Glorious Hope Fulfilled


“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Rom. 5:3-4

It’s interesting that hope comes through suffering. Too often, after long seasons of suffering, we surrender not to God’s timing but to hopelessness. So, how is it that hope comes after the suffering and perseverance?

I believe the answer comes before the “Not only so.”

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” – Rom. 5:1-2

Do you see it?

Hope is the very glory of God! Our hope is not in what He can do but in who He is. If we cling to Him through our long dark nights, those storms that threaten to sink us, only then, we will see Him more clearly and be able to testify of His saving grace. He alone can rescue and save. He alone can fill us to overflowing. He alone is our joy – everything we’ve been longing for.

Hope is not a wishful thinking that something can be.  Hope is a promise already fulfilled.

“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless (hopeless), Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners… So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” – Rom. 5:5-6,11

The suffering and persevering is only to shake off the worldly vision in order to give us Kingdom sight. Heaven’s perspective is the reality of what already is done.  Therefore, we are never hopeless.  We only need to see who Hope really is.

Lord of Heaven’s Armies, give us eyes to see Your glory – ‘Glorious Hope Fulfilled.’ I pray You speak peace for those still feeling the battering of life’s storms. Let them hear Your whisper as Your hope rises up in their hearts and washes the world’s dust from their sight.  Give us all Kingdom vision.


Want help to gain clearer Kingdom perspective?  Pre-order Tony Evans new book, “Kingdom Prayer.”  It is a hope-filled powerful read.  I promise you will gain clearer sight.

Do You See It?

Seek It

Do you see it?

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27

If you’re a Christian, you’ve probably heard this scripture quoted many times, you’ve probably even read it many times.  What I want to know, is if you see and hear what I’ve missed?  Let’s read it again, only slower.

“Religion – that God our Father accepts – as pure and faultless is this – to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”

Yep, that’s what I’ve heard quoted time and time again over the years.  What a wonderful God we serve!  He cares for each of us and wants us to love each other too.  He wants us to look after each other, to feed the hungry and clothe the poor, to mow the lawn and visit the lonely.  Meet the need!  Doesn’t it feel good when we get to do so?

But, did you see it?  It’s so often overlooked or just never said.  We read the verse.  We quote the words.  We have it quoted to us.  Though like in the above, it’s rarely said in its entirety.  We often stop reading before the “and,” or if we do read it our minds have already stop listening.  Why?

For those of us who have heard it regularly, I think we’ve been conditioned to stop before the “and” because we think we already know the verse.  Our human nature kicks in and we’re already onto wanting next.  I mean, ok, take care of widows and children who do not have parents.  Now, tell me something I don’t know!  I also think we fail to see and hear the “and” because it’s the hardest thing to do.  Giving a meal to a hungry person or hugging a child is easy compared to what else is required of us.  Then again, maybe we stop hearing it because we simply don’t want to, or it just doesn’t fit in with our agenda we’re trying to push that day–if ever.

Here it is, the “and,”

“and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

WHAT?!  Yep, it’s really there!  I read about eight different translations and they’re all the same.  How does keeping “oneself from being polluted by the world” fit in with looking after orphans and widows?  It does tie in, because the worldview is for us to do anything and everything that makes me feel good about me, and to be or become whatever will gain me social accolades.  Sure, feeding hungry children can get you those accolades, but then the heart’s motive is selfish (polluted) not God pleasing.  Try saying you believe in and long to live by the Ten Commandments today.  See how the world responds to that.  They will be quick to point out where you fail, treat you as if you are a lesser species, and many will call you intolerant, even if you are caring for the needs of others.

God knows that for us to have a pure heart, we have to have our heart right with Him.  If we allow the world to pollute us with its ideologies, then He can’t pour Himself through us to love those in need around us.  Sin will erode our minds and harden our hearts toward God and others.  It will hinder us from experiencing all the tenderness He has for us and dampen our ability to give and receive sincere love.

We’re told in verse one that James was writing to the Christians, “To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.”  So this tells me, a Christ follower, that I am vulnerable to the sins of this world and must guard against its deception.

We’re reminded in verse fourteen, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” The New Living Translation states it this way, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.”

It is my responsibility to “keep from being polluted by the world.”  I will only have myself to blame if I don’t.  The temptation will look and taste good for a moment.  It’s enticing!  But, it will soon become bitter in the stomach and poison the body, leaving us unable to care for the needs of others.  What goes in will come out, so we must stay on guard!

Am I the only one who has failed to see the “and” in James 1:27?  It makes me wonder how many other ands, therefore, ifs, or buts I’ve missed.  How many times have I put a period on a verse where there’s only a comma?  It may just be time to revisit a few of our favorite verses, those we think we already know, and the words surrounding them.  God’s word is alive!  He is always speaking!  We will hear Him if we’ll pause to truly listen, and see.  It’s our responsibility.

