Exposed

I am on vacation. So, why, oh why does my body insist on me being awake at 6:30? 🤔 And to add to this, there is a time change so it was really just 5:30 when I popped out of bed, mind already racing with thoughts.

We are staying in a restored farmhouse tucked away in the woods. Our friends whose son is also from the same orphanage as our son are here with us. It is a great time of fellowship with family and friends.

I find that I best disconnect from my day to day life in places like this. I need to be in the nature, away from the noises of the world. 

This morning, sleep is eluding me so I have escaped to the basement. Here, it is quiet…just me and my thoughts.

Down here, I look up at the ceiling. Everything is exposed. Nothing is hidden.

Have you ever felt like this? My friend and I have talked about feeling as though our lives are being peeled away layer by layer much like an onion. As I pray to grow closer to God, things about myself, areas in my life, suddenly feel very exposed.

The definition of expose is to make something visible. When things and areas in our lives become exposed even if just to our own awareness, it can leave us feeling vulnerable. Typically, I think most people would agree, this doesn’t feel good. When we feel emotions of guilt, shame, anxiety, weakness…it doesn’t feel very comforting. 

I came across this passage in the Psalms…

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,

and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

The psalmist was inviting God to search his thoughts, to expose anything of offense. Why would he ask this knowing God already knows? I believe when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, when we willingly invite God to examine our hearts and lives, I believe He will expose areas in our lives that may feel much like layers of an onion being peeled back.

I look up at the open ceiling again. I can see the light bulb. I see wires, a nail, a cobweb. Nothing is hidden from my sight. 

Are we willing to be this transparent with God? With others whom we trust who can help us grow? 

Feeling exposed isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is what we do with these feelings that makes all the difference in our lives. When we understand how our behaviors and feelings impact our motivations and actions, then we can understand and begin to make changes.

For example, being told I second guess myself by someone initially upset me, but as I prayed and reflected over it, I have been able to see and understand the reasons I have second guessed myself and to now change my thinking.

Being brave enough to confront our areas of exposure in our lives can open doors to some exciting opportunities for personal, professional, emotional, and spiritual growth. Keeping a prayer journal, having a prayer partner, and spending time with God in spaces where you can disconnect from the flow of life even if just for a few minutes, will help funnel exposure into growth.

Are you willing to invite God to search your heart and thoughts? You don’t have to walk this journey alone.

Everyday Goodness

I am tired this evening but grateful. These past few days have been filled with reminders of His love and hope. Through relationships with family and friends, nature, joy in my calling, and the blessing to celebrate freedom, His goodness prevails. 

As I watched  The Shack for the second time this past weekend, there is a line in the movie that I think many people struggle with. The character portraying God tells Mac that his real problem is that he does not think that God is good because if he did, he would be able to trust God even when he didn’t understand what God was doing.

It is easy to think and believe God is good when all is going well. It becomes harder when life doesn’t make sense. When my coworker lost her life in child birth, I found myself wondering what good was there in that. How could that possibly be part of God’s plan? I stopped wearing my bracelet that week.


As I worked through my grief, I realized that some things in life have no answers. While I don’t understand how this fits into His plan, I believe God is ultimately good. I believe He has a plan for my pain. 
So, this Fourth of July holiday, I chose to celebrate my freedom in Christ. God is good. I may not understand many things, but I can trust He is walking this journey of my life with me and has a plan for me.

His goodness is all around me, and He has a plan. ( I am wearing my bracelet again as a reminder to me that He is with me always).

Enjoy these reminders of His goodness, and seek to find your own everyday.


A Quieted Spirit

Aww…much needed time away. I am spending my birthday weekend with my husband on a little getaway from home. I am presently enjoying this view from my window seat in our hotel. 

As I listen to the water flowing, rather rapidly due to all the recent rainfall here, I am appreciating this time to quiet my soul. I have shared with you about my struggle with fear and anxiety. Last weekend, my friend made me this beautiful photo book filled with Scripture to calm my anxious thoughts. On the cover, was this verse Zephaniah 3:17….the Lord will quiet you with His love.

My mind is often not quiet. I attended a marriage retreat with my husband a few months ago where the speaker talked about a female’s mind running as though there are multiple apps going at the same time. Yup, that’s me. There is the work app, the fear app, the things I need to do for my kids app, the did a tornado hit this house while I was at work app, my dog needs more insulin from the vet app, did I really forget toilet paper from the grocery store app…you get the picture. My mind is seldom calm.

The past several months, my mind has been and continues to be opened to truths about myself. Things like worry, fear, and anxiety…I am beginning to understand where they come from and the depth of their control in my life. God is placing people in my life and situations to allow me to work through these. Thankfully, He is a patient and loving Father. 

I believe that once you open your heart to God and are willing to be vulnerable to Him, He will work in your life. Growth takes time and involves your willingness to be vulnerable, transparent, and open to what He is trying to say to you through situations and others.

As a co-worker apologized to me this week for something, she said this… truly being sorry requires a change in behavior. I am going to change my behavior.  Such truth rests in her words. A change in behavior also includes a change in thinking.

