Kissing Misunderstanding Under the Mistletoe

James 1:19 Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

On the way to school this morning Clara spotted a bright orange T adorning one of the yards. "Look, Mommy, those people have a T in their yard. They must like tigers because T is for tiger." I immediately thought of how funny (or maybe irritating) her statement would be to both the fans of the bright orange University of Tennessee and their instate rival the University of Memphis Tigers.

This time of year my "misunderstanding" button gets pressed more often than I'd like to admit. Somewhere among plans, wrapping, cooking and baking, my emotions get raw and the sensitive in me surfaces. Now for poor Clara growing up with four other girls in the house her problem isn't misunderstanding, it's lack of information. But really when I think about it that's usually my problem too.

I'm too busy checking items off my list and rushing to and fro and I don't stop and listen to the other party. I wonder how different my Christmas season would look if I realized the most productive item on my list is listening to those I love.

So this December I'm going to rush less and sit more. I going to be mindful that come January the gift of an unruffled wife and mother will mean abundantly more to my family than a perfectly appointed holiday. I'm kissing misunderstanding goodbye under the mistletoe.


Philippians 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you.

Today is Thanksgiving. Before I cook the turkey or turn on festive holiday music, I want to pause and allow gratitude to wash over my heart. I am truly thankful for:

  • A husband who loves deeply and honestly
  • Four daughters who look more like Jesus every day
  • An early morning run with my sweetheart and my oldest
  • An eclectic mix of Thanksgiving plates that add a smile to the Thanksgiving table
  • A church that welcomes anyone who wants to know more about God
  • A big city with a small town feel
  • Family scattered about whose love I gather in my heart
  • Children spread through four schools so each has her special place
  • You, my readers, who encourage and challenge me every day. I'm a better woman because of you.
  • Our Savior, Jesus, bearer of boundless love and unmatched grace
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

The Dance of Grace

Galatians 6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (ESV)

Music pulsed through the air as God's people lifted praises high and unashamed. Chris Tomlin's simple, God-inspired choruses had 5,000 singing loud and proud. Among the crowd was my little family of six.

As a particularly stirring song played, I watched my six year old raise her hand in worship. Five little fingers elevated to the One who is worthy. My heart beat a thunder of gratitude to God; I was witnessing a moment of true beauty.

With the last notes of that evening hanging in the air, I read Galatians 6:18, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." This is a verse I've breezed through dozens of times but somehow this time the words played a symphony on the strings of my heart.

I saw grace dance through my daughter's spirit with my own eyes. I tend to think of grace like it's an event but what if instead I considered it as the living, breathing work of God flowing in the heart of every believer? What if grace can waltz through my heart at regular intervals.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I find it relatively easy to be thankful on a day dedicated to gratitude but what about an ordinary day of preparation like today? Today I will clean floors, run errands and do dishes. Is it possible to have a thankful heart in the midst of every day life?

The key is to allow the grace of God to be with my spirit. When I sway through life to the rhythm of God's grace, every ordinary act of living becomes an extraordinary act of worship from which flows gratitude. God's grace can pervade my life because grace is not an event. Grace is God.

As you prepare for Thanksgiving today won't you join me in a dance of grace as we worship the Giver of all grace with thankful hearts?

Day 30 of Prayer Guide - Peace for Your Body

Day Thirty
Peace for Your Body

Proverbs 14:30a A heart at peace gives life to the body.

A cough overstays his welcome. Energy eludes despite nap and extended sleep. These hallmarks shout your status: Tired.

Restless one, come obtain peace for your body.

Today I Pray for You:

·         To know the Rest Who penetrates first heart and then body.
·         To know the Way and comprehend the Truth that is a Life of peace.

Today You Pray:

Alpha and Omega, as I come to the end of my prayer journey, I realize it’s a beginning. You have flooded my mind, soul, heart and body with all of You and I want more.

You have proven to be all I need – sufficient for every trying moment of my day. Today I give You my body. With every beat of my heart, massage Your life-giving peace deep inside. My heart is at home in Your hands and gives my body the life it craves.