How do we stay on guard against the pollutants of this world?  By filling ourselves with the entire Word of God, all of the ifs ands and buts.


~ Lord give us sight ~

He Had An Affair – Seven Years To Trust

He Had An Affair 2

I wish I could say I fully trusted Warren when I agreed to marry him, but the harsh truth is it took many years.

Though, isn’t that the way it is for most of us?  We think we expose our heart fully to the other person, but in reality it often takes many years of marriage before we let down our guard.  Sadly, some never do.  The truth is, it took over seven years for me to come to know that I could surrender and trust that Warren really loved me, and I know the moment all my walls crumbled.

We had just received word that a fellow minister, a cherished friend, had a moral failure.  He had an affair.  To say we were shocked would be a huge understatement.  We were breathless from the news.  Warren and I sat in silence for a long time.  A million questions coursed through our minds, but few made it across our lips.  Any answers would have been nothing more than a guess.  What we did know, is how much our friend loved God and treasured his family.

For a long time we just sat side-by-side on the couch.  The pause button had been hit on our busy life.  All the big things suddenly became small in comparison to a broken relationship.  No words were spoken between us, only hands held.  With a pat on my leg, Warren got up and disappeared down the hallway.  I did what I normally do when I’m stressed, I began to clean.  A million more questions began to race through my mind, but soon those questions turned into tears that prayed words I didn’t have for our beloved friends.

I don’t know how much time had passed when I realized I wasn’t hearing the usual sound of Warren pounding out a melody on his keyboard.  I began to walk toward the back of our tour bus but stopped half way back.  I found him lying on the top bunk with his face buried deep in a pillow.  I gently rested my hand on his arm as I asked if he was ok.  His muffled reply, “How do I know I’m not next?”

I asked him what he meant by his question.  I was sure I knew the answer, but I wanted to make sure we were both on the same page in this conversation.  Warren lifted his face from the pillow and turned toward me.  His eyes were red with tears and he was clinging to his Bible.  Clarifying, he asked again, “How do I know I won’t be the next to fall?  How do I know I won’t cheat on you?”

You see, by this time in our marriage we had witnessed so many affairs, alternatives lifestyles, and abuse issues within our field of ministry that we had become extremely guarded with our marriage and ministry.  Our personal battles within and the battles that surrounded us seemed relentless at times.  We had learned to talk openly about our own relationship and the struggles we faced.  We decided to be each others safe place, where we could freely talk out our fears, our insecurities, and the things that tempted us.  We had to if we wanted to succeed at doing life together.  We sought out the areas we had left unguarded in order to establish the necessary boundaries to safeguard our relationship.  We knew that the fiercest attacks from the enemy would be not on our ministry but on our marriage, because if the enemy could destroy us as a team he’d also have the ministry.

The answer to Warren’s question came without hesitation.  The words came out of my mouth with such a bold confidence that I knew it was God speaking.  I knew, because I too was learning the answer as I spoke.

I said, “As long as you keep this heart.”  I then rested my hand on his chest.  “As long as you have this fear that you are capable of falling, you won’t.  It’s the moment we think we’re strong enough on our own that we will be in danger.”

This is the moment I knew I could fully trust Warren.  I saw his heart for me more clearly, as well as his sincere longing to be found faithful with God.  That is the moment I came alive to the fact that Warren deeply and truly loved me.  It’s a love that is rare these days.  He loved me with a pursuing love.  Warren was pursuing my heart after seven years of marriage the way he did when we we’re dating.  From the outside, with our busy life, his love looked different, but he was fighting for us.  Warren was wrestling for us, clinging to God for us, surrendering himself to God for us – loving me like Christ loved the church.  In that moment God humbled my heart.  God stripped blinders from my eyes to see the man He had given me more clearly.

I can almost hear the thoughts being whispered in some of your minds as you read my words now.  Please don’t let the accuser attack your spouse with his luring lies.  Don’t listen to that voice that is so quick to pipe in with thoughts like, “I wish my spouse was doing that for me.”  Or, “That’s great but my husband/wife doesn’t… “  You get my point.   Don’t forget, I said this happened seven years into our marriage, and I believe the only reason we came to this realization when we did is because both Warren and I chose to love God and seek Him.  Neither of us loved each other enough in the beginning.  We didn’t know how!  Had we not chosen God and His laws first, we never would have survived the first few years of our marriage.  We were fallible humans before we were ever ministers.

Marriage has the great ability to illuminate all the things we’ve kept hidden, and bring to surface so much that we ourselves didn’t even know was buried deep inside.  The things we think, say, and do can be really ugly sometimes, leaving ourselves stunned by our own yuckiness.  Marriage forces us to come out of hiding in order to have a healthy and sincere relationship.  To refuse full heart exposure, is a choice to stay blinded by the accuser.  Maybe this is why people don’t get married these days, but that’s another topic…

I had a choice to make the moment God let me peek deeper into Warren’s heart.  Like Warren chose to pursue me, I had to choose if I were willing to still pursue him.  It takes all three to make an unbreakable bond.  I’m so glad I did!  Little did I know the gift God was handing me at that moment.  That was the beginning of our last 2 1/2 years together.  Warren was killed by a drunk driver while we were out ministering, January 2006.

