All posts in Prayer & Scripture Reflections

  • Be of Good Courage

    Being courageous is a matter of the heart. Not of our muscles or our bravado. Our hearts. The continuing natural disasters and horrendous violence occurring around us have been calling me to pray for a more courageous heart; a courageous heart to lead me in bringing greater compassion, humility, and charity into my little corner of the world, beginning in my own home.

    So, what does a courageous heart in action look like? Well, I’m still learning…here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

    1. Courage is not always about BIG, BOLD action. The times I’ve behaved most courageously in my relationships have involved being still, closing my mouth and opening my heart. Moving beyond the habitual desire to fix, rescue, provide solutions. Led by a courageous heart, I am more present, more able to listen empathically and connect on a deeper level to someone who is hurting or angry or anxious.
    2. Courage means following my heart. The word courage comes from the Old French ‘corage’ and the Latin ‘cor,’ both meaning heart, innermost feelings.
      If I listen to my mind-chatter going round-and-round long enough, I can talk myself into or out of just about anything. When I choose courage, I get still & quiet in my mind so I can tune into my heart. I think of it as tuning into God’s voice within me rather than the noise of the world with all its what ifs, you should, you shouldn’t, but then they’ll think
    1. To be courageous is to be vulnerable. Courage is born out of our vulnerability. Opening myself up and revealing my vulnerabilities requires strength and courage. Putting on “a brave face” or “staying strong” in the midst of my hurts doesn’t actually require much courage. Invulnerability is easy and comfortable. However, for me to lean on my husband or a close friend and say, “I’m not doing so good today and I really need to talk” or asking “Will you help me?” takes courage!
    2. Courage is unnecessary unless we are afraid.

      Being terrified but moving ahead and doing what must be done – that’s courage. The one who feels no fear is a fool, and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward. – Piers Anthony

      So long as we are alive, we can expect to feel fearful, at different times and to varying degrees. As the quote above says, to live without feeling fear is “foolish.” We are fooling ourselves. Denial. To live in collusion with our fear is cowardice. A trick of the enemy to keep us quiet and small. To acknowledge my fear, and move ahead anyway, is courage.


    Biblical Reminders

    Here are a few truths for us to hang onto as we seek to approach our daily lives with more courageous hearts!

        • God is with you every single second – ALWAYS. (Matthew 28:20)
        • You are designed for greatness, made in the image and likeness of God himself. (Gen 1:27)
        • God has a mighty plan for you. You were not born to play small. (Jeremiah 29:11)
        • You can do all things through Christ! (Phil 4:12)

    This is one of my favorite scripture verses and always gives me courage: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

    A Closing Prayer

    As I was writing this post, the scene in the garden of Gethsemane came to mind. The scene where the soldiers came to take Jesus away. Peter was ready to fight, drawing his sword, and taking a bold action, which may have looked courageous (Matthew 26:51). As I thought about that, I became aware that every time in my life when I’ve chosen “fight” or “force” over peace and acceptance, I was driven by my fear, not my courage. Jesus chose peace and acceptance while enduring ridicule, torture, and even death. I pray that I will look to Jesus as the source of my courage:

    Heavenly Father, I pray for a more courageous heart! I pray for the courage to endure my trials with my eyes always on You. Give me the courage to sit with others who are hurting and the grace to stay quiet and simply listen. I pray that I may follow the way of Jesus in opening my heart to those who would mistreat, misunderstand, or misjudge me. Show me how to stay open and courageously vulnerable so I may not miss any of the highs or the lows that You would have me experience in this lifetime. Please help me to get quiet everyday and listen for Your voice. Thank You for Your constant love and guidance. AMEN.

  • Up to the Mountain, Journey with Jesus

    I love to think of our faith journey as a personal pilgrimage we each take with Jesus. In the Gospel reading back on Sunday January 29th, we journeyed with Jesus up to the top of the ‘Mount of Beatitudes.’ And there we stayed, over the next four weekends, listening to Him instruct us on, as Matthew Kelly might say, becoming the best version of ourselves. We heard the attitudes-to-Be (or the Beatitudes), we heard His call for us to be salt and light to the world, to love our enemies, pray for our persecutors, and so on.

