Unsettling times

This past week has been unsettling with the terrorist attacks in Paris and Lebanon. Syrian refugees attempt to flee their land and we are all left wondering what to do. Fights break out on social media over how we care for them and ongoing political differences divide us. And let’s not even bring up the silly red cups again. Our world feels chaotic. We wonder who to blame. And all the while, holidays are on the horizon, and our hearts feel far from “peace on earth”.

This caused me to spend some time in scripture looking for answers. I knew what I’d find. I’ve done this before. But, nonetheless, I had to go through the motions again so that my heart could catch up.

These unsettling times are nothing new. Israel began seeing their share of terror when they were no longer satiated by the Lord. When they desired a human king “like the other nations”, they showed their true allegiance. God told them they didn’t need anyone else, but gave into their desire. Sometimes, he gives us what we want to show us our need for him. It didn’t bode well for Israel.

As they continued to show their true allegiance, God warned Israel repeatedly with prophets who could, at times, barely utter the warnings from him. “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities (sin) have risen higher than our heads… Ezra 9:6   Still, God forgave his people over and over again, when they turned from their sin and turned back to him.

As I think about these times that we are in, I am convinced that sin and evil reign in this world and we are in desperate need of repentance. We live in such a grace-filled, let it all-hang-out-time period, that I’m afraid we are “light” on our sin without truly understanding the weight of it. I wonder the last time, that we as Christians uttered anything close to the prayer of Ezra, “O my God, I am ashamed and blush my face to you..”. Or do we just mourn each time another tragedy happens, but quickly go about our days with little to no care for our choices or that thousands upon thousands of people are dying in theirs?

O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in time of trouble. Psalm 33:1

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When we are one

“…That they may become perfectly one”..

As I read John 17, I was struck by how many times Jesus referenced our “oneness” with he and the Father God. I actually went back and counted, because if I have learned one thing from Bible study classes, it’s that you should take note of repetition. Five times Jesus pleaded for our oneness!

“Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”

Jesus went on to ask that not only the disciples, who he had spent so much time with, would be one with he and God, but also all of us “who will believe in me through their word” would be one. That’s us! His reasoning? That the world would believe God sent Jesus to this world, through our display of unity.

I had to stop for a minute and let those words soak in.

If you’ve ever experienced unity with other believers (or anything remotely like unity) then you know what a gift and joy it is. Meals, prayers, worship together, carrying burdens, sharing truth, celebrations, and sorrow are all part of how we unite in Christ. I’ve experienced every one of these at different times, but to realize that Jesus prayed for them on our behalf stirs something inside of me.

When Jesus talks of his unity with the Father, we can often nod our heads and agree, that of course they had it, but what about us? His example was supposed to be the norm among genuine believers in Jesus. Our togetherness and love for one another should scream to the world, that we are God’s children and that it’s so great, you’d want it too.

Fighting, divisions, and hatred have no place here.

Our mission to connect people to Jesus for life change should be like an artery running through each one of us. Our prayers for one another should mimic Jesus’ prayer that we be held in “safe-keeping and away from the evil one”. When was the last time you prayed those kind of words for your family or friends?

Lord, unify us today. We are your people and we desire to spread your glory to the nations by standing together in unity. Thank you for surrounding us with people who have experienced your good gifts and because of it, can’t wait to share them with others.

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I was lied to last night.

I was lied to last night.

I fell deep into the flowing words, captivated by how they confirmed what hid deep in the crevices of my heart. As they went on, I sunk deeper and deeper, falling into moments of despair and even moments of anger.

The details of what I was being lied to about aren’t even the important part. Probably what’s more important is recognizing that we are all at times, the prey.

I was the prey last night.

As the Bible describes Satan, the enemy of God, he is described with words like, “a lion, who prowls around seeking whom he may devour”, or as an “angel of light” who deceives. John 8 tells us that he’s been a murderer from the beginning and he is a liar, speaking his native language.

I have to believe that he also speaks our native language, because truthfully, I heard him loud and clear last night, with so many bits of truth and so many twists on that truth.

As the night went on, alone in my bed, without even the possibility of going to sleep any time soon, I realized how the Enemy likes to attack: when we are alone.

It felt as though I was being pummeled as item after item was brought up, on what apparently was the “hidden thoughts of my mind” kind of list.

Every fear, every disappointment, and even, every insecurity, seemed to hit me in the face and I was shaken.