Our friend paid a high price for his decision, but God’s grace has covered he and his family.  They weathered a tough storm, but they’re doing well.  God still redeems!

To trust your spouse or not, is not the first decision.  It’s being willing to see them through God’s lens or not – the way we want to be seen, and it’s a daily decision.

Yes, God still redeems!  Will you let Him?


Another lesson along the journey…

“I’m Done!”


storm 2

A friend said to me, “I’m done Shannan.  The stress of politics has made me miss out on the little important things in life.  People have already made up their minds on voting.  All we can do is pray for God’s will on our country.”

I agree, we should not allow stress to cause us to miss the joys we have before us.  I truly understand the feelings of wanting to be “done,” but it’s a luxury no follower of Christ has.

God never allows us to disengage in the spiritual battles around us. He calls us to rise up in courage each day, place His full armor on, and stand against the schemes of the devil, (Eph. 6).

Is it possible that we struggle with staying in the battle because we don’t know what God has said to us, thus don’t know Him well enough to trust His heart?  This is often the case for me.  I think about Jesus in the wilderness.  Satan tempted Him with every earthly power, every glamorous thing, and with food!  It all sounds like a familiar scheme that’s being used today.  How did Jesus win this battle?  He won it with His Father’s word hidden in His heart and mind, and tied to every part of His being (Deut. 6:6-9).  Jesus could speak the real truth when the counterfeit was presented.

I can almost hear all of the frustrated “Buts” ringing throughout the cyber world now.  “But Jesus was God, I’m not!”  I get it.  I’ve uttered these words to God many times over this past year.  That statement is true, but Jesus was also encapsulated in this human body like we are and felt every fear, every sorrow, every hunger pain, and dare I say, every frustration toward us who doubt Him?  His spirit, who He is, was bound in this world by a fleshly body, bound on this side of the veil, but He assured us that we will do the same works He did, only greater than He (John 14:12).  So why are we quick to disengage?  Why do we fear?

These times of turbulence have caused many of us to face our own crisis of belief.  To many of us, it appears evil deception is winning and the church is being crushed by it.  We are living in a time of spiritual famine in our land, and the famine is the church’s fault.  We’ve either chosen to disengage in nurturing our intimate relationship with God, we’ve set our goals to obtain the things of this world more than knowing God, or we have allowed our hearts and minds to be swayed by the counterfeit.  We’ve fallen for the lie, a half truth that sounds so much like truth and feels so good to believe.  We’re failing to realize that a half truth is still a complete lie.  All of this leaves us unable to truly nurture others and leaves us with famine.

Famine – “The phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality.” – Wikipedia

Times of famine are scary but it is not the time to disengage.  If we do, the mortality rate will be colossal and we won’t be untouched by the devastation.  Now is the time we must run with all diligence back to our first love.  We must turn our hearts toward Jesus and ask Him to fill us with His truth, His strength, and His ability to walk out this life in victory.  Then, we need to ask for His courage to speak out when the truth has been twisted, to care more about right than we are about being liked, and to love others more than the wealth of this world.  We cannot and must not be “done” engaging in battle.  That will be the moment many are lost.  We should not fear the battle, but fear what will happen if we refuse to take our place in it.

There are no half-truths in God, therefore a half truth will always be a complete lie.

Though it seems the battle has taken on the mask of politics, for the Christ-follower the battle is spiritual.  This is not about Republican v Democrat.  There is a battle between good and evil that has been in play since the first fall.  This is a war against everything pure and right, against Truth Himself.  What we cannot forget, is Christ already won this war, but there are precious souls who are deceived throughout the world and need God’s loving truth.  They need us not to coddle them and make them feel happy, but they need us to truly love them by sharing the hope we have in the shed blood and redeeming resurrection of Jesus – Messiah – Lamb of God – Lord of Heaven’s Armies!  This begins with us staying in the fight by filling ourselves with God’s word, and binding it to every part of our being as Christ did while He walked this earth.  We don’t do this and then hide behind closed doors, or dare I say behind the words of grace and love?  We fill ourselves with truth, so we are able to gracefully and lovingly share Him!  How else will they know?

If we focus on all that is wrong we will get overwhelmed.  It is too big for us to handle on our own, but that does not mean we get to close our eyes and pretend we’re not facing desperate times.  Only God can turn this sinking ship around.  Only He can rescue and save, but He chooses to use us as His ship on these stormy waters.  Set your compass as God being your destination.  Set your gaze on Him.  Fill yourself with His truth and trust His every word, not your ever-changing emotions.  They’re all too often the wind behind the storms.  I know the storm is raging, and if feels that our vessel is about to rip in pieces, but God said not to fear, to put on His armor, and to stand and look up!  Despite the outcome of the present battle, remember that our hope is not in this earthly vessel but in the One who is in this vessel with us.