When I feel my mind begin to race with the “what ifs” and the “should haves,” then I need to quiet my mind.

One way I am trying to change my thinking is this….growth is not painful but rather exciting. Growth over time increases our faith and brings us one step closer to who we desire to be as disciples of Christ. Instead of me working so hard to change me, I am realizing I need to pray, listen, and trust God for His guidance in this…one step at a time, one thought at a time. I am learning to believe a quieted mind despite life’s craziness is possible. 

What Scriptures help quiet your mind?

Swim with Confidence

My best friend and I had some time between Sunday morning breakfast and church, so we headed to a state park to enjoy some peaceful reflection. The creek water was incredibly high and spilled over into the parking lot. We settled ourselves on a picnic table with our books. The sunshine filtered its way through the trees.

I breathed in the fresh air. My gaze traveled and fixated on two ducks. They swam in the overflow of the creek. They dunked their heads into the water as ducks do. As they swam along, they seemed to possess a carefree attitude. They had no idea that if they continued to swim forward, their source of water would end as it meshed into the grassy path. 

Proverbs 31 came to mind…

I wish I could swim through life so freely, so trustworthy of the One who holds my future in His hand. Like the ducks, I have no idea when my path might end and blend into new territory. That’s terrifying if I let myself spend too much time on those thoughts.

Instead, I need to trust God with my future. I need to trust His lead. Just as those ducks swam without fear of the water ending, I need to swim with confidence in Christ. 

In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

God, grow me…

I should have anticipated this might be a hard week. I should have expected it would not be easy. As I struggled and wrestled through some difficult issues last weekend, I found myself at the one place I know can make all the difference…on my knees.

I prayed through these situations last Saturday in the quiet of my home. I felt uncertainty. I felt like a failure. The tears flowed freely as I prayed, “God grow me.”

I kept praying through the weekend and as the week started. I prayed. I’m​ not going to sugar coat this…it wasn’t easy. The anxiety was at an all time high. I woke up in the middle of the night with anxiety. I have learned, though, what to do when the anxiety strikes. I pray through Philippians 4:6-7. It helps the breathing to calm so I can I sleep and so the dark clouds of doubt do not overshadow peace.

As I worked through the issues, God was there. In the midst of my anxiety, He was there. Anxiety tries to tell you the worse thing possible. It tries to blind you from all the positive things around you. I know. I have lived in the land of anxiety.

This time, I decided I would not stay in that land. I would pray through the anxiety. I would take ownership. I would share my reflections, my ah-ha moment with someone. I did. God extended His grace. God answered my prayers​ and continues to answer my prayers…God, grow me.

What does it mean to be a better person? People say this a lot…but what does it mean? To be a Godly leader, a good mom and wife, and a loyal friend…so much truth is found in Proverbs. 
For me, this concept of being a “better person” is grounded in “God, grow me.” It is being open to His teaching, His loving discipline, and His revelation of areas in my life where I need developed and refined.

I told my amazing leader that growth is painful. She provided a much different perspective for me in her response…”Growth is exciting.”

She’s right, so right. 

Tonight, something I saw something on Facebook related to my issues from this past week triggered an anxiety attack. I wasn’t staying there. I prayed. My friend prayed for me. I went for a walk. I filled my soul with life breathing words of truth through the music flowing from my headphones to my ears to my heart.

Yes, God’s grace is so sweet. Dear friend, don’t give up. Stay the course. Stay very, very close to Him. And don’t be afraid of growth…it is so exciting. It may seem slow. It may be subtle. If God is in the midst of it, it is worth celebrating!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV
Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:5 NLT
You see, when God gives a grace gift and issues a call to a people, He does not change His mind and take it back. Romans 11:29

No More, No Less

Is it really this simple​?

That verse makes it sound so easy, but being content with who you are to me means surrendering your life to God, trusting Him with your hopes, dreams, and fears, and allowing Him to work in your life. The timeline no longer is yours. 

I like to set deadlines for myself. They are not always realistic. I am learning to trust God with the timing and details. I need to pray and trust. 

I am a work in progress. Accepting that God is working in my life means maybe I can be content with who I am…no more, no less.

That certainly takes a lot of pressure off. Worry less, pray more. Words I am learning to trust more and more each day. 

Sunday reflections: Happiness

Happiness. We have all heard quote after quote about happiness. Money can’t buy happiness. Happiness is a choice. 

Today, I am reflecting over our message at church on the pursuit of happiness. One thing the pastor said that has me quiet and reflective is this… achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort. 

He then proceeded to ask and challenge us…how do we deal with this discomfort? Do we choose to live with it or do we do something about it?

This led my thoughts to something else I have been working on when I pray. Instead of praying out of difficult situations, I want to pray through difficult times because I believe God has something in these moments for me.

Maybe praying through these difficult times of considerable discomfort and being willing to stepping out in faith to meet God is the pathway to happiness. After all, growth is often painful.

I don’t know what discomfort you might be feeling today, but know you are not alone. Pray through your discomfort…and look for opportunities to find joy.