I wish I could tell you that I quickly began saying scripture to combat these lies. I wish I could tell you that as I prayed, the lies disappeared, but they did not.

I began to question the Lord about these struggles. Why would he allow ______? Why when we __________, would he allow this?

I’m thankful that he’s not afraid of my questions. Instead, he lovingly directs me.

After what seemed like hours, I finally fell asleep, only to waken with a raw heart and a tired mind.

It was time to get up for church. I began getting ready and more lies began to pour in.

This was an all out battle. I wanted to cry and tell my husband, but as a pastor’s wife, I’ve learned that timing is key. And just before my husband was about to preach a powerful message in a new series, wasn’t the time to “unload”. This one was simply mine and the Lord’s to work out.

As I packed my children into the car to head to church, I began what has become an every week routine. I prayed, out loud for them, for me, for our church, and for my husband. Today, I just kept on praying and God began to heal my heart of the wounds of last night. I couldn’t wait to arrive at my church so that I could sit in the service and hear worship songs filled with all kinds of God’s truth. My heart needed it more than ever.

The band began to play and word after word that they sang felt like healing salve.

Holy, holy, holy, though the darkness hide thee….

At your name, the morning breaks in glory….

It was as if they knew the night I had just had and how very much I longed to see the sun.

Over and over God’s truth was shared through my church family and our worship team. As they opened their mouths proclaiming this truth, I felt the Lord remind me of his love for me. He has not forgotten. He hasn’t missed a thing. All of this is part of his plan.

Sometimes, we just really need to be reminded. As my husband got up to preach, God spoke through him as well. I’m so thankful that hard truth-but real truth- is always taught at Southbridge Fellowship. Oh what a gift it is!!

Tonight, I still feel a little raw, but thought I would share this very personal experience with you, because I know that I’m not alone in hearing lies. The Enemy so badly wants to discourage us and make us feel helplessly alone. I realized how very important it is to cling to the truth, especially when you’ve been lied to.

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Dear Future Husbands, You’re Welcome!!

As most of you know, I am the mom to four little girls. One day, I hope they have the privilege of becoming a wife, because being a wife, has been such a gift to me. I know God has different plans for each of us, but I plan in this way as I disciple my girls.

In the early years of our marriage, there were days where I had worked a long 12-13 hour shift as a nurse and I would come home to my husband, who was in Seminary at the time, hoping that he had made some delicious meal akin to what he made a time or two while we were dating. When I walked in the door, instead of leading me to the table where a hot meal awaited me, he looked at me and said, “So, what’s for dinner?”

He’s lucky I’m sweet….Ohhh, except for when I’m hungry!

“What’s for dinner? Are you kidding me?”

Enter the “expectations talk” and some ordering of pizza so we don’t kill each other.

For anyone wondering, we worked it out. We didn’t starve and he did end up making some meals. But, I also cooked sometimes after a long shift. We compromised. Isn’t that what every good marriage is made of??

Fast-forward about 13 years. We have four daughters, all of which I hope will know how to care for herself, her roommates, and if God chooses, her future husband and children. But, girls don’t just KNOW how to cook! They have to be taught, or at least exposed. We all start somewhere. I was not a good cook when we got married. Sure, I could make spaghetti out of a jar and lazy-day cookies, because they were my Dad’s favorite cookie, but if you were to ask my husband, he’d tell you the story of my first “steaks”. I use quotations because they were so awful and were more like mystery meat that I inexpensively bought and abused by over-cooking!

Years later, when I began staying home with our first daughter, I realized how much time I had on my hands each day. I was bored at times since we had moved to a new town, and I was used to the fast-paced life of Nursing. But, there I was with a little pink bundle and the Food Network. Praise the Lord for Paula Deen, Giada, and Ina. They were my food mentors! I read recipe after recipe and I cooked like a mad-fool, trying them out on everyone I met. I think both my husband and I gained like 10 pounds that year! These cooking lessons have come in handy as a pastor’s wife. We love to have people in our home and I enjoy cooking (most of the time) even when it’s just our family.

So, I got thinking… I really want my girls to have several go-to recipes that they can make for themselves by the time they leave our home. We’ll be intentional about this. We’ll prepare, plan, and by-gosh we’ll cook!! They WILL know how to care for themselves and perhaps even a table-full!