    Now we move with Jesus towards another mountain – Calvary. Throughout these 40 days of Lent, we make our way across the valley and begin the climb once again. This 40-day journey is likely to be arduous, requiring us to think carefully about the baggage we bring along. How about we set down our bags, open them up, and have a look inside? What have I been carrying around with me? What have I stuffed way back into the corner of that bag? What specifically is Jesus calling me to empty myself of and leave at the trailhead?

    Self-Criticism? Negativity? Anxiety?
    Anger? Pride? Lust? Envy?

    Give it to Him! We’ll walk lighter; not just for 40 days, but, potentially, forever. When we make it to the garden on Easter Sunday, there will be no tour guide waiting at the gate, handing back our stuff! “Here you go Miss, here’s your negative thinking back. And you Ma’am, don’t forget to pick up your anger on the way out.”

    How does one simply set down that habit or thought pattern that we’ve lugged around for years? Is it possible that I might actually live without self-criticism, negativity, anxiety, anger, or envy?? I believe the answer is Yes – in a continual ever-deepening relationship with Jesus. Below, are 3 steps that have us lean into Jesus to free ourselves of the ‘stuff’ He is calling us to release. These steps are based on the work of Neal Lozano and Unbound, Five Keys to Freedom in Christ (

    Step 1 – Repentance. Jesus’ first word in the gospel of Mark is “Repent.” Repentance is the expression of sorrow and acknowledging our participation in sin.
    Step 2 – Forgiveness. Journeying with Jesus requires a willingness to forgive from the heart. Often, the person we find hardest to forgive is ourselves.
    Step 3 – Renunciation. Each Easter, we renew the vows of our baptism, beginning with, “I renounce Satan and all his works and all his empty promises.” Renunciation is a declaration that I will no longer make a home for sin or the deceptions and power behind it.

    Here’s how I’ve used these steps to help me unload self-criticism from my bags.


    • Jesus, I’m sorry for speaking unkindly to myself.
    • Jesus, I’m sorry for placing so much pressure on myself and not placing my trust in you.
    • Jesus, I’m sorry for not accepting myself.


    • In the name of Jesus, I forgive myself for putting pressure on me to be perfect.
    • In the name of Jesus, I forgive myself for comparing my accomplishments to others’ accomplishments.


    • In the name of Jesus, I renounce the lie that I am not worthy.
    • In the name of Jesus, I renounce a spirit of self-criticism.
    • In the name of Jesus, I renounce negativity towards myself.

    Now that our bags have so much space in them, how about we fill them up with intention? What would be helpful to carry with you as you journey? I’m claiming self-acceptance, peace, and deep trust in the Lord.

    What will you claim for this next leg of your pilgrimage?

    Copyright 2017 De Yarrison

  • Here I Am

    I recently read the quote below by St. John Paul II:

    “In your heart and on your lips God places three little words that are so important in the Bible: ‘Here I am.’ They were spoken by the Son of God when he came into the world and his whole life was a constant prompt response of ‘here I am” to his heavenly Father. ‘Here I am’ was the Virgin Mary’s response to the Angel of the Annunciation when she humbly accepted the mission to be Mother of Jesus and, hence, Mother of the Church. And ‘here I am’ must be our response too.” – St. John Paul II

    When I read that, I knew how I wanted to conclude my Advent: by making “Here I Am” my daily prayer and intention. Here I am, Lord. Trusting only You. Surrendering my plans in service of the Divine Will.

    With Christmas only days away, my “Here I Am” might look like:

    • Letting Jesus be born anew in my heart.
    • Praying for an open heart and an open mind to the Lord and His desires each day.
    • Praying that I will be open to His answers to my prayers and accept whatever He gives me. That means accepting the “feel-good” blessings as well as those blessings that come disguised as trials.
    • Expecting ‘new life’ from God: growth, new opportunities, new challenges, new joys.
    • Extending His mercy outward, especially to those in greatest need of experiencing Christ’s love and peace.

    At this moment in our world arena, so many members of our human family are living in unimaginable, horrid circumstances. I am thinking especially of the children in war torn, bomb-barded areas of Syria. The photos below break my heart and leave me grieving that I cannot scoop each precious child up in my arms and wipe the dirt and tears from their little faces. But I know that Jesus can. And His Blessed Mother, Mary.

    Please join me in praying for these children and all our far-away brothers and sisters whose Christmas will not be filled with feasts and gift-giving and joyful gatherings this year.

    When I wholeheartedly offer my “here I am,” I am pulled into the miracle of that first Christmas. The events of the first Christmas didn’t happen just once, a long time ago. They happen again and again, each time we allow the truth of the incredible Incarnation to change our hearts a little more.

