Friendship, Favor and Freedom


These three words have been pregnant with meaning for me the past few months. It seems like the Lord keeps speaking them to me, in different ways, in different forms, in different areas of my life.

Friendship first came to me while I was reading a new devotional (well, new to me, but a classic) that a friend bought for me recently entitled, “Space for God” by Don Postema. In it he wrote:

 “I’ve come to believe that being a friend of God is a deeper basis for spirituality and       prayer than being a servant or even a child of God.”

Those words really hit me. Because when I first found Jesus late in my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to serve him. So, my heart was set on doing that for many years, (well, hit and miss for the first few). Then, the realization that I was a child of God was HUGE for me. To know that I was adopted by my Father, chosen and loved and even received all that He has was even HUGE-ER (not a word, but you know what I mean). I lingered in that truth for a very long time. It changed my life. But, now I am in a season where I think I agree with Postema, that being a friend of God is an even deeper relationship in prayer than I’ve ever experienced. We are at a place in our relationship that is truly friendship. Friendship is easy. It’s comfortable (and I don’t mean so irreverently). He actually calls us friends and not servants, right? And because of many, many hours in quiet with him, I love that I am known and loved in his presence, and I know him better than I ever have, because of it. There is still a lot of discovery ahead, and I love that about friendship, too. There is so much joy as well. I am forever grateful for this eternal friendship. And I am enjoying it daily.

I am also learning to appreciate and even enjoy the season of friendship that I find myself in currently. You see, my husband and I have been in our local church as pastors for over 30 years, having many friendships inside and outside our church. And when we left local church ministry, we found it harder to find consistent community, to be honest. (Plus, we haven’t lived in Idaho that long, either.) So now, our main community is our kids and grandkids and it has been an incredible gift. We love it! But as far as friendships, we now have much of our community online. It’s crazy, but our closest friends live all over the country and even the world. It was hard at first for us, but through this word of friendship, He has shown me what a rich group of friends that He has given to us: friends that we carry each other’s burdens, laugh with, play hard with, love their kids and challenge each other in the things of God. Plus, we even get to be in the same room with them several times a year, and we make it a priority to do that because of what it does for our soul. I am so blessed by such rich relationships, and I’ve found that they don’t need to live down the street, as well as, embrace what God has given to me now.

Favor has also been a word that the Lord has spoken to me in many ways lately. He has given me favor these days…in my workplace, in my ministry, as a woman and even as a mom. I have prayed for it for a long time, and tried to position myself for it in the past. But, only God gives us favor and sometimes we don’t even notice it. Or maybe we notice it late. But, he has shown me many times and in many settings where this is true lately. And then he said to just walk in it. And so, I am learning to do that. Because it hasn’t always been true for me. I don’t take it lightly, and I acknowledge that it only comes from him. But I must be honest, it really feels good.

Freedom is such a powerful word. I want to walk in freedom in really, every area of my life. I mean, I have experienced a ton of freedom in this season of my life, but I want more. I want to be free in my relationships, not to carry stuff that is not mine to carry, and then not continue to worry about it. I want to be free to let things go, and let God take care of stuff, not me. I am learning to walk in freedom as a woman in leadership, as someone who doesn’t always need to think the same way as my co-workers, but to know that it is still the right way to think because I am just being who God made me to be. Even the current leadership team that I am on, (which is all men and myself), has really had an enormous impact on me in that way. Their belief in me and appreciation of my voice is freeing me to lead like never before, that’s for sure.

Friendship, favor and freedom is real, tangible and I am being made aware of how God is working these things in my life. How about you? Are you in a season of friendship with God? Do you sense his favor, or have you even thought about it? How is your freedom meter? Are you becoming more free or less free these days?

I bless you with deep, life-changing friendship with God and friends.
His unmerited and powerful favor on your life,
And the freedom to enjoy the life he intended for you.

The “M” word

Since the 21st of March, I have been on a journey that is not unfamiliar to me, but not welcomed. That day, I had my usual six month check up with my dermatologist. And, that day, he found a spot on my chest, very near my collarbone, that he didn’t like. So, the soonest I could get another appointment to get it tested was 20 days later. I really didn’t think it was anything to worry about, although it looked different than any other kind of bad spot I’ve had. If you know me at all, you know I’m a pretty chill person. And so, I didn’t worry about it. I couldn’t really do anything about it anyway, so I waited. And prayed.

