“Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda”

I should have handled that in another way…

I sure would have handled that differently…

I could have done it so much better another way…

How often does the tape recorder of second guessing yourself play the same tune, different verse in your head? Me? Quite often I would have to say. For years, I have struggled on and off with the business of perfectionism. As a disclaimer, I will say upfront that I am aware that I am not perfect, painfully aware. Most of the time, with the Lord’s help, of course, I have learned the signs of perfectionism coming out in my life and dealt with it quickly with the help of His Word. Sometimes though I experience the tape recorder playing over and over in my head with all the “what if’s?” and “If Only’s…”

We, perfectionists, at one point or another, find ourselves falling in the trap of evaluating every minor issue in our lives thinking we could have done it better, if only… I find that when I find myself susceptible to this trap is when I being to turn my thoughts and feelings inward rather than focusing my thoughts upward on Christ. Proverbs 23:7 reads, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is…” It is in my mind and my heart where these battles are fought. We know that when we pull negative thoughts toward what we did or said it brings us to the place where we feel we are lacking and come up short of what we really wanted to do or say. Our negative thinking can be our undoing. So, when we feel these negative thoughts coming up, call it what it is “stinkin thinkin”! I heard this term several years ago, though I am not sure where, and it resonated with me.

I need to let go of the “stinkin thinkin” thoughts of I shoulda, woulda, or coulda done it differently. Sure hind sight is 100%. The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:2 that you “be likeminded”, and then in verse 5 of chapter 2 to, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We need change our frame of mind and focus on how Christ thinks about us. Scripture reveals to us over and over how God feels about us. He loves us. (1 John 4:8; John 3:16). We are valuable to Him (Luke 12:6-7; Matthew 10:31). The list can go on and on. Once and for all we need to take Philippians 4:6-8 seriously. Do not fear and think on things that are true and right before God. Will we still struggle from time to time? Yes, the devil wants to see us beat ourselves up to the point that we cannot be effective for Christ. When the negative thoughts arise. Quickly squelch them with what God has to say about you.

We do not have to live by the shoula, woulda, coulda merry-go-round! We can overcome with the power of Christ and His Word. May you find your freedom from “stinkin thinkin” and rest in Christ alone.

Blessings to You!


When you can’t see His hand…

“Trials dark on every hand and we cannot understand all the ways that God will lead us to that blessed promised land, but He guides us with His eye, and we’ll follow till we die. for we’ll understand it better by and by.” ~Charles Albert Tindley (1905)

The third verse of the hymn “By and By” has always been the one I think of first of when singing this song. I am not sure exactly why that is. The third verse or stanza is probably one of the verses of the hymn least sung, because growing up in a small rural church our tendency was to sing the first, second, and fourth (or last). Can I get a witness? 🙂 As I contemplate the meaning of these precious words, I can’t help but think that the message is as true today as it was back in 1905. When we look on our own life and the lives of those around, we cannot always see what God is doing. The trials and circumstances taking place in our lives can cause us to doubt that He is even working at all. If you were to visit your favorite Christian bookstore, you would find a wealth of options on finding God’s will for your life. While the principles many of these books resonate with us, we must realize that God is the God of the individual, and carries out His plan in each life according to that person’s needs. While there may be some things in common between us, God may also choose to move in another’s life in a way that might be a mystery to them and to us.

Have you ever said to yourself, “I don’t know what God is doing in this situation, but I hope He’s doing something!” Believe me when I say, God is working! Sometimes we only see the trials and the dark places. The places may feel like they are closing in and around us and we are overcome with the gravity of them. We feel weighed down and sluggish as if we were wading through a bog. We cannot find relief and feel our path will never change. We want God to step in and pull us out of the mire of our circumstances. ‘I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. ‘ Psalms 69:2-3  My friend, you are not alone. David felt these same feelings. Let’s see what God did. ‘Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord , in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. ‘ Psalms 69:6,13,18,30 The answer is seemingly simple. David sought the face of God, and God heard and answered his cry.

