Simply Still Series: Is Keeping the Sabbath Still for Real?

I used to think that the idea of “keeping the Sabbath” was totally old fashioned and didn’t relate to me in any way whatsoever. I was so wrong!  While Sabbath keeping is deeply rooted in Jewish law and tradition, it couldn’t be more relevant to modern Christian living and being still. It is still very much for real!

Before I delve into various aspects of the Sabbath, today and over the next few weeks, let’s take a moment to establish the concept of a Sabbath rest as part of God’s design for creation.  The Creation account in Genesis declares:

On the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

Genesis 2:2

In this way, one way to look at the Sabbath is as a physical time of rest.  However, this doesn’t necessarily mean napping, binge watching Yellowstone (although I’m totally guilty of that!), and taking relaxing baths.  It is not a rest as in merely abstaining from activity. Rather it is an intentional action which results in a much deeper, soulful, fulfilling time of replenishment.  This type of rest is known as menuha in Hebrew. Rabbi Heschel explains:

Menuha, which we usually render with ‘rest’ means much more than labor and exertion, more than freedom from toil, strain or activity of any kind.  Menuha here [in Genesis 2:2] is not a negative concept but something real and intrinsically positive.  This must have been the views of the ancient rabbis if they believed that it took a special act of creation to bring it into being, that the universe would be incomplete without it.  What was created on the seventh day? Tranquility, serenity, peace and repose.

Rabbi Heschel, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man

Since the creation story is indeed seven days long, and not six, that necessarily stipulates that rest is also part of what was intended to be created.  Rabbi Heschel goes on:

We would surely expect the Bible to tell us that on the sixth day God finished His work.  Obviously, the ancient rabbis concluded, there was an act of creation on the seventh day.  Just as heaven and earth were created in six days, menuha was created on the Sabbath.  After six days of creation, what did the universe still lack? Menuha. Came the Sabbath, came menuha, and the universe was complete.

Rabbi Heschel, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man

We’ve established that rest was intentional. However, it was also so important that God Himself partook in it, regardless of His own strength or actual necessity for such a pause.  I doubt God actually needed to rest, as we often think of the word, but He did it anyway. He did it within the confines of what was intended for the created order. How can such a realization change the way we think of rest?  Would anyone dare judge the Lord’s need for rest as weakness?  Perhaps, there is wisdom in the stillness. Perhaps there is something more to this Sabbath rest as implied by the Rabbi.

The act of resting is also intended for us.  With that truth in mind, we can also know that God wouldn’t intend rest for us if it wasn’t possible. 

So why don’t we rest when we know we ought to? While there are likely many reasons, some of which we’ve explored together in the Be Still Series, I think much of our apprehension to rest comes from a lack of trust in Him.

While we can say we trust the Lord, its an entirely different ballgame to actually align our lives in such a way which demonstrates our proclaimed trust.  It is this very concept which we will explore next week, followed by additional thoughts on how we can incorporate a Sabbath mindset into our everyday lives. 


Father God, thank you for giving us an example of not only how we should live our lives through your Son and written Word, but also how we should rest. I admit that sometimes I worry about not being able to accomplish everything I want to accomplish, so I forego resting as I ought. I need to trust you more, knowing that if you desire me to rest, I will be able to accomplish everything you desire me to accomplish while still being able to press pause and press into you. Help me trust you more.

In Jesus’ Holy & Precious Name,


Simply Still Series: Saying No

We need to get better at saying, “No”.  There, I said it!  I know, I know…we don’t want to let people down. We want to be reliable.  We want to come across as if we can do it all.  We want to help and not be helped.  I get it.  Here’s the thing: we can still be reliable, help and be helped all while also saying, “No,” when that response is what God would want for us.

Be wary of putting helping and declining at odds with one another: choosing between the two does not have to be an either/or decision. It can, and should, be a both/and dichotomy whereby one furthers the other: saying “no” to pave the way for something better and having the ability to better serve because something else was turned down.

When discerning what is aligned with God’s will for your life there are three main resources at your disposal: scripture, prayer and other believers.

We can’t do it all.  We weren’t meant to.  What if our saying, “No,” allows for someone else to say, “Yes?” Why would we allow ourselves to get burnt out over doing all the things when we could really excel in fewer areas that really highlight our gifts from God? A key component to being still is only taking on what God intends for us to take on.

Remember, just because we could doesn’t mean we should.

