Finding His Favorites

But if you show favoritism, you sin.
James 2:9

"Jesus, I pray everyone in my family has a good day and no one is left out."

My littlest one graced these words over my morning. They were honey on the early hours of my day. Carynne's heart is for inclusion. She seeks out the lonely on the playground. She befriends the friendless. She is an example to us all.

I never liked cliques in high school and have rejected them every since but if I were 100% honest I'd admit my heart is still a tad clique-ish. 

It's easier to walk into a room and find a face I already know.

It's less threatening to sit in a meeting by someone who will readily talk to me.

It's fun to chat effortlessly with a good friend instead of making small talk with a stranger.

It's not that I seek to exclude anyone but my attempt to include myself does. But what if my heart prayed like Carynne? What if I lived intentionally to find the one who's lonely at my church, in my neighborhood and in my children's schools? 

In looking for that one, I would find the heart of the One who shows favoritism to us all.

What's Your Season?

The first fall I had four daughters, I insisted they dress in coordinating outfits. This was the one and only time they let me get away with that but boy were they cute. Each one represented a different season but none symbolized mine - I was in a season of difficulty.

Today I've been invited by Christin Slade of Joyful Mothering to share this season of my life with you. When Christin isn't homeschooling her five children you can find her pressing closer to the heart of God. The love of Christ shines through her in the summers of her life as much as her stalwart faith grounds her in the winters.

Whether you're looking for tips on how to teach your kids about Jesus or long to walk more intimately with Him, you'll find help and hope at her site: Won't you join me there today so we can walk together? Whether despair falling from the tree of our life or new joy is growing from the ground of our heart, we'll weather better together.

God is my Weight Lifter

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens
Psalm 68:19

Convinced of the benefit, I've been attempting to lift weights for the past ten years. I know the reasons why I should do it - an increased metabolism and a decreased chance of osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer and heart disease are among the many benefits.

Just because I know I should doesn't mean I always do. 

God is the weight lifter of my heart but like a spotter at the gym He hovers nearby without giving assistance unless asked. Why do I endure the sweat and inevitable soreness that follows lifting the weight of my problems? Unlike a trip to the health club, carrying my own burdens only decreases my spiritual health.

Just because I know to give Him my cares, doesn't mean I always do.

Inconsistency plagues my workout routine and I fail to reap the benefits of regularity. Inconsistency in my prayer life has the same impact on my soul.

We all need a workout partner. Want to team up? Let's allow God to be our weight lifter-as He daily bears our burdens, our heart health will skyrocket in praise.

Stop, Look and Listen

Welcome too all my new friends who read my post on and are joining the oasis today for the first time. Other friends regularly visit with me here. Would you be so kind as to visit me there?

Today I am thrilled to welcome Katie Ganshert here. Her book Wildflowers from Winter is a story of how God's grace triumphs over our pain. Love can bloom from the hurt in our lives. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down! In this post, you'll see why I fell in love with her and her writing!

by Katie Ganshert

My son is three years old and he’s not the best listener. For awhile there, I was getting frustrated with him. I would speak and it was like he didn’t even hear my voice.

Then one day, we’re all cuddled up on the couch, watching Richard Scarry’s Busytown (gotta love Lowly worm) when this song came on.

“Stop, Look, and Listen.”

I fell in love with it right away. It was the tool I needed to help my son become a better listener.

I told him that he needs to stop what he’s doing, look at my face, and open his ears. That song taught my little man that he needs a posture of listening in order to hear.

I found this all very profound.

Because how true is this when it comes to our spiritual ears?

How often do we miss God’s voice because we’re too distracted and too busy?

This song reminded me that hearing God speak in my life meant I have to take on a posture of listening.

I need to stop.
In this go, go, go world, I need to make time for stillness and for silence.

I need to look.
In this distracting world, I need to know where I can go to find truth and sustenance. And that’s God’s Word. They start in Genesis and end in Revelation.

I need to listen.
In the stillness and in the silence, I need to open my ears in prayer and in meditation. I need to give the Holy Spirit the chance to speak.

The more I take on this posture. The more I hear God’s voice. The easier it is to recognize the next time it comes.

Let’s Talk: Do you take time throughout the day to hear with your spiritual ears? What’s your favorite way to do this?

Katie Ganshert is a slightly-frazzled, ever-inquisitive Midwest gal who’s passionate about Jesus, her family, writing, and all things romance. Her new novel WILDFLOWERS FROM WINTER is available for pre-order. When Katie’s not plotting ways to get her hero and heroine to fall in love, she enjoys watching movies with her real-life hero, playing make-believe with her wild-child of a son, hanging out with the crazy but lovable junior high students at her church, and chatting with her girlfriends over bagels and coffee. 

