My Reflections

WHERE WILL YOU STAND? (Part 1): Faith


The ground moved under our feet, all too quickly.

As a teacher, this summer break has been very different. Before the summer of 2020, summer has often included times of fun with others, a possible vacation away, and moments to relax, refresh and rejuvenate after a school year of teaching. It meant more carefree times. Instead, at least for my family, we have been largely isolated to do our best to stay safe from COVID-19.

Our schools were only three days into Spring Break, before the nation was essentially locked down. Life, as we had known it, had changed and it felt like someone had kicked our collective knees out from under us. We knew the virus had impacted the eastern part of the world, but too many of us believed or hoped that it would never land here.

Suddenly, we all began to feel unsteady.

Within two weeks, we shifted from traditional learning within school buildings to teaching and learning remotely online from the youngest of students in elementary school through colleges and universities. Educators, students and families all had to shift accordingly.

Businesses, of all types, began closing down. Those who were fortunate enough were able to shift into working from home. Food and supplies became scarce in stores, as hysteria appeared to take over and people began buying in large quantities with the intentions of hoarding. Medical workers and grocery store workers became heroes, but they also were getting put at great risk, even with governments setting up mandatory face mask wearing protocols when out in public.

Without knowing what the future held, as a worldwide pandemic made it to our hemisphere, fear set in among our citizens, right here in America.

The virus changed our world, and we didn’t know what would shift next.

Prior to the official start of summer, I lost my mother and my grandmother in a matter of two weeks due to COVID-19, each having died in two different states while I was in a completely other state. There would be no time to gather with others to console one another. There would be no memorials or funerals, with hopes for the ability to do this in the future. This would follow about a month later with the loss of my father-in-law and us joining the memorial virtually.

Losses like this are HUGE under normal circumstances. This time though, we couldn’t count on the typical traditions we would typically count on during times like this, ones that often help to bring us comfort and support.

One thing I learned during those times, and as I continue to learn as we move forward, is that the virus has most definitely changed the world and how we are living. However, there are still constants that exist, in spite of the virus, ones I knew I could depend on strongly for the comfort and support I needed.

In my own home, my immediate family (both human and animal) were able to listen and help us process. They were able to provide hugs when we broke down in grief. When needed, they stayed near when all we could do was just sit quietly and allow ourselves to feel, think, and remember without any interference.

The virus changed our world, BUT FAMILY rallied together.

The gift of technology proved to play a huge part in helping us through the healing. We were able to spend time talking or texting on our phones, and more importantly video chatting with the rest of our family no matter where we each live in the country. In a time of isolation from most, this was a HUGE comfort and helped us to process further with those who also knew these important members of our lives. We felt like we could stand more steadily, after that.

As our entire life largely shifted to staying at homes and outside on our properties, many great and unexpected changes began to happen. This wasn’t just in our home, but also in the homes of many families’ living all over the country. Life began to slow down for most of us. We were having more time together, to engage more with one another, to make have actual home cooked meals more regularly and together, and our pets loved having us around more.

The need for using apps, like Zoom, caused many to catch up and stay more in touch with family and friends whether they lived a few houses down or across the country or globe. It appeared the gift of time had helped us remember that who is in our lives matter more than what is in our lives.

Life wasn’t entirely what we knew, and like most of you, I needed to find a firmer place to stand with so many unknowns ahead.

You see, way before COVID-19 ever emerged, my biggest comfort and support was one I was already very familiar with and one that had never let me down, even in the toughest of times . . . GOD.

I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord  himself watches over you!The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. PSALM 121:1-8

From the first time I ever knew troubled times existed in life, and every time since, God has been there. He was the One who has always held me close when I’ve cried out to Him. He was the One who has let me scream at Him when I have been frustrated or angry. He was the One who brought the perfect people to me, at just the right moments when I needed them. He was the One who reminded me of so many truths that not only have lasted the test of time through centuries, but have lasted the test of time in my own life from a very young age.

Getting my legs back didn’t change a lot of what was out of my control, but it helped me stand so much stronger.

I found myself using the time that was now freed up to talk with God a lot more. The ability to pray to the One who knows far more than any human ever could know, provided me with immense peace.