If turning down opportunities to serve (in the church or out of it) sounds like it could be challenging, take some time to practice.  Yep! Practice saying, “No.”  There’s two main approaches here: 

  1. Start with something small so you can build up some resistance, or
  2. Just go all in and decline a larger commitment.  Consequently, in turn, all other rejections may seem like a piece of cake. 

If this is something you really want to delve more into, I recommend the Cloud & Townsend book, Boundaries.  Part three, Developing Healthy Boundaries, might be especially useful for you. 

Here is an analogy from a Christian counselor I once saw.  It goes something like this:

A juggler, even the best in the world, can only juggle so many balls at the same time.  Even if every ball up in the air is “good”, there is still only so much that can be suspended midair at any given time.  Be intentional about what you pick up and allow to be juggled by you. 

My insightful therapist, a much wiser human than I


Father God, my desire to help others and do for my family is a double edged sword at times. Sometimes I have nothing left to give, and yet that still doesn’t stop me from taking on more commitments. I’ve already proven to you and others that I could do these things, but help me focus on what I should do. Give me the strength and discernment needed to respectfully decline the next opportunity that is not aligned with your will for me. I know that such a task will be done even better by someone who is truly called to play that role. Allow me to only commit to those activities which make the best use of the precious gifts you have graciously given to me.

In Jesus’ Holy & Precious Name, Amen.

Simply Still Series: Resting Better

When last I shared here, as far as the Be Still Series goes, I suggested that some of us struggle with resting well. Although there could be many reasons for this, today we are going to focus on one reason in particular: perhaps, just maybe, our ability to truly rest is lacking because we lack a deep enough trust in God to provide for us while we attempt to press pause in any real meaningful way.  Do you think this could be true for you?  It can be for me.

What if I miss that deadline?  What if I don’t have time to give all the kids baths later? What if someone has to cover for me?  What if….? 

Here’s the thing:  although I am guilty of not always putting the Lord first, I have never put the Lord first and been short on time because of it. As we learned elsewhere in this series, if we rest the way the Lord has designed us to rest, we are following a part of His will for our lives.  Therefore, we can have a blessed assurance that by resting in such a way we will still be able to accomplish everything we need to accomplish on any given day.  We may not get to everything we want to complete on our self-fabricated to-do lists.  But, in such cases, rest assured those tasks bypassed for another day or season wouldn’t be essential to that day in question anyway. He always provides what we need.    

One of my first blog posts was on the lesser known names of God.  One of those names is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides, and it applies to the 16th chapter in Exodus, which is where we are going to spend some time today.

Exodus 16 tells of a time when the Israelites were instructed by God to go out into the dessert and gather food (manna) for one day; none was to be saved for the next day. Think: you get an allowance each day, but then also have to spend down to zero each day, trusting you will have another allowance out of nowhere in the morning. I can feel my anxiety rising just thinking about it!

The Israelites continued in this way for just about a week. On the 6th day, however, they were to gather twice as much so as to last for the next day as well. Why? Because God instructed them to rest on the next day…the 7th day. Sound familiar?

And just like that, we can clearly see the nexus between trusting God while also honoring His command to rest a Sabbath’s rest.

The Israelites needed to trust in Him, that He would provide, and that they would not go hungry. They needed to practice a daily dependence on their God…our God. Then, they needed to do all this while they were “left” of the sidelines, allowed to rest, but not to gather any sustenance for an entire day.

Do you know what happened to those Israelites who took it upon themselves to harvest on day 7? They couldn’t harvest. There was nothing there for them. They could not get any additional nourishment that the Lord did not already provide. Verse 29 says:

Bear in mind that the Lord has GIVEN you the Sabbath; that is why of the sixth day he GIVES you bread for two days.

Exodus 16:29, emphasis mine

Do you see? The sustenance and the sustaining rest are BOTH gifts to us from God. Who are we to manipulate such a divine plan for humanity?…especially one which commands rest?!

Can you think of a time when you were stretched beyond thin and yet you got through it all in tact?  That was God.  Can you think of a time when you didn’t know where the next paycheck was coming from but your bills still got paid?  That was God.  What about a time when you were so sick that you couldn’t bring yourself to sign into that zoom or drive for your turn in the carpool?  Did everything work out? I thought so!

Friends, don’t wait until you are forced to stop from pure exhaustion, sickness or anxiety attacks.  Even if you don’t get that far, I’ll bet none of us are all that pleasant to be around when we don’t press pause as we ought to.  By obediently adhering to His commands and trusting in his provisions, you are proactively protecting your relationship with Him and others. 