    I wish you and your family a very blessed Christmas.

    With love,

  • Busy and Holy – can the two co-exist peacefully?

    Last Thursday evening, I had the privilege of speaking at an “Advent by Candlelight” event at a lovely Catholic church in Mount Holly, NJ. Below is an excerpt from my talk along with a download to help us all hold onto the ‘holy’ in the midst of our ‘busy!’

    Have you ever sat down and considered how incredible The Incarnation really is? That awe-striking moment when, because He loves us so much and desires to be as close to us as He can, God made the unlikely decision to become one of us. To meet us right where we are and join us in the messiness of our humanity. God’s holy Presence, dwelling within and among us.

    Ahhhhh, let’s rest here for a moment. Presence ourselves in His Presence. And while we are resting here, let’s take a moment to think about and plan for how we will remain in His presence throughout this Christmas Season. Thankfully we have this time called Advent, when we get to slow down and prepare our hearts for the celebration of our Savior’s birth.

    Yup, so between now and Dec 25th we all just slow down, right?? Ummm, not in my house! Yours? Is your December calendar as crazy as mine?!

    These weeks leading up to Christmas are busy! Yet, all the busy-ness makes them no less holy. Busy and holy, can the two co-exist? Let’s talk about that. Actually, let’s not talk about the busy. We’ve got that part down, right? There is certainly plenty to DO.

    Let’s talk about the holy: Preparing for the arrival of Jesus. Welcoming our Savior into our homes and our hearts. This is the most important to-do on any of our lists, yes? And the particulars around this to-do – welcoming our Jesus – read more like a to-BE list than a to-DO list. How am I BE-ing in the midst of the DO-ing?

    You see, we can DO any of the tasks on our list in such a way that we will BE squarely in the presence of Jesus – or not! I can run my errands while mentally reviewing the list, worrying that I forgot something at the last stop, focusing on the time because I haven’t got enough of it. OR…I take a deep breath and say one of my favorite prayers: “Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.” And then I put on a rosary podcast or a Christmas CD and allow myself to BE in God’s presence. And the doing gets done.

    I can clean my kitchen and bake the cookies while feeling anxious about all there is to do. Which usually morphs into silent judgment and complaints about my kids and husband not helping me enough and how I have to do everything myself (tell me I’m not the only one who does this please). OR…I take a deep breath, “Jesus I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.” I BE in God’s presence. And the doing gets done.

    We’ll Find What We’re Looking For
    Take a look around the room and find all the red that you can in the next 5 seconds. Count everything red that you see. Ready, Here we Go.

    5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.

    OK, so how many brown objects did you see? What?! Probably none, because you weren’t looking for brown! Take a look around again. Does that mean that there is no brown in the room? Of course not. Well, what does it mean?

    It seems that we will find whatever it is we are looking for. If I’m looking for red, I’ll find red. If I’m looking for all that needs to get purchased, and wrapped, and cleaned, and baked… I will find them. I’ll find them and so long as I keep my focus there, they consume my mental and emotional energy.

    Likewise, when I look for beauty, I find beauty. When I look for generosity, I find generosity. When I place my mental energy on all that I am thankful for, I find blessing upon blessing. And gratitude. When I go about my DO-ing without intention on my BE-ing or my mental focus, it doesn’t mean that beauty, generosity, blessing, and gratitude are not there, it just means that I am more likely to miss them!

    What is it that you will look for this Advent?
    What is it you don’t want to miss?

    Joy? Peace? Gratitude? Love? Connection? Grace? Write them down. Make yourself a to-BE list. Then, close your eyes, put a hand over your heart, take a long deep breath, and Be. Be in His presence. Be with Grace, with Peace, with Love. Know that God is right here, waiting to be invited into your plans, your day, your busy.

    “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

    Our Jesus does not want to be reserved only for moments of prayer before meals, or when I lay in bed at night, or sit in the pew on Sunday. He wants all in! Each day for the remainder of Advent, sit down next to Mary, even if you only have a moment. Gaze with her, on the baby Jesus. Gaze on the face of God. See His love for you. Come back to the holy. Come back, and rest in His Presence.