This peace was with me when my mother was in the hospital for over a week, without knowing what the outcome would be. It was with me on the morning of Mother’s Day when I learned of my grandmother’s death and soon followed by my father-in-law. It stayed with me as I did all I could to teach from my home, in a way that was not how any of us expected to finish the final quarter of the year that I was still reaching and supporting my students. That peace reminded me to trust my Lord and those He put in my life.

This peace was with me, anytime fear rose up over the unknowns of living life with the coronavirus now in it. Remembering Bible verses were a source of strength and peace. Having the luxury to read the Bible for longer periods of time provided me with peace like even my favorite novel cannot do. Talking and listening to God, in prayer, however and whenever I needed has kept me standing strong.

The virus changed our world, BUT GOD has never changed.

Little would any of us know that life would still have curveballs to throw at us. While my faith is usually strong, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel afraid. Every human does. With 24/7 news and social media providing continuous information and misinformation, along with photos and/or videos, faith has been the key to my mind, heart and soul remaining tethered through it all.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,”he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,”he said, “why did you doubt?”MATTHEW 14:28-31

There’s a part in the Bible, in Matthew 14, when Jesus sends His disciples to get into a boat while He dispersed the crowd of people they just finished miraculously providing for with food none of them had. Imagine the fear of hundreds of people not knowing when their next meal would be. Yet, Jesus provided for their needs and probably saved so many lives that day. He also increased the people’s faith that God saw them, God knew what they needed and God could provide.

Then, those disciples got into the boat knowing Jesus would catch up with them. After just seeing the miracle of food simply appearing in their baskets to give out until every mouth was fed, it was clear that had God seen them, God knew what they needed and God provided. Then, rather than waiting to catch up with the disciples on the other side or by following in another boat, Jesus was standing on the lake water itself and asking Peter to trust Him and walk to Him, on that lake.

What does this have to do with the coronavirus?

That moment has everything to do with the pandemic that we are still living with, in our nation and across the globe. Peter took initial steps of faith in Jesus Christ as he began to walk towards Him, but then suddenly, the human he was saw the wind blowing and his eyes went off Jesus and most likely looked at the water as he freaked out and cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Even then, the Lord saw what happened, saw the need and provided. Jesus reached out His hand and caught Peter. He knew Peter had faith, but like us, Peter also struggled during times of “rough waters”.

We have moments when we feel more at peace, as though God or even humans, have life more in control. We feel completely comforted and in full faith that life will work out and there’s no need to worry.

Then, we see the numbers rising again of those testing positive for the virus. We see that the new school year is right around the corner and worry as an educator, as a parent or loved one of a school age person or as all of the above. Masks are required to be worn again and some businesses have to close temporarily again, while others do so for good, not being able to handle the lack of money anymore. Events that were looked forward to get cancelled and sports are making major changes, as well.

We read, hear, or see all of that. Then, we have moments when even though we are still alive and may even have what we need, we feel our faith dropping. Like Peter, as changes continue to occur through these times, and we feel the wind moving and the water beneath our feet, we realize that while we may have faith, we also feel better feeling and touching the realities we are used to around us.

The virus is not greater than God.

This is why talking and listening to God, reading His Word for instruction, for guidance, for assurance, for wisdom, for how to handle whatever comes in life is so vastly important.

God is always with us, whether we acknowledge His existence or not. He sees us. He knows what we need. He provides.

His provision may not always make sense to us, like when Thomas the disciple saw Jesus alive again, after His resurrection, and needed further physical proof it was Him. Then after some time of rejoicing over His return, those who had seen Him after rising from the dead, soon came to realize that Jesus had to return to the Father. Imagine the immense confusion and hurt that brought on, not knowing when they would see Him again. Yet, their stories continue on with greater moments of faith that changed the lives of so many people in the world for His glory.

As it indicated in this Bible verse, we are truly blessed when we have faith, belief in God, when we cannot physically see His presence before us.

Why? Because, God knew that this pandemic would occur. He knew that we would be afraid at times, whether we have faith in Him or varying degrees of faith in Him, at times.

YET . . . GOD is far greater than anything life throws our way, even the coronavirus.

The virus doesn’t take away our faith.

For those of you who struggle to have any faith in God at all, the amazing fact is that we all have faith in something or someone at different points in life. While each of us continue to live our lives as best we can, He still sees us, knows what we need and provides for us.