Father God, Jehovah Jireh, you are so reliable!!  You conjured manna out of nowhere…in the middle of nowhere!  Of course, you will provide for me and your church as I take a day to rejuvenate and focus on you alone.  Remind me of that as often as I need to be reminded of it! Forgive me for being so stubborn and still wanting to get in all the things, especially in the time that really isn’t mine to begin with.  Let me rest so you can provide and be glorified.

In Jesus’ Holy & Precious Name,



Simply Still Series: What can we Learn from Children about Rest?

As we wrap up this series, I want to accomplish 3 things: briefly summarize previous posts in the series; leave you with a gentle word of caution; and, finally, impart final words of encouragement.

Now, here’s the simplest part.  Lets review the topics covered in each of the 6 parts published so far (all are hyperlinked for easy reference):

Part 1

An Introduction to Being Still explored how being still is an imperative from God. In this way, being still isn’t a form of weakness; there is boldness in the obedience and stillness.

Part 2

Emptying Our Plates provided some advice on how to go about emptying already full plates. How can we be still if we are too busy to be still? Remember, we will be able to accomplish infinitely more for those entrusted to our care and for the kingdom if we surrender to God’s will for our lives. Sometimes less is more!

Part 3

Living it Out attempted to put my own advice and the Word of God into practice. Instead of spending more time on writing than I reasonably had to give during the busy holiday season and while my family quarantined; I opted to share some of the best content ever created: Scripture. Verses focusing on the need to rest were highlighted as I took a step back for a few days.

Part 4

Saying No offered additional examples of life application as related to being still, specifically on how to say, “No.” The latter skill is key if we want to keep our schedules balanced once we get them to where God would like them to be.

Part 5

Is Keeping the Sabbath Still for Real? established the Sabbath rest as part of God’s design for creation. God set the standard and the example for us, his creation, when he, the Creator, rested on the 7th day. Creation was incomplete until it encompassed the act of resting.

Part 6

Finally, Resting Better suggested an antidote to our restlessness: trusting in the Lord more during the times when we are asked to slow down. A biblical example from Exodus set the backdrop for this important and sometimes sensitive discussion.

Now, speaking of sensitive discussions, here is that promised word of caution I mentioned earlier: be wary of keeping “sabbath” rest for purely legalistic reasons.  While I understand we all have seasons where we need to “fake it until we make it,” Sabbath rest should be more of a mindset than something we feel obligated to squeeze into our schedules.  Once rest becomes something else to check off we are missing the point. Yes, we are to be obedient and be still, but its a heart change as much as it is either a scheduling or cerebral change.

The essence of the Sabbath (and being still) is to cease, stop striving and trust in Him.  As long as you are doing this intentionally out of a pure heart, you are doing just fine! Do not get hung up on the exact day you are keeping your Sabbath.  Doing so can push up against some dangerously legalistic territory!

Now that we have recapped the series as a whole and have received our loving dose of caution, let me share some final words of encouragement.

But first…

Do me a favor, and scroll up for a quick second.  See that picture?  That’s my 8-year old daughter, Kaleigh, laying on my lap during church two weeks ago.  Do you know what else she is resting on?  There’s something between her head and my lap…My Bible! The Word! She is literally and figuratively at rest on and in the Word during a worship service! 

Next time I need to be grounded and be still, I’m going to think of the simultaneously simple yet profound truths portrayed in that picture. The Word is around her; she’s soaking it in as she peacefully listens to the message. The Word is in Her. She loves Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is alive in her! The Word is touching her. She is literally touching it, but it is also moving her heart! This 8-year old had not a care in the world that Sunday: she just needed to be still while existing and absorbing His Word.

After looking at the picture some more I started to wonder what light a childlike faith could shed on the idea of resting on God. It is that simplicity and pureness of heart I’d like to leave you with today, which is why I asked each of my three children what resting on God meant to them. Here’s what they said:

Following what He says.

Kaleigh, age 8

Believing in God and putting faith in God.

Keira, age 10

Relying on His Word. Relying that He is there when you need Him the most. Relying that he is just there.

William, age 14

Right out of the mouths of babes, am I right?! Do you have a child in your life you could ask the same question to? See what they say! Perhaps their answers, lacking any pretense whatsoever, will provide you with a refreshing perspective: a perspective that can’t easily come from many well-read or even well-intentioned adults.

Friends, although I’ve now spent several weeks recounting scriptural truths and practical how-to-style advice, please know that resting on the Word of God doesn’t have to be difficult; but it does take our willingness.

As our pastor pointed out this morning during service, “we need to step back and step toward God.” Go to Him…be still…and find rest. It will change you.

