Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Facebook, or Rather a Heart, Claims Another Marriage

This past week I heard of (yet another) marriage destroyed by infidelity when one spouse reconnected with a past love on Facebook.

The husband was the guilty party in this case. But knowing some of this couple's past struggles, I can safely say she wasn't blameless in the dissolution of this marriage. Not that this fact excuses anything.

          "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"
~ Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)

Only when we see clearly the role our hearts play in sin can we understand the role our circumstances have in it. Our struggles and temptations often trigger sin, but they never cause it. The origin of sin is always our heart and it's sinful desires.

The actions of others, external pressures, even our biology, these have an impact on our behavior via our hearts. But we cannot blame our circumstances when we sin - Adam and Eve tried that unsuccessfully (see Genesis 3).

Adam tried blaming Eve, and blaming God who gave him Eve. Eve tried blaming the snake in the garden (aka - Satan). While God punished the snake, He also held both Eve and Adam responsible for their individual choices.

So selfish desires lie within our hearts. They lead to sin. And sin leads to death.

Death of a relationship. Death of a family.  ...eventually physical death - unless we're in Christ and will be raised with Him.

That's why we can't always follow our heart, as the common advice goes. But we can always safely follow the Spirit.

I realize "always follow your heart" is appealing advice. I'd like to always follow my heart too. But if we want to follow our hearts, we must first make sure they are anchored in Christ, His Word, and His Spirit. Not in our hormones, or our wants, or the pleasurable feelings a private message on Facebook can bring.

And that anchoring is pretty much a daily thing. Sometimes, hourly.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stopping the Slide


I heard my toe break. Sharp pain raced through my foot as I stumbled. I tried to focus on not dropping the bowl of ice cream I was carrying.

I’d rearranged the living room the day before. And I'd been out of the house most of that summer day and was now heading into the darkened room to turn on the TV and relax with some rocky road. But I forgot things were now moved around, and I walked smack into the wooden base of our sofa.

It was so unexpected.

Have you ever had the experience of waking up, surveying your life and wondering how things got to be like this?  The things you'd carefully arranged years ago have been somehow moved. Other things you thought were firmly in place are now gone. And things you don't remember putting in place - things you never meant to sign on for - are now dominating your landscape.

Yeah, me too. There was a year late in my teenage life when I went off to college, my mother died, our family Hallmark business was sold, and my childhood home was sold too. I came home from my semester away, looked around, and suddenly I didn't recognize my life. I knew why, but still I wondered how it had gotten like this.

It was so unexpected.

I felt like I was slipping. Like my whole family was slipping. Like my life and future were slipping. And for the first time I wasn't so sure I had what it takes to fully overcome the set-back. I wasn't entirely sure how to overcome this set-back.  The carefree confidence I'd always had took a hit, along with my heart.

Then I began to walk with Christ. I could have penned Psalm 94:18-19 at that point:

“When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

If you can relate to wondering how your life got so unrecognizable. Or if you can relate to feeling like something significant is sliding - like you are slipping. Or if you are smarting from the pain of running into obstacles - call out to God in prayer today.

He will lift you up. He will set you back down on solid rock. And he will craft a path for you.

Just felt like maybe someone needed to hear that today.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Air Live Today

I'll be on the air live this morning about 8:45 to 9:45 EST with Carlette Christmas to talk about the secrets in my book It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know.

Specifically the chapter on humiliy and the chapter on rest.

Come on, you know you need some rest! And there's a definite tie between humility and rest ... you'll have to listen to interview to find out more about that.

I'm curious, on a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you rest in the biblical sense?

Do you take a whole day off from work? Either on Sundays, or another day of the week?

Or do your Sundays look pretty much the same as the other days of the week or weekend, only perhaps you go to church?

If don't create intentional times of rest (beyond falling into bed exhausted at night), why not? I'd love to hear from you on this.

Meanwhile, you can hear from me on this by listening to the interview online this morning at If you miss it, I suspect you'll be able to listen to a recorded version of it from their website. It might take some time for them to get recording posted.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

1 book, 1 class, 1 interview and 19 years

Edits on my next book My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word are due to my editor tomorrow. I also have a class tomorrow night which I need to read 5 chapters in prep for. Then I have a live radio interview on Tuesday morning.