So here are a few recipes that will make our list:

The best ever homemade pancakes!! I posted these years ago, but they are so good and so comforting. Add blueberries or peaches, a great Maple syrup and voila! Breakfast is served!! Oh, and you may want to add a side of eggs to reduce the sugar coma.

Egg casserole: You can make these a million ways, throw in what you like and pop them in the freezer for another day. I often have one or two in my freezer for busy weeks, which helps so much! Dice it up and throw into a warm tortilla with cheese for mornings on the go.

A fantastic salad: How could I ever choose just one??! When my husband and I first got married, he didn’t think that salad qualified as a complete meal, but throw on some meat and you may win over even the most sincere carnivore!!

I’ve found that a simple salad with cranberries, feta cheese and pecans can be a perfect side dish, but add chicken or grilled salmon and you’ve got yourself a meal. If you’ve never tried roasted sweet potatoes on a salad, I highly recommend that in the Fall. Try this one and you won’t be disappointed! P.S. check out the Cafe Sucre Farine! Chris has the best recipes and a beautiful website. I keep large bags of dried cranberries in my pantry and some sort of nut in my freezer almost all of the time. If you use little bits of these items over and over, you’ll stretch your grocery budget!

Here are a few other salads we love:

Southwest Quinoa Salad-I can’t even begin to tell you about my love for quinoa. It’s gluten free, really good for you, and super tasty when done right!!

Cold Greek Quinoa Salad-Greek? Yes!!!

The best ever party dip! Ok, that may not be true, but based on the speed with which this dip always gets eaten and its versatility of add-ins, I’m going to strongly recommend that my statement is true. (Ahem… Andy Moore!) My friend, Jessica Nielson gave me this recipe while we lived in Dallas and I’ve been making it ever since.

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup Parmesan cheese

1 (8oz) softened block of cream cheese

1-2 chopped cloves of garlic

1 tsp dill (I keep “instantly fresh” jars in my refrigerator for when I don’t have fresh herbs)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and add to an 8×8-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees, for 35-40 minutes or until the top is bubbly and turning brown. Serve warm with pita chips or your favorite cracker-don’t ruin it with carrots. This dip is perfect for throwing parties and completely delicious with chopped artichoke hearts, cooked bacon, cooked diced shrimp, scallions, or even crab! Use any combination you like!

Lastly, I’ll share my homemade spaghetti sauce recipe with you. I came up with this one on a cold day that had me craving dinner to be made by a round, old, Italian woman. She just wasn’t to be found, so I had to do! There are thousands of versions of spaghetti sauce, but I really do love this one and sometimes eat it cold, just because it’s so tasty! If you’re making this for young children, just know that it’s a little bit spicy.

1 lb hot Italian sausage (You can tone down the spice by using “sweet” Italian sausage instead)

1 lb ground beef

1 diced medium onion

1 diced red pepper

3 cloves crushed garlic

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes

2-3 Tbsp sugar (I like it sweeter)

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

1 tsp Italian spices

2 Tbsp chopped basil

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Brown meat (and break into pieces) over medium heat in a Dutch oven or deep sauce pan. Add diced onion and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and try not to fall over from how good it smells! After about 1 minute, add in tomato paste and stir. Add in cans of crushed tomatoes, then sugar, parmesan, and spices. Stir well. After a minute, add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, (but don’t boil) for 2 hours, stirring at least every 20-30 minutes. At this point, you are beginning to channel your inner Italian and your kitchen should smell amazing! Don’t rush the process. Use the whole 2 hours to develop the flavors of the spices and tomatoes. Sauce will begin to thicken-add water if needed.

Serve warm over pasta or meatballs. Makes for a great sauce for meatball sandwiches or lasagna as well. You’ll have leftovers unless you’re feeding 10 people. Throw it in the freezer for another day.

So, there you have it! These are just a few of our tried and true recipes that I will require highly suggest that my girls know before leaving our house. So dear future husbands, treat my girls well and they will take such great care of you!!! You’re welcome!!!

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Meager Offerings

It was a typical scene at my house. Little girls hovered around a bedtime Bible story, most of which they’ve heard read over and over through the years. One was giggling and trying to jump on her bed, while another was intent on listening. On this particular night, we read that a crowd had gathered to hear Jesus; a crowd, who were obviously looking for something. Healing maybe? Perhaps this man had the answer to their needs.

