Keep Going

Keep Going

Squeal with delight

I thought my life was about to be over.

The excursion was my idea. After all, I’d craved adventure most of my life. But I had no idea the predicament I’d gotten myself into. My goal to see the sunset from the top of the massive granite mountain (Enchanted Rock, in the middle of the Texas Hill Country) seemed impossible after only a third of the way up.

My heart raced and fear took hold when I realized the difficulty of the climb. I reasoned with myself, uncertainty setting in. I don’t know how I’m going to get down.

My 16-year-old son ran and jumped from one boulder to another, loving the climb in this rock paradise. He heard the distress in my voice and stopped long enough to encourage me to keep going. Holding out his hand, he gave me a pull up a time or two.

I continued taking one step after another, over one rock pass to the next until only a smooth rock slope lay ahead. Looking up was the only option. Looking down caused queasiness, so I forced my eyes straight ahead and up.

Alone with God

The task seemed insurmountable. As soon as I hiked far enough to see the horizon, I sat down, frozen in place. My son hiked up the last incline and out of my view. I couldn’t know if he was safe because I remained rooted in my spot.

I watched the sunset but mostly prayed because I doubted my ability to survive the hike down. You probably think I’m being dramatic. My son did. But my fear was as tangible as the rock dome in front of me.

The sun dropped below the horizon. I sat completely alone with my God as I watched the sun’s decline throw pinks and purples against the sky. I half-heartedly thanked Him for the view.

Eventually, I found the courage to stand. (I certainly didn’t want to walk down in the dark.) Taking one step, then another, I weaved my way down inch by inch.

When my feet hit level ground, I looked back at the mountain with a sense of awe and accomplishment. As sure as the shadows deepened from the setting sun, I knew I couldn’t have made it on my own.

Lessons learned

God taught me some things from that experience.

  • Keep going. Do you have an insurmountable task in your life? As my son shouted to me from a distance, I speak those same words to you. “You can do it. Keep going.”
  • God walks or runs and even climbs with you. Take His hand and let Him lead you one step at a time. One rock at a time.
  • Be sure to look forward to the reward at the end and enjoy the adventure. Looking back, I wish I had enjoyed more moments at the top instead of worrying about the journey ahead of me.

This experience reminds me of other challenges in my life. Can I apply these lessons learned to other areas? Absolutely.

I find it interesting and reassuring that God uses distressing situations to inspire us to work on other areas in our lives.

Often, I convince myself I can’t accomplish something because of a lack of discipline. I question God’s calling to this ministry. Will I trust Him and put in the effort to climb to the place He wants me to be? Can I release my worry to Him and enjoy the journey? Do my children see my joy throughout the day, or do they only hear my correction?

You might have similar questions or challenges, or a mountain to conquer. These words speak to us all. Keep going, take God with you and enjoy the adventure.

I thought my life was about over that day. But I found God had so much more in mind.


Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.

What Are You Afraid of?

What Are You Afraid of?

My Christmas gift to you

The forecast called for fierce winds. I had dropped my boys off with my parents so they could watch them while I was 5 minutes away at a Bible study. We ended early so that everyone could get home before the storm hit. I got to their house and quickly grabbed the boys, essentially throwing them in the car. They were 11, 8 and 6 years old.

As I parked in the driveway, I was concerned a tree branch blowing wildly in the wind was going to snap and fall on my car. The timing couldn’t have been worse. At a young age, Garrett had become terrified of storms, and we had a 10-minute drive home in wind and rain.

Halfway home, I looked in the back seat and realized he was holding his breath. I told him to breathe. Take deep breaths and breathe. My oldest, Connor, dryly said, “Somebody needs to give him a paper bag.”

When we got home, I pulled up the weather app and showed Garrett where the storm was on the radar. The worst of the storm had passed while we were driving.

That reassurance helped him move past the fear and accept he was going to be ok. He finally calmed.

Two stories of faith

Matthew 8 includes two stories of faith (or lack thereof) early in Jesus’ ministry.  When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion sought him out to heal his servant who was paralyzed and suffering at home.

Jesus offered to go to the servant. But the centurion said there was no need to come but to just say the word and his servant would be healed. (See Matthew 8:5-13.)