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker. Tailor. Soldier. Spy.

I haven't seen the Academy Award nominated movie. I had never even heard of the book until it came to the big screen. But those words bounce around in my heart. They beckon me to the One who is Tinker. Tailor. Soldier. Spy.

Tinker - I want God to mess with me - to tinker with who I am and transform me into who I might become. He is the One who sees me as I can be. Tinker with me, God.

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. Philippians 1:6

Tailor - I long for God to encompass me - to wrap me in the garment of Himself. His arms are the warmth of cashmere, His care the sparkle of diamonds, His whisper the comfort of my favorite jeans. Tailor me, God.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

Soldier - I need God to battle for me - to be my strength, endurance and confidence. He is on the front line of my life fighting for victory. He waves His flag of encouragement. He sounds the trumpet of His love. He shouts for the outcome He's already won. Be my soldier, God.

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

Spy - I desire God to be my spy. He is the One who can peer around the corner of my life. He has the intel to lead and direct. Sometimes His information is classified but He shares what I need to know. Spy out my future, God.

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

I may never read this book but I will continue to read The Book. I may never see these actors on the screen, but He will act in my life. He is my Tinker. Tailor. Soldier. Spy.

One Thing...That Will Change Your Life

One thing I ask of the Lord…
Psalm 27:4

“Honey, I need a pair of underwear.” It was a basic need from the lips of a man already packed for his week-long trip. But I spent the prior day diligent in the laundry room. I put away every washed pair. How could my day’s work not be enough?

Like a blanket, old feelings welled up within and suffocated me.

You’ll never make him happy.
You’re a failure as a wife.
Your best isn’t enough.

I immediately ratted my husband out to God. He could soooo do something about this…and I was sure He was on my side.

Lord, make him more appreciative.
Lord, make him more supportive.
Lord, change him.

My laundry had followed me away from the dryer. I had a laundry list of things I wanted God to do in him. He whispered His answer in my ear. One thing I ask of the Lord.

What if we only asked one thing of God?

One thing for our marriage.

One thing for our children.

One thing...

What would our one thing be?

Today, I’ll be hanging out at the Moms Together Community. Join me there to learn the 8 “one thing” prayers that changed my life. 

Always There - A Giveaway

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, 
and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:23

Having a child is a wild, erratic and unexpected adventure. No wonder He sent His only Son to be God with us. He knew we needed Him with us in our days (and nights) as parents. 

I have the privilege of being included in a new book by MOPs, Always There: Reflections for Moms on God's Presence and today I'm giving away a signed copy for free! 

Just follow the instructions below (multiple chances for each person to win). I'll be back on Thursday to announce the winner!!!

Always There

As I was with Moses, so will be with you;
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Joshua 1:5

It's four days until Christmas. Boxes stacked against every wall but they don't hold presents. We've done the unthinkable - we followed God from our home in Dallas to "a strange new land" called Memphis.

I'm too old to wonder if Santa can find our new house but deep within I wonder whether Jesus can. I identify with Memphis' roots - ancient Egypt. Over 3,000 years ago, God's people were in captivity there. Would I be in captivity here?

Just as God anointed Moses to lead His people from Egypt, God had anointed my husband into ministry and into Memphis. Just as God was with Moses, He would be with me here. He is always there.

I fellowshipped with Him while I waited for friends.

I celebrated with Him when I found some.

I spend every Wednesday morning with a group of ordinary women. We're all moms. We're all seeking God's heart. We come together to remind ourselves we are never alone.

Recently 50 regular moms who share the same struggles, hurts and questions common to every mom's heart, got together with the help of MOPS International to bring you the devotional Always There: Reflections for Moms on God's Presence

Join me and other moms you know like Renee Swope, Ann Voskamp, Kathi Lipp and Kelly Combs as we learn God is there in every busy, exhausting, and exhilarating moment of being a mom.

No matter where you are in your mothering journey, Always There offers you hope and encouragement along the way. From the humorous to the solemn, these fifty-two short devotions will capture your heart as you reflect upon your important role as a mother and upon your ever-present and steadfast source of strength.

The link to order your copy is:

Resurrecting Your Home Life

I married the love of my life on 6/5/04 at 3 in the afternoon. We entered the church as 2 and left as 1. My geeky math major heart beat wildly at the prospect. If I was completely honest though, I'd tell you we entered the church as 4 and left as 1. I brought two young daughters into the marriage with me. We all stood at the altar. We all exchanged vows. That day wasn't just the beginning of a marriage; it was the genesis of a family.