To love, is to pursue God and share His truth.  His truth is “alive and powerful.  It is sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.  It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.  Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable” (Heb. 4:12-13).

“All we can do is pray”

Love is never “done.”  Sometimes love cuts deep, but losing the battle cannot be an option.  The first thing Jesus did was to pray, so do not for a moment think prayer is “all we can do.”  Prayer is the first step to victory in every battle.  Prayer sets our compass on victory because it adjust our sight to Truth.  Prayer gets our eyes off of the storm and on the only One who can speak peace to it.  Our vessel, be it personal or framed in politics, does not have to sink.

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sins and heal their land.” – 2 Chr. 7:14

Have “people already made up their minds?”  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Only God knows what is happening in the heart and mind of man.  Be it an individual or the nation, the ship does not have to sink, but it always begins with an individual choosing to not be “done.”

“What is missing in human life is not the compass itself, but the willingness of drawing near to read it.” – Fr. Stephen Freeman

I guess the questions to ask are, do we really want to know the truth?  Do we really want to know God?  Do we really want others to know that we know Him?  Are we really in a time of famine, or is there a storehouse full that’s not being poured out?


Love is never “done.” 

Three Years Ago Today

In the valley of sorrows.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” – Psalm 23:4

It was three years ago today that Coady came through his surgery with success.  That was after months of tests and wondering if I was going to lose him.  It’s been three years since I had to make weekly trips, sometimes 2-3 times a week, to the doctor trying to find what was causing my liver enzymes to rise.  The higher they rose the weaker I got. I felt like 100 lb. weights were strapped to my legs every time I tried to stand.  It was a journey I had no choice but to walk, and it was a very lonely journey.  I cried a lot.


I prayed, “God, if they find anything, either You will heal me or take me home.  I don’t have any fight left in me.”  Ten minutes later my phone rang.  The ultrasound was all clear.  Everything was healthy.  I sat at my table and cried both tears of relief and tears of frustration.  I prayed again, “I get it!  I can do everything I know to do, everything right, but unless You give me breath I have no life.  I’m at a loss here God.  I don’t have a clue and neither do the doctors.  Heal me or take me home, either way I win. You’re in control.  I’m not.”

Then God!

Today, I celebrate three extra years with Coady and the fact that I could mow my own lawn today – strong!  I celebrate that I can walk, that I’m slowly gaining strength to run again, and the fact that I can plan an outing without having to rest the entire day before.  I celebrate the fact that I feel good!

Four years ago God told me I would have a season that I would walk alone.  He wasn’t kidding!  The aloneness has been gut-wrenching.  I still feel like I’m in the valley of sorrows.  Life is still very lonely, but I trust that God is using me where I am as He teaches me how to surrender.  I’m clinging to the fact that He said this would be a season and not a permanent prison.  In honesty, I’m afraid, but I’m holding onto hope that His healing touch is the open door to my new beginning.

“He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.  He fills my life with good things.  My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” – Psalm 103:4-5


I’m Ready For Next!



It was hard work, but it was well worth the effort.

Beyond The Veil

My floors didn’t look bad.  Most would not have noticed the dirt.  Still, I felt I should run more than just the vacuum over them this time, so I pulled the mop and bucket out and gave them a good cleaning.  As I look at them this morning, I realize they really did need that deep cleaning.  Admittedly, while taking another sip of my fresh and steaming coffee, I gave myself a verbal pat on the back.  With a pleasing gaze at my freshly polished floors I said, “You look great!”

Often we don’t see the need to clean up because our eyes have grown accustomed to the veil of dust.  It happens in our individual home and spreads throughout our culture.  It’s easy for me to watch the news, see all the horrific things, and then feel I’m doing ok.  After all, I don’t do that!  The same happens to our spiritual eyes.  We get caught up in the “I’m not so bad”* that we fail to see the areas of our own heart that do need tending to.

I know I can’t reach perfection while here on this earth, but I don’t want to settle for just ok.  It’s not about me working to obtain God’s love, but because He loves me I want to live in a way that makes Him smile.  He often needs to show me that my eyes need to come into focus, the frequency of my ears needs to adjust from what sounds good to what is true, and my thoughts need more than just a quick sweep.  They need an all out scrubbing.

Ephesians 5 tells us that we are to, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children.”

It’s true that most people never would have viewed my floors as dirty, but what they didn’t know is what my floors had been exposed to this week.  I knew about the dirty work boots that had walked across them, and I knew how the gusts of wind carried pollen in from the outside.  Then, there’s Coady.  No matter how hard I try to keep him clean, my little dog tracks things in and leaves his subtle prints all over.  Life happens, and exposure to the elements is inevitable.