Amazed, Jesus applauded his faith, saying

“Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith,” (Matt 8:10 ESV).

On another day, Jesus and his disciples were in a boat traveling to the other side of the sea. While Jesus took a nap, a great storm appeared, and a deluge of rain hit. In their fear, the disciples awakened Jesus asking Him to save them. (See Matthew 8:23-27.)

Jesus’ reaction?

“Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” (Matt 8:26 ESV).

He then got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And everything was calm.

Jesus could have calmed that first angry wave and stilled that first gust of wind. But He didn’t and look at the lesson they learned. These ordinary men witnessed an extraordinary event that changed their lives and helped them move past their fear. The wind calmed, but they also experienced awe and a strengthening of their faith. After that day, they must have known there was nothing Jesus couldn’t do.

With renewed confidence, they would then walk and talk and share their stories without fear. They taught, preached and healed with boldness.

Strengthen your faith

What are you afraid of? Can you put your fear aside, recognizing that Jesus is in the boat with you and has the power to calm your storm? He knows you. He knows your weakness and your fears. Your hopes and dreams.

He is with you when you need healing, courage, confidence or protection from the storm.

Let His presence strengthen your faith and bring you life, hope and power.


Don’t know Jesus? You can.

It would be my greatest honor to take your hand, introduce you and walk you through how to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.

Find out more here.


What Keeps You up at Night?

What Keeps You up at Night?

I woke up to blessed quiet. It had been many weeks — almost two months — of noises in the attic awakening me or scuffling between my office walls and the outside brick frustrating and distracting me. My sons and I couldn’t determine its identity.

One morning the noises sounded like someone moving furniture. Several days the sound of a golf ball repeatedly dropping and rolling tested my patience.

We set out to find an opening and finally found a hole under an eave in the roof, assuming the squatter must be a raccoon. Upon further inspection, we found the insulation had been patted down by the critter’s many trips across the attic floor. Plus, the air duct was detached in two places! So, instead of cooling my house in the 107-degree Louisiana heat, I had been cooling the attic for our attic resident. I can just imagine him sitting up there in between the two sections of the air duct and enjoying all that cold air.

After patching up the hole, we set a borrowed trap in the attic. After a week and even one instance where the raccoon outsmarted the trap, he unexpectedly took the bait and landed in raccoon jail. Our unwanted visitor was then taken to his new home in the woods.

That attic situation was quite the experience.

So I’m grateful for a quiet house on a lazy Saturday morning. I’m grateful for cool air and a son who didn’t complain even once about checking the trap three times a day.

What’s in your attic?

What’s in your attic? Hopefully, it’s not something wreaking havoc and causing destruction.

However, sometimes, it’s our own thoughts that do exactly that.

What keeps you up at night or awakens you in the early morning hours? What is that constant worry that keeps you in a state of disarray? What is the fear that won’t give you peace? Or the nagging voice that distracts you from your life’s purpose?

Jesus brought calm to the chaos and peace in the storm. He spoke healing to the helpless and provided plenty to the hungry. He spent time with the outcasts as well as the prominent. He made himself available to men and women alike, and cherished children. He taught, he prayed, he wept, he loved.

And he does that for us too. We can rest at night knowing that He is in control and He’s available.

Who fights your battles?

There is an account in scripture that reminds us where to place our trust. It’s an unusual one to discuss trust, but I love what King Jehoshaphat says when enemy armies were about to invade.

2 Chronicles 20:12

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

That is the answer for us too. No matter the pressure you’re feeling in life right now, put your eyes on Jesus. If the walls seem to be closing in, or something is causing destruction in your attic, remember He is there.

2 Chronicles 20:17 also reminds us of God’s provision. When facing a battle, He told the people of Judah not to do anything.

You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, tomorrow go out against them and the LORD will be with you. 2 Chronicles 20:17 (ESV)

And I love their response. They praised and sang BEFORE the LORD delivered them. God caused their enemies to destroy each other. By the time Judah got there, all they needed to do was pick up the spoils. Don’t you love that?

I do not know what battle you might be facing, or what the Lord might require of you, but I do know this. With Jesus by your side, you cannot lose.