I'm feeling some pressure. Which means I'm eating cheese right now. Cheese is my number one comfort food.

That might be a lie. Chocolate is probably my number one comfort food. When things are really bad I instruct Rick not to come home from work without bringing something chocolate.

Tomorrow is also our 19th year wedding anniversary.  Rick's grown quite good at picking out the just right chocolate dessert over the last 19 years. And if I request cheese rather than chocolate, he knows just what to bring.

My all time favorite cheese:

Denmark's Finest Havarti with Herbs & Spices

Tonight I have that, plus a Merlot-encrusted french Bellavitano cheese I found on sale at my Harris Teeter yesterday. It's good - best on a cracker.

OK, so the fact that I'm eating cheese and not chocolate right now means I'm pretty confident I'll get everything done in time tomorrow. But there is room for doubt, which is what the cheese is for.

So what's your number one comfort food?

And if you have any ideas about what I should get Rick for our 19th anniversary this week, let me know. Otherwise I'm likely to buy him some chocolate and cheese.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


May is one of my favorite months. Spring is such a gift. Everything feels fresh, new and possible. Like the world is blanketed in white-eyelet fabric. And God has set out a picnic basket - just for the two of you.

"For behold, the winter is past,

The rain is over and gone.

The flowers have already appeared in the land;

The time has arrived for pruning the vines,

And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.

The fig tree has ripened its figs,

And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.

Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along!' "

~ Song 2:11-13 (NASB)

So arise and enjoy your day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Do What You Can

Here's my current mantra:

Change is Possible; Focus is Required.

OK, maybe mantra is too weird a word - I don't chant it or anything. There's no incense burning on my desk - but you catch my drift, right?

Here's what I mean ...

You can’t change your entire life today.
You can only change your next choice or action.

You can’t change your marriage today.
You can only change your next interaction with your spouse.

You can’t change jobs today.
You can only change your attitude toward the next task.

You can’t change how well your clothes fit today.
You can only choose your next meal wisely.

You can’t declutter your whole house, garage and attic today.
You can choose to get rid of something, to sort thru one pile right now.

You can’t eliminate your entire debt load today.
You can make the next payment, or skip an unnecessary purchase today.

You can't undo what's been done to you in the past today.
You can only choose to forgive and walk in grace today.

You can’t control the future today.
You can only control what you will think or do now.

So you can’t change everything.
But you can change one thing.
You can change your next move.

And that's what it takes to eventually see big changes. Focus on doing what you can do.

What one thing can you do right now today to move in the direction you want to go? To create the life that you long to have? 
Go and do it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Which Cover Should I Pick?

I need YOUR input. Please help us decide which cover to put on our upcoming book!

The book, releasing at the end of this year, is called My One Word. It's about the process of ditching New Year's (or anytime of the year's) resolutions in favor of carefully and prayerfully choosing just one word to focus on for an entire year. One word that represents what you most hope God will do in or through you in the twelve months to come. This project is sticky, doable and most of all, it results in sustainable change. I've been doing it for five years now - along with thousands of people at my church.

So here are three choices - I'd love for you to rank order them for me.

We call this one the boggle "dice" cover.

We call this one the word "blocks" cover.

We call this the "funnel" cover.

So which do you like best - dice? blocks? funnel? (There are no wrong answers!) Got any brillant alternative ideas for us to consider? I so appreciate you giving us your input.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Braided Cords

End of last week I wrote a devotion about navigating female friends, and based on the response it got, I think I struck a little bit of a nerve. Seems like most every one has been burned at some time or another by a friend. Also seems like all of us long for close friendships.

The reality is, we all need each other.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (NLT)

The reality also is, we'll need gobs of grace to make this braided cord thing work.

The winner of the drawing for a copy of It's No Secret is Congrats. Maybe after you read it you can pass it to a friend. Better yet, invite a couple gals to study it with you - and let them each invite a friend. You can host a book study and broaden your friendships at the same time.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Navigating Women's Friendships

Welcome, if you came over from my devotion published today. 