As Jesus looked out on the crowds, he asked his disciples where they would get enough bread to feed these people numbering in the thousands. None of Jesus’ disciples had a good answer. They knew they didn’t have the money to provide for so many needs. It appears that the disciples began looking around at what each family had to offer, because Andrew spoke up with his findings. “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”

As I read this to my girls, it struck me. Why did Andrew even speak up about these 5 little loaves of poor man’s bread and some pickled fish? Why, when he could look out at the crowds of people who were obviously hungry, would he even mention this meager offering?

Was it because he wanted to see what Jesus could do? Was it because he believed that maybe, just maybe this guy they had been following around really could do something extraordinary?

As I finished reading the story to my girls, I couldn’t help but feel that nudge. It’s the kind that comes from the Lord as you read his Word, which takes you back to your own bigger Bible to read the story again. I left with the same belief.

I believe Andrew longed to see Jesus do the impossible.

Ever been there?

Ever wonder if you’re in over your head, like you’re looking out at the sea of people and you’re somehow supposed to provide something for them and you just don’t know how it’s going to happen? If you’re a mom, you’ve probably experienced this feeling a million times over. How will I teach them all they need? Will it be enough? How will I shepherd their little hearts to love you God, when I make so many mistakes myself?

The answer is in this amazing Bible story….

Like the little boy and Andrew, you give your meager offering today, and watch God multiply it to meet their needs.

Walk obediently about your day, which might even feel insignificant and boring at times and observe how God uses what you’ve given him to care for his people. He performs the miracles; we are required to be obedient.

Your little is his BIG!

*Scripture from John 6

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Your marching orders have changed.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????With the news coverage of fighting in the Middle East, it doesn’t take much to imagine a battle scene. Perhaps you see soldiers marching behind their leader or the dust and blood carrying weighty stories across a soldier’s face.

As I read through Ephesians recently, I couldn’t help but imagine a battle scene, but not the kind where innocent lives were lost; it was of the supernatural kind.

Ephesians 2, written by Paul, a used-to-be murderer of Christians turned follower of Jesus, wrote these words:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

At one time, we were all soldiers fighting behind the Enemy’s lines. And while now I, and perhaps you too, have given your life to Christ, there was a time when we marched along behind the prince of the power of the air-which is Satan-God’s enemy. It may seem harsh to you, but the truth is, until you bow your knee to Christ, you are on the Enemy’s side.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get over how God calls us out of our mess. In fact, I hope I never do! We were marching along, destined to hell and dead in so many ways and then, our marching orders changed. Because of Christ’s death and blood shed for the payment of our sins, we were summoned out of the darkness, like a soldier receiving new orders. The question is, will you accept?

This is one of the things I most love about the Lord. He takes us from being a soldier who was fighting for the Enemy, to being a part of the tight-knit brotherhood, we would call the “family of God”. And he teaches his new army how to care for one another through the example of his own Son, who laid down his life for yours and mine. Not just so that his army could be bigger, but because he loves and cares for each soldier. By grace you have been saved! Amen?!

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10





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Fight back with Joy!


When Margaret Feinberg was diagnosed with Cancer, she chose an unconventional plan of attack: She would fight back with joy.

Driven to neither succumb to fear or depression, Margaret, a well-known author and speaker in the Christian community, chose to fill her Cancer-fighting arsenal with joy. This wasn’t just a fluffy emotion or naive decision, joy was found during very difficult and painful days. But with over 400 scripture references to joy, Margaret resolved that suffering doesn’t win. Joy wins.

Along with amazing doctors, who passed her “test” of laughing when she wrote a joke on her body in a place only they would see during physical exam, she attacked Cancer and won! She believes deeply that we are created for joy. This is not just a fleeting emotion, but a supernatural provision of the Lord.

In her own words:

“During the last year and a half, I felt my way through the darkness of despair and stared death in the face. Somewhere along the way God unveiled a spectrum of joy I had never experienced-from the joy expressed as lighthearted laughter in an impossible situation to the joy experienced from hearing the deep voice of God during times of great pain. Through it all, I learned something startling: more than whimsy, joy is a weapon we use to fight life’s battles.”

I had the opportunity to read several chapters of Margaret Feinberg’s new book, “Fight back with Joy” as part of her “partymob” of bloggers. I want to recommend it to you today as you begin the New Year. If you’ve ever read any other books of hers, you know that Margaret weaves scripture and Biblical insight together like a fine tapestry. She fills the pages with encouragement and truth all the while leaving you with a desire to return as quickly as possible.