Please be sure to check out the blog’s fb page for this 40-day posting eggtravaganza!

Also this week we reached 400 followers on fb! I’m doing a giveaway to celebrate! Leave a comment on the giveaway post on fb by 7pm to enter!

Simply Still Series: Top 6 Stillness Verses

Well, with my first full week of seminary behind me and almost a full semester left to go, I am definitely feeling the need to rest! How hypocritical would it be if I wrote about being still but did not also live it out?! So…although I am leaving you with very little content today, in all the ways that matter it’s all that you need: God’s own Words. Here are some verses to pray over which reinforce the biblical imperative to be still:

Be still, and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Exodus 14:14

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 37:7

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.

Psalm 23:1-2

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:9-10

Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!

1 Samuel 12:16

The Lord continues to do remarkable things, just as He did in the time of Samuel. Awe-inspiring works in those around us and in you. Follow me this week in being simply still and let’s see what divine works we can notice! What may He change or soften in us?! How much more will we be restored this time next week?!

As as a closing devotional, here today’s Jesus Calling which seems to be especially fitting:

Let my love enfold you in the radiance of My Glory. Sit still in the light of my presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones.

Through the intimacy of our relationship, you are being transformed from the inside out. As you keep your focus on Me, I form you into the one I desire you to be. Your part is to yield to My creative work in you, neither resisting it nor trying to speed it up. Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace. Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step.

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, January 25

Missed other posts in the series? I got you… ❤

Simply Still Series: How to Forego What is Good for What is Best

In a short video for my first post, I mentioned how I didn’t want to start this blog unless I knew that God willed me to write it.  Over the years I learned that one of the most significant contributors to burnout is piling responsibilities on top of responsibilities, without ever considering if those commitments were actually willed by God to be a part of my life at that time.  Of course, we will experience burnout if we fill up our time with things that were never meant to be there to begin with!

Today’s post in the Simply Still Series will focus on shifting away from being overcommitted. If you didn’t check out the first post in the series from last week, please be sure to do that!

Here’s a gentle warning: even commitments which are “for God” or which are “good” and “healthy” are generally not worth the trouble if they are not aligned with God’s will for our lives at that point.  That means praying through some hard choices.  It also means possibly foregoing what is good for what is best. 

If you struggle with being overcommitted and a general lack of stillness, there could be a number of contributing factors.  Maybe there is a value system which does not prioritize time and resources the way God would prefer? Maybe there is apprehension around saying, “No.”. The possibilities are endless, none are mutually exclusive, and I have been guilty of most!  Regardless of why you are overextended, today, I’m going to offer two pieces of advice on how to reduce your current commitments:

1st Piece of Advice

Make a list of everything on your plate right now.  What can you outsource (i.e., shoppers at the grocery store or pick up options)?  What can a spouse or significant other do or be taught to do?  An older child?  What can you do away with all together? What needs to be put on hold for a period of time? Sometimes seeing things on paper can help make sense of what stays and what goes.  Of course, pray on it!

2nd Piece of Advice

If you are really struggling (or even if you are not), consider clearing as much as possible from your schedule. This may sound like a silly or extreme idea, but I LOVE doing this each winter.  We live in the Poconos and although I love looking at the snow, I don’t necessarily love being in it.  It also gets dark very early in the winter…very, very early. 

Needless to say, winter in the Poconos really lends itself very well to a homebody seeking to lessen their load.  Also, with all the hustle and bustle of beginning a new school year finally far enough behind us, it really is an opportune time to deliberately press pause on activities. 

Maybe those expensive gymnastic lessons lose some appeal after taking a break from them?  Maybe that ministry you are serving in will be able to open the door for someone else to come in and serve in your absence? Only move toward reintroducing or introducing a commitment once you are certain it is meant to be there. More on this in a future post!

Now, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, I will never offer advice that I don’t follow myself or that is not a product of my own experience.  Here is one example of how God worked through my commitments, or lack thereof, about a year ago. 

I found myself in school (yet again!), only this time for my Doctorate. At the time, I really sensed God wanted me back in school to open up new doors with a higher level of education. I was right about the school part, but wrong about the focus area. You see, I was pursuing a Doctor of Public Administration to supplement my Masters in the same subject area. I was about a semester or two in when I sensed God gently pressing me to stop. I had no idea why; nor did I know what else He might want me to pursue.

Nonetheless, I obeyed and withdrew.