Subtle prints will become imprints.

Throughout our days our eyes and ears are exposed to the elements of this world.  It’s unavoidable.  We’ll pick up thoughts and habits that should be evaluated, and sometimes scrubbed from our character.  It’s easy to let the dust of this world’s view reside, but the longer we do the less likely we are to notice it and the more harm it could possibly cause.  If left alone, the dust that was once harmless will scratch the wood floors and leave deep grooves.  The same is true for the debris from our culture.  Those elements, if left unchecked, will cause deep wounds in the heart of our foundation.  The compromise that was once unseen will become seen by all, and all will feel the damage that comes with it.  Like the feet of my little dog that carries dirt in from the outside, they too will carry some of the debris with them.

The “How To” Instructions.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).  We renew our mind by thinking on things above, not on earthly things, (Colossians 3) and we do this by getting to know God through His infallible and unchanging Word.  Only then, will we be able to “imitate Him”.

What needs to be scrubbed from your life?  It will be hard work but well worth the effort.  Let me encourage you with one last truth.  You can’t do it.  That’s right, you don’t have the strength to clean yourself up.  But, once you make the choice to surrender your dust, God will give you the tools you need to begin sweeping away the debris.  He gives you an endless supply of Himself, and “His power is perfected in our weakness.”**

“Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.”

We have an unceasing supply of the Spirit!

“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but it’s by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.  Who are you, O great mountain?  Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!” – Zechariah 4:3, 6-7a

Cleaning up is hard work, and we don’t always see instant results, but if we keep pressing on, keep enduring, and keep sweeping away the dust, we will wake up in the morning to hear God say, “Well done.  You look great!”  I personally think God will be sipping some fresh steaming coffee when He does!

Now what are you going to do with your dust?


*Luke 18:10-14
** 2 Cor. 12:9

“What Is Perfect?” He Asked.


Disclaimer: If you’re someone who’s had a promise broken, or are one who has broken your covenant promise, know that God is the great redeemer.  He is still the God who makes streams in the desert and rescues our lives from the pit, even pits we’ve dug ourselves.  You are not without hope.  You are so deeply loved, and can begin new today.  I’m believing for that fresh new stream in my valley, and I believe for you too!

%22What Is Perfect?%22 He Asked.

I was recently talking with a new friend.  We were sharing different life experiences, both funny and serious.  As I was sharing the life I had with Warren, this new friend posed a question that made me pause.  He asked, “You mentioned several times that you two were not perfect, but what is perfect?”

“What is perfect?”  That’s a great question!

Warren loved me and I loved Warren, but like many other young married couples, we had several years of struggling with that whole “and the two shall become one” concept.  That sounded so sweet when we were dating, so wonderfully intoxicating, and we were spellbound by “And They Lived Happily Ever After!”  He hugged me and I knew…  I kissed him back and from that moment on he was set on marrying me….  I know, he’s not here to validate that, but you get my point.  The Hollywood fairytale began, and it was a whirlwind from a shy “Hello” to “I DO!”  We were in pursuit of each other.

We got married on July 27th, 1996.  I think it was August 6th when the rose-color fell off the lens of those Hollywood glasses.  We had decided to drive home a day early from our honeymoon.  What we failed to do is book a hotel ahead of time for the early trip home.   We left our posh log cabin that was nestled in the beautiful hills of Pigeon Forge, TN, with the idea that “Ever After” was on our side.  We pulled off more exit ramps than I can remember.  Every sign was lit up, “No Vacancy.”  Most everything was booked out because of some big event, and that event filled multiple cities.  Warren walked in to check on one place that had a few rooms left, but he didn’t like the price.  We drove away from that clean place, that lovely accommodation with a kind staff, only to end up in some rundown pay-by-the-hour roach motel.  We dared not turn the lights off because the multi-legged creepy-crawlies love to scavenge in the dark.  It was gross!  I began to realize how different Warren and I were when he wanted to be “playful.”  My words to him, “Are you kidding me?!  Here?  Hmmm, No!”  Yep, men are from Mars all right, and no doubt he was wondering what part of Venus I came from.

So began the journey of our life together.  The first several years of our 9 1/2 year trek were filled with wonderful adventures along with lots of intense moments of fellowship.  That’s what we liked to call our heated disagreements, but only after we learned to laugh at some of our silly and selfish moments.  Like so many other couples, Warren and I had lost our pursuit for each other and began to focus more on what the other person wasn’t doing.  When you add the pressures of living with family, the unspoken insecurities with unspoken expectations, and the pressures of being ministers, you have a great recipe for a storm.  It took awhile to see it, but we also had the perfect recipe for something absolutely wonderful!

