Jesus, Candy and Rocks

Jesus, Candy and Rocks

Squeal with delight

Jesus. Candy. Hats. Soda. Road. Trees. Rocks. Water. Grass. . .

I ran across this note in a journal from years ago. My youngest son Parker scribbled these words along with others in response to my assignment to think of things we were thankful for. I can still hear his low raspy voice reading his list. His scrawled notes took me back to a time of sweet innocence and little boys’ imaginations.

Road trips often became a teaching ground for my three sons. In times like this, one child would act as a scribe. Many times, we volunteered Garrett because he had the best handwriting. This time, it was Parker’s turn.

For trips taken late in the year or the beginning of a year, I’d ask them to think about goals — family goals and individual goals. I think they enjoyed offering up a goal or two for their brothers more than thinking of one for themselves. I’ve kept some of these lists as tender reminders of simple, more carefree days.

They also prompt me to express gratitude more in my life.

Overcome with gratitude

Luke 17 recounts the story of one who showed gratitude for being healed of leprosy. Ten men were healed that day. One expressed his gratefulness.

When this man saw that he was healed on his way to show himself to the priest, he came back praising God in a loud voice.

I’m trying to imagine this scene. At some point on his way to the priest, he looks at his skin, sees he’s been healed and turns around heading back to Jesus. I imagine he even sprinted back. His heart must have been amazed and overcome with gratitude because scripture says he threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.

Speak gratefulness daily

When I think of what Jesus has brought me through, I am amazed at His goodness, mercy and grace. But when did I last throw myself at His feet in gratitude?

Wouldn’t our lives be different if we made it our practice to speak gratefulness daily? Maybe we should make a list of how we’re

  • Thankful for the little things;
  • Thankful for the big things;
  • And all the things in between.

What are you thankful for?

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan,” (Luke 17:15-16 NIV).




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A Bump in the Road

A Bump in the Road

Sometimes things don’t turn out as you plan. No real secret there, right?

As my son loaded up a bed frame to take to his first “home away from home” at college, he casually said the frame was secure in the back of the pickup.

However, at the first significant bump in the road, that frame sailed out of the truck and into the middle of the interstate.

Since I was a few miles ahead of him, he called with the news, to which I cried out to God, “Lord, not something else!”

Not knowing what else to do, he kept driving, seeing cars swerving in the lanes behind him.

The other drivers must have been stunned to see the cloth and metal frame flying toward them. Fortunately, someone stopped and moved the obstruction to the side of the road, and no one was injured in the ordeal.


Bumps can surprise us.

Have you had a bump in the road recently? Have things not gone as planned? It seems I’ve had quite a few lately — too many to count!

What is your bump in the road?

  • Was it your dream that went flying out the window?
  • Was it a dreaded call that came?
  • Was it a careless, hurtful word that left you a wreck?
  • Was it a sinful act sent your life spiraling out of control.


Bumps can change us.

Consider the woman in the Bible who was caught in adultery (John 7:53 – 8:11). She didn’t plan on being caught, but when the Pharisees showed up, she knew her life would change. In fact, she could have thought her life would end that day.

But that “bump” introduced her to Jesus, who stood beside her, offered no condemnation and told her to sin no more. That one act changed her life.

The bumps I’ve experienced have changed, shaped and even sharpened me – so much so that I am a different person. When I thought I was done, Jesus picked me up, and gave me a firm foundation, hope for a better tomorrow and the will to keep going.

Jesus stood by my side and in the gap for me and remained by my side until I was no longer the same.


Bumps can be used for good.

I encourage you to look at your bump in the road differently. Maybe it will project you into a new phase in life. Perhaps it will remind you of what God has already done in your life. Or it could possibly serve as a wake-up call to fulfill the purpose God has for you.

I wish I knew the rest of that woman’s story. Did she go back and pick up the pieces? Did she repent from her lifestyle and follow Jesus? Did she tell others of the mercy, grace, forgiveness and new life extended to her?

My nephew and son went back to get that bedframe. It was torn and scarred from the impact and being dragged across the concrete, but it was still strong enough to do what it was designed to do.

We may not be hauled to a makeshift trial on a dusty, brick-paved road, however, we’ll likely be scarred and bruised from the impact of our bump.

Even so, we can still be used for good. With Jesus by our side, we have the strength to do what God designed us to do.

Take that bump — that lesson — and let it be used for good.

Eyes Wide Open

Eyes Wide Open

In the middle of Job’s heartache and despair, he speaks something profound.

What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him. Job 7:17 (ESV)

Let that sink in. God loves us. So much that in His mercy, we don’t get what we deserve — an eternity separated from Him in a place of constant torment. Yet, in His grace, we get so much that we don’t deserve.

  • We can have a relationship with Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ and spend eternity with Him in paradise.
  • We can have meaningful relationships with people here on earth.
  • We can enjoy the beauty around us.
  • We can enjoy food that not only sustains us but tastes good.
  • And we can listen to music that brings joy to our souls.

God sets His heart on us.

There are many places in the Bible that tell us to set our hearts on God. But in this verse in Job, we find that God also sets his heart on us. We can rest in that fact. We can find love, experience care and receive blessings.

I recently listened to a song by Jeremy Camp – Keep Me in the Moment. This song encourages us to live with our eyes open so we don’t miss what God has for us. It goes on to say that nothing is wasted when everything is placed in His hands.