So, on April 10 it was sent to the lab, and last Friday my doctor called me to give me the results. Now, I knew it probably wasn’t a good sign that HE called. But, I thought when I heard his voice on the other end of the phone, “Maybe he’s just being nice and doing the calling himself.” Well, that wasn’t the case. He told me that the spot was melanoma. The “M” word. A word that I was determined to not ever hear for myself. And, again, if you know me even a little bit, you have heard me preach about wearing sunscreen. (And you hated hearing it from me every time you went out in the sun.) Plus, I witnessed my mom deal with the “M” word too many times. So, I was actually really surprised to hear my doctor say it on the other end of the phone. “Oh, crap” came out of my mouth. (I mean, I could’ve said worse.) He was patient with me, while the news sunk in. And he even wanted to remove it that day, but it was Friday afternoon, so I had to wait. Again.

The good news is, it was not very deep. And we were both incredibly grateful that he found it early.

At 8:15 yesterday morning, my doctor cut and pulled and yanked at my chest and got that foreign spot out of my body. Now, I pray, with a host of so many of my friends, teammates and family, that the pathology will come back proving that he got it all.

These are all the facts, but I haven’t really shared with you the emotion that emerged within me. From the day it was biopsied to today, so many feelings…

I felt scared. Lonely. Angry. Confused. Depressed. Disappointed. Nervous. And, at the same time I felt peaceful. Loved. Cared for. Hopeful.

On Monday, I just happened to read Psalm 44 and the Lord really spoke to me through it.

O God, we have heard it with our own ears—
our ancestors have told us
of all you did in their day,
in days long ago:
You drove out the pagan nations by your power
and gave all the land to our ancestors.
You crushed their enemies
and set our ancestors free.
They did not conquer the land with their swords;
it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory.
It was your right hand and strong arm
    and the blinding light from your face that helped them,
    for you loved them.

You are my King and my God.
You command victories for Israel.[b]
Only by your power can we push back our enemies;
    only in your name can we trample our foes.
I do not trust in my bow;
    I do not count on my sword to save me.
You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies;
you disgrace those who hate us.
O God, we give glory to you all day long
and constantly praise your name.    NLT  (Italics are mine.)

 Only by YOUR power can we push back our enemies (like sickness and disease).
Only in YOUR name can we trample our foes (like the “M” word).
I do not trust in my bow (or the doctor’s skilled hands);
I do not count on my sword (or his scalpel) to save me.
YOU are the one who gives me victory over my enemy (cancer.)
And so, I give you glory all day long and constantly praise your name.

This is what I stand on today. He defeats my enemy, which just happens to be a deadly, stupid spot on my skin.

What is the enemy that you are fighting today? By His power and His name, may He give us both the victory we are asking for.






amazing grace



Last week was the fourth anniversary of my mom’s passing. And when I think about her journey from this life into the next, I recognize how long and painful it was for her. She entered hospice (due to a long struggle with COPD) where this disease finally took her nearly two years later. She slowly went from a wild and crazy lady, full of life, laughter and fun, to being weak, exhausted and frail. Although she struggled with her physical body, her mind (and her tongue) stayed sharp. Like always.

But, with her mind so clear, it was hard for her to just lie there, day after day, in her hospital bed, in her bedroom, and think, not being able to go anywhere except in her mind. She thought about good memories throughout her 86 years, but she also thought about the painful ones. The pain she endured, and, the pain she caused.

The ironic beautiful thing about this, is that she met with Jesus there. In her hospital bed, in her bedroom, in her safe place. She confessed. She processed the pain from my dad and others that hurt her. And He listened and forgave her for everything she ever did. And let me tell you, she was no saint. I bear witness of that. But, she met with a God that was full of grace and love and forgiveness. She met with a God that would take her just as she was. And He did. Just in time.

My husband and I got to be by her bedside when she died. It was really a beautiful thing. I am so grateful to have been there with her. She was so afraid to die. She wasn’t afraid of eternal life, and she was excited to see her parents and my brother. No, she was afraid to miss anything here on earth. She loved life and living so much, that she was afraid to miss out on a celebration, or a party, a new country to travel to or meeting a new friend. But, on February 1, she gave up the long fight to stay alive. She entered Jesus’ arms of love gently, carefully, intentionally.

You see, He didn’t have to take her. She did some pretty awful things. Sometimes her words could cut like a knife. But His grace really is amazing. And it’s way bigger than her sin.

This Jeremy Riddle song has really meant a lot to me, when I think of my mom and the grace Jesus showed her.

“This is amazing grace.
This is unfailing love.
That you would take my place.
That you would bear my cross.
You would lay down your life, that I would be set free.
Jesus, I sing for, all that you’ve done for me.”

I know He did it for her. I know He took her to heaven to be with him, because He loves her like crazy and because that’s just who He is and why He came. But, when I sing that last line of the song, I also thank Him for doing that for me too. He gave me a gift, by forgiving my mom and taking her to paradise, because nothing means more to me than that.