Within a few weeks, God was igniting a long-dormant call to pursue ministry. Within a few more months I started down a path which could culminate in ordination, and just this week I begin a new higher education journey in seminary. What a whirlwind! Do you think I could have been able to identify what God wanted my next steps to be if I didn’t create margin by first relinquishing some responsibilities on my plate? Maybe. Probably not.

You see, I LOVED going for my doctorate! I thrive when I’m surrounded by minds brighter than my own, pushing me to think beyond what I’m currently capable of. Is pursuing a higher education bad? Nope! But here’s the thing: those were my plans, not His. Once I sensed that God had different plans for me, I adjusted my course. I didn’t know why or to what end. I simply obeyed.

God took care of the rest of the details and revealed some of the missing pieces once I was open to seeing them. I still don’t have all the pieces in front of me, but I trust Him and now I know through Spirit-led affirmations that I am indeed on the right path this time…at least until God gives me new directions.

Our stories will look different, but there will be a common dominator between you and I:  we can accomplish infinitely more for those entrusted to our care and for the Kingdom if we surrender to God’s will for our lives.  Sometimes less is more!

Don’t get me wrong, I can still overcommit, but I am getting better about consulting with God while I decide what to take on. 

Now that we have reviewed some ways to think about and actually create more time in our busy schedules, we will spend the next posts delving into some ideas around how to keep our schedules manageable.  Without that, we will be back to square one in no time at all. Think of it as the maintenance phase in weight loss. That juice cleanse won’t help much if we drive to Starbucks for some creamy, caffeinated goodness as soon as the cleanse is up!


Father God, in your infinite wisdom, help me to discern which responsibilities are really mine and mine alone.  I feel comfortable when I am in control so I don’t delegate as often as I should, but I know this is not your desire for me.  It can’t be!  Trusting you is more than enough. When I feel led to transition out of participating in an activity in some capacity, I will trust that you know what is best for me and the others around me.  I will humbly follow where you lead.

In Jesus’ Holy & Precious Name,


Simply Still Series: Tired of Being Tired?

Why do we let ourselves run so ragged? I mean think about it…why do we let ourselves become so depleted? No one is forcing us to chair that fundraiser. If we have kids, no one is asking us sign them up for yet another extra curricular…except perhaps the kids themselves. So why do we do it? Surely we have the capacity to take on or not take on the vast majority of activities which vie for our time and money. Yet, here we are.

Running on empty is clearly not God’s intention for us.  He could never want this lifestyle of perpetual exhaustion and restlessness for us, His children whom He delights so much in.

So again I ask, “Why do we let this happen?” Do we think we know better than God does when it comes to what’s best? 

Over recent weeks I have had different versions of the same conversation with various friends.  These conversations are what prompted me to address the topics we are covering over the next few weeks together. “I just don’t know how to say, ‘No’,” said one.  “I don’t even know myself anymore,” said another. 

In fact, we know from David that our Almighty Father desires the complete opposite of this for us:

Be Still and Know I am God. 

Psalm 46:10a

Be Still. This is not just a mere suggestion. It’s an imperative straight from the Lord, calling upon us to take up stillness as a part of our very being. This is more than acting still or desiring to be still, or thinking about being still.  It’s actually a state of being.  A state of being still. But how do we get there?

I don’t pretend to know all the answers, or even a fraction of the answers.  However, I do know what it is like to experience burnout and have nothing left for the people I should have the most for. I know what it’s like just going through the motions, too worn and defeated to even know I was worn and defeated.  I know what its like giving God my leftover time and energy, if anything at all, and not my very best.

I know what it’s like to try and remedy this imbalance on my own.

Once I got clued in that my body was keeping the score, I knew some changes were in order.  I read the books.  I did the things (think yoga, breathwork, and other practices).  None of these are bad things! In many ways, they are quite helpful, especially when they promote self-healing. However, they won’t sustain us, and they shouldn’t be done apart from a larger framework defined and ordained by God.

I also do not pretend to live the most balanced life at all times. Nonetheless, by the grace of God, I also know what it’s like to surrender a worn-out body and mind to Him. This allowed Him, not I, to re-prioritize how I spend my time and who I spend it with. 

The Lord had a great deal of heart work to do within me (and he still does). That is not something anyone but God can do for you, and will only come from abiding in Him. That said, I also learned a lot along the path toward balanced living where the Lord is prioritized above all else. When doing so, believe it or not, I still had more than enough time and energy for anything which followed Him.

In 2021 I published a similar series, Be Still. I have taken that content and reimagined it, additionally applying what I’ve learned between then and now. Snippets of content may be the same, but I don’t know about you but I forget A LOT and need gentle reminders even more than I forget. So what about it, will you join me?

