“Mom, can you get me some lemonade?”

“Hold on sweetie, I’m folding laundry.”

After I finished, the phone rang. After that, it was time to start dinner.

Then, I heard a scream from our family study.

It was my six-year-old son. He had gotten tired of waiting on me to get his lemonade. He got a FULL glass and took it to our study while he played “Animal Jam” on the computer. As I turned the corner walking into the study, I saw the floor, desk and computer drowning in sugary lemonade. In fact, the keys are still sticky as I type this!

Off to time-out he went while I cleaned up the mess.

After his time-out, we talked.

“You know that no food or drinks are allowed in the office. That’s why you got a time-out. I’m sorry you had to wait, but you must learn to have patience.”

As his eyes filled with tears and his little lips quivered, he apologized. I hugged him and said, “I love you, even when you make mistakes. No one is perfect. But, we must learn from our mistakes and not break these rules again.”

Patience is a continual learning process. And, it’s not easy.

In Genesis 16 and 17, we learn that Sarah waited 90 years for a baby. She got impatient. She gave up on God and took things into her own hands. She encouraged her husband, Abraham, to sleep with another woman so they could have a child. Abraham committed adultery with Hagar, who then conceived and gave birth to Ishmael.

Can you imagine that family drama?

When Ishmael was around 13, Sarah FINALLY became pregnant with her own child, Isaac.

“Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age…” Genesis 21:1-2

As they grew, Ishmael and Isaac did not get along. Sarah defended Isaac, so Hagar and Ishmael ended up leaving. In fact, Ishmael became the founder of the Arab nations.

Sarah’s impatience caused much conflict, tension and pain.

Our choices affect others. The consequences of our sin cause turmoil.

But, there’s an even deeper lesson here. Because of their impatience and selfishness, others were hurt. They gave up on God. Conflict and division were created.

But, you know what? God still blessed them.

He gave them the one thing they desperately longed for. Even after their sins, He answered their prayers for a baby.

I love that. Because I mess up so much. Some of my choices have created conflict with those around me. But yet, after all my mistakes … He continues to bless me.

Remember what I told my son after we finished our time-out discussion? I think that’s what God wants us to hear today:

I love you, even when you make mistakes.

Worldly Detox

As I sat there quietly and listened to the sermon on self-discipline, I watched the woman in the beautiful turquoise shirt sitting two rows in front of me. And, oh, I loved those matching dangle earrings. They looked super cute with her short haircut. With each drink she took of that soda, I thought, I want that.

That’s when I imagined it … in SLOOOWWW MOOOOTION … jump the seats, in my gray-ruffled dress, tackle her and snatch that bottled beverage!

Crazy. I had gone mad. But, can I at least get points because I didn’t actually do it? Just a thought.

I was on day seven of soda detox and needless to say, it had been a deliriously rough week. I had cravings and horrible headaches. I was SO tired. I didn’t realize how addicted I was to that little drink.

A simple habit turned into an addiction.

And, that made me think, what else am I addicted to? What starts as a little thought and turns into a craving?

Perfect body. Better-shaped nose.

Purses, shoes, jewelry. What is your drug of choice?

Bigger house.

Promotion or better job.

More money.

God teaches us that these worldly things are just things. They don’t matter.

“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.” 1 John 2:16-17

If I’m even willing to have the thought of jumping over seats and tackling a woman in the middle of a great sermon to feed my soda addiction, what are we willing to do for these worldly things? Will we compromise our beliefs or integrity to get what we want?

What if we replaced our worldly toxins of greed and selfishness with Jesus?

Jesus says in John 4:14, “Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

What if we devoted more time to God’s Word so that we could strive to be more like Jesus?

As we’ve been reading through Proverbs this month (I hope you’ve joined us each day on Facebook and Twitter) – I’ve learned a valuable life lesson.

When we make God’s Word a priority, we crave less of the world. With each verse learned, we become a little more like Jesus.

Loving. {without judgment}




Giving selflessly.

Serving others.

“To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.” Revelation 21:6


{On a side note, I’m on week three without soda. I feel awesome, so much energy. And, I don’t even crave it now. It got easier!!}

Jesus Trumps Religion

As I walked between the pews toward the beautiful stained-glass window, my eight-year-old mind was racing. I want to love God. My smiling pastor hugged me. After the song ended, he announced that I had made a profession of faith.

I thought, A profession of what?

But, I just smiled.

He asked the congregation to say “I” if they agreed for me to be baptized and become a member.

What did I sign up for?

Again, I smiled.

The sweet people excitedly shouted, “I.”

And, just like that … I was in.

Over the next five years, I was a model church-goer. I received awards for perfect attendance. I played the piano, as the people sang along each week. I remember learning about Jonah and that big ole’ fish, but I had no idea of its importance. I lived up to everyone’s expectations.

Eventually, though, I saw fighting between church leaders. I was hurt by them. I expected perfection, but discovered flaws. They were hypocritical and judgmental. So, I quit.

During college, I had a friend invite me to church. I thought, I’ve done the church thing and it doesn’t work. I didn’t go.

I was broken. And lonely. Despite all the parties and bar-hopping with friends, I was so lonely. Decision after bad decision, my life started to unravel.

Then, I met a young man at a grocery store. He was different – genuine, kind and accepting. We became friends. I worked up the courage to tell him about all my mistakes. Calmly, he responded, “You’re human. We all make mistakes. God still loves you.

Those words changed me. Several days later, I was sitting at work in a quiet file room. The puzzle pieces were put together, I finally saw the whole picture.

That man who died on the cross loves me unconditionally. He was nailed to the cross on Good Friday, He rose from the dead three days later. Easter has new meaning!! The one who loves me unconditionally is waiting for me in heaven!

I prayed to myself, Jesus I want to know you. I’m sorry for my mistakes. Please live in my heart forever, I never want to go back to my old life.

A couple years later, I was baptized in a backyard swimming pool. That was sixteen years ago.

I still make mistakes every day. Life remains messy. But, I know Jesus! He gives me strength. No matter what, I am always loved and never alone. He is forever. The eraser of mistakes and giver of grace. He is hope and freedom!

My eyes were opened. We all need to love with grace. I shouldn’t expect perfection from church leaders, only God is perfect. We’re human and flawed. Only Jesus can change a life.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” Matthew 11:28 (The Message)

Oh, and that boy in the grocery store … I married him!