Margaret identifies scriptures which divulge the delights God has bestowed on all people: a cheerful word, a surprise birthday party, a good day’s work, sweet wine, extra virgin olive oil, just-out-of-the-oven artisan bread, sex, the birth of a child, a fiftieth wedding anniversary, the dawn of harvest and more.

In addition, for those who have bowed their knee to Christ, there are further promises of new life and joy including: forgiveness, restoration, salvation, comfort, the law and decrees, God’s presence, and homecoming. Our greatest joy, being in the gift of Jesus Christ himself-our hope and future.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Margaret’s new book and maybe one for a friend. As life’s struggles come your way, add joy to your arsenal and attack doubt and fear in a whole new way.

Watch the promo video here.

See below for ways you can order “Fight back with Joy”.


Barnes and Noble

6 Session Bible-Study kit



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Sugar cookies and other Merry treats

Merry Christmas friends!! Can you believe it’s only a week away? Some of you just had a mini-heart attack. (I hope not!) Wherever you are today in your Christmas preparations, I want to encourage you to remember what this season is all about. It isn’t the cookies and presents or parties and extra traffic although those will all likely be a part of this season. The real reason we celebrate is because the Savior of the world came to us as a baby. His arrival rocked the world! As a benefactor of the life change that he brings, I try to soak in every (fun) aspect of this season. I drank this little gem yesterday and had a few quiet moments to myself. Boy did that hit the spot!

christmasdrinkI began the Christmas season feeling many of the same stresses that often come with it, but after a “come to Jesus” moment, I turned that around and chose to focus on HIM instead of the other distractions that so easily steal my joy during the “most wonderful time of year”. I’ve been reading through the gospels and that has been especially timely and encouraging.

I am still homeschooling my girls, which is proving to be so much more difficult right now. All we really want to do is play Christmas music, watch Christmas movies, make cookies…decorate Christmas cookies….eat Christmas cookies…you get the picture. While I honestly cringe a little when all of my girls gather in the kitchen and ask to pour in the flour (because I know where it will all go), I am thankful for these moments that I have to share this yearly tradition with them.

20141218_104419My littlest lady was helping me make sugar cookies today and I got thinking, maybe you’d enjoy this tried and true recipe that I’ve been making for about the past 13 years. The Almond extract is delightful and my oldest daughter claims that it just “makes these cookies”. Take her word for it. They are really good.

So, Merry Christmas from me to you! Enjoy!

Sugar Cookies:

1 1/2 c powdered sugar

1 c unsalted butter

1 tsp Almond extract

1 tsp Vanilla extract

1 egg

2 1/2 c Flour

Mix softened butter and sugar until lumps appear. Add almond extract, vanilla, and egg. Blend well with hand mixer until creamy. Stir in flour and blend well.

Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut shapes and place on a lightly greased pan. Cook 8-9 minutes, but don’t let them brown.

Yields approximately 2 1/2 dozen.

There are many types of frosting that you can use. This is the one I use. It is not terribly smooth, but it tastes soooo good! So, that has to count for something!!

Sugar cookie frosting:

1 c unsalted butter

1 lb powdered sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

(food coloring to color)

Beat softened butter and sugar until smooth. Add salt and vanilla and beat well. Divide into desired bowls and frost cookies.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Psalm 150:6


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May it be to me…

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Our family watched the Nativity Story movie last night. It’s such a telling picture of what Mary and Joseph’s life may have been like before the birth of Jesus. There were so many struggles they must have endured and many that I’ve never thought about as I read the story. The ending of course, was our favorite, as baby Jesus was born in the stillness of that night in Bethlehem. Our girls kept saying, “oh, baby Jesus is just soooo cute!” What a great way to turn my focus on the real reason we celebrate this “busy” season of Christmas.

Probably the most “heart-checking” part to me however, is Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel after he comes to tell her that she will bear God’s Son. Imagine being a young teenage girl in a society filled with stoning for sins! Luke outlines the story in great detail for us and shares Mary’s response in a moment when I’m pretty sure I may have wanted to just sit down and cry…or run away: “I am the Lord’s servant. I am willing to accept everything you’ve said. May it be to me as you have said.”

Really, Mary??! No wonder God chose you.

