Traveling With God

Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on God.

Isiah 50:10

The highways of life are filled with potholes. Bumps in the road often throw us into discouragement and depression, and we grow weary in the journey. But God has given us a road map for the hard roads of life-the Bible.

As Christian Women, we’ve made a commitment to travel on the road toward maturity in Christ. The God of the Bible is the only true Higher Power. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. We know that God sent Christ, His only Son, to die on the cross that we might have eternal life. Now we have two choices.  We can feel sorry for ourselves that we have so many bumps in our road, or we can put our trust in God and determine to follow His guidance as we journey through life, bumps and all!  We can sometimes rest beside the road; God wants us to do that. But, He doesn’t want us to stop and dwell on our discouragement and depression. Let’s keep traveling today with our ” map”  in hand and our eyes on Him.

Thought:  May God grant me the strength and courage today to keep going on my lifelong  journey toward wholeness in Christ.  

We’ve made a commitment to travel on the road


A Light Burden

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me…For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

We call her “Masochistic Mary.”  She feels it is her duty in life to meet all the needs of everyone she meets. Mary feels that every call is a call from God. Her life is in shambles because there is no balance. She runs frantically from activity to activity trying to do it all.

What’s wrong with Mary? She hasn’t learned that God hasn’t called her to do everything, but only to do her part. Mary spins her wheels worrying about how much there is to do, how little time there is to do it, and how tired she’s becoming. Mary is well on her way to the two B’s of unbalanced living: bitterness and burnout.

Can you identify with Masocchistic Mary? Do you end every day feeling guilty for all the things that are still on your “to do” list-yet still feel compelled to add to the list?

Christ doesn’t want us to be worried about how much we do; He is more concerned with what we do. He wants us to listen for His call, not everyone’s calll,when we’re deciding how to live our lives. When we work toward balance in life, we find the two Ps: peace and power.

Thought:  God never called you to do it all-just your part-ask Him what that is, He’ll show you.

The Right Focus

The Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

I Samuel 16:7

Mark, our third born, decided to enter the world a little early-three weeks before his due date. The first two children had been two or three weeks late, so the weekend of Mark’s arrival we had felt no qualms about taking the  other children camping. We arrived at the camp-ground, whichwas about an hour and a half from home, when I had a strange sensation, as pregnant women often do. Then my water broke. We explained to the children that we had to pack up and head back home.

During our ninety-minute ride home, my brain clicked off the list of chores to be done before I could go to the hospital. I was concerned that I wasn’t yet prepared for a visit from my mother; for instance, my oven had not been cleaned yet. So I got home, packed my bag for the hospital, unpacked everything from the camping trip, and then proceeded to clean my oven as my labor continued.

I cringe a little today at that memory of cleaning my oven. I see it as a picture of my own insecurity, which motivated me to obsess on the outward appearance of my house at a time when I should have been focusing on the arrival of a precious new family member. I was trying to impress my mother, who loved me whether my oven was clean or not!

Thought:  Today, I will not focus on the external, but rather on who I am in my heart-as the Lord does.

Number My Days

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalms 90:12

Jim Elliot was one of six missionaries killed many years ago by the Auca Indians in South America.  He was not even thirty when he died.  Many would say that his was a wasted life, but there is certainly another way of looking at his life story. Elisabeth Elliot, his wife, included this excerpt from his journal in a book she wrote about Jim’s life: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot was a man who numbered his days and used the time he had to serve God. Jim Elliot was no fool.

We tend to rush through our  lives at such a fast pace. And we sometimes forget to ask whether our priorities for life match our priorities for the day. When it comes to the things that matter most, do we tend to say,  like Scarlet O’Hara in the movie Gone With the Wind, ” I’ll worry about it tomorrow.” ” I’ll spend time with my mate and family, start exercising, start eating healthy, become more active in the church later. Right now, I’m too busy just getting through the day.”

Let’s determine today to number our days-to remember that our time is limited and let’s make our minutes, our hours and our days count for the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth. Yes, we willget sidetracked and blown off course sometimes. But if we wake up every morning and dedicate that day to the Lord,  He will help us. We’re not ready to live until we’re ready to die. Are you ready to die?

Prayer: Lord, please help me  to live today as if I were going to die tomorrow.

Family Traditions

…Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation.

Exodus 34:7

In therapy, we call them family traditions.  They are the negative thought processes and behavior patterns that are passed on from generation to generation. Often, we end up passing on to our children the very messages we hate the most in our own lives.

Laureen was in her middle thirties when I first  saw her. Anger overflowed as she told me how her mother had blamed her for everything bad that had happened in her life. Laureen’s mother was pregnant when she married Laureen’s father. Somehow that became Laureen’s fault. Her mother smoked a pack of cigarettes everyday and eventually got emphysema-and she smoked, she said, because Laureen made her nervous. What a burden for a little girl to bear.

Laureen married and moved far away from her mother, but she could never move away from that voice inside of her that kept yelling, “It’s all your fault!” When Laureen’s children were born, she passed that message of blame along to them both verbally and nonverbally.  By the time I started seeing Laureen, a third generationwas already struggling with the psychological fallout of blame passed from mother to daughter to child. Only with God’s help could Laureen ever have a chance of breaking the “family traditions” that had been so woven into her life.