Someday we will celebrate in heaven together. But today, what would have been my mom’s 90th birthday, I will celebrate her here.

Because I’m pretty sure there’s a party for her in heaven today. And she probably planned it!

How has this amazing grace touched your life lately? How have you been shown this kind of love? I’d love to hear.

Don’t miss it



Typically, as a new year approaches, I like to spend some time with God in anticipation of the new year. My husband and I will make some plans for the year, put our travels on the calendar and talk about our priorities and passions. We pray together to get God’s heart for what He has for us in the year ahead, also asking for things on our heart for the same.

I also like to ask him if he wants to say anything to me ahead of time about the new year ahead. Maybe a word or phrase to live by, to be reminded of. If not, that’s ok too. But I just want to hear his voice, and maybe be alerted to or step into something he might have for me.


So, I did that this past week. I’ve been pretty sick, so I’ve been sitting around more than normal, but positioned to hear from the Lord in that place for sure. As I took a bath to relax and feel a little better, I started asking the Lord if he had something to say to me about 2018. I didn’t hear a word. I didn’t even hear a directive phrase. But, a prayer came out instead.


Because what also informed my time in the tub, (you know you have random places where God meets you too) was the news of a friend of mine’s death on Christmas day. I didn’t stay in touch with him after high school much, except we both went to San Diego State, so we crossed paths there a few times. But I do know that Rick loved Jesus. I saw on FB that he was married and had a son. And it’s just not ok with me that he is already gone. Life is too short. Way too short. He left this earth too soon. So, when I asked the Lord to speak to me, this prayer came out.


“Lord, don’t let me miss a thing that you have for me.”


I don’t want to miss something that God is up to.

I don’t want to miss an opportunity, a moment, a prayer, an encounter, a friend, a relationship, a leader, a chance to go somewhere, a chance to share you with someone, an opportunity to heal or be healed, a truth, a word, a connection, your voice, a divine appointment, an answered prayer, an event, a celebration or even some fun.


I don’t want to let fear keep me from anything that God has for me, or what he has for me to give to or do for someone else.


I want all that God has for me in 2018. And, I’m realistic enough and been around long enough to know that it’s not all easy or fun. And I’ve also been around long enough and taken enough risks to know that it’s totally worth it. For me and hopefully for someone else.

But, I just don’t want to miss a thing. And with it being January 1, 2018, and this is on my mind and heart, and knowing that Jesus will answer my prayers, I’m pretty sure I won’t miss a thing. (Unless I’m stubborn, or lazy or not paying attention, which has definitely happened.)


How about you?

My encouragement to you is don’t miss anything that God has for you this year. Step into whatever he says, does or invites you into. He is trustworthy, and actually, in control of what happens in the end. But, as one author puts it, “We just don’t know how fast the grains of sand are dropping through the hour glass.” But I do know, it sure seems like they are dropping fast.


So, let’s not miss a thing. This new year or any year.

890 Jantail Court


This past week we sold our house in Redding. It was kind of an emotional week for me.


I have learned to grieve through the years. I don’t enjoy it, it’s not my favorite thing to do, but I know it’s necessary. And maybe it seems weird to grieve the loss of an object, but it wasn’t just that. I mean, I loved our house. It was a perfect size for our family and a great neighborhood with awesome neighbors. We even got to write scripture verses as a family on the framing of our house while it was being built. It was definitely built in love. I also loved my kitchen where I had the room to create some new dish (which happened often! Thank goodness my kids were always game!) I learned to garden there and love it. (Even in the Redding heat with red clay soil!) Plus, my pride and joy was the maple tree in the front yard that all of our neighbors loved! Living in a cul-de-sac was amazing for our boys who loved to make ramps and skateboard in the street the with all their buddies.

No, it was grieving ­– actually more the loss of a season of our lives. It was about the zillions of memories that it held. You see, our home was known as a house of peace. A retreat of sorts. It was a retreat for my husband and kids, (that I strived to create), a safe place from the outside craziness of all of our lives. So that when they walked in the door, and closed it behind them, they could be themselves and relax. No judgment. No outside expectations. Just be. And I really felt that this was important as a pastors’ family.


890 Jantail Court was a place for our family of five to laugh, cry, create, dream alone and together.

It was a place where many ministries were born as emerging leaders gathered in our living room. They deconstructed the church and then recreated it. They were also allowed to dream big and they did. And then they actually acted on it.

There were many meals and talks over the counter in our kitchen. So many conversations where we celebrated together and some conversations that were difficult. That’s real life.

So many fun memories at our dinner table with our kids every night. They made us laugh so hard, and it was a place where we processed our days. Probably a little too much sarcasm but we tried to keep it in love.