Thankfully, we had discussed many expectations for our “till death do us part” union.  Before we chose to walk down the aisle of that church and stand before God to join ourselves together in a covenant relationship, we established that our relationship with God will always trump every decision, and that the word divorce was never to be spoken in an argument.  We agreed, if we were going to do this thing called life, together, it would be for better or worse – together – committed to God and each other – COMMITTED!  Though young and naive, we made a promise to weather every storm together.

Perspective Adjustment

If he were still alive today, he would laugh right along with me at those beginning years.  He would also agree that the giddy feelings of love are fickle and not always felt.  But, if we choose to love through those moments, and choose to stay true to the commitment made, even when the mind and flesh relentlessly tempt us to wander, then the feelings of love return.  It’s only when we choose to fight for each other that we find the feelings deepen and the bond of commitment becomes so much sweeter than one can ever imagine.  Choosing to weather every storm and mountaintop experience together is the true “Happily Ever After.”

When my friend asked me, “What is perfect?” he followed it up by saying that what I had is what many others would consider perfect.  He adjusted my perspective.  Instead of being fearful of painting an unrealistic life to others, I simply needed to be real about the fact that I did have perfect – perfect for me.  I had someone who fought for me, and me for him.  I had someone who chose me over all others, even when life was hard, even when the glitter of this world seemed so tempting and the grass looked so much greener on the other side.  I had a best friend that came before all others and he had the same.  We had strength in each other when we found no strength within ourselves.  We were partners.

“What is perfect?”  He asked.  Perfect is knowing you’re loved when you’re being unlovable.  It’s commitment fulfilled.  It’s promises made, and apologies accepted when failures happen.  It’s cheering the other person on when they think they can’t.  It’s standing and fighting together when it seems the world all around is falling apart.

Yes, I had perfect, because we let Love bind our hearts together – real love – lasting love – Love Himself.

“I Will!”

Love looks a lot like Jesus to me.  He loves us when we’re lost and broken, when we’re afraid in the storm.  When our strength is failing, He is the unexplainable peace that rides on the winds when they blow hard against us, and that gentle whisper of hope – “I will never leave you.”

Warren asked to see my wedding band.  As he held it between us at eye level he said, “See how the circle is unbroken?  I will always love you and I am committed to the promise I made.  Like the unbroken circle of this gold band, I will love you.”  Those were the words Warren spoke to me just months before he died.  Just over three years later I would stand holding the wife of the man who killed Warren in my arms.  There was a whisper that road on her breathless sobs as she expressed her sorrow for her husband’s actions.  In that moment I remembered the gold ring, and our imperfect perfect love.  As I reminisced, I prayed that God would show her how loved she is by the very one who teaches us how to love – by God Himself.  I prayed that God would allow her to know her worth, even though she may never hear it from the one who put a ring on her finger.

I am grateful that my friend presented such a challenging and thought-provoking question.  Sometimes we possess the perfect that others so long to have.

Death did not steal my perfect, because I know, we knew, that perfect is the Love that is alive in us.  Jesus is big enough to overcome every storm, and His mighty love spans all eternity.  It is limitless and without end.

Are you willing to have your perspective adjusted?  Are you willing to look at what is going right instead of illuminating all that is going wrong?  This life’s journey will have its sorrows along with its joys.  We need to grieve the pain, but we should always look up and give thanks for all that is perfect in our world.

Take a deep breath in and listen for His whisper, I will never leave you.”

“I had someone who fought for me, and me for him…”   Will you fight for your promise, for your perfect for you?  You can begin today by being the “I will.”


Now Enjoy The Journey!

I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Will We Live Beyond Broken?

Battle-scars, even those that bear shameful memories, can become a triumphant testimony to God’s limitless love.


He specializes in the broken.

I wrestle between fear and faith.  I don’t believe I’m alone in this battle.  I believe it’s an internal war we’ll constantly face as long as we have breath in our bodies.  Fear will always be a nagging voice.  It seems so subtle, yet it rages destructive warfare in our minds.  If we’re not careful, it will take up residence in our hearts.  It’s a tough battle, but not one that has to be lost.

The painful blows and scars of a sin tainted world…

My mind recalls… having to walk across a blue tarp that covered my best friend’s blood, my husband… burying 26 people in the span of 7 years… stripped of titles and dreams… Pain.  We’ve all been touched by it and have felt its fiery arrows, they often leave our souls wounded and bleeding.  It is in the first moments after that first arrow strikes, that we face a pivotal decision.  Here is where we determine how we heal.  Do we allow the pain to harden our hearts and suck up life, or do we deepen our resolve to let love win?  Will we live beyond broken?

I fight this battle almost daily.  My mind screams for me to run into hiding, and sometimes I do, but there’s another voice that causes me to pause at the crossroad.  The sign for the road marked “Fear and Flight” stands bold and broad, but the voice beckons me to choose another road, one less traveled, it’s the pathway of “Faith and Life.”  The battle is great in my mind, but my heart beats not to fly away, but to live!