    Advent Breath Prayer Cards
    I made a set of six Advent breath prayer cards, which you can download by clicking on the image below. Print out the sheet, cut them apart and place around your home, car, office, or anywhere that you will run into them throughout your day. Each image contains a simple prayer to help you return to Jesus and to peace. Say the first part of the prayer (the words before the three dots) while breathing in, and the second part of the prayer while breathing out. Breathe in holy, breathe out busy.

    With love,


  • Mothering Prayer Circle

    One of the things I love most about being a coach is the opportunity I am given to connect with other women in a very meaningful and authentic way. There is a special sisterhood among us women. While we are each undoubtedly unique, we are each strikingly similar. A few things I’ve learned with certainty over the years are:

    • Our individual journeys share common themes that we can each relate to.
    • We each have something to give and to share with one another.
    • We each have something to learn or gain from one another.
    • We cannot possibly do this immense work of mothering alone! We need God. We need each other.

    I “received a call” the other day. I put that in quotations because it was not a literal call on my phone, but rather a very clear ringing in my heart. And as I listened in, I heard the reminder that we are never alone, even though at times we may feel certain that we are. It is so important that we stay connected in community with one another. I became filled with the knowing that now, more than ever, it is time for us mothers to gather together, to pray with and for one another. To give thanks to God in community and to petition Him together for each of our families’ needs. As I prayed about how best to gather, here’s what I came up with:


    Mothering Prayer Circle Logistics

    • We’ll meet via telephone conference line every Wednesday evening at 8pm (EST) beginning on Wednesday October 26, 2016.
    • Our calls will last for 30-40 minutes.
    • We’ll follow a general format which will include an opening prayer, prayers of thanksgiving, sharing our prayer intentions or petitions, and a closing prayer.
    • The phone number for our prayer circle is: (701) 801-1220.
    • Once connected, you’ll be prompted to enter your access code, which is: 190-069-041.

    I don’t know about you, but come mid-week, my mothering battery could use a recharge. What a perfect way to recharge and revitalize ourselves on a Wednesday evening! You decide whether to listen along in silence, or take a more active role. Come every week or once in a while. There is no commitment and no formality here. Simply an opportunity to connect with your sisters and with God.

    I hope you will be a part of our Mothering Prayer Circle! Please share the badge below within your own family, on your Facebook page, your blog, with your church, etc. My conference line can hold up to 1,000 moms; let’s max it out!! I look forward to praying with you next Wednesday.


    Praying together every Wednesday at 8pm EST.

    With love,

  • Transformed by Christ, a book review

    a Book Review of Who Does He Say You Are by Colleen Mitchell

    Jesus, Love Himself, desires me! He desperately wants to draw near to me, to heal me of my old wounds and remind me who I really am. And He desires this for you too.

    That is the powerful, truthful message in Colleen Mitchell’s new book, Who Does He Say You Are. Colleen tells the stories of twelve women who personally encountered Jesus in the gospels. And through their encounter, were never to be the same.

    Some of these women, such as Jesus’ mother Mary, may be familiar to us. But most of the women Colleen writes about, receive only a sentence or two of attention in the entire gospel. The hemorrhaging woman, the woman crippled by a demon, Anna the prophetess, and Mary the wife of Clopas, are a few examples. Colleen beautifully expounds on the scripture stories. She fills in vivid and realistic details that make perfect sense and weave meaningful and relevant connections to our own modern day existence as women.

    Take Chapter four, for instance. Colleen recounts the story of the woman from Samaria who encounters Jesus at the well (John 4:5-26). This is the woman who had five husbands. She came to the well at high noon, instead of during the busy and lively morning time, likely to avoid unwanted attention and to bear her shame alone. She did not expect to see a Jewish man there, and certainly did not expect him to initiate a conversation with her! Listen to what Colleen has to say to you and me based on this women’s encounter with Jesus:

    “He stands right here in front of you with the same knowing insistence. He longs for your healing, your freedom, but He will not give you only half of what you need. He will not treat just the thirsty symptoms of your sin and leave you to walk in shame. He has fixed His gaze on your heart and he sees the deeper parts of you that need Him. Tell Him the truth, the whole truth. Let Him see all of you, even the parts that have not seen the light for so long, the parts that you shroud and shelter in secret. He thirsts for you like you thirst for Him. There is freedom waiting for you. You do not have to come to this place again. But he can’t heal what you won’t let him touch.”

    I don’t know about you, but that pretty much nailed me.