I had to think on that. I waste time when I don’t place things in his hand — specifically the time worrying about something that may or may not happen.

The cool part is that when I was writing this post, the scripture at the bottom of that day’s page in my journal spoke directly to this same thing.

Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. Psalm 55:22 (NCV) 

I have worried about a decision I needed to make — unable to get it off my mind. But when I placed the burden of that decision in God’s hands, I could focus and spend my time on what God DOES have for me. And I could be confident that He is not withholding blessings from me.

He blesses us when we hand our worries and fears to Him.

And not only that, but our sweet surrender of every moment to God brings peace and joy. While Jesus said He would go to prepare a place for us so that we could be with Him one day, He also said that we could have joy in THIS life.

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11 (NIV)

God is sovereign. He is in control. Yet He sets his heart on you and me. Let’s live with our eyes wide open and look for joy in the moment.

Live humbly, receive grace

Live humbly, receive grace

When I was 16, my then-boyfriend told me that if I couldn’t ride a skateboard, I’d never learn to slalom. (That’s water-skiing language for skiing on one ski.)

I thought, “I’ll show him.” And I did – that same day – with sheer determination and my dad’s 50 horsepower bass boat.

Not a picture of humility, I know.

However, learning to slalom began my love for skiing. We would even get creative with it. One summer at my uncle’s camp on Bayou LaFourche, we found an old piece of plywood and a rope. Hardly a skiing body of water, we skied the length of that stump-filled section of the bayou.

What does humility look like?

Taken captive by the King of Babylon, Manasseh was in distress. Granted, he brought this on himself. He was the son of Hezekiah, a good king who did right in the eyes of the Lord. But Manasseh was far from the king his father had been.

He did much evil, practicing sorcery, divination and witchcraft. He sacrificed his two sons in fire, plus much more, leading the people of Jerusalem astray.

God brought the army of the King of Assyria against him, who put a hook in his nose, bound him with shackles and carted him off to Babylon.

Do you ever think that God’s not listening?

We can be in distress for different reasons. It doesn’t have to be the result of sin, as it was in Manasseh’s case. Even in this evil man, the Lord was moved by his appeal and listened to his plea.

In his distress he sought the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. And when he prayed to him, the LORD was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD is God.  2 Chronicles 33:12-13 (NIV)

Not only did God listen, but He also restored Manasseh’s kingdom.

A change of heart

What made the difference? A humble heart. Manasseh had committed terrible sins. But when he cried out to God, God knew his heart.

There are others who acted humbly, and God provided restoration.

  • God had declared disaster on King Ahab. The Bible describes him as someone who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by his wife Jezebel. Once Ahab humbled himself, God decided he would not bring disaster on Ahab in his day. (1 Kings 21:25-26)
  • Hezekiah cried out to the Lord when he learned that God had said he was going to die. Because of his prayer and tears, God extended his life by 15 years. (2 Kings 20)
  • Manasseh’s grandson, King Josiah, was only 26 when Hilkiah, the high priest, found the Book of the Law that had been handed down from Moses. Josiah’s heart was responsive to the words he read in the book and he humbled himself before God. (2 Chronicles 34:27)

God sees us and He listens. He knows our hearts and responds accordingly.

What is the cry of your heart today? Do you need to turn away from sin or seek the Lord in humility? Does sadness or disappointment hold you captive? Does the pressure you face keep you from living a life pleasing to the Lord? Take time today to humble your heart and hear from God.

When we respond in humility, God responds in grace.


All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 4:5 (NIV)

God Sees Us

God Sees Us

I have successfully loaded a ski lift for 30 plus years. Until today. Today, that lift got the best of me. It’s a special lift – I call it the magic carpet lift. When you enter, you stand still, and it takes you to the place where the seat picks you up. Except when my ski tips hit the slushy ice, my feet took an unnatural turn. Knees pointed together, I fell backward, the seat hitting my head while I lay there calling out “my knees, my knees.” Oh, I’m going to feel that stiffness tomorrow. Now, that was embarrassing enough. But that wasn’t enough. I did the very same thing again. The very same thing twice! Poor Parker. He was so embarrassed.

Sometimes life just gets the best of us. We may be enjoying a normal day when we’re struck by a sad moment. That moment can throw our whole day – or even week – out of whack. We could receive a dreaded call about a family member. Or things seem to fall apart around us.

In one month alone, Garrett, 15 at the time, ran into a barbed wire fence, our roof leaked, termites swarmed our neighborhood, our water heater needed repairing and we found a rodent living in our attic, just to name a few! Lord help us all when those types of weeks or months rain down on us.

If you’re like me, you just need to talk to your person to face the days when our hearts are heavy, our minds a cluttered mess.

I don’t know all the whys and answers to our questions, but I do know that God sees. He sees us, he knows us and he’s beside us during our painful moments. Scripture even tells us directly that God hears our prayers. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers.” 1 Peter 3:12.

We may not always feel this way, and our feelings are likely to get in the way, but this is truth. He is attentive to our prayers.

I may not have voiced the words to the Lord, please save my knees, but God heard the cry of my heart. My knees will recover, eventually, and the young man who picked me up from my disarranged limbs was patient and kind. For that, I am grateful.

Side note. My boys talked me into trying that lift again the next day. I did not want to, but I survived it. I can leave Spring Break knowing I conquered my fear.