When the dark news related to the coronavirus interferes with our lives, we continue to keep looking for the light. Most humans can’t seem to help it.

No matter what unknowns will come our way, pandemic or not, don’t give up. Have faith. It helps us to stand firmer, to keep going and to remember that better times will come.

The light exists and will always outshine the darkness.

Stay tune for the next part of this blog series. Keep the faith.

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My Reflections

WE WON’T FALL: Psalm 71:14, Psalm 55:22, Psalm 26:12, Matthew 6:25-34


Psalm 7114

This morning, as I sat reading the Word and praying, something came to the forefront of my mind. It wasn’t a new revelation. God truly knows that I’ve heard this truth many times before.

We, as believers, can easily get consumed with so many worries. Am I a good enough mother, wife, teacher, photographer, and so on and so on? What do I do when I seem to have done everything, and yet, (fill in the blank) still isn’t fixed, changed, different? Did I use my time and resources wisely? These thoughts, in and of themselves, are good ones to think about. We need to self-reflect, keep ourselves in check, have others help to keep us accountable. However, did you notice something in each of those questions? They are very “I” focused, rather than God focused.

We have a tendency to not just think long enough to self-reflect. Rather, I can easily find myself dwelling way too long on areas to the point that self-reflection can become worries. How? By not allowing God and His truths to be part of the equation. The truth is that burdens are not meant for us to hold.

Psalm 55:22 reminds us, “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” It can’t get any clearer than that, can it? The Word doesn’t qualify or quantify the essence of our burdens. It simply tells us to give our burdens to our Lord. Which ones? All of them.

The beauty of that is that our burdens aren’t simply gone and forgotten. There’s a promise to walking in this truth. He will take care of us. He won’t let us slip and fall. So then why do we always struggle with burdensome thoughts of slipping and falling?

I clearly remember a reoccurring dream that I used to have on a very consistent basis. I would stand at the top of this long, windy staircase, and knowing how long of a walk it was, I would lean over the top railing to see how far down it was. The problem was that I would always slip and fall, straight down the center, with the fall never ending, until I suddenly awoke in a cold sweat. Kind of like an Alice in Wonderland moment, only there was no bottom leading me to a beautiful land of wonder. It was rather like a choke hold that forced thoughts to race through my head, as the speed of falling increased and I watched each level of the staircase flash before my eyes.

That is so much like what we, or at least I, can too often do. I begin thinking about an area that may or may be one that I should concern myself with, and rather than look up, I look down. Down, into myself, rather than up into the eyes of the One who sees me, who knows me, whose hands are so large that He can scoop me out and draw me close to Him, as He says, “Dear one, let me take care of you. You were never meant to fall. You were meant to stand on solid ground, and I am here. Stand on my truths.”

When I choose to do just that, my heart cries out, “Now I stand on solid ground, and I will publicly praise the Lord” (Psalm 26:12)! That doesn’t meant that the situation suddenly goes away. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t work to be done. But just as time and time again through the Old Testament God fought His children’s battles or allowed them to do so, in His power, might, and instruction, we are called to the same today.

What a magnificent feeling it is when we can stand on His solid ground. To breathe. To be held by Him, and to praise Him publicly for all He’s doing and has done for us!

Casting Crown’s song “Just Be Held” is such a wonderful reminder of what our loving Father tells us time and time again, if we would only listen:

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
Theres freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

Don’t get consumed by anything that isn’t of God. We are told to not worry. Matthew 6:25-34 tells us that He has us, He has the situation. We are valuable to Him and He won’t drop us. We won’t fall.

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My Reflections

DREAM GOD SIZED DREAMS – Exodus 33:11, Numbers 14:5-9, Ephesians 3:20, Joshua 10:9-14, Ephesians 1:3, Matthew 13:23


This blog may be one of my longest ones to date. Over a long time, God has shown me to dream beyond my imagining to dreaming God sized dreams. I can remember a time, as a teenage girl, when my youth pastor encouraged us to pray for our future spouses.  He wasn’t encouraging us to focus on looking for the one God might have for us. He was encouraging us to pray “for” that person now, not after he/she entered our lives.  I can still remember him saying, “You never know if you are the only one praying for them.” Powerful words!