The Christian life is full of mountain top experiences. Those are the fun times. When we see God move, work, and show out all that He can do. Equally, the Christian life has a valley between the mountains. In the dark times, when we don’t understand and have a rough time seeing His hand moving in our life, Stop. Lift up your head and your voice and seek the face of God. In my life’s darkest places, I have learned more about God in the valleys than on the mountains. I have learned He works and moves in ways I cannot begin to understand. Really, it is not my place to understand. It is for me to seek Him and trust the one who sees both the mountain and the valley in a glance. So I with faith will follow till the end of my life. Hold tight to Jesus, my dear friend. “We will understand it better by and by.

Blessings to you!

Jesus and The Homeschooler

What pops in your mind when you hear the word “Homeschooler”? It has been a term that has been coined by those who feel the calling of God to teach their children at home. Some of you out there may only have encountered a home school student at the time of the year when the National Spelling Bee is shown on Television. May I just say in the kindness of your heart don’t judge all home school children by these few. My boys would keel over if they thought the world saw all home school students in this light. My boys were good students, smart, active in the community, active in church, active in county sports programs, and were happy, healthy, “dirt under their fingernails” fun kids. We made our decision to home school our children because we felt it was in their best interest and we did feel called to do it. I will state that if you do not feel called to home school, “DON’T DO IT!” It will be a recipe for disaster.  We all have to do what is best for our families. I do not look down on anyone who chooses to use the traditional system, yet I would like the same courtesy from you! 🙂 Thanks in advance. I will go on to say that this system worked for us, and now that we have crossed the finish line, I am glad that we did it. Can I say also that I have two great guys! At 20 and 21, they are well rounded, awesome guys. I am a proud mama!

You might wonder what brought on this particular post at this time. I spoke with one of my fellow home school friends who has a ways to go to cross the finish line of homeschooling. She has 5 amazing kids, the youngest three being adopted. She needed someone to talk to about her junior in high school. We had a great conversation! We were there for each other. It’s what we Home School Mama’s do! As I began to think on the journey we have taken. I know that when I had moments of doubt, God was there with me to help me through it. I was reading in my quiet time today in the book of Matthew and saw something I had not seen before, or maybe just read over it. Today, I saw it in a new light. In Matthew 11:28-30, we read, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The middle verse of this is what caught my attention. We all need to stop, listen, and take on what Jesus is trying to tell us. We need to learn of him where we are. We do need that corporate worship each week where we meet with other believers, (Please do not stop meeting at your church with your brothers and sisters in Christ. This is needed for all of us) yet, we also need that daily time alone with Him in our homes.  What do you need to know? “Come unto me!” What do you need to let go of? “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden!” What do you need to feel less stressed?” “Come unto me… and I will give you rest.” What do you need to take on? “Take my yoke” Pray over every situation, before you commit to it.  We can only do all of these things by learning at His feet. We need God’s wisdom and guidance. We need to be his student. We need to be his homeschooler!

Okay, maybe you think I kind of roped you in with that last line. I do promise I will not ask when you will be on TV at the National Spelling Bee. Because if you are, Hey, I am okay with that. Seriously though, I have found in my own life that some of the greatest lessons God has taught me was when I was studying and learning from Him in the quietness of my own home. The fact of the matter is we need to sit at His feet every day. Take some time today to “learn of Him”. These lessons will last a lifetime.

I love the song by Jennifer Deibler,

“In the calm of Your presence
I am listening, Lord
I am still, I am quiet
I am Yours

Let Your Word speak to me
Let Your Spirit draw near
I will obey
The truth that I hear

In the calm of Your presence
I am listening, Lord
I am still, I am quiet
I am Yours”

Blessings to you!

The Sweet Tea Principle

As a southern lady, I was from infancy grounded in the knowledge that as a woman from Florida, migrating slightly north to South Georgia, USA (following a wonderful man), that if you wanted to keep your family happy, keep them fed. The only way to keep them fed to the gills was to incorporate a mass amounts of comfort food recipes written by southern women available by the internet, cookbooks, T.V. shows, and the best way “by word of mouth”. If you are unaware of this, Find a woman from the south and ask her. I would tend to stick to AL, FL, GA, TN and the Carolina’s for the most accurate information. If I did not include your fair state, this was not an oversight, I was merely speaking from my personal experience. I would also include VA, just because I have a sweet sister in law, who also migrated north also from her SC roots.  In all these ramblings, I must say that the “comfort food” should be accompanied by its most lovely companion, Sweet Tea, which is often spoken of in hushed tones, and always with a smile!

