Prep Work

Prep Work

Squeal with delight

I know firsthand how much goes into repairing and expanding a concrete driveway because I just had that work done. It takes hours of preparation before a truck even arrives to pour the concrete.

Locations of underground water, gas or any other utilities must be flagged. Digging up dirt, framing the area with boards, breaking up and hauling away any unneeded concrete, and laying down mesh wire for strength and durability must occur first. You get the idea.

Once poured, the wet concrete must be leveled, set and hardened enough to drive on it, which takes about 5 days (at least here in the South).

We may not like the wait, but the prep work guarantees the driveway can bear weight.

Lives well lived

My mother-in-law and father-in-law passed away within seven weeks of each other. As it often does, going through a time of loss reveals what matters most. It highlights the importance of cherishing our loved ones, treasuring the memories and spending quality time with them.

I think my in-laws’ lived in a way that would prepare future generations to live fulfilling and God-centered lives.

  • They demonstrated a daily love for and commitment to each other, staying together for 64 years.
  • They laughed easily and often, bringing joy into our lives.
  • Their love for the Lord and the things of God showed.

God’s preparation for us

Although we grieve, God gives us hope after loss. Through long hospital stays or sudden passing, God comforts the downcast. He gives us the stamina to lift one foot in front of the other and strengthens bonds shared with family and friends. He encourages us through a friend’s visit or a much-needed phone call.

Jesus promises we will see our loved ones again if we have a personal relationship with Him. He promises to prepare a place for us so that someday we will be with Him for eternity. He also prepares us for that place. He’s doing prep work in us now.

  • God left His word so we can know what He’s like.
  • He refines us, many times through trials and challenges.
  • He draws us to Him.
  • The Living God gives us the Holy Spirit, His guarantee that we will one day be with Him.

One day His work will be complete, and He’ll be ready for us to move in. In the meantime, Jesus promises to be with us and to one day return so that we may be where He is.

I can’t even comprehend our joy on the day we get to move into our heavenly rooms, however, that moment cannot compare to our joy when we see Jesus face to face.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am,” (John 14:2-3 NIV).



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.


The Cross has Spoken

The Cross has Spoken

Squeal with delight

I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. As I strolled along the Gulf of Mexico, I saw an object beneath the shallow water. The sparkling waves disguised its identity, but the faint outline of a cross grabbed my attention.

I tried to get a closer look. However, the constant lapping of the waves obstructed my view.

The object looked like two wooden beams had washed up and lodged in the sand. . .  in the perfect shape of a cross.

Later, I discovered that the “cross” was simply buried pipes from a condo construction site forming a “T.”

That cross in the water spoke to me, reminding me of Christ’s great sacrifice and of His perfect love. It reminded me that God’s presence is with me no matter where I am.

His cross. Our burdens.

A. W. Tozer explains it in his book Mornings with Tozer (July 14). “The cross represents pure, selfless love in its fullest perfection.”

And that is what it is — a picture of selfless love.

The cross points us to Jesus. The cross bears our burdens. It promises fullness of joy and offers hope for the future. It represents His great love for us. The cross was the plan all along.

The cross speaks volumes.

I love it when God shows up anywhere to remind us of His presence, even through two pipes lodged in the sand. We can put our complete trust in God who reveals himself to us whether in a worship service, driving through traffic in a busy city or strolling down a quiet beach.

I am thankful for the cross.

I pray the cross and Jesus’ resurrection will remind you that in His selfless love, Jesus chose us. He sacrificed for us and today affirms us to the Father. He promises to give His Holy Spirit to those who know Him.

The cross has spoken.

Wishing you and your family blessings this Easter, Patricia

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God,” (Hebrews 12:2).


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.


Be Grateful and Press On

Be Grateful and Press On

Squeal with delight

I caught my 6’5”, 240-pound son.

Have you ever seen something about to happen and could do nothing to stop it? I didn’t plan to be the barrier between my son and the floor, but it happened in an instant.

I saw the equipment in the physical therapy room and cautioned my son to be careful as he hobbled by with his crutches.

It was too late. His crutch caught the equipment leg and he lunged toward me. Only two days after his ACL/meniscus surgery, I knew he couldn’t put any weight on that foot.

Between his look of panic and my expression of dread, I braced myself as his chest hit my face like a brick wall. I held tight, shocked yet thankful he was not on the floor.

A moment of gratitude

What could have been devastating turned into a moment of gratitude.

He felt gratitude for me being there to catch him. I was grateful he didn’t damage the recent knee repair or crush me in the process.

