. I slapped her face.

But you know, things didn’t turn out quite as I’d planned. Unlike characters in movies who become calm after a swift smack to the cheek, the opposite occurred when I tried my hand at it. My cousin really lost it. She roamed the yard talking to herself and crying while I just looked on in dread. Fearful of what I’d done. Fearful of what might come.

That’s when I retreated to my Grandma’s house.


This is what came to me today. Not long after I peered over the edge of a hospital bed trying to understand my 91 year old grandma. See, the one who swatted my rear all those years ago lies fragile and still. Her voice no longer booming. Nevertheless, I had tears of joy as I looked in her eyes.

Because for a brief time, I didn’t know if she’d turn around. If I’d see her seeing me again…

But Grandma did turn. And now she’s doing her best to talk. Despite her inability to voice her thoughts, though, the shape I find her in seems nothing short of a miracle. Truly. For she is awake. Alert. And it looks like she wants to eat. She is moving in the right direction.

And you know what? I think I am, too. Finally. Let me say that again. Finally, I’m going the right way.


I have to be honest. Before Grandma went into the hospital, I’d been going through a rough patch. Ever since July. For some inexplicable reason, I’d been going the wrong way. Rooted in the past. Faith shaken. Doubts raging. Disbelief abounding. All this having to do with God.

With my God.

And how He sees me.

And that fact shocks me today. Truly. Because how could I have fallen so far?

But you know what? I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face. In a good way, though. The kind you see on movies. Because my senses have returned. All because a few people took the time to slap me in the face.

First, there was a comment from a stranger to one of my blogs. It came across as stern. A reprimand. And then one of my aunts reached out. She told me to let the past go and move forward. Live in the now.

Finally, one week ago, another aunt spoke words of counsel to me. As we sat in Grandma’s hospital room, when things looked the grimmest, she said she’d wondered if I’d forgotten about grace. And you know what? I had. Inconceivably, I’d forgotten grace. She left me with two words that evening… faith and grace.

Truth is I felt upset with all these remarks initially. Unjust punishment. And I wanted to tell my side of the story. Because I felt justified in my feelings. I deserved to wallow in misery, right?

But now, I see it all for what it is. I needed to hear everything those women voiced. Because they jarred me loose. Shook me up. I received a slap in the face. And it was necessary.

“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.” Hosea 2:14-15

I just love the above verse. I’ve quoted it to more than one friend… how God will speak tenderly to her. And how her valley of Achor will become a door of hope. Because it’s such a lovely picture. That her trouble (meaning of Achor) can become a gateway of hope. Expectation.

But suppose you’re the one who’s bringing on the trouble. Because that’s what this passage is referring to. The nation of Israel was unfaithful to God. And one person in particular stole from the plunder set apart to be destroyed. That’s the portion that spoke to me this morning. Through the book of Joshua.

And the word wasn’t so tender. Rather, it was firm. Tears hovered on my bare lashes.

See, there are things God wants me to destroy. My old stuff. Bad memories. But more than that, it’s my sinful nature. Yes indeed, I’ve been dwelling in the Valley of Achor, but the truth is it’s been my own doing. I’m the one who keeps revisiting the lowlands of trouble. And this is what He wants me to see today. It’s what He wants me to hear.

A firm word. Not a tender one.

So I find myself feeling thankful. Hopeful, even. Because God spoke. Through His word and through the women in my life. More than one dared to speak truth.

In the midst of my pity party for one, brave souls took me by the shoulders and shook. Via words.  And so, I’m encouraged to pull down my decorations that consist of inward eyes.

And look out instead. And forward. And there I see my Grandma who lies in a hospital bed. And I find hope…


Something happens to a person when a loved one goes into the hospital. At least, this is what happened with me. Because in facing the gravity of my Grandma’s situation, my entire perspective changed. Drastically. It’s inevitable, really.

In fact, worrying about losing someone important feels like being splashed with ice cold water. Or like being slapped across the face. It’s a jarring sensation.

And in witnessing what’s really important in life, the other stuff fades away. Because all you really want to focus on is your loved one. And more than anything, you want to hear the words she’s trying her best to get out. Because her words are important. Sensible. Tender and meaningful. Formative and inspiring.

That’s my Grandma.

And today, my hope is she’ll be talking again real soon. Because she really wants to say something. And chances are, it’s a word I need to hear.


I love you and I like you, too! (Grandma’s gift)


Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Today seems to be shrouded in darkness for more than one reason. One, yesterday was the anniversary of one of America’s darkest days. Two, it’s such a rainy day. Oh, so dreary. And three, my grandma is sick. So sick. She lies in ICU this very minute. Ever since Sunday night.

The timing of it all seems almost appropriate, though. Her lying still. Because when 9/11 took place fourteen years ago, it hit her incredibly hard. Mom said Grandma sat in front of her TV for days. She grieved and mourned for the lives lost. Tears flowed and she couldn’t bring herself to eat. And when she finally did rouse, she was overcome by dizziness.

It’s this that led to her downfall on Sunday. The eating. Or not being able to. She just couldn’t keep anything down. And so now, six days later, she’s out of it. Intubated and without words. It looked as if she wanted to speak yesterday, but just couldn’t. There was the tube. So she became agitated.

But her son, Larry, spoke to her. And his words seemed to comfort her as she calmed down.


For You have been a stronghold for the poor, a stronghold for the humble person in his distress, a refuge from the rain, a shade from the heat. Isaiah 25:4

As what people tend do in times like this, I look back on my grandma’s life. The 91 years she’s trod God’s green earth. And I fondly remember all the warm moments we shared.

Hours and hours around a kitchen table playing Rummy, Uno, and Yahtzee. And I smile when I think of Little Debbie Zebra cakes. How she never seemed to run out. But even better than the store bought treats was Grandma’s coveted skillet bread. She could whip up a batch in no time for all us hungry youngins.