Over the next few weeks, let us seek out simplicity.  We will explore priorities, commitments and boundaries so that we may be obedient in Being Still. We will see what God has to say about all this since our actions and thoughts must be grounded in Truth…His Truth…if they are to be sustained and done for His glory.  In doing so we will be set free from what we were never intended to take on to begin with. Is there a bolder way to enter the new year than declaring that our time and priorities are His?  Don’t be fooled!  There’s boldness in the obedience and stillness. 


Father God, Help me to slow down.  I am tired of doing things my own way.  Literally tired. Mentally tired.  Spiritually tired. At times, I have nothing left for my family, myself or you.  I know there must be another way. I know you desire me to be still.  Can you help me with that, please?  You are far wiser than I, and I seek to do your will! 

In Jesus’ Holy and Precious Name,



Beating the Enemy at His Own Game

A few weeks ago, I had a foreboding feeling that the enemy would attack either my friends or myself.  Some girlfriends from church and I planned on going to a weekend women’s retreat (that’s actually where I wrote a bulk of today’s content). 

If I’ve learned anything from my walk with God over the last few years, it’s that the enemy is just as determined as my God to capture my attention.  We can be certain that if our intent is to spend time in fellowship with God, the enemy would assuredly want to keep us from that sacred time.

I thought about emailing my girlfriends a few days before the getaway: “Beware!  The enemy will get in your head and try to be present in your circumstances.  Do not fall for it! He wants to keep you from going on the retreat as much as the Lord yearns to have you there. Pay close attention to how the enemy tries to get to you through your family.  He loves using what’s most dear to us to accomplish his wicked schemes.”

I never got around to sharing the proactive reminder, but the message still got told as, one by one, friends experienced obstacles, potentially preventing their attendance.  Each time I shared the advice I wished I had shared just days before.

I wasn’t immune to attacks, either.  My youngest called a few minutes after I left: she had a splinter and wanted me to come home to take care of it.  I didn’t, nor did I go home after each of the ten or so times she called throughout the weekend.  She was ok!

The enemy will do anything in his power to keep us from being with the one who created us.  He actually takes delight in it.  So, knowing this, we can be on the offensive and recognize when he is more prone to attack. 

Got a mission trip planned? Gear up. 

Going to a bible study on Wednesday?  Hold your hats. 

Driving to church on Sunday?  Young families, ever notice how getting out the door on Sunday is hardly ever the highlight of your week?  Even if you successfully make it to worship, how present are you, really? If you are stressed from the fighting, distracted from the nagging, and unsettled from the rushing…you’re probably not very present at all.  I wasn’t in that season.

The enemy is unrelenting, but so is our Lord, and He is so much greater than anything the enemy can try to throw our way.  

That said, I do get it.  Real life happens.  For better or for worse, valid reasons come up and our plans have to adapt accordingly.  This is not about those circumstances.

Before I wrap up today, I want to leave you with a quick story of when God provided in the midst of the enemy’s schemes.  

A few years ago, I was away on a mission trip.  I lived in PA, but my mom was back at her home on Long Island with my kids.  While I was away, one of my daughters came down with pneumonia.  No one would have blamed me in the slightest if I packed up and went home. In fact, some may have even judged me for staying…but here’s the thing: the Lord already knew about her sickness when He placed it on my heart to go on the trip.  

My mom masterfully cared for me when I was a sick child, and no one else could have given my own daughter better care than the woman who raised me. Not only that, but there was another woman who also felt led to go on the mission trip: my daughter’s pediatrician was away with me! 

She walked my mom through all the things and even instructed urgent care on how to treat her. When my mom was back home with my daughter, our pediatrician walked her through how to do the nebulizer treatments.

Can you imagine?!  My daughter responded to the treatment by the time I arrived home, and I was grateful for the time away with God.  I was in awe over how He provided! I was also keenly aware of how if I had left early, I would have missed the opportunity for God to show his faithfulness.  Not only that, but I would have handed the enemy what he wanted right on a silver platter. 


Father God, Fill me with your Spirit so I may more easily discern when the enemy is attacking.  Help me to remember that battles between myself and my loved ones are actually battles with the enemy itself. Although I know Satan would like nothing more than for me to believe otherwise.  I must not forget that you supply my every provision, and I will have everything I need in every circumstance.  Do not allow well-laid out schemes prevent me from spending time with you or in the fellowship of other believers. 

In Jesus’ Holy & Precious Name,


Does Praying Matter?