It was nine years after I stepped out of our tour bus and walked across the tarp that blanketed my husband’s blood.  I sat at the intersection to leave my neighborhood watching a funeral procession.  Two men stood in the middle of that intersection, one was stopping traffic as the other directed their fellow bikers into the large church across the street.  The procession was long, so I put my car in park and waited in silent pause with everyone else that came to stop at this crossroad.  Suddenly, the quiet was disrupted by squealing tires.  A car came piling through from behind the line of traffic and hit one of the men that stood giving direction.  Without hesitation I grabbed my phone and dialed 911.

The man hit was in shock, we all were.  He stood back on his feet and was cradling his arm as he watched the man who hit him speed away.  Thankfully, I was able to get a portion of the license plate number before the car drove off.  I felt strong and unshaken as the police and ambulance arrived.  I calmly told the detective all I had witnessed, but when I pulled away to resume the plans for my day I was rudely interrupted.  I barely drove a quarter of a mile when a river of tears came gushing, bursting through the ducts of my eyes as if a dam had been broken.  I drove the rest of that first mile away from the scene of the accident to the nearest parking lot.  There I sat, sobbing.  Nine years later and the shock still has impact, and without warning its force can plow through the most joy-filled and carefree moments.

Many of us face these moments.  We’re blindsided by a memory, or we experience a past feeling that leaves us questioning the stability of our emotions.  I was completely stunned by the tears that day.  I thought I was “over” all of that.  I had driven by many accidents and had witnessed others happen, but for some reason, on that day I felt as if I were stripped naked and thrown into a Roman arena to await the next death-blow.  Why?

Pain touches us all, however it does, it changes us.  These are the moments we find ourselves at the intersection of fear and faith.  Fear will always scream in our mind, but faith will peacefully lead our heart.  Fear sucks up life and leaves us crippled, cradling our wound at the scene of our pain, but faith will give us strength to stand and walk forward again.  We will wear battle-scars as we rise and walk, but they do not need to bear the image of shame.

When we face a painful trial, we experience a wound.  Those wounds leave a mark and our brain stores a memory.  This is a normal reaction.  We need to remember things that pain us so we can avoid making the same mistakes again.  Like the time I placed my hand on a hot stove element, I suffered severe burns to my right hand.  That painful experience at the age of seven has kept me from purposefully, or accidentally, touching another hot surface.  It’s also good to recall troublesome moments in history, only when we remember can we testify to victories we’ve experiences and to the joys that followed.  To forget would be more tragic than taking a moment to remember and feel the emotions of that past journey, both the pain and joy.

“He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God.  Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder-twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  We will use these stones to build a memorial.  In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’  Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’  These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” – Joshua 4:5-7

When God led His people through a trial He had them build an altar in the spot where deliverance from that trial happened.  His instructions were followed with a command to tell future generations what the stones meant.  The altar of stones were a visual to trigger a memory, and that memory allowed the feelings of the journey to flow.  We need to feel our stories as we tell them, so that the recipient can hear that we can identify with their pain and still grab hold of the promised hope that awaits on the other side of their life-storm.

“In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’  Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’  For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and kept it dry until you were all across, just as He did at the Red Sea when He dried it up until we had all crossed over.” – Joshua 4:21-23

I am grateful that I can feel deeply.  What was meant to harm me has been turned into an ability to empathize with others.  That would have been impossible had I not walked the journeys I have.  I’m learning that people will disappoint, but when all is said and done, Love never disappoints.  Moments, like that at the intersection of a funeral procession that turned into a scene of an accident, can stir many emotions inside us all.  The visuals we experience send signals to our brain that, like it or not, awaken memories and the feelings that go along with them.  It can be a memory from recent days, or it can be years past.  It’s all good and normal as long as we are honest with them.

Truthfully, none of us live beyond broken, we just let love reign through the broken places as we stand and walk forward, and we’ll grow stronger when we do.  We rise and walk in faith, because we believe God’s promise that “No weapon formed against us shall prosper!”

Radiantly Shine Through

Life’s light can radiantly shine through the battle-scars.  God specializes in the broken!

I will declare to my woes as Joseph did, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.  He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”  Then, I will choose the whisper of my heart over fear’s howl.  I will choose to walk the road less traveled, I will walk the pathway of faith rather than the broad road of fear.  I will choose to live!

What crossroad do you find yourself at today?  What are the memories you’ve wished to silence?  Instead of running from the pain, grab a stone and build a memorial.  Look how far God has brought you.  Then, let His love light shine through.  He specializes in the broken!

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Eccl. 3:11


I Am Capable of Murder!


We often think of slander as something that happens in conversations we overhear other people having, never something to take place in our own.