    Chapter by chapter, as each story unfolds, I can see more and more clearly how these women’s stories are really our collective story as women. From each story, Colleen pulls a statement of truth about our identity as women in Christ. I’ve listed the twelve statements below.
    You are a dwelling place of the Most High God.
    You have a voice.
    You are a witness.
    You bear no shame.
    You are known.
    You are restored.
    You are made for contentment.
    You honor Christ.
    You can stand tall.
    You can pray boldly.
    Your presence matters.
    You were made for resurrection joy.

    Read them again slowly and take a second to consider that each one is describing YOU. This is who He says you are. Perhaps it’s a bit overwhelming, I know it is for me. Colleen provides useful tools for embracing these truths of who we are and for integrating them into our being. Each chapter contains an invitation, a prayer, and a set of reflection questions.

    Now, many books include these types of tools to help us integrate the author’s insights or teaching, and something is different about Colleen’s. Her invitations are provocative, refreshingly edgy. Her prayers are personal, conversational, and intimate. The questions she poses are new. I found myself frequently pausing and thinking, “Hmmm, that’s a great question. I have to sit with that one a while.” Oh, how exciting it is to enter new territories of self-discovery and spiritual growth!

    It is clear after having the privilege of interviewing Colleen personally, that this book had a “ghost writer” called the Holy Spirit. Our Lord surely has a plan and purpose for this book and for each woman who will read it. I hope you will be among us and that you will be filled with deep peace in knowing who you are.

    With love,

  • Loving One Another

    A few Sunday’s ago we heard this beautiful Gospel passage from John:

    “My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
    I give you a new commandment: love one another.
    As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
    This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
    if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

    Jesus gave us a new commandment: love one another. That’s it. Just love one another. We only have to follow one commandment? This is going to be easy!

    Well, as it turns out, loving one another is not so easy, huh? Not if we consider what it REALLY means to love one another.

    Definition of love:
    Noun: Unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the good of another.
    Verb: To feel affection and tenderness for another.

    If your life experience is anything like mine, I’ll venture a guess that there are times when you aren’t feeling the love (verb) towards your significant others! Yet, even when we aren’t feeling the love, we are still called to give the love (noun). As if this isn’t difficult enough, Jesus’ commandment is to love one another “as I have loved you.” Gulp!

    But Jesus, You love us perfectly. Unconditionally. Exactly as we are, at every moment, with no judgment. How in the world can we be expected to love one another like that?

    Obviously, He knows we fall short. Yet another reason to surrender our striving in favor of His divine mercy. Surrendering to His Mercy does not mean we give up on loving, however.

    About once a year, I pose a “Love Challenge” here on my blog – usually when I need the reminder myself! Consider this Love Challenge as a guide to help take small steps toward that big goal of loving one another as He has loved us.

    The Love Challenge

    The purpose of the love challenge is to think about love in the way God thinks about love. The challenge is based on this description of love, given to us by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7…

    “Love is patient, love is kind. Love is never jealous or envious, never boastful, nor proud, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense.
    Love does not demand its own way. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over another’s sins, but delights in truth.
    There is nothing love cannot face. Love always protects, always trusts. Love hopes all things. Love endures all things.”

    In the love challenge, we replace the word “love” with the pronoun “I”…

    “I am patient, I am kind. I am never jealous or envious, never boastful, nor proud, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense.
    I do not demand my own way. I keep no score of wrongs; do not gloat over another’s sins, but delight in truth.
    There is nothing I cannot face. I always protect, always trust. I hope all things. I endure all things.”

    How does that strike you as you read those verses using the word “I”? Certainly gives me plenty to improve upon in the way I am loving others (and the way I am loving myself too)!

    Taking the Love Challenge consists of the following three steps:

    1. Choose one phrase or sentence from the verses above to pour your love energy into today. Perhaps it will be “I am not envious” or “I am not quick to take offense” or “I endure all things.”
    2. Write this phrase or sentence on an index card to carry with you all day. Read it to yourself often throughout the day. Allow this particular way of showing love to guide your interactions and your mothering today.
    3. At the end of the day, check-in with yourself:
      • What was it like to show love to others in this way today?
      • What impact did you notice, if any, on your relationships?
      • How do you feel in this moment?

    Choose a phrase each day! It can be the same one or a different one. I sometimes have to work with the same one for a while before that way of loving flows more naturally for me.

    I hope you’ll join me in taking this challenge. Together, and with our Lord’s help, we are cultivating loving cultures in our homes and families. What a gift to give our children, our mates, and ourselves.