Did you ever wonder if praying actually makes a difference?  What about when it “doesn’t work”?  Or what about if God already knows what will happen?  Should we still bother? Our reactions to these questions will really depend on what and how we think about prayer.  

If we think that prayer is a mechanism by which we negotiate some sort of favorable outcome with our God, we would be sorely mistaken and misguided. Such a transactional mentality is what will keep us from really embracing prayer for what it is: an opportunity to communicate and be in a personal relationship with the one true God.  

Kings on this side of eternity are hard to pin down.  Someone interested in doing so typically has to seek an audience.  By contrast, our heavenly King is always accessible and lovingly welcomes us into His presence.  Like being still, not only is praying something we should do, but it is also a biblical imperative:

Pray without ceasing. 

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 12:12

Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 

1 Peter 5:7 

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.   

Luke 18:1

Just google “pray without ceasing” and see how many other references come up in scripture! 

But doesn’t God already know everything about me?  Of course…but He wants you to go to Him and tell Him what’s on your mind.  Your struggles. Your triumphs.  All of it! 

But doesn’t God already know what will happen?  Yup.  He also wants His children to take a posture of humility and come to Him when they need help with something.  Sometimes it’s more about the submission than it is about the prayer itself.  

But does He hear me even when it doesn’t feel like it or when He is so busy with everyone else’s prayers?  You betchya!  Our omniscient God hears every prayer we lay before His throne.  Sometimes it’s more about cultivating patience in us than it is about answering the prayer itself.  

Friends, time spent in the presence of the Lord is NEVER wasted.  He gives us exactly what we need. He undoubtedly provides what we would also ask for if we already knew what he knows.  He loves us far too much to bend to our every inclination.  Do you give your children everything they ask for at the time they ask for it? 

Communicating with God is NEVER a waste of time, and we can communicate with Him for so many other reasons than when we need something from Him.  When we pray…

  • If we experience a perspective shift, that is time well spent.
  • If we discern a bit more of what God would have us do with our lives, that is time well spent. 
  • If we surrender more today than we did yesterday, that is time well spent. 
  • If we ask for or receive forgiveness, that is time well spent. 
  • If we give thanks for anything, no matter how trivial, that is time well spent.
  • If we cast our fears upon the Lord, that is time well spent.  
  • If we humble ourselves in response to God’s almighty power, that is time well spent.  
  • If we recognize something within us that needs refining, that is time well spent. 
  • If we shout out to the Lord in frustration and anger, that is time well spent. 
  • If we get to know Him, even slightly more intimately, that is time well spent.  
  • If a temptation was kept at bay for just one more day, that is time well spent.
  • If someone’s life is changed, that is time well spent.
  • If someone’s eternity is redirected, that is time well spent. 
  • If we simply rest in the presence of our God, that is time well spent, indeed.

Praying always matters and is never a waste of time!


Father God,  THANK YOU for the gift of prayer and for giving me a way to communicate with you at any time.  I’m ashamed to admit that I often take unfettered access to you for granted.  Please allow your spirit to work within me so that YOU are the first turn I take when I’m elated or anxious, sorrowed or blessed.  I want to start and end my days in communication with you and incorporate prayer into all aspects of my life.  Allow prayer to become a part of my day’s rhythm.  

In Jesus’ Holy and Precious Name,


Patiently Persevering is Worth the Wait

Confession time: I can get frustrated when things don’t happen when and as though I think they should. I abhor waiting. I thrive on instant gratification. If there’s anything I like less than waiting something out its giving up or giving in. I’m sure you can see that herein lies a great source of tension: I often refuse to fold, but waiting for a full hand to be played makes me want cry out in frustration as I not-so-patiently bide my time.

Can you relate at all to any of this? Maybe you don’t know what the next season of life holds for you? Maybe you are desperate to see a change in your child’s behavior? Maybe you long to have your spouse to go to church with you? Maybe there’s a habit you want to change in yourself, but you made the same poor decision yet again this week. Maybe you are getting tired of waiting it out and you want to see results now. Not tomorrow, not this month…but now.

I get it.

Allow me to speak some encouragement into your situation today. It’s never too late for a breakthrough. Cultivating the patience necessary to wait it out is well worth it. As I’ve already shared, this is not something which comes naturally to me, nor am I as patient as I ought to be for much of the time….but now I have a visual to remind me to practice patience: an old potted plant on my back deck. Let me explain incase it can help you, too…

As you’ll learn as you spend more time with me, I absolutely adore making spaces feel like home. My old office cubicle? Homemade bunting draped across the carpeted walls. My makeshift basement gym? An accent chair and a plant take up space like they have every right to be in that cinder-blocked room. I cherish moments spent getting our church spruced up for each changing season.