Thought:  What family traditions are you ready to end today?





Freed by Forgiveness

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Hebrews 9:14

One of the most damaging lies we can believe is, “God’s love must be earned.”  Many times this belief has come from a background in which either the church, the family, or both has taught in subtle or not so subtle ways that our actions affect whether  or not God loves us.  And we have fallen into the trap of thinking that the more we sin, the more God hates us.  The “tapes” in our head continually blast, “You blew it again, so God hates you. ” Well, God does hate sin, but He loves us sinners!

When we live with such a distorted view  of God, we either give up or back so far away from “religion” so that we no longer try to live the Christian life.  It is only when we understand that God’s love is unchanging that we can begin to have the freedom God wants us to have. God wants to live a godly life, as free from sin as possible.  And His forgiveness makes it possible for us to try.  When we sin, as God knows we will,we can come to Him and ask for forgiveness.  We will still suffer the consequences of our sin, but God has graciously provided a way for us to start over, again and again.first disc 065

Thought:  God’s love can’t be earned.  He gives it freely when we accept the provision Christ made on the cross.



Integration Work

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:25

I ask a question early in therapy that  helps me assess my client’s mental health.  I ask her [or him] to imagine three pictures of herself hanging on the wall-one of how she  sees herself,  one of how she thinks others see her, and the third of how she believes God sees her.  The closer the three pictures come to looking alike, the more whole or integrated the person is likely to be and the less work we will have to do in therapy.

A simple way to describe what goes on behind the counselor’s doors is to say that we are working toward the insightful integration of body, soul and spirit. This “integration work” [as masterfully described by Henry Cloud in his book,When Your World Makes No Sense] typically centers around the four B’s. Clients must learn to establish boundaries-to avoid being enmeshed with others. They must learn to bond with others and love them in a healthy way. They must learn to accept their badness along with their  goodness and to rethink who the boss of their life is. [Is their life being run by illogical and sick voices from childhood?]

What do your three pictures look like? What is the  state of your four Bs? Determine in your heart to work on those areas that help you develop into a healthy, integrated woman.

Thought:  Good mental health is a choice, but it takes a lot of emotional and spiritual work.












The Me I Hate

How can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye”‘; and look, a plank is in your own eye?

Matthew 7:4

I often ask my clients to describe the type of person they hate to be around. Connie’s answer came quickly: “That’s easy. I hate hypocrities!”  The promptness of her answer didn’t surprise me.  Connie herself was struggling with an intense form of hypocrisy-a multiple personality disorder.

One of Connie’s personalities smoked marijuana at a downtown park on Saturdays. On Sundays, another one of her personalities passed out tracts to the drug users in  the same park. Needless to say, life was very confusing for Connie. She would leave my office and ask me if she would see me next week. I would have to answer that I didn’t know, because I wouldn’t know from week to week which personality was going to show up for therapy. I’m sure the secretaries thought it was strange when Connie and I took two or three extra chairs into my office each week. I had her change chairs as she changed personalities.

Your answer to the question of what type of person you dislike being around probably won’t be as dramatic as Connie’s was, but  it can certainly help you get some insight into yourself.  As you answer the question, look into your heart for bits and pieces of that person within you.

Thought:  The truth about myself will set me free to be more accepting of other imperfect people-especially those with similar faults.

Growing Through Pain

But [Job] said to her, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Job 2:10

Some people come to God with the mistaken notion that He will protect them from pain and suffering while they’re on earth. If we look around, however, we’ll see  some of the most godly people suffering through pain that is beyond  our comprehension.  Since the Fall, life  has been and will continue to be difficult. Faith makes life on earth bearable, but faith does not take away the inevitable pain we experience as we journey through life.

Elisabeth Elliot deals with the problem of pain and suffering by asking us if we would like to be spiritual dwarfs. She then explains that growth comes through pain. We can choose to grow and learn from difficult situations, or we can decide that bitter is better and live as a spiritual dwarf.

Pain and suffering are an inevitable part of life.  Let’s learn from our pain, grow from it, and then go on in our walk with God as spiritually “bigger” people.

Thought:  I will take God’s hand when my life’s journey takes me through some pain and suffering.


Forgiven is Enough

All we like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned, everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isiah 53:6

We are so often guilty of pulling God down to our level.  When we sin, we think, “If I can’t forgive myself, God can’t forgive me either.” Somehow, in our distorted way of thinking,  we think that asking for forgiveness is not enough; we think we should continue to suffer.  We commit a sin and then ask God to forgive us.  God has done His part; He has laid on [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.He forgives us but we act like we don’t really believe that is all there is to it.  Consciously or consciously, we decide that we deserve to suffer more for the sin we’ve already confessed and asked forgiveness for. We go into periods of self-hatred and depression. We deplete our energy in unforgiveness  toward ourselves.  Then we have no energy left to begin again to live a healthy, balanced life, much less to reach out in love to our friends and family. If God forgives us, isn’t it time to forgive ourselves?

Thought:  God already laid all of our sins  on Jesus, so I will just say “thanks”. I will not play God by continuing to punish myself once I have been forgiven.