    With love,

  • Help My Unbelief

    From the passages in last Sunday’s Gospel reading (John 20:19-31) come the expression “a doubting Thomas.” Thomas said he would not believe the story being told unless he saw with his own eyes and touched with his own hands.

    Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believe.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” – John 20:27-28

    Thomas is pretty relatable, huh? At times, I am guilty of being skeptical towards that which I have not personally experienced. I become cynical or judgmental about that which I do not understand. I doubt.

    When I refuse to believe in that which I cannot see or understand, I am subtly choosing control over faith. If it doesn’t make sense to me, I won’t believe it. If I haven’t seen it or experienced it personally, then I will not relate to it. And there I stay, in my comfortable and predictable existence.

    Only, comfortable, predictable, and in contol is NOT the way God calls me to live!

    How about Thomas’ response to Jesus in the passage: “My Lord and my God!” (I get chills every time). The significance of those five words is inexhaustible. Can you imagine being Thomas in that moment?? I imagine that I would drop to my knees, immediately convicted and remorseful. Entirely filled with reverence and humility. Overwhelmed by His mercy and love, never wanting the moment to end, wishing I could stay at His feet forever.

    And then it hits me! I can stay at His feet forever! I can continually be filled with His mercy and His love! His presence, mercy, love, and compassion are all available to me, and to you, in every moment. My Lord and my God!

    So how about right here, right now? What would it take for me (or you) right in this moment to fall to our knees and place our head on His feet? To surrender to Him once again? And to allow ourselves to receive His tender mercy?

    A closing prayer:
    Father God, please break our hearts and minds wide open, flooding us with full, rich, deep faith in the risen Christ. We pray for the strength and the courage to look at each and every circumstance of our day through the eyes of faith. Show us how to do this. Show us how to look at life in such a way that we shall see what it is You wish for us see. Please remove our unbelief. Remove our doubts and our fears so that we may experience You more fully and trust in You without hesitation. We pray in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

    Linking up with: Mommy Monday Blog Hop, Motivation Monday, Mommy Moments, Titus 2 Tuesday, Teaching Tuesday

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  • The Glory of God

    Last week, we celebrated, once again the birth of Jesus, God made man. And I am, once again, struck by what an awesome and awe-inspiring event this truly is and was. God becoming a human! The Incarnation was certainly a BIG, BOLD choice on God’s part. What a statement He is making to us about our value, our worth, and about His incredible, unstoppable, must-be-with-you-at-any-cost, desire for a relationship with each one of us.

    Below is one of my favorite reflections on the mystery of the Incarnation, written by Pastor John Ortberg in his book, “Love Beyond Reason.” Pastor Ortberg writes:

    “Why is it that we beheld the glory of God in flesh – finite, limited, ordinary flesh? Why did God come like one of us? Why is He the God of the manger, the God of the cross?

    Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard told a parable about why God communicated His love the way He did.

    Imagine there was a king that loved a humble maiden, Kierkegaard said. She had no royal pedigree, no education, no standing in the court. She dressed in rags. She lived in a hovel. She led the ragged life of a peasant. But for reasons no one could ever quite figure out, the king fell in love with this girl, in the way kings sometimes do. Why he should love her is beyond explaining, but love her he did. And he could not stop loving her.

    Then there awoke in the heart of the king an anxious thought. How was he to reveal his love to the girl? How could he bridge the chasm of station and position that separated them? His advisors, of course, would tell him to simply command her to be his queen. For he was a man of immense power – every statesman feared his wrath, every foreign power trembled before him, every courtier groveled in the dust at the king’s voice. She would have no power to resist; she would owe him an eternal debt of gratitude.

    But power – even unlimited power – cannot command love. He could force her body to be present in his palace, he could not force love for him to be present in her heart. He might be able to gain her obedience this way, but coerced submission is not what he wanted. He longed for intimacy of heart and oneness of spirit. All the power in the world cannot unlock the door to the human heart. It must be opened from the inside.

    His advisors might suggest that the king give up this love, give his heart to a more worthy woman. But this the king will not do, cannot do. And so his love is also his pain.

