Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Word of the Week: Understanding

As I was out for my walk this morning I meditated on the word ‘Courage”.

As I got close to a house that is under construction I could see that I would have to walk between two cars and several groups of men.

I thought, "now is the time to practice being courageous!"

A narrow path in the middle of the road was all that was left between the two parked cars.

Taking a deep cleansing breath I braced myself for whatever comments these men might make and determined in my mind to ignore whatever they said to me.

After successfully passing through that gauntlet of men suddenly, 8 highly agitated workers were running toward me, alternating between covering their heads and waving their arms, and screaming, “Abejas! Abejas!”

I know a bit of Spanish but not enough to know what they were shouting about. I slowed down somewhat but kept advancing forward in my effort to get home in time to shower and get to bible study.

In the distance I can see a neighbor heading home with six dogs on leashes. I thought maybe the men were afraid of dogs. His dogs have never bothered me so I continue walking, ignoring the men’s frantic cries.

One of them comes closer waving his arms yelling, “Se├▒ora, abejas!” Three of them are now in front of me yelling, “Abejas” and I yell back, “I don’t understand! No entiendo!”  

My lack of understanding collides with the fervency of their efforts and slowly increases my annoyance as I fight to remain calm.

One man turns the direction I’m headed and pointed at a tree up the road. I still don’t know what I’m supposed to be seeing and I’m in a hurry so again I let them know that I don’t understand.

One of the workers held out his hand motioning me to stop,  looking exasperated and desperate to get his message across, he took his phone from his pocket as the English word finally came to him, and he shouted, “BEES!”

Now I get why they were frantically running, why they didn’t want me to walk any further, and why they were passionately trying to get me to understand.

The man with the phone makes a call and asks me to wait “for safety”.

A few minutes later a truck pulls up driven by a man dressed in protective clothing. I get into the vehicle and he drives me past the tree to the corner and I’m able to finish my walk from there.

My head and heart had prepared not to trust these men. I’ve become so accustomed to taunting whistles, crude comments, and uncomfortable stares from construction workers that initially I didn’t respect their genuine concern for my welfare. And I was so determined to practice being courageous that I was willing to ignore whatever they were saying and just keep on walking.

Psalm 119:34 says,
Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
I will put them into practice with all my heart.

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve ignored God’s warnings because I cannot see any danger ahead and I don’t understand what He is trying to tell me.

I’m grateful for the lessons that God brings into my life, the spiritual and the practical. This morning He mercifully showed His willingness to protect me by any means possible and as a bonus He taught me the Spanish word for bees!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Word of the Week: Truth

I've been preparing my notes to speak at Legacy this weekend and the word that I have had on my mind is Truth. So I decided to give you a sample of one of the devotionals from my ebook!


And you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32 NLT

Knowing the truth brings freedom from bondage, freedom from life altering lies, and freedom from despair.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He’s the freedom that we need to know. He’s the Truth that we must embrace.

He’s the Truth that will erase the lies we’ve carried in our heads. No falsehood or distortion can successfully stand in the light of Him.

His name is Truth, His character is truth, His word is truth. Truth bathed in the grace of God that has the power to transform us from the inside out.

Walking in truth places us on the path of righteous living. Washing our minds with the truth places us in the center of His will.

Waiting on truth to be revealed in our situation places us in the palm of His hand. His loving words are a balm for every battle-scarred soul. Cling to the God of all truth!

Precious Truth, our Savior, our Lord, guide us in the way of truth. Help us to listen for Your trustworthy voice and lay aside any whispers of darkness. Keep us steadfast and strong in the light. We praise You, we thank You, we love You. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

To get your copy of my devotional ebook click on the title below:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Word of the Week: Relearning

It was a bright cold day in April,
and the clocks were striking thirteen.
~George Orwell, 1984

Looking around the international airport in Moscow, Russia, I watched a clock strike 13.

Well, the clock didn’t literally strike, it was digital. Large red numbers proclaiming 13:00. Russia uses a 24 hour clock.

Instantly transporting me to my childhood and reminding me of my father’s military days, he would often use military time to tell me and my little brothers when something needed to be done.  

“Police your area by 0800 hours!”, he would command. In English that meant our rooms needed to be cleaned before 8 am.

When I saw that it was 13 o’clock I had to think for a minute or so until it came to me. It’s 1 o’clock in the afternoon.

Dread mixed with fear filled my stomach. Fighting back tears acknowledging that not only did I need to learn a new language but I also needed to learn how to tell time.

Everything I thought I knew would need to be relearned.

Gone were the days of grocery shopping with a list and coupons in Southern California. Needing a list remained but coupons were replaced by a Russian/English dictionary.

Something as simple as asking for 2 lbs of ground beef transformed to asking for a kilo of farsh. Numbers, weights, measures, time, words, sights, sounds, facial expressions...everything overwhelmed and yet excited me.

An adventure that began as words God whispered to my husband, evolved into a dream, and were brought to reality when the plane landed. Over the next five years our family would learn to navigate this new world.

I never expected to live among the adversary. Growing up in a military home on various Air Force bases in the eastern part of the US, Russia had been our cold war enemy for my entire childhood.

How was this a part of God’s plan? Needless to say my patriotic father, the career soldier, was not thrilled when we announced our plans to move to Russia. However, my mother’s comment, “You got your orders so you have to go.” was typical of a military wife.

God’s orders, His calling, took us on a life altering journey. And His guidance and strength continue to propel us in our ministry life.

I wish I could say that each day as a missionary is profoundly meaningful, filled with glorious insight, and bathed deeply with inner peace. Most days back in Russia and now here in Belize are fairly ordinary.

For every believer, each breath, each lesson, each and every tear, and each peal of shared laughter hold a touch of the divine.

It’s been many years since that clock at the airport awakened me to a new reality. I’ve realized that each stage of life requires learning a new skill no matter where you live in the world.

You don’t have to see 13 o’clock to catapult you into a new way of thinking. It could be something as simple as a wedding, the birth of a child, teenage drama, an empty nest, a new job, the loss of a parent, each experience- the good, the bad, and the grace-filled, all provoke change and growth.

With each stage of life everything I thought I knew needed to be relearned.

Have you had to face a time of relearning something you thought you knew? I’d love to hear about it!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Word of the Week: Breathe


There are times when I’m holding my breath and don’t realize it.

I need to let go, exhale the day’s stress, and inhale perfect peace infused with grace.

Here in Belize my husband and I counsel victims of abuse and exploitation and that work can take its toll on the heart and on the soul. Envisioning life abroad is often more romantic or adventurous than the reality of adapting to a new culture.

I was forced to undergo a ‘baptism’ of awakening to reality on a jungle walk with friends. We got too close to a mama howler monkey and she declared her outrage by throwing poo at us. She got me right in the middle of my forehead. I gave thanks that my mouth was closed when I looked up.

Ann Voskamp says, “Calm is a superpower. Ask Christ for it.” I stayed calm but decided that it would be best to move away from that mother protecting her babies.

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