Settle me…

Every day, I journey to work via an hour commute. And of course, at the end of my long day, I journey back home that hour route.

That’s a whole lotta thinking time.

I have come to really, really appreciate this quiet time. It is me, my Christian music, and my thoughts. The drive is easy with little traffic and my mind has the opportunity to reflect.

I have needed this time. Over the past several months, it has become my prayer time. During these moments, I am not distracted by the busyness of the world. Yes, I pay attention to the semi trucks around me, but the noise of the world is quiet. 

This time settles my anxious soul before work. It settles my racing mind after work.

God is around us and alive in our everyday lives. He is working, speaking, breathing truth. These quiet moments in the morning and in my commute are welcomed moments to be still.

I am learning to still my mind. 

But may the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10

Settle…to become or make calmer, quieter, adopt a more secure, steady life

Life is full of challenges and change. Life is full of people who are challenging. God is bigger than all of this.

Being a Christian does not mean life is easy, but it does mean never having to be alone.

Lord, settle me. Calm my racing, anxious mind. 

Sometimes, I allow my mind to travel to my favorite places of calm…


This calms me as I recite Scripture from memory.

Lord, settle me.

I encourage you to find some moments of quiet. Carve out some whitespace in your day.

And, Trust God to settle you.

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Living Stones

To linger here for just a few more minutes…

I love mornings tucked under a blanket with tea or coffee in hand. It is my quiet time to reflect on life and the Word before the day begins.

Last night, we attended our county Fair. The weeklong event draws upwards of 300,000 people to our small community. We walked the fair, visited with people, and rounded to our favorite fair food vendors. It was too much for me…the noise and crowd…I just wanted quiet. My husband and I agreed that the older we get, the less we enjoy crowds.

So, this morning, I am especially enjoying the quiet. In between devotional books to guide my morning time with God, I started to read 1 Peter and found myself fixated on the second chapter…living stones.

Stones can be used to build something up. Stones can also be used to tear someone or something down. We don’t usually think of stones as having living qualities, but figuratively, I like this analogy.

Stones. Are we living stones… building up others and encouraging them? If Jesus is the cornerstone of our lives, then we should be the living stones to share his goodness with others. First Peter 3:15…but sanctify the Lord your God in your hearts and always be ready to give defense to everyone who asks you for the reason for the hope that is in you. 

Today,  may we be living stones sharing the love and hope of Christ with others!!

Also, if anyone has suggestions for a devotional, please let me know. I just finished reading Draw the Circle, the 40 day prayer challenge, for the third time. I like devotionals that challenge me, are filled with spiritual truths, and incorporate Scripture reading. If you have not read Draw the Circle, I highly recommend it!!


Breathing through the Clutter

Clutter. 

This past Sunday, I came home from church and looked around at the current situation of my downstairs. From the busyness of our lives, everything had become cluttered. Nothing was in its place.

My life had been feeling a bit cluttered, too. I was spiraling from feeling as though things were out of place.

With the “voluntold” help of my husband and son, we spent hours decluttering and organizing our downstairs that day. An unwanted chair that had become my son’s dumping station for school stuff was taken to Goodwill. An old couch was placed on a Facebook garage sale group and sold. We picked up, we pitched, we organized. 

The minimalist look of my front room, my reorganized laundry area, and my scaled down living room have left me with breathing space.

I needed to declutter.

I needed some whitespace.

Life gets like this. 

Sometimes, we need to declutter the distractions around us and quiet the noise. We need to evaluate all the things that compete for our time and decide what really matters to us.

Sometimes, we have to say no to something so that we can say yes to something else. Sometimes we need to strip down our lives to the essential things that matter most.

We have to fight through the noise of the clutter so we can catch our breath.

This morning, I sit in my living room. The hum of a light is my only noise. I savor these moments before I must begin the day. 

A life uncluttered, focused on those things most dear to my heart, Christ as the foundation…that is the life I seek.

What “clutter” in your life might you be able to declutter so that you can see more clearly and catch your breath?

Catch Your Breath

We all need a pause.
I attended the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) last week, and during those two days, had a wealth of information poured into me. I plan to share some of these things, but today I want to focus on one thing.

Reflection.

It is Friday morning at the moment. I am sitting on my couch in the quiet of my house. I wonder…how did Friday get here so fast?

I think of the busyness at work, situations faced, and things I must do yet today. I think of our situation at church and where we are in our pastoral search and as a church. My son started back to school yesterday. The days are getting shorter. So much is going on in the world that is so disheartening.

I need a pause.

At the GLS, Pastor Bill Hybels challenged us all to spend 15 minutes each morning to read and reflect on life…our leadership, faith, family, who we are becoming, are we fully surrendered? And then, are we getting better or busier?

Sometimes, life needs a pause button. 

My mornings are my pause time to step back and reflect. 

Am I getting better or busier?

In this stillness, I reflect, I pause, I pray, I am still.
I catch my breath. 

Some mornings it may be a run or walk. Some mornings I might journal. And many are much like this…quiet stillness on my couch reflecting and in the Word.

I encourage you to take at least 15 each morning.

Pause before you jump into the day.

Give yourself permission to catch your breath.


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

Learning to Relax

You would think that relaxing would be something easy to do, right? Not so much for me. I am learning to relax. I can relate so much to Martha in the Bible. In Luke 10:38-42, Martha was busy with all the work as her sister sat attentive and focused at the Lord’s feet.

Martha missed what was truly important at that moment.

I am so much more like Martha than Mary.  My son wants to watch TV with me, but I feel the need to be doing something while watching. Dinner cooking? Why not load the dishwasher? It is so hard for me to be present. 

I work in senior care, and one thing I have learned from older adults living with dementia…you learn to live in the moment. They have been great teachers to me.

I tend to wake up early even after a short night of sleep. I can relax best in the morning quiet. I love the ocean, the mountains, the lake…they all help me relax. I know I need to learn to relax where I am. Resting is important for my well-being.

I also want to be attentive with my friends. I want to be present for my family. I want to learn to relax. I don’t want to miss moments at the Lord’s feet. These moments are present every single day. 

God is with us. Rest and relaxation are okay. In fact, they are needed to replenish our tired souls.

The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 

How do you relax? Am I the only one who struggles with being able to relax?