Yeah, Grandma loved her grandkids and we loved her. She’s the one we sought when injured. And she always seemed to have the right supplies on hand. A tub for soaking a cut foot. Bandages for wrapping. Lotion for softening. Was it Keri? She’d finish up her handiwork with a comforting kiss or a hug. And that’s the word I’d have to use to describe Grandma. Comfort.

For true, Grandma was a source of reassurance to each and every one of us in our younger days. A rock. A fortress. A stronghold. When I was small, she became my defender when my brother squirted Prell shampoo into my eyes. And years later when I vandalized school property (a severe lack of good judgment on my part), she stood by me and my friend. Grandma tucked me under one arm and my friend under the other as she walked us back to my mother. And without her by my side, I don’t think I’d have had the courage to approach Mom, who was positively livid.

Indeed fond memories rise to the surface at a time like this. But you know, today I wonder more about the things that went unsaid. And unshared. Questions unasked. Totally my fault as I always seem to think tomorrow will come. In a Scarlett O’Hara-esque way, my heart beats, “After all tomorrow is another day.”

Thus, I allowed busyness to crowd out what really matters. Like relationship. And spending time with loved ones. Really delving into my family’s lives and matters of the heart. Grandma’s heart.


Maybe it’s because of 9/11. Or the darkness of the day. Or just because Grandma doesn’t look like Grandma right now. In the end, I guess the reason matters naught, but I do find a question hovers upon my lips. It’s one I never asked and wish I did. But the reality is, it may go unanswered. Because in truth, we don’t know that Grandma will come out of this.

We all hope and pray she will. There is always that hope. But we just don’t know. She is 91, after all…

Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me. Micah 7:8

“Was your faith ever shaken, Grandma?”

This is what I ponder today. And though I may not get the chance to ask the question, I realize Grandma’s footsteps leave behind clues. A trail of bread crumbs for her offspring to follow. And so all I have to do is look to the testimony of her life to find the answer.


Grandma’s Gift

Her name is Lola Pearl. And though I adore it, I’m told she wasn’t crazy about it. But you know, I believe there’s something to a person’s name. Insight to be gained. Starting with Lola…

The name means “sorrows.” And in looking back, I’d have to say Grandma is a woman of many sorrows. Hardship. She lost her husband much too soon. A widow left alone to raise four young children. Poor. At times, destitute. She became deathly sick not long after.

But Grandma didn’t die. She persevered. She raised her kids. She provided them with shelter. And though the house was dilapidated with knocked out windows, there was a roof overhead. Rags stuffed in the holes warded off the winds.

“I have fallen to my knees in the middle of the darkest nights and in the shining of the noonday sun to pray for release, but receive no answer. But, hope remains, hope is the thin cord that keeps me tethered to my soul. The cord seems thinner each day, stretched to transparency, still holding tenaciously, refusing to allow my self to escape to the void in which my heart resides.” Marsha Cooke


Did Grandma ever lose her faith? Perhaps her middle name provides the necessary clue. Pearl. See, I’ve heard it said an oyster can’t produce a pearl without the grain of sand. The rough. The suffering. And this is what Grandma endured. Pain and sorrows.

And so in looking back on Grandma’s life, I’d venture to say yes. Surely she had a few dark moments in which her faith was shaken. However, those moments became such a lovely part of her story. For she persevered. She carried on. No less than 91 years. And we don’t know that she’s reached the end of her journey yet. We just don’t.

After all, tomorrow is another day…


It’s true my Grandma had a hard life. But you know, this woman named Lola, a woman of many sorrows, became a woman of much wisdom. Pearl. And the wisdom she gained was passed on to her children. And children’s children. In fact, she passed on something valuable to me.

“I love you and I like you, too!”

I don’t know that Grandma coined the blessing, “I love you and I like you, too.” But even if she didn’t, it’s what comes to mind when I think of Grandma. And just this week, I realize the beauty of those words. And how wise they really are.

See, I grew up feeling inferior to most people. Undesirable. Unlikeable. Truth is, I’ve carried this junk in my heart for far too long. Even in recent days, less than feelings haunted me. But today, I hear Grandma’s voice.


I love you!

I like you, too!

The wonder is Grandma knew. And I, her granddaughter, am cut from her cloth. Perhaps even she dealt with the same issues I struggled with in finding my way. My trials nothing in comparison to what this woman endured… but similarities.

A humble start. Having less than what other’s had. And in her wisdom, Grandma knew what I needed to hear. And still need to hear. Maybe it’s what her entire brood needed to hear. Because she said it often.

Grandma loves us. And she likes us, too.

Her words of wisdom. What a gift.


He will destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face… Isaiah 25:8

Yep, I’d venture to say Grandma had her faith shaken a time or two in 91 years. But you know… the longevity of her days give testimony to an enduring faith. Moreover, the hard times taught her how to relish the good times. And to see them for what they really are.

Life’s rough patches are the sands of time that afforded Lola Pearl a beautiful strand of pearls. Of wisdom. This is our inheritance.  And so, if this turns out to be Grandma’s time, we need not sorrow. And I stress the word if here…

Because Grandma’s legacy is one of hope. She knows in the end, there will be no more sorrow. No more pain. And no more tears. And when that day comes, whenever that may be, there’ll be someone waiting for her on the other side.

And our gift to her? To this woman who gave so much?

We just need to make sure we get there, too.

Farewell Kiss, by Lola Pearl

A good bye kiss is not forever, just a little while

Our golden years together swiftly passed us by

After storm clouds are over, there’s always sun to shine

After this life is over and golden stairs we climb

We will be together, with no more tears to blind

With thy loving savior and your hand in mine

We will be there waiting for our loved ones left behind.