Day one we carted kids to school, churned out homework and activities. We married into the crazy stage of multiple kids most couples take years to encounter. Crazy is our honeymoon phase. We wanted to honor our marriage first as our most important human relationship. We desired to have Christ at the center of our family with time for family worship in the home around the dinner table. Our home life needed a resurrection. Every day can be a new beginning with these strategies:

First Things First
In our home the master suite is on the first floor. With our children tucked upstairs, we have a living representation of our family priorities. We have to fight for couple time. We leave our little kids with their older sisters and go on a weekly date because we believe our need to connect as a couple supersedes their need to socialize with friends.

We scratch for time together. We go on walks after dinner, "nap" on Sunday afternoons, kiss in the kitchen and hold hands at church. We make our minutes count and we count our minutes. With the combination of intentional time together and intentional use of the time we get, we keep our marriage strong.

Who's on Second?
We have four daughters who range in age from preschool to high school. One is receiving letters from colleges while another learns her letters. Our teens are highly involved in our church. A minimum of three nights a week they attend youth activities. They each participate in one activity at school. They have friends, school assignments and interests.

We could easily be a family who dines nightly at three different fast food joints and scarfs our food on the run in three separate cars. We choose something else. We schedule nights for family dinner. Even if our "banquet" is as simple as waffles and eggs or chicken pot pie, we gather together around our kitchen table. We can't connect if we're not together.

I say no to nights out with the girls. Scott says no to purely social evening outings with the guys. We limit our kids to one activity apiece. We say no so we can say to each other.

Wherever You Are, Be All There
This is my favorite quote my martyr missionary Jim Elliot. It reminds me to fully engage with my family whether we're cooking dinner over homework or riding bikes around the block. It encourages me to finish my housework early so I have time for house play. It beckons my heart to God each morning so I have enough of Him to be enough for my family.

Balance is a fight. Priorities are a struggle. It is a war worth waging. Just as Christ fought and won the victory for us on Easter, let's be willing to fight and win a daily victory in our homes. Let's live the resurrection so that Easter isn't an event, it's a lifestyle.


So that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
1 Corinthians 1:4

Time away. No kids. A chance to pause and connect with God. A church women's retreat has a multitude of reasons to sign up. My church only hosts one every other year so like a pregnant elephant I wait 24 months in between.

I needed this one. My home life and health would not cooperate. I left the retreat after only a few hours. I retreated from my retreat.

I went wanting to get filled up so I had more to pour out.

I left wanting.

No one else could supply what I lacked. I went to the Source. I poured myself at His feet. I prayed. I pleaded for more of Him. Without Him filling me up I wasn't sure I could continue.

Have you ever felt that way? Depleted. Empty. Lacking.

I'm so thankful when again I feel full. This time though I left with more than I expected. In the whispers of moments between God and I, I felt His urge to re-treat - to give away to others what He'd given me.

A retreat isn't always a planned event. It doesn't always happen by the serenity of a lake. I can retreat with God while children and duties call my name. I can get away with God while the busyness of life threatens. I can pause amid the chaos of life. I can choose to meet with Him - to let Him fill me up. Then when I am full, I can re-treat to others.

A Beautiful Stranger

Whatever you did for the least of did for me.
Matthew 25:40

Thoughts swirled in my mind as I turned into the parking lot. I'm going through one of those "things" God allows into the life of a Christian for His glory and our good. Some call it a trial. Others call it suffering. I call it opportunity.

As I hung up the phone, I entered Starbucks behind a beautiful stranger. I was immediately struck by her sense of style and physical attributes. She ordered her drink and then added to the clerk, "and whatever she wants." All of the sudden I realized she peered in my direction. I was "she".

Her greater beauty dwelt within. I knew this was a gift from God before she mouthed the words. "I don't know why I'm supposed to buy your coffee today but God nudged me and I'm listening." To borrow a phrase from author, Lysa TerKeurst, she was radically obedient and I was radically blessed. 

The whispers of God bounced around in my heart. He is with me. He has not abandoned me. The road before me is one of opportunity. 

If it's rocky and I stumble, I will fall into His arms.

If it's smooth and I glide, I carry Him with me.

I entered Starbucks as the least of these. I met a beautiful stranger. As I leave I will carry her beauty in my heart because she dared to be radically obedient. Now who can I radically bless?