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Let Them

What other people think about you is none of your business. Read that again. What other people think about you is none of your business.  My whole life, I have struggled with what other people think about me. Not in the sense that I have to post on social media daily to garner likes and hearts. Not in the sense that I have to be dressed to the 9's every time I walk out my front door. What I struggle with is that I want to be seen. I want people to perceive me as I perceive me — that I am kind and giving. That I have a good heart and always mean well. I want people to see my heart is always in the right place, even if I may fall short.  For years, my ex-husband has slung blatantly false accusations at me. For years, it hurt me to my core that he would genuinely think that I was abusing our children or that I didn't care about them. I would cry for hours that the father of my beautiful girls would think I'm such a vile person. I cried out to God, and I wanted answers. I wante

Does God Answer Prayer?

Crying out to God in desperation and feeling like He just doesn't answer can feel isolating. It can make us feel unloved and utterly alone. Sometimes, we feel like God just isn't answering our prayers. We think that because He didn't come out and just give us the answer we wanted, that He didn't answer. We get upset that He didn't give us an answer how we wanted Him to answer us.  The dictionary defines an answer as a response or reaction to a question, statement or situation. So given this broad of a definition, He may be answering us, just maybe not how we would like Him to answer us.  James 5:16 says, "The effectual prayers of a righteous man availeth much." I Peter 3:12 says that "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer..." So scripture tells us that He does indeed listen to our prayer. We know from Jeremiah 29:11 that God's plans are to "prosper you and not to harm you. To giv

Grace and Mercy

"Miss! What bothers you most about our generation—Gen Z?" one of my sophomore students asked me during class today. The boy who asked me this expected me to say I was annoyed by the slang, the way kids dress, the TikTok dances, or that they have their noses in their phones 24/7. I thought about it for a second, and the answer was difficult to put into words that a 15-year-old could understand. What bothers me most about this generation is the expectation of mercy .  As a teacher for 20 years, I have been told numerous times by administrators to show grace to students. It's a pervasive theme with all educators in the past few years. With Covid restrictions, ADHD and learning disabilities on the rise, parental neglect, poverty, mental health issues, an influx of apathy and kids simply not doing their work, teachers are told over and over to extend grace to kids in the classroom. We are told that we need to think about their circumstances and why they may not be compl

Effectual Prayer

James 5:16 says, "the effectual prayers of a righteous man availeth much." Sometimes, when I think about this verse, I take the word “effectual“ out of it. My mind says it as, “the prayers of a righteous man availeth much.“ I’ve always thought that the emphasis in the scripture is on the word “righteous.” Righteous means, “right standing with God,“ and I am made righteous through Jesus is finished work on the cross. So I’ve always thought that this scripture meant that if I have received my righteousness from the Lord, my prayers will availeth much. But that’s not the case. There’s an adjective in front of the word prayer. That adjective is “effectual.” Effectual means, "producing a desired effect." But then the word availeth means "useful or effective; to be of value." So the scripture is saying, "the prayers that produce the desired effect of a man who is right standing with God produce the desired effect.” Well, that makes no sense. Of co

Talk is Cheap

I’ve been overweight most of my adult life. My two babies, a thyroid condition, poor eating habits and little physical activity had me packing on the pounds. As a former collegiate athlete, I’ve always wanted to get back closer to my competition weight. I’ve started and quit working out more times than I can count. I’ve tried just about every fad diet there is. I will say I want to lose weight, and I genuinely do. But then I will shove ice cream, candy and cokes in my pie hole. Countless days, I've chosen to forgo the gym because I’m just exhausted from being a single working mom. So if I’m not willing to put in the work, how much do I really want to lose weight? It takes an extraordinary amount of sacrifice and discipline to lose weight. Or to get anything you deeply desire, actually. What God showed me a while back is that talk is cheap. I can say I want to lose weight all I want, but until I put action into those words, they mean nothing. I started to think about how th

Hidden Dangers

Summertime means outdoor adventures. I had borrowed a huge RV camper from my friend Joe for this particular adventure. We parked it at a beautiful campsite near the mountains and a lake, and the girls and I spent a glorious seven days reveling in nature. Swimming, hiking, fishing, Jeeping, relaxing. The time to pack up and head home arrived, and I was getting impatient. I hadn't driven the RV before, but I knew I could drive it. I have a bus driver license, and I can drive a school bus no problem. I walked around the RV to check out any potential obstacles. A 10-foot blue concrete wall stood near where I needed to back up, but if I turned the wheel just right, I’d be in the clear. I was confident. I crank the engine up and check my mirrors. I slowly release my foot from the brake and start to back up. Something in me says I should wait for Joe to get there to back up his RV. I shake it off, because I really do know what I’m doing. I back out of the spot perfectly, and I put t

The Desires of our Heart

I've experienced a lot of heartache. I've cried myself to sleep more times than I can count. There have been so many desires in my heart that have come to ashes and rubble. I've had to walk away from abusive relationships and marriages, a boyfriend I'm still in love with, jobs, friendships, my perfect house, hopes, dreams and more. I can think of hundreds of unfulfilled desires that I sincerely prayed for that I didn't get. Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." I wrestle with this scripture, because I did delight myself in the Lord. And my desires still were not given to me. So what am I doing wrong?  It's the language of the scripture that trips us up. Even reading multiple commentaries on the scripture, it makes one think that if we do this (delight ourselves in the Lord), that God will do that (grant our wishes or desires). I don't think that is what the scripture is saying.  The wor

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