Some southern “sweet tea” souls know the best ratio from sugar to tea. Some may engage in anywhere from lightly sweetened to heavy “let’s pour it on pancakes” sweet. I have, however, in an effort to be more healthy over the last couple of years engaged in an effort to switch from sweet to unsweetened tea. I have not totally succeeded in this adventure as I still have to add to my unsweetened tea a zero calorie sweetener. I know most of my southern girls would say, “Girl, if you have to do that, just drink water!” I would, but I can’t totally let go of my tea. It is what mama served us, it is what I know!

So my dilemma remains! I guess you need to decide if you are going to stick to your roots, or press forward in a way that is different than what everyone else is doing. I will say that some traditions serve a purpose and leave a legacy for us, but we also need to consider that just because it has always been done that way does not mean you cannot find a better way for you. In my reading about Jesus, He seemed to be doing things differently than the way it had been done. I think that is why the religious crowd had so many problems with Him. In my own efforts to pursue Christ, I am seeing things in a new way. I know I need to follow Him in the way He wants me to, not in the same way I have always done it. Someone once said that the definition of insanity is to do the same things over and over again in the same way and expect different results. So if I want to pursue Christ with my whole heart it requires some sacrifices on my part. This includes my will and my want to. To be filled with the Spirit means letting go with what the flesh wants to do. They are in direct opposition. Pursing Christ means stepping out beyond what others may think or what they may be doing, and following Him alone.

I would say “in conclusion”, but I won’t. This is a work in progress. I am a work in progress, and that is okay! I may not have it all figured out, but I have faith in One who does. If I stay close and continue to pursue Christ, He will show me the way.  So where ever you are in your Christian walk consider pursuing Jesus every day. Your relationship with Him will be ever so much sweeter than the aforementioned “nectar”!

Stayed tuned, my friends, it only gets sweeter!

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; ‘ Colossians 1:9 


Till I See More…

As one of the masses that is beginning to embrace technology as a force to be reckoned with, I have found a new way to make it work for me. I installed a Bible app on my smart phone. I have had the app for a few months, and enjoy being able to access God’s Word at any given moment. This app also picks a verse as a daily power verse every morning and evening which is super cool when its notification pops up on my home page. Saturday morning, my verse was Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Awesome right? As I went outside a short time later, I was all ready to admire “the firmament.” Then I saw a grayish, dreary mass of clouds blocking the warm rays of the sun. As my hubby and I were driving to our next destination, I began to think, “wonder why God let Psalm 19:1 be my power verse for the day?” As I began to focus on the dark masses, I realized that just because I cannot see the brightness of the sun or the beautiful blue sky does not mean that it is not there. Right now, the beauty is only obscured from my view.

Often in my life, circumstances often obscure from my view what God is doing in my life. Circumstances have a way of getting in your face, and sadly that is all that we can see. Our focus can only see the darkness and the ugliness of the situation. Our bodies can only feel the pressure and pain inflicted. Our hearts can only be weighed down by hurtful words or hateful actions of another. Yet, when I with blind trust look for God who is working behind the circumstances, I see Him by faith. I can see beyond the ugliness and see His beauty shining bright with the warmth I receive from Him. I understand the pain I feel Jesus endured and overcame with help that was not of this world. I gather from His Word the pain and agony He felt when betrayed and abandoned by those close to Him. I trust and base my faith in the One I cannot see, but who knows all and sees all and has been beside me all along.

Dear Friend, I don’t know what you are having to go through today. Circumstances may be weighing you down where you can’t find your way. It is in these moments we can cling to God. He will be there till you see a clear sky. Remember Romans 8:28-31 is still true. Pray and wait for the Son!

‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:28-31

An Attitude of Restfulness

Ok, to begin. I was tired! I was very anxious, and unsettled, yet all of these did not seem to actually convey how I really felt. It went much deeper. I was already reaching for my inner “panic button”. I was waiting and praying for an answer to a need that I had. Deep down I knew that the Lord would take care of it, and I knew He would be with me even when the deadline for the answer was on the way.  Yet, Here I was doing everything but trusting. I was out of sorts and these feelings lead to frustration on my part. Why am I doing this to myself? Though I am an anxious person by nature, can I really use this as an excuse? These feelings that I have are real. I’m at an impasse. I’m tired and I need rest not only in my physical body, but also in my heart and in my soul. So I run to my Heavenly Father, confess I cannot handle this, confess my failure to trust, and ask for the rest that is only found in Him.