Well, as I prayed for the man who would later become my husband, God showed me the attributes that this man would and should have, if he was to marry me.  They seemed way beyond what even other Christians were hoping for, but as I continued to study the Word, I saw that they lined up directly with God.  Not only that, but focusing my eyes on who God would have for me, kept me from making some major mistakes.  Years later, when I did meet my husband, I learned that he came to know the Lord during his teen years, in a powerful way! God only knows how much my prayers may have helped to shape him into the man he was and would become. Even more, my husband is all God wanted for me, not an impossible dream.

I can also remember the time when I had to decide which colleges to apply to, and though I’m not advocating applying to just one school (unless God makes that VERY CLEAR), I knew that I knew that I knew that I was meant to go to a specific state college.  Others, especially family, thought I was nuts.  How could I put all my eggs literally in one basket? This was my future, we were talking about!

To help provide a peace to my loved ones, I decided to apply for early acceptance, which meant I would know months before others if I was going there that fall, but most importantly, I would know ahead of having to submit more college applications, before the deadlines to other schools.  Though I did fairly well through my school years, there was no logical reason why the school God wanted me to attend would send me an early acceptance.

As God would have it, I got early acceptance, and He did one even better. They offered me a good-sized scholarship.  What had already been clear to me, became clear to others. What’s more is that I grew more spiritually in that place, than ever before, not because it is some special school, but because of daring to dream and trusting God for the results.

I can also tell you of the numerous times I would feel God showing me who He wanted me to be and what He wanted me to do, down the road.  However, the location of where this would occur, was completely foreign to me.  Then, many years later, as my husband and I were traveling from the airport, for his final pastoral interview and for my teacher interview, I couldn’t help but notice something.  Outside the car windows, for miles and miles, I was looking right at the location of my dreams.  As we arrived, and did some exploring, more of what God had shown me for so long, were now right before me, in living color and in some cases, in flesh and blood!  I cried joyful tears, many times during that weekend.

I have long felt an affinity for Joshua, in the Old Testament. He was a man who clearly dreamed God sized dreams. As he was mentored by Moses, it spoke to me when I read, “Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting,” in Exodus 33:11. Here was a man God was shaping to see the Promised Land before he would ever step into it. Twelve men had been sent to scout out the Promised Land and report back to Moses, Aaron and the rest of the Israelites. Ten of the twelve could only see what was in front of them, and they passed along their fears to the others that this was not of God, without consulting Him. However, in Numbers 14:5-9, we see Joshua and Caleb not only dreaming God’s way, but truly seeing His reality, before they entered into all God had for His people:

“Then Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground before the whole community of Israel. Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, ‘The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”

That’s what’s so amazing about dreaming as God desires us to dream. We can’t always see what He places in our hearts and dreams. They don’t always make sense.  Many times, they don’t, because they involve His intervention, rather than man’s, in order for them to come to fruition. But God tells us in Ephesians 3:20, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”  That’s exciting! If we can think it, He is able to do even greater!!! That’s what He wants for us.

Even though that piece of Scripture was written many years after Joshua, Joshua knew the heart of God.  This is probably why in Joshua 10, we see five kings send their united armies to fight against Joshua and the Israelites, out of fear for what they had seen God deliver them from, in prior battles.  This would causes most people to run the other way.  Yet, God had given Joshua big dreams, dreams of who He is and what He wanted for His people.

In Joshua 10:9-14 we read:

“Joshua traveled all night from Gilgal and took the Amorite armies by surprise. The Lord threw them into a panic, and the Israelites slaughtered great numbers of them at Gibeon. Then the Israelites chased the enemy along the road to Beth-horon, killing them all along the way to Azekah and Makkedah. As the Amorites retreated down the road from Beth-horon, the Lord destroyed them with a terrible hailstorm from heaven that continued until they reached Azekah. The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.

On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said, ‘Let the sun stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.’

So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.

Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day.There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day!”

Wow! How many of us would ask God to stop time, the revolution of the Earth around the sun, even stop time, very unnatural things, because His people needed more time, and Joshua knew that if he could think it, God could do greater, and God did! He allowed His people to get physically involved in the battle, and as if the sun standing still wasn’t enough to show them who was really at work here, God destroyed those who tried to escape, with a hailstorm. That’s the God we serve, a God who wants us to expect great things from Him.