Have you been there? Have you escaped something that led to disaster, but God supplied the rescue? Maybe he provided a way out or the encouragement to move forward and press on. You felt a sense of gratitude come over you.

Jesus’ crucifixion must have shocked and unnerved his followers. It must have hit them hard.

When Mary Magdalen and the other women went to the tomb three days later, they expected to find the broken and unrecognizable body of their Lord.

Instead, they found something far greater. Their weeping turned to joy. Fear grew to gratitude. Their despair changed to determination.

Energized to press on

Jesus met them in their time of need and encouraged them, energized them to press on and moved them to go and tell the disciples that He had risen just as He said. (See Matthew 28.)

Jesus champions our walk. He delivers us in our time of need. He catches us when we fall and encourages us to press on toward our goal.

A friend once encouraged me to stop what I was doing and go run. My mind told me I needed to run . . . for my health and my marathon training. Instead, I offered excuses. I had too many things to do so I didn’t want to take the time. Plus, the sky looked overcast with a threat of rain.

But I followed her advice. Not long after I started running, the sun broke out. As I ran, I felt better than I thought I would. I ran better than I thought I would. My outlook changed and I found encouragement to press on and stay in the race.

Commissioned to press on

Isn’t that so much like Him? Like a trusted friend, he encourages us. He loves us. Jesus nudges us to press on and stay in the race. He urges us to remain focused on the task He wants us to do. Whether in sunshine or storm, He stands there waiting to be what we need at that moment.

Jesus’ followers didn’t know it yet, but their race was just beginning. After His instruction and encouragement for 40 days, they went on to spread the gospel with passion and without fear throughout the first-century world.

So be encouraged. Embrace gratitude. Stay focused on your God-given dreams and see the hand of God at work in your life. And should you fall, He’ll be there.


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.


Squeal with Delight

Squeal with Delight

Squeal with delight

I love the picture my friend Sarah paints with this devotion. I share it with you in hopes you will find joy like the delight a child finds on the playground.


Delighting. Committing. Being still. Lent is such a special time. It gives us time to focus our hearts and minds on God. In Psalm 37, David talks about taking delight in the Lord and giving everything we do to Him.

When I think of genuine delight, I think of children playing outside squealing and running. You can tell they are truly happy and joyful. I think this is how we are called to worship — with delight! How often do we find ourselves feeling like a kid again, running on the playground in worship? True delight is not something we experience every day. We have to fully commit everything that we do to the Lord.

Delight in the Lord is a daily choice we make. Wake up. Give your day to Him. Those decisions you make, give those to Him. Give it all to Him. For those of us who like to be in control, let go and give it to Him.

Don’t let being busy get in the way. Everyone you talk to is busy, with family, with kids, with activities of all kinds. They are busy with work. They are busy with the community. Everyone is busy. It’s almost like if you aren’t busy, you aren’t doing life right.

The busyness of life and our choices to only walk with God when it’s convenient interfere with our ability to delight in the Lord. During this Lenten season, let’s slow down and focus our hearts. Be still. Choose to commit yourself to the Lord.

Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither. Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust in him, and he will help you,” (Psalm 37 NLT).


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.


Do You Need a Sign?

Do You Need a Sign?

The signs are all around us. Signs of celebration. Signs telling us to be merry and have cheer. Signs leading us to the “can’t live without it” gift.

Tis the season of joy, right?

I have already heard people talking about the busyness and craziness of the holiday shopping season. It’s hard not to. I feel the pressure to do more, seek the perfect gift and get things checked off my Christmas to-do list.

But when it’s all said and done, it’s not the gift that we remember. In fact, I can’t name one thing I got for Christmas last year (except for an ornament my son painted of the cover of my book . . . which I recently hung on the tree).

Moments of joy

However, I find joy in the people and the moments we share.

I remember laughing around the table on Christmas day. I love being with friends and family at our annual Christmas party. I cherish Christmas traditions, especially Christmas Eve with my cousins and their families.

I even still chuckle about a huge inflatable Santa I bought for our boys that first Christmas after my husband passed away . . . and all the comments of support that post brought about. (We finally “retired” Santa this year.)

I believe that when we put all the “stuff” and activity aside, when we still our hearts and seek Christ, joy awaits us.

In fact, the Lord pursues us. He wants us to know Him and find delight in Him.