At the end of what we know as the Lord’s Prayer (after the Amen) in Matthew 6, Jesus continues to speak. He speaks of forgiveness, fasting, reward, and God’s care of you! Verses 25-29 read, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” God is taking care of the most basic of your needs. In doing this, will he not also take care of any other needs you and I may have? I am learning daily that God wants me to rest when I lay down, of course, but He also wants me to rest when I am going about my days activities. God wants me to cultivate an attitude of restfulness. So you may ask, what does this look like practically speaking? Have you ever seen someone in a situation where you know everything around them was going sideways, yet they have a peaceful smile, they are moving about deliberately doing what they have to do, and they have a calm about them that is not “normal”. This is someone who is relying on God for their next breath, next step, and next moment in time. They exhibit an attitude of restfulness. My heart’s cry is to rest and trust like that!!!

Your reaction may be, “NO way can I do that?”. Sometimes I feel it too, but it is in these moments we have to look beyond our situation and ourselves, and focus on Jesus, the only true source of rest for the heart and soul. Walking with Jesus is not running ahead and getting out of breath. Walking with Jesus is when He takes a step we take one too. Step by step, moment by moment, resting in His presence is the only way to live. This is what an attitude of restfulness looks like. We can embrace this way of living, but not alone. It is a daily partnership, between the Almighty and me! My dear friend, restfulness is a prayer away. When feelings want to claim your calm, lean on the Savior and let Him support you through it all. When we seek Him first, we will find the rest we need.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:33-34

The Needs of the One

As an avid Star trek fan, I am always moved by the scene at the end of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn”. Spock tells Jim not to grieve because He is doing what is needed, “For the good of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one!” I suppose if one were to think logically this may apply, yet God thought that the needs of the one, me, was worth sending His beloved Son to be born, live, endure hardships, die, and be raised from the dead. As He did it for me, Jesus did it for you too.

God thought we were important enough when ties were broken with man, God chose to pursue a relationship with us. He chose us and in return we have the choice to choose Him too.  The truth I am looking at is that although God is the God of the individual, He can also be (and is) the God who loves and cares for the masses. We read in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” God loves everyone! In the New Testament, Jesus also had compassion on the multitudes. God cares about everyone! NO ONE is excluded from His compassion and caring heart! He gave His Son to the Masses (the World); He gave His Son to the individual (Me). How is this possible? The answer is very simple, He Is God!!!

I know my brain may be going in a circle right now, but what brought this train of thought along is the fact that I have needs every day. What can I say besides, “I am needy!” I need Jesus! This year our church’s theme is “Pursuing Christ”. As we have been studying the Scriptures I am realizing that I need to pursue Christ as He pursued me in Salvation. Our salvation begins our relationship with Christ. As God pursued me in having a relationship with Him, I need to pursue that daily fellowship that deepens the relationship. I need to meet with God every day. I need to fill up with Him in the mornings and pursue Him all day long. Psalm 70:4-5 reads, “‘Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O Lord , make no tarrying.” We need to pursue Him because He alone is our hope, and peace. We need to go after Him joyfully and cheerfully. We do not do this because we feel we ought to or because someone will realize if we don’t. We pursue Christ because of the love we feel for Him. We need to be so wrapped up in loving Jesus that it is our main focus and concern. Because we know that whatever we face during the day, He is there with us to face every challenge, to walk every step, and to overcome our weaknesses. We are needy, but God is our help and our deliverer! Why would we not want Him with us through the day?

So this is where we live, knowing we have needs that far outweigh our ability to handle in a day. We know also that God wants us to reach out to the world. We can only do this in a strength that is not our own. It is Christ living in us and reaching out through us. Through our obedience, we reach out to the individual, and by doing this, we can reach the World. The needs of the one, me, must propel me forward to meeting the needs of the many, the world. The significant Truth is the need is the same, JESUS!

Blessings to You!