Taking Down Walls

Taking Down Walls

One of the hardest things I have ever done was tell my three boys their daddy had gone to be with Jesus in Heaven. The task seemed insurmountable. I was already numb from the news myself; how could I ever speak it to them?

It seemed a wall loomed ahead, threatening our way of life. Somehow, I had to make it to the other side and begin an unwanted and unfamiliar future.

Walls can be daunting. However, I believe there are two essentials to tackling the walls that stand in our way.

  • Our faith
  • God’s power

A promise fulfilled

As described in Joshua 6, a wall stood between the Israelites and the place God had promised them. That wall surrounded the city of Jericho and God had a plan for Joshua to defeat the city.

(Jericho was the first city conquered by Israel after crossing the Jordan River and occupying the Promised Land. Joshua 5:13-6:23)

I feel certain the plan to circle the walls of Jericho seemed bizarre to the people. But Joshua listened to God, then executed the plan exactly as God had laid it out for him. And the people followed Joshua’s instruction.

When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. Joshua 6:20 (NIV)

The power of praise

The walls of Jericho fell – not because of human strength or skill – but because of the faith and shouts of praise of the people. That, my friend, is the power of praise.

Because of their faith, they saw the power of God in action. And with their faith, they accomplished the task as God intended.

Oh, that we would approach our walls – or mountains – before us with that same faith accompanied by praise. When we say “I can’t do this” or “I won’t do that,” we limit God.

Joshua was a man of great faith. And he saw the limitless power of the Lord. Verse 27 closes out Chapter 6 with this about him.

So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land. Joshua 6:27 (NIV)

I have witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. It was only through faith in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit that got my family to the other side of that wall during those dark days.

Do you have a wall standing in your way? Or a mountain before you? Sometimes fear can be that barrier that holds us captive. Or grief could keep us bound and not able to move forward.

Let’s cling to our faith to move those mountains, tear down those walls and see the power of the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives, working on our behalf.

Learn from your storm

Learn from your storm

Philippians 4:6

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.


Today, I am grateful.

I took two of my boys and their friends to Lake DeGray in Arkansas this week. Yesterday, we enjoyed the sunshine while tubing and knee boarding. Because school had started in many places, we were literally the only boat on the lake.

After a couple of hours, we noticed some dark clouds off in the distance and I kept a watchful eye. I remembered a similar day a few years ago when we dodged storm clouds. God’s glory displayed itself as we saw both ends of the rainbow across the lake. That scene was breathtaking.

Yesterday was not that day. To my dismay, the weather conditions changed quickly.

Those dark clouds were accompanied by bolts of lightning. Lots of lightning. We discussed our options and decided to try to make it back to the marina. Halfway there, the storm hovered directly in our path, so we turned back.

Going as far as the boat rental company allowed, we sat, hoping the storm would travel south of us. When that didn’t happen, we braced for the storm. The rain became a wall of water. We were all drenched in seconds and could see nothing around us. Just rain. Then hail hit. With no visibility, our sunny, hot day at the lake became cold, scary and painful.

I tried to stay calm, but fear struck my heart. I simply did not know what to do.

But pray. While we laughed and joked, I’m pretty sure all four boys were also praying. One even remarked, “I’m sure glad I know where I’m going!” Another asked, “where?” “Heaven,” he shouted back over the roar of the rain.

Eventually, the sky to the north of us lightened some, so I decided to head that way, slowly. I no longer cared whether we were breaking the rules, we just needed out of the deluge.

I’m kind of embarrassed to share this story. I keep replaying it in my mind, trying to decide what I could have done differently. Maybe there’s a lesson in it.

The reminder and lesson for me? Sometimes in the middle of our personal storms, we, too, experience low visibility. We can’t see what’s in front of us, and we panic. But no matter our storm, we can trust Jesus. He knew exactly what we were going to see that day. He took care of us and gave us a lesson in gratefulness and an experience we will never forget.

Maybe God wants to show you something through our experience. The disciples once called out to Jesus to save them from a storm and he delivered them. Jesus is our protector, our deliverer. Sometimes we just need to hang on and ride out the storm.

After the storm? We took a break and grabbed ice cream and snacks. Then we went right back on the water and enjoyed the rest of the day on an empty lake.