The other day I was in the shower thinking through the busy day I had ahead of me, and praying for people who came to mind.  I don’t know where the shift happened.  It was so subtle.  I don’t even know how far into my “conversation” I was before I realized that there was a whole other event taking place in my mind, and it had nothing to do with the day ahead, or my prayers.  My mind was playing out a “Well if they” conversation.  You know those scenarios we write a mental script to?  Those short films where we role-play both sides of the possible coin,“If they say, then I will say,” or “If they do x,y,z, then I will do, a,b,c?”

Yep, right in the middle of my oh so humble prayer time, I began to set myself on top the throne of my life while winning the I’m right and you’re wrong competition in my mind.  You may have just started your own little drama as you’re reading this.  The, “She’s crazy!” dialog.  It’s ok if you have, because I know I’m not alone in writing my personal sitcoms, and I know I’m not completely crazy.  This is one aspect of a battle we’ve all been warned about.

“…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Cor. 10:5b

Before I finished my shower I realized what was happening.  The accuser was casting accusations against another one of God’s created, and he was using my mind as an incubator to birth a lie.

Slander: Oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another, which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed. Slander is a civil wrong (tort) and can be the basis for a lawsuit.

I stopped myself from entertaining the thoughts and I asked God to forgive me.  Stepping down off of my throne, I acknowledged that none of that little drama I just wrote in my mind was true.  I questioned myself, “How often do I do this?”  How many times do we expect a person to act, or react, according to the expectations we’ve fabricated in our thought life?

Only God knows the heart and intentions of another person.  We should ask for His discernment when it comes to others, because every person does not mean to do well.  It is not our place to tell “an untruth about another person which will harm their reputation,” even if we’re telling the untruth to ourselves.  This is slander.

I always try to avoid engaging in conversations with others that “defame” another person.  Sadly, I never realized how often I do this in the not so quiet places in my own mind.  Now that I’m aware of this weapon that causes such devastating division, I can step out of the lie and choose to live in what I know is true.  All the other “Well ifs,” or “What ifs,” God is fully aware of.  Therefore, I can rest in His goodness and goodwill toward me, and for the other person.

I should not take this lightly.  I cannot allow this foolishness and pride to be shoved to the sideline as not being one of the “big” sins.  It is ugly, and it’s toxic to my heart.  Look at how God classifies slander.

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornication, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, SLANDER, pride and foolishness.  “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” – Mark 7:21-23

Slander is listed within the same classification as a murderer, among a host of other detestable traits.  To think that I am capable of murdering someone’s character in the recesses of my mind grieves me deeply, and it should.  To slander is to sin against my brother or sister, and against God.  Slander is an evil thing, and it will defile me from within if I allow it to remain.  I’m grateful for feeling remorse.  I’m thankful that my loving Father corrects me when I am wrong.  Now it’s my job to stay aware of my thought life, let only truth take up residency, and love others the way I long to be loved – even in those not so quiet places in my own mind.

So, what’s on your mind?

Staying free by keeping it real!


Why Someone Like Trump Can’t Have My Vote

In the last debate, Donald Trump was adamant that the chemical weapons didn’t exist.  Let me share with you just one reason Mr. Trump cannot have my vote.

Ring - 10th Mountain Division

Just weeks before the terrorists bombed our Twin Towers, our Pentagon, and took down planes full of people, P3 sang for the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, NY. They were the first deployed after the vicious acts of 9/11. A base active with life became a ghost town over night. I was honored to stand face-to-face with the bravest, the true heroes that fight for freedom. They believe all lives matter, including the generations ahead.

Many… many months later, we were back in Fort Drum, NY. We were off base, but we met a soldier who made it home. Visibly hurt by what he was hearing in the American media, he told me of the weapons of mass destruction they found. He told me about the massive drums of nerve agent they found and the shells it was to be loaded into. He told me about how innocent civilians were gassed, like how we spray a bug with Raid. Masses of people were being paralyzed and dying slow deaths because their own government was drenching them with chemicals.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  – John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

Just because the chemical was not loaded into the shells near it doesn’t mean they didn’t find the weapons. But hey, if it works to win a political war to say they didn’t exist, go ahead. After all, many deny the evidence of all the gassed bodies of the Holocaust too.

I was heartbroken for this soldier, his family, our true heroes who never made it home, and for the thousands of innocent men, women, and children who were murdered by their own country.  Caught by my broken heart, I can’t recall the soldier’s name, but I will never forget his eyes.

I will forever be overwhelmed with the honor I received, that God chose me to share His love with the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division – our brave U.S. Army – before they deployed.

It’s human nature to want to hide from pain, but if we continue to just believe what we want to believe we will bury our own nation to the powers that “corrupts absolutely.”  I’ll believe a soldier over the U.S. media every time.  Facts matter, even when they’re painful, and especially when we vote for someone to lead our nation.

If you believe good exist, you must also acknowledge evil and fight it with absolute truth.  That is power uncorrupted.


Seneca Rocks -10th Mountain Division, Tribute

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