I loved our kids coming in at night into our bedroom where they would run down the hall and fly into our bed, (quite literally) where we talked about the day: the boys’ girlfriend problems or our daughter’s issues with the mean girls. High school was amazing and hard. For all of us.

Some of my favorite memories are of the countless Christmas parties for our staff and leadership where we took all of our furniture out of the living room and then lined it with long tables where we ate and celebrated what God had done that year at Risen King and in our lives. (Except one year I had so many guests that I had to put a table outside on our patio. It was a little cold. But, I did have a heater out there. Just didn’t ever do that again!)


So, now, we hand off 890 Jantail Court to a new family. One that we know and love. And they are honoring those memories, the legacy that we are leaving of peace, equipping and loving on young leaders, and raising kids in a house of grace. I am so grateful for the life we had there. Now, it’s time for our friends to take it and go beyond where we went. Pretty sure they will.

And, so we are released to truly land in our new house, already making some special memories in a new season of our lives at 17128 Solomon Drive.



yes or no?


Jeremiah 1:4-10

The Lord gave me this message:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”

The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell youAnd don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,

“Look, I have put my words in your mouth!
10 Today I appoint you to stand up
against nations and kingdoms.
Some you must uproot and tear down,
    destroy and overthrow.
Others you must build up
    and plant.”


I just read this passage this morning and I love it. Our purpose and assurances are all summed up, right here. This is God’s call on my life. On your life. And all you have to do, is say yes or no to it. Simple as that. And if you say yes, this is what you are saying yes to.

  • Go where He sends you.
  • Say what He tells you to say.
  • Don’t be afraid.
  • Remember that He is with you. Everywhere you go. All the time.
  • Remember that He will give you the words to say. Every time you open your mouth when He tells you to.
  • Reassure yourself that He is protecting you. Without exception.


Pretty simple. Yet, huge.


We are appointed to do kingdom work. And if we say yes, then things will happen. Really happen. Things will be uprooted, torn down, destroyed and overthrown. Because He told you to and you said yes, and did it. And it’s only through His power, nothing of our own. And because of His direction and anointing.

Some things will be built up and planted, things will be in existence because you said yes. That’s a pretty big deal. And because He gives us everything we need, we don’t need to be afraid of anyone or anything. I know it may seem impossible, or at least not that easy. And maybe you think it’s for someone else, and not you. You might think you are too young, or too old, or not gifted enough or don’t know enough. That’s a lie. And it says here in this passage, we will have everything we need for this.


The thing is, if you say yes, lives will be different. And I’m guessing your life is different because someone said yes.


So, please say yes. Today. Don’t waste any time. There’s a lot to be done. And not a lot of time to do it.

Time keeps moving….


I recently had a birthday. Not a big deal, except for the fact that I am realizing that I am getting older. Duh. I mean, it’s about time I figured that out. But, I am at the age now that I always viewed my parents and in-laws. Only they are in their 80’s now or deceased. Yikes. So, it’s probably good I face the inevitable. I’m getting older. Which is actually a good thing, because the alternative is not good.


The other reason that I have been thinking about the passage of time is that my daughter just gave birth to my 5th grandchild. Pretty awesome. Ezra James is pretty perfect. No, really he is. And, it makes me think. As I am aging, and now in the matriarchal position in my family, new life keeps coming. Time keeps moving. New life starts to replace old life. Which is how God designed it. (Sort of.)


I read Genesis 1:26-2:9 today, and meditated on God’s creation of humanity.

When He created human beings, He called it “very good” as opposed to “good” when He created the rest. Plus, He created us in HIS image. That’s something to mediate on right there. He loves His creation. He is so proud of what He made. And we are His favorite. He created me at a particular time and place and chose me to be in this family.


And He created you with the same thing in mind. He put you in this world when He looked over the span of all time, for this time. And He put you with the family you are in and even where you live. He is sovereign. He is timeless. And He also has your days numbered. He knew when we were going to be born. And He knows when we will move from this life into the next. He’s got it all planned out. I’m just glad I don’t know when that is.


Because today, I want to live my life to the fullest. I want to walk in all that God has for me, even if I have a few more wrinkles and a few more ailments. I want Him to use me in the lives of others, to make them better. I want to enjoy my kids and my grandkids and take advantage of the time I have with them, helping them be all that God has called them to be. I want to keep taking risks. I want to make these years count for the Kingdom. And I want to drink good wine. (He made that too, remember?)


You should too. Take time to meditate on how much God loves His creation: YOU. Meditate on how He has planned out your life, every bit of it. And He wants you to do and be, all that He had in mind when He created you the day you were born.


This is the thing, it’s never too late. Even if time keeps moving. Because it does.