    The king could try to bridge the chasm between them by elevating her to his position. He could shower her with gifts, dress her in purple and silk, have her crowned queen, But if he brought her to his palace, if he radiated the sun of his magnificence over her, if she saw all the wealth and power and pomp of his greatness, she would be overwhelmed. How would he know (or she either, for that matter) if she loved him for himself or for all that he gave her? How could she know that he loved her and would love her still, even if she had remained only a humble peasant? Would she be able to summon confidence enough never to remember what the king wished only to forget, that he was king and she had been a humble maiden?

    Every other alternative came to nothing. There was only one way. So one day, the king rose, left his throne, removed his crown, relinquished his scepter, and laid aside his royal robes. He took upon himself the life of a peasant. He dressed in rags, scratched out a living in the dirt, groveled for food, dwelt in a hovel. He did not just take on the outward appearance of a servant, it became his actual life, his nature, his burden. Kierkegaard writes, “But the servant-form is no mere outer garment and therefore God must suffer all things…he must be forsaken in death, absolutely like the humblest – behold the man! His suffering is not that of his death, but this entire life is a story of suffering; and it is love that suffers, the love which gives all is itself in want.” He became as ragged as the one he loved, so that she could be united to him forever. It was the only way.

    His raggedness became the very signature of his presence: “And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

    God came to earth. We beheld His glory. Not the glory of thrones and crowns. No, his glory was that he would lay all that aside for ragged, sin-filled peasants like you and me.”

    A closing prayer: O God our Father, thank you for your incredible, unstoppable love for us. May we this day believe in your love more fully, know your love more deeply, and feel your love more tangibly. Amen!

    Wishing you a joyous New Year’s celebration!
    With love,

  • Signs of God In Our Midst

    Our God is here. Walking among us. Dwelling in our midst. Over the years, I’ve certainly experienced my share of answered prayers, as many of you undoubtedly have also. And perhaps we’ve each had a not-so-chance encounter with an acquaintance who says exactly what we need to hear to help make that decision we’ve been delaying. And how about the times we randomly open the bible, our eyes fall on a verse jumping out at us, filling our hearts with the truth we so needed to be reminded of at that moment. Our God is here!

    Sometimes God sends visual reminders that He is here with us. A dazzling summer sky. Sunbeams streaming through the clouds or dancing on the water. Nature’s vibrancy. A baby’s precious little face.


    To me, the most astounding reminders of God’s presence are those He addresses to each of us personally. It’s pretty cool to receive a timely sign from God, addressing us right where we are in that moment. Below are stories of three such moments – literally, signs of God in our midst!.

    A friend of mine has been called to consider becoming a Deacon in the Catholic Church. This friend already leads a very busy life. In addition to being a business owner, he and his wife have 10 children! Recently, he attended an informational meeting about becoming a Deacon, went home and put the paperwork in a drawer in his desk. A few weeks later, he noticed the paperwork on top of his desk. Hmmm. Later that day, he was sitting in the parking lot of a convenience store, talking with God. He was letting God know that he didn’t think becoming a deacon was a good idea for him. At that moment, God interrupted him by sending a truck from Deacon Industries to park in the space next to him. The word “DEACON” was painted in very large yellow letters! Best just to go directly to Nineveh, Jonah…
    deacon, black bgd

    Another friend of mine was in a car accident recently with her teenage son in the car. They were hit head on, air bags deployed, and the car spun completely around. Everyone was, thankfully unharmed. But the car…well not so good. My friend prayed for God’s will to be done …and the next day, during sunrise, a large tractor trailer truck passed by displaying “JESUS” in big bold red letters. The truck disappeared out of site and then quickly reappeared heading the opposite direction. God sent His reassurance – 53 feet long! – that He had the situation in the palm of His hand!
    Jesus truck

    I gave birth to my third baby (Zachary Joseph) on May 20, 2015 at 3:30 in the afternoon. Labor came on very suddenly and progressed crazily fast. In fact, just 2 hours before he was born, I was leaving an appointment that was a half hour drive from my house. As I was walking through the parking lot to my car, I had a pretty good contraction, which caused me to lean on a parked car for a moment. I took a deep breath and said a prayer for help to get home safely. When I stood up, I noticed the license plate on the car I was leaning on: “You’ve got a friend in JESUS.”

    Have you ever had an experience of God, right here in our midst? Can you feel how close He is? Reach out to Him. He is standing right beside you, ready to take your hand in His.

    seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

    With love,

    Sharing with Mommy Monday, Motivation Monday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Woman to Woman, Winsome Wednesdays, Essential Fridays, Fellowship Friday,
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