You get the idea.

Pinterest would have been a small miracle if it was around when I planned my wedding and decorated my first nurseries.

I share this just to set the stage for what’s to come in this little story. Also, I’m about to get dark for a few moments, but I promise I won’t stay there for too very long! After all, this is meant to be encouraging!

Just about 3 years ago my sister and I lost our mom to a VERY short bout of cancer. I’ll revisit this season in our lives throughout other posts, but for now let’s just focus on the activities known as “the arrangements.” My sister is just as in love with interior design as I am, and we really wanted mom’s services to feel like “us”….the three of us…and how we have our own homes decorated.

Unfortunately, that is really hard to accomplish when florists only offer tremendous sprays and displays filled with flowers that we would never have on our own tables. Needless to say, through a remarkable series of events, also known as God’s hand (wink wink), we had an idea to skip the florist all together! There! I said it! We skipped the obligatory florist hired for funerals! Gasp!

Do you know what we did instead? We scoured the lengths of Long Island for ball-based Dogwood trees and Japanese Willows. It was the first week of June, and they were in full bloom! We added in some white hydrangea, a flower mom always had in her kitchen, and baby’s breath. I hit the springtime décor jackpot when I found dozens of white tulips in Trader Joes (the florist said they would be impossible to find).

With a few potted plants, wooden crates, and Hobby Lobby signage thrown into the mix, one could have easily mistaken the viewing room for an event space holding a bridal shower of the modern farmhouse variety.

Now, back to the trees. Not only were they a beautiful addition to such a bittersweet time in our lives, but my sister and I were able to take one of each kind home with us. We planted them in our yards. Or rather, we each planted the dogwoods, and only my sister planted the Japanese Willow…while I foolishly left mine in the pot.

I don’t have a green thumb. In full disclosure, I should also mention that the plant I mentioned “living” in my basement is actually totally fake and totally from IKEA.

Needless to say, my perpetually potted willow eventually turned into nothing more than dried up sticks in the overly dry dirt. I put the pot outside for “fresh air”, but the Pocono winter did absolutely nothing for my revival efforts. In fact, as I’m sure you could imagine, the winter made matters worse. So, there it was…this plant, long gone and covered in snow…and just within view of my kitchen window on the back patio.

Even though it completely died in the pot, every time I looked out the window I kept on wondering if it would ever bloom the next spring. I wish I could say it did, but it didn’t…not in that Spring, at least.

I almost finally tossed the batch of brittle twigs where Christmas wreaths and Autumn mums meet their final resting place out back when I noticed the FOLLOWING summer that new shoots were growing!  Take a look at this pic I grabbed from my social media account after I first noticed the new growth.

Whatever your struggle is now, don’t lose faith. If I had tossed the willow out seasons, months, weeks or even days earlier, I never would have known that flowers would eventually come, all those seasons later. There’s life after death, and God can make all things new! We don’t know all the plans laid out for us or our loved ones, but God does, and we will discover them in His perfect timing!

This is a concrete example of life after death, rebirth, and deliverance. Scriptures are full of examples as well. What if Joshua’s army quit circling Jericho after 5 days? What about if Noah felt too defeated to go on after 39 days of nonstop flooding? The entire story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead only happened because Lazarus was allowed to die first.

Sound familiar? Easter Sunday only occurred because God allowed His son to die first. It was all part of His perfect plan for the redemption of humankind, and in His timing there was new life and deliverance.

Again, do not lose faith. Be patient. Even if it seems as though all redemptive chances have come and gone…and come and gone again…He who redeems can bring any situation through to fruitful completion. If you are waiting for the next mile marker to reveal itself, trust in His timing. God is neither late nor early. He is always right on time.

Allow Him to cultivate patience in you as you wait on His timing. You truly never know when what you are seeking, or something far better, will come to fruition!

Did you catch all of the Be Still Series? Here it is!

  1. Simply Still Series: Top 6 Stillness Verses
  2. Simply Still Series: How to Forego What is Better for What is Best
  3. Simply Still Series: Tired of Being Tired?
  4. Day 21
  5. Prodigal Series Day 20: Good Father, Wrapping Up
  6. The Prodigal Series Day 19: Good Father, Our Father
  7. The Prodigal Series Day 18: Good Father, An Open Invite
  8. Prodigal Series Day 17: Good Father, A Runner