I’m kidding, but only a little. I love her response. And it’s this response of complete surrender that has encouraged women for thousands of years. I hope you’ll be encouraged by her today.

We aren’t being asked to do something this extraordinary, but whatever your situation, it may feel all-encompassing to you. Christmas is a busy time of year, often overwhelming. It’s easy to allow our focus to turn to the next trip to the store or how there isn’t enough money to get all the things you had hoped to get. What about when you lose your job before the holidays or your kids are ruining the fun with their ungrateful attitudes? Are you focused on that trip to your in-laws that is going to be so difficult or how you wish you could (fill in the blank) but aren’t going to be able to this year?

Disappointments are real and they seem magnified at this time of year, when you’re apparently supposed to be “Merry and Bright”. But what if we looked at Mary’s response and chose total surrender to what God has in store for us this Christmas season?

The car died again…May it be to me as you have said.

Is there enough money to buy presents?….. May it be to me as you have said.

I feel lonely and wish I had someone to walk through this season with…I am the Lord’s servant. I am willing to accept everything you’ve said.

I just want a child…I am willing to accept everything…

We have to move AGAIN! ….May it be to me as you have said.

I miss my ______ so much during the holidays… May it be to me as you have said.

If you are one of God’s children, he is faithful and present and he sees you, even when life is not turning out like you had hoped. We don’t always understand why, but I know from personal experience and from Mary’s story that God is always working out his plan and will use your life for his glory. Mary chose to accept God’s plan and it meant ridicule, shame, a difficult journey, near death experiences, and also tremendous blessing! She laid out her life in surrender, as years later her Son would do for all of us in the greatest act of love we’ll ever know. “May it be to me as you have said”, must have been the most life changing words she ever spoke!

So, how will you respond today?


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There is hope: World AIDS day

AIDSToday is “World AIDS day”, which doesn’t mean much to a lot of people. I don’t fault anyone for that. But since my life was touched by HIV years ago, this is a day of reflection for me. It’s also a day that I hope to bring encouragement to Christians in “the church”.

You don’t often hear much about AIDS inflicted people, unless you’re talking about orphans in Africa who’ve lost both parents to the disease or about “those” with a lifestyle that would “cause” such things. But AIDS is very real here in America. Did you know that 14,000 Americans die with AIDS every year? There are also about 56,000 Americans who will be infected with HIV this year.

How should the church respond? Because, surely, we SHOULD respond.

Are people with HIV/AIDS welcome at your church? I sure hope so! At our church, I’ll be the first (of many) in line to welcome anyone who wants to disclose that information. It’s important to educate yourself on the real facts about HIV/AIDS and how it is transmitted. Often, our fear just comes from a lack of knowledge.

We know children living with this disease who are doing so well! Reducing their viral load by receiving the proper medication has been the most significant factor to their success. Did you know that the pharmaceutical company Glasko-Smith Kline offers anti-retrovirals (ART) to HIV ravaged areas in Africa at cost? They are continually working toward advancement of these medications. If you live here in America, you have countless University hospitals and others who research and provide top-notch care for HIV/AIDS patients.

The mission of our church as well as our own family’s mission is to connect people to Jesus for life change. God has changed ours so graciously, that we can’t help but share him with others. We truly believe that while living with an illness such as HIV or AIDS comes with tremendous obstacles, there is hope in a life lived with Jesus.

I remember holding the hand of a woman who had been diagnosed HIV+ just moments earlier. I still remember the tears streaming down her cheeks as screams and cries echoed against the walls of her hospital room. It was sobering and heartbreaking. But, considering that I would go through that very experience less than a year later, it was gracious of the Lord to give to me. I also remember seeing her a month later when she told me, “Thank you for being there with me. I’m going to be ok.”

Like Jesus, we have the opportunity to be his hands and feet; to touch those who desperately need to be touched.

Within minutes of the call from my doctor who told me I was HIV+ in 2005, I felt like a leper and I feared for the tiny baby growing inside of me. I wonder how many of you would be afraid of me, if God hadn’t changed a Western Blot positive HIV diagnosis into the greatest miracle of my life? Would I be welcome to eat dinner in your home? Could I hold your children?

It’s worth asking yourself those hard questions, because if someone ever walks into your life faced with this disease, I want you to be able to love them as Christ would. Check out these helpful links:



some statistics above from: http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/hiv-infection-rates-rising/Content?oid=2285776





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