peace, joy and love are great until…


Peace, joy and love are great until…


Your heart is troubled.
You are filled with fear.
You are agitated and annoyed.
You are facing a crummy situation.
You are hurt or offended by someone’s selfish choices.THESE are the moments, the moments when you feel the least peaceful, joyful or loving, when you need the power of peace, joy and love the most.I told you at the beginning of 2017 that these were my words for this year, and I meant it. I have been keeping their meanings close to my heart, leaning on each of them in trying times and generally, I have been doing pretty darn good! But proven character is character that is tested and I am not immune from that.

So, when I am being tested, (and it feels like I’m being tried by fire), eventually I realize that I need to re-focus on these three weapons and access the power that they give me to overcome my trials. I have come up with some questions to ask myself when I know I need to re-center and re-focus. My answers to these questions reveal just how full of peace, joy and love I really am. (Or… am not!) Do you want to know what the questions are? I thought you might! Here you go–


First I ask and answer these questions, then, I allow the truth to set me free…

Is my heart troubled/distressed by anything?


Am I entertaining any fear?

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. –John 14:27

I don’t need to give myself over to a troubled and anxious heart. I can choose peace as I trust in God’s power to do for me what I cannot do for myself.

Am I allowing myself to be agitated by anyone?

Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him;
do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way,
by the man who carries out evil plans.

Refrain from anger and give up your rage;
do not be agitated-it can only bring harm.
For evildoers will be destroyed,
but those who put their hope in the Lord
will inherit the land. –Psalm 37:7-9Well, this could not be more clear! I can practice self-control and decide not to give in to agitation, irritation or anger. This is a lot easier when I put my hope in God’s plan for my life.

Am I enthusiastically expecting GOOD things to come?

The definition of joy is…The passion or emotion excited by the aquisition or expectation of GOOD.

I have joy when I expect good things to happen in my life. I can look forward to those good things even if today wasn’t so good.

I have Your decrees as a heritage forever;
indeed, they are the joy of my heart. –Psalm 119:111

Am I perpetually forgiving? Or is someone on my hook?

Proverbs 10:12 says that “love covers a multitude of sins.” That doesn’t mean love covers up for or lies about others’ mistakes, it means that love chooses to forgive. It is easy to hold other people’s offenses against them but that puts me in a really bad place. Not only does it eat me up inside, it puts me in a bad spot because God won’t let me off of His hook if I won’t let others off of mine. When I choose love and choose forgiveness I am showing the compassion to someone else that I really need from God for myself. (And that is just plain wise.)

Here’s the thing… peace, joy and love are a weapon because they keep me safe from the havoc that an anxious, troubled, agitated and angry heart cause me. I choose them because I want to live my best life.

How about you? Will you choose peace, joy and love today?


Dear Single Mom…


I have a client who is a single mom and she is going through, well, hell. Recently, as I listened to her recite everything that has transpired since we last spoke, my heart just broke for her.

The life of a single mom can feel crushing at times. So many things to juggle, swallow and manage. In her case, things like a divorce she didn’t want, kids in almost every age group, being cut off financially after decades of marriage, mountains of paperwork/inquiries/depositions, college loan applications, selling her home, lawyer bills, medical bills, going back to work, counseling for the kids, friends who are distancing themselves from her ‘mess’ and the constant reminder that she was and is still being betrayed by the one who took a vow to love and protect her. All of this is on top of her regular mom duties! She feels like she is drowning and it’s no wonder. It all seems like too much for one woman to bear.

Listening to her made me feel all of the feelings I felt as a single mom with 10 of my kids still at home: the exhaustion, the inadequacy, the desperation, the lack, the fear, the despair. I instantly thought–

Oh, if I knew then what I know now!

Which led to this thought:

What if I tell the single moms who are in the trenches now what I needed to hear when I lived there?

In that spirit, here is my letter to you, Single Mom (or moms who feel alone for any reason).

Dear Single Mom,

First of all, you are GLORIOUS. The way you fight for your family with love and perseverance literally reflects the glory of God! Did you know that you reflect His love and light by your very existence? Oh, yes. You do. Like the God of Heaven, you are an advocate for the hurting, for the children He has trusted you with and for righteousness for your family.

You want what is right so badly! You want what your children deserve with all of your heart! And they deserve so much more! Why should they have to suffer for the mistakes of their parents, you wonder? God Himself feels your angst. And He sees your huge heart for your children. That is why He is near to them. Nearer than you could ever be! Trust Him, He protects them, watches over them and He will use it all for their good, Praying Mom. I promise.

I know you are exhausted at the end of every day. You cry yourself to sleep sometimes (all the time). You can’t possibly cover all of the bases by yourself. Things that you are normally right on top of are slipping through the cracks by the minute. You must know: THAT’S OKAY! It is so okay! This isn’t a normal life so you are not going to be the normal you. Let that be okay. And believe that you will be ‘back to you’ one day soon. Because you will! And if you trust, keep the faith and forgive, you will be an even better you! Your God is the God who makes all things new. (And your new life is going to AMAZE you!!)

I want you to know that your brokenness isn’t too much for Him. Neither is your family’s. No matter what anyone does to break you down, or bring destruction, God can build you back up. You are being shaken, that is for sure, but you are also being established. Established on a firm foundation and rooted in TRUTH. Some of the lies you lived with have been exposed and now you are living in the LIGHT! Rejoice in that because light is worth far more than financial security or false peace.

Single Mom, your courage in the face of adversity is AWE-INSPIRING. Do you know that? Few people could stand up under the pressure you are under. And you do it as if it is second nature. You have not backed down. You will not retreat. You will take your stand and find solutions. In fact, you have become the solution! And that is because God made women to be a solution in this world. And the Heart of God has joined in with your heart. How can that produce anything less than awe-inspiring results? You, my Dear, are a Champion. A Warrior. A Queen. A Hero. No matter how defeated you feel.

Above all, I want you to know that you are not alone. Although the betrayal stings, you are NEVER alone. You ALWAYS have a Comforter, a Counselor, a Source of Peace, a Husband, a Heavenly Father for your children, a Friend and a Savior. And you WILL look back and see His fingerprints all over this time in your life. Why? Because He is FAITHFUL and you are LOVED! You are His delight, and He delights to guide you out of this place and into a pleasant place. He WILL guide you there. He WILL show you how good He is, if you let Him.

In the meantime, be more kind to yourself than you would be to an injured person. Lower your expectations of yourself and others and RAISE your expectations of God. Choose to love and serve the One who is ALWAYS trustworthy because He will NEVER let you down! Know that even on your worst day, God is for you and He fights for you. Trust Him to bring the justice you cry out for. Only He is worthy of that trust- not a man, not an attorney, not a judge.

Know that Someone knows every single struggle, pain and tragedy you have endured. It is the Father. He knows…He knows how hard it is to be us. And He will bring good into your life like to one else possibly could. Why? His heart is for the afflicted. He runs to the rescue of the lost and abandoned. Your suffering moves Him to action!

I will leave you with this Promise for you and your children from Psalm 72:12-14.

“For he will rescue the needy when he cries for help,
The afflicted and abused also, and him who has no helper.
He will have compassion on the poor and needy,
And he will save the lives of the needy.
He will redeem their life from oppression and fraud and violence,
And their blood will be precious in His sight.”

So my dear, Single Mom, take heart… (and while you’re at it, get a massage).

With So Much Love,