“God is trying to call us back to that for which He created us – to worship Him and enjoy Him forever.” A. W. Tozer

King Hezekiah of the Old Testament did this. Scripture even compares him to King David in doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He sought the Lord and turned Judah back to God. (2 Kings 18:3, 2 Chronicles 31:20-21)

After he re-installed the sacrificial system and festivals like the Passover, scripture tells us both Israel and Judah celebrated as one. Their hearts were in it and there was great joy in Jerusalem.

Why? Because they were seeking God.

Ultimate joy

I spoke with my friend Teresa shortly before her father’s funeral this week. He was a man who sought the Lord. Her eyes lit up as she told me about her daddy’s last breath on earth. At that moment, a look of pure joy flashed across his face. I can only imagine how it must have impacted her.

Thinking about it still leaves me in awe. Mere words cannot come close to capturing what she witnessed.

One day those who know Jesus will also experience unspeakable joy when we see Him face to face. But I’m thankful we can also experience joy right now.

So when you hear holiday greetings, when you see signs reminding you of the Christmas season, let those prompt you — not to do more — but to seek Him more.

No greater joy

Hezekiah sought the Lord. Shepherds and wise men searched for Jesus. Teresa’s dad trusted in Jesus. Let us also seek Him and find joy this Christmas season.

He is no longer a baby in a manger.

No longer the messiah on a cross.

He is our risen Savior, our Redeemer and our King.

There is no greater joy than that.


“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  Matthew 2:2 (ESV)



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.

The Delight of My Heart

The Delight of My Heart

I love weddings. Attending my niece’s wedding recently brought fond memories and happy times. Also, she touched my heart when she included her Uncle Matthew’s photo in a memorial display at the reception.

With weddings — and human nature — hiccups surface here and there. Usually, they’re insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

However, some weddings have a story to tell. Like my sister’s.

Two hours before the ceremony, her wedding dress caught on fire. Yes, you read that correctly. Minutes before marrying the love of her life, the wedding dress caught on fire. Typical of the late 80s, candles filled the stage and big hoop dresses were the thing. A LOT of candles and a WHOLE LOT of dress marked that day.

The photographer asked her to move closer to the candlelight. Which she did. He then asked her to step forward. And in that moment, the lace in the big hoop of her skirt caught the wick of a votive candle on the altar. Flames shot up. It was such a large hoop that she did not immediately notice it.

Fortunately, someone else did and began yelling and waving her arms, saying “Lisa!” “Lisa!” “Lisa!”

The photographer beat the flames out with his hand while he and my sister had a moment of pure shock thinking “did that really just happen”? Then the photographer asks… “who’s the best seamstress we can get”? That seamstress was our mom.

Mom and the pastor’s wife came to the rescue with thread and white shoe polish. And no one who wasn’t witness to it saw the hole from that near disaster. Amazingly, my sister held it together, and did not fall apart.

Was God with her that day? You’d better believe it. If not for the hoop in her skirt, the flame would have touched her skin and been much, much worse.

But we have God to thank (and a hoop) and a story to tell.

Love and adoration

Thankfully, there were no disasters like that at my niece’s wedding! However, I am sure there were things that didn’t go exactly as planned. But nothing could take away the pure joy on their faces.

I think that there is a moment when the busyness, the stress of all the preparation, the last-minute mishaps — and sometimes disasters — fall away when standing face-to-face reciting vows. At that point, it’s just the bride and her groom, completely immersed in love and adoration for each other, making their commitments and beginning a new life together.

I especially love seeing the moment the groom sees his bride for the first time. His expression speaks volumes.


Here’s something to think about. The Bible tells us that one day soon Jesus will come for his bride, the church. That bride and groom moment will be reversed on the day we see Jesus face-to-face. We will look on Him with complete love and adoration. He alone will be our reward.

Friends, the King of the World has chosen us and wants a relationship with us. As believers, He is our redeemer.

He has redeemed us from:

  • Shame and guilt of the past
  • Feelings of failure
  • Low self-esteem, low self-value
  • Our mistakes, and the resulting regret
  • Our pride
  • And a host of other things.

Don’t let mistakes or mishaps or “near disasters” take your joy from the one who loves you with an everlasting love. You CAN

  • Find joy in the Lord.
  • Find joy in the word of the Lord. The principles we find in scripture are truly life-changing.
  • Find joy in the opportunities for new beginnings. Let Him become the delight of your heart.
  • Find joy and praise Him for His protection when challenges or disasters come our way.

Let’s be completely immersed in love and adoration for Jesus, our King of the World.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16 ESV



Don’t know Jesus, our Redeemer? 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.


Written in collaboration with Lisa Mencer.


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