Day 29 of Prayer Guide - Peace for Your Mind

Day Twenty Nine
Peace for Your Mind

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Confused. Exhausted. “Your mind is playing tricks on you,” a friend offers. Only is doesn’t feel like play. Your head is crammed with details more war than play. You long for your brain to just be still.

Stressed one, come draw peace for your mind.

Today I Pray for You:

·         To draw on the bottomless well of God’s peace.
·         To trust the Guard of both heart and mind Whose peace is fathomless.

Today You Pray:

Restorer God, I empty my mind so it can be filled with You. Stand sentry at its door. Guard it with Your love and grace.

I tuck my mind into Your hands – hands of mercy and strength. In the safety of Your garrison, the warring calls a truce. My mind is stilled behind the shield of Your peace. 

Day 28 of Prayer Guide - Peace for Your Soul

Day Twenty Eight
Peace for Your Soul

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way…” Words sang in childhood still echo in your soul. Today they raise questions rather than nostalgia. When and how does peace come around? The old hymn presumed its visitation but peace hasn’t passed by the home of your soul in some time.

Conflicted one, come inherit peace for your soul.

Today I Pray for You:

·         For the God of hope to gently attend to the tender places of your soul, leaving joy and peace by His touch.
·         To encounter Peace Who empowers comfort with His quiet assurance, “It is well.”

Today You Pray:

Comforter, You are well appointed with my sorrows. Some are everyday aggravations who rob me of peace one irritation at a time. Others are deep wounds that tighten my throat and snatch joy.

Today I release every disappointment into Your hands. Fill my now empty soul with the river of Your peace. I receive Your gift as it pours into every crevice of my hidden self. In these moments I whisper to You, peace attends my way. It is well with my soul.

Day 27 of Prayer Guide - Peace for Your Heart

Day Twenty Seven
Peace for Your Heart

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.

I am swallowed by my anxiety. It moves over my heart in waves, washing away my peace as it gurgles within. My heart longs for the peace of my Prince.

Striving one, come corral peace for your heart.

Today I Pray for You:

·         That you would journey to the throne of the One whose scepter is peace.
·         To know the rule that breaks the bondage of anxiety.

Today You Pray:

Provider God, I open my heart to You. Where You walk, trouble is stilled. The very brush of You entreats my heart to the pause of peace.

The door of my heart is thrown wide. Rule, Prince of Peace.

Day 26 of Prayer Guide - Peace

Day Twenty Six

Isaiah 32:17 The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence.

I long for peace but it eludes me. I’ve been told to chase after what I want but somewhere midstride I realize peace isn’t something I can catch. Peace is Someone Who gives to me what He is.

Distressed one, come drain peace into your being.

Today I Pray for You:

·         That the Prince of Peace would crown your heart with peace.
·         To surrender your drained soul to the One who drains peace.

Today You Pray:

My Shelter, I hide in You. Here in this place of rest and security, I give my frightened heart over to You. To finish well, I must walk in the peace only You can give.

Some trust in money. Some trust in relationships. I trust in You – the One who gives a quiet confidence and peace.

Day 25 of Prayer Guide - Perseverance for Your Body

Day Twenty Five
Perseverance for Your Body

Hebrews 12:1 And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Run? How could I run when I am barely managing to walk? My life shuffles by and I feel like I simply can’t keep up the pace. How can I get my feet to move at the rate of modern life?

Suspended one, come swallow perseverance for your body.

Today I Pray for You:

·         To shift your focus from the finish line to the Hand Who marks out the race
·         To run with the confidence of God’s strength

Today You Pray:

God of Endurance, I want to finish the race but I also want to make each step count. You are the hand that offers Living Water to weary runners. Your refreshment is extended to me; I have to embrace the gift.

I choose to pause here at your roadside stand to drink deeply of the One who restores my soul and reinvigorates by body. As I begin the race once more, I realize I run with You. Your presence in the race ensures I will run and not grow weary.