Looking back at those who dared to dream God sized dreams in the Word, in the lives of others I have known or met, and in my own life, I couldn’t say this better than Paul did in Ephesians 1:3, when he stated, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.”

Did you catch that? He has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms! It isn’t future tense.  He has already done it.  All we have to do is enlarge our vision and dream as God wants us to, because He has already ensured us that He is able and has already made a way.

This is why the Dream Centers, which began in LA, came into being and spread world-wide.  This is why the “National Community Church” in Washington, DC stands today and its pastoral staff and congregation continue to be testament to dreaming God’s way. This is why the Assemblies of God exists today.  This is why Wayne Tesch, an ordinary man (like all of God’s big dreamers) began Royal Family Kids Camp, a camp for abused foster kids, which is now over 150 camps strong world-wide!

Are you getting it? God wants us to dream big enough for Him to do even bigger things!  Jesus Himself told us in Matthew 13:23, “The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” He wants to go WAY beyond whatever we dream.

So start dreaming, but keep God in the equation. Ask Him to enlarge your vision. Dream in accordance to who God is and who He says we are in Him, because we serve a BIG God. Dream, remembering that what is impossible in our eyes is VERY possible in His, and feel free to share with me and my readers about God’s big dreams and what He’s done since you dared to dream!  Not only does it encourage all of us, but each testimony gives glory to God, the giver of great dreams.

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My Reflections

LORD, STRETCH ME: Ruth 1, Esther 4, Matthew 25:20-24


What does it feel like when God is stretching you? It is not always pleasant. It can even be scary. It means placing control fully in God’s hands, not knowing the outcome. The question I periodically find myself asking is, “Am I willing to be stretched, if it means I’ll become more like the person God sees, when He looks at me?” It has been one of the greatest and also hardest questions, for me to ask, let alone answer, within my walk with God.

A close friend of mine once told me, in the midst of being stretched by God, “God has really been dealing with my past, changing my past hurts to good! I was praying last night that God would show me who I am because I don’t know myself most of the time anymore. His reply was ‘you are my child’. Simple, yet profound!” Profound, indeed.

To reach that place where we allow ourselves to be stretched by God can definitely be difficult, but oh so good, when we get to the point of realizing the purpose of it all. This makes me think of Ruth, in the Old Testament (Ruth, chapter 1). There was a point in her life where she had to make a choice. Either she was going to stay where she was, a place she knew, or follow her mother-in-law Naomi, to an unknown place, with unknown people, to follow her and an unknown God. God stretched her, and the result? She was given more than she could have ever dreamed possible, even becoming the great grandmother of King David.

How about Esther, also of the Old Testament? Talk about being stretched. She was orphaned, left to be raised by an uncle. Then, she gets chosen to become part of a group for the king to consider as a potential wife.  So much of her life seemed out of her control. Yet, she allowed God to use her, to stretch her, and stretch her, He did! This time of stretching put Esther in a place where she got to save her entire people from annihilation. How? She stretched beyond herself, and into the God’s purpose for her life.  What a hero she is to me!

I have had those stretching moments in my life, and like my friend, I became in many ways someone who I wouldn’t have recognized at the start of the stretching experience. I look back and can see a person who was shy, introverted, suffered from panic attacks and had low self-esteem. Yet, God stretched me, slowly molding me into who He always knew I could be. Though it wasn’t always easy, it has been so worth it.

Now, I look at myself and see a person who can confidently speak to others, who can walk with a confidence that can only come from God, into whatever He places before me. I know I have many, many more times of stretching ahead of me.  I know that some may be more pleasant than others, but if God can do all He’s done in me, in less than four decades, bring it on! Lord, do what you will.

In the end, I simply want to look into the eyes of my Lord, and hear Him say to me, “You are my child, the one I’ve always known, the one who allowed me to stretch you, who trusted your heart and life to me. Well done, my faithful servant!”

I dare you to say, “Lord, stretch me into who you want me to be.” Be ready for an amazing ride! I can assure you that the destination will be breathtaking.

As with all of my blog posts feel free to COMMENT, to FOLLOW my blog and to SHARE. I value you taking the time to read my posts.