I've heard from so many women over the years who long for female friendships, but are generally mistrusting of women. That's a rough place to be. Its like thirsting for a drink, yet fearing you'll drown if you take a sip.

Most of these women's fears were not totally unfounded. Maybe they had friends in the past who turned on them. Maybe they had female family members who took advantage rather than taking care of them. Maybe they've been wronged and hurt by "the other woman." Maybe they've been the other woman themselves.

My own friendship fears were anchored in my life experiences which convinced me: women are not to be trusted. That's why once I entered the Yahweh Sisterhood I had to learn to walk by faith with Christ, and not by my fears or cynicism.

Learning to Embrace Girlfriends

At first, I had to ask God to give me godly friends - I literally prayed for God to send them to me. Then I kept my eyes peeled. They didn't always come in the packages I expected, but they did come. Have you ever prayed for God to send you friends?

My next task was trusting them with my heart. And making space in my life to be with them, and to care about what they are going through. Friendships take time to develop. But the thing is, the quality ones take less time to maintain. A true friend can pick up right where you last left off. I am grateful for friends like that.

And the really big task I had to learn came when they occasionally messed up and hurt my heart - as we all do from time to time. I had to learn to grant them grace and to trust them once again. It's been a great growing experience for me. One that's made me more like Christ. One that I wouldn't trade for anything.

Learning to Prune Friendships

With a small few friends, I came to the realization that I needed to phase them mostly out of my life. Because they weren't fully walking with God and I found they repeatedly pulled me down rather than me helping them grow. Does that make sense?

With them I just slowly distanced myself. I made myself a little less available. And I prayed for God's hand to be all over their heart and mine in the transition. I can honestly say I've not had a big blow up this way. I remain friends with them today. Only in an acquaintance way rather than a close way. (wink)

Now, I'm not saying we can't be friends with anyone less mature in Christ. That's how mentoring and how lifestyle evangelism works after all. The problem was these girls were stagnant at the time, yet having more influence over me than I over them - so neither one of us were growing. I enjoyed their company but it was more of a guilty pleasure and I sensed God leading me to let go. That was hard but ultimately worth it.  Listening to God always is.

So friendships can be tricky. Matters of the heart always are. But they are worth the time, effort and prayer. And that comes to you from the heart of someone who once asked the question: Woman...hum, friend or foe?

Where are you right now in this chapter of your life regarding friendships?

Tell me about that in the comments and I will enter you to win a copy of the book It's No Secret: Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know. This book has several chapters that talk about women's friendships and conflicts. Winner will be announced here on Monday (enter your email in the side bar to subscribe to my blog if you need a reminder to check back on Monday).

Have a friend that you treasure?  Tell them today how much you value them!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Change Your Focus

I am guessing you want to change yourself, your character, or your life - at least in some way. We all do. How to do that is what I've been studying and test-driving the last couple of years.

Here's what I can tell you:

To change your life, the first thing you are going to have to change is what you focus on.

Read that sentence again.

You need to look at things differently in order to change. For example, will you focus on Christ, or on your circumstances?

Will you focus on what you can control or what you can't control? 

(PS. You are the only thing you can control.)

What, or who, are you made for?

Questions, by the way, lead us to focus. Want to change your focus? Change the questions you ask. 

Change the Questions You Ask Yourself

Rather than asking, "Why is this happening to me?" ask, "What can I do in this situation to affect myself, others or the outcome for the better?"  Rather than asking, "Why can't I ever lose weight?" ask, "What small, doable choice can I make today - right now - to position myself for weight loss?"

Your brain will answer the questions you ask it. If you ask it why you can't loose weight, or why you are so disorganized, it will give you an answer. And that answer will sound convincing!  It will say, "Because I love food too much." Or, "I've always been messy - I just can't help it."

But if you ask your brain what you can do right now to move forward towards your goal, it will answer you: "I can put down these chips and drink a glass of water," or, "I can sort through that stack of stuff piled on my desk."

Change your questions in order to change your answers, so you can shift your focus.

Focus = Direction. What we see - where we look, or what we focus on - determines the direction we will go. So what is it you tend to focus on?  Want to change? Start there.

PSS. Check out my last 3 posts on learning to like tasks you hate.