Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Stone art people passing a Valentine

Love Because You Are Loved

Stone art made to look like people passing a Valentine

If you hang up the phone first, then you’re in control of the relationship. I don’t know why I thought this when I first started dating. My husband and I met over summer break during college and continued to date after I went back to school five hours away. Somehow, irrationally, I got it in my head that I could protect my heart from rejection if I could be the first one to say goodnight and get off the phone. The problem was he beat me to it every time. As soon as I’d pause and say “It was good talking—” he’d jump in with, “Yeah, miss you. Talk to you soon,” and then he’d hang up.

I’d stare at the phone gritting my teeth, torn between astonishment and outrage. Anger is often a coverup for a deeper fear—which in my case was rejection. We dated long-distance for two years. In all that time, I never was able to get off the phone before him. But he continued to call and, over time, his love and devotion allayed my fears. Now, I realize just how silly I had been.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18). In my manuscripts, all of my heroines start with a fear:

  • the fear of not being good enough,
  • the fear of not being loved,
  • the fear of rejection,
  • the fear of their past defining their future,
  • the fear of lacking purpose.

We all can relate to these fears in some way because they are real-life struggles. How many of us ever …?

  • Checked our phone wondering if he or she will call you back?
  • Pushed a proposal across the table praying it will be considered?
  • Walked into the class reunion dressed to impress, hoping they won’t remember you as the dorky, shy, or strange kid from third period?

There are a hundred other scenarios. With my stories, somewhere around the midpoint to the last third, the heroine realizes she is loved. It gives her the confidence to drive out fear and leads to the happily-ever-after.

girl dressed as a princess in front of a play castle

Happily-ever-after isn’t just for fairy tales.

My husband says I won’t argue with anyone except for him, and he’s right. I like conflict in my story characters’ lives not in my own. So why would I argue with my husband? Because he loves me. His love has driven out my fear of conflict. I can argue with him knowing he’ll still love me. Most people might not find that romantic, but I do. I love my husband all the more because I have the security to speak my mind.

It is this kind of love that sets us free, not a box of chocolates, nor a bouquet of flowers (even though those are very thoughtful and much appreciated). But love is even bigger than that. We live in freedom without fear because God loves us. His love has removed the sting of death and the guilt of sin. We have confidence in the day of judgment because of Jesus’ sacrifice and his love for us. When we understand the depths of God’s love, fear shrinks back and looses it grip.

His love is so overwhelming, it fills to the brim, overflowing. Not only do we have plenty of love to give away, but we also have the confidence to do so. You’ll see Love Because You Are Loved on my website and in my emails as my tagline. It stems from 1 John 4:18 “Perfect love drives out fear,” and 1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.” Because we know he has our best interest a heart, God’s love helps us relinquish the struggle for control. His love gives us freedom from fear and the courage to love one another.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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So, go ahead and love because you are loved!

New England Patriots

We’re Still Here!

New England Patriots lead by Tom Brady

Over the last month, “We’re still here!” has become the mantra of the New England PatriotsTom Brady, who has been called old man, washed up, peaked, and diminished, showed America he still has plenty in his tank when he and the Patriots worked together to win Superbowl LIII.

 Tom Brady, loved or hated, has to be admired for the fact he doesn’t accept being mediocre. He refuses to quit. He didn’t throw in the towel when he was the 199th sixth-round draft pick back in 2000. He wasn’t content to stay in Drew Bledsoe’s shadow. He wasn’t complacent after one Superbowl win, or a second, or third. Even after a record of six Superbowl wins, he still has no plans to retire.

Tom Brady doesn’t just coast through life and neither should we.

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6). It doesn’t mean only praise God when we’re in the mood or on the good days when we have more energy. It doesn’t state until you’ve read the Bible all the way through, led a church group, or taught Sunday school. It says if you have breath praise the Lord, and I can pretty much guarantee that if you’re reading this you still have breath. 

You’re still here. 

It is not a time to coast or grow complacent. We are to keep fighting the good fight until Jesus takes us home. Now, I’m not saying to grab a soapbox and go out and start preaching on a street corner, nor am I meaning to guilt you into taking on additional responsibilities. What I am asking is to look for opportunities to praise God through your words, actions, and deeds. If you keep your eyes peeled and your heart available God will provide.

Each season is unique.

Tom Brady doesn’t play the same way he did back in 2001. He has adapted to different players, strategies, and his own physical body. My husband and I are also not able to serve in our church in the same capacity we did before we had children. With the kids evening sports schedules, we can’t even participate the same as we did when they were young. But we still have breath, and God has given us other avenues unique to this season for us to be able to praise him and be salt and light to others.

Tom Brady throwing football
Tom Brady

How is God calling you in this season? Is He tapping you on the shoulder saying, “remember me? Come back to me. My arms are open wide.” Or is He nudging you to challenge yourself in other ways: lead a church group, bring a meal to a neighbor, watch a single mom’s kids, encourage a co-worker, write a blog. God works in mysterious ways, and He has a way of fitting you into that plan.

Because you have breath,

And, because you’re still here.

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Frog heart sculpture

Go Ahead and Look Foolish

“Excuse me, sir. May I have the honor of brushing your hair?” Beth Moore tells a story of being in an airport and seeing an elderly man with long, ratty, unkempt hair. As she waited for the boarding call, God nudged her to brush an elderly man hair. No way, she argued with Jesus, but He wouldn’t leave her alone until she approached the man with the strange suggestion. The elderly man consented, and after she worked out all the tangles, she noticed he was crying. It turns out the man had been in the hospital and was flying home to see his wife. God knew the man had been embarrassed about his messy appearance and needed his hair brushed before he returned home to his bride. Because Beth Moore obeyed and was brave enough to appear foolish asking a man if she could brush his hair at the airport, an elderly man’s prayers were answered.
Don’t let fear of feeling foolish kept you from God’s blessing. “In God I have put my trust. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalms 56:11NIV
I haven’t done anything as extreme as asking to brush a stranger’s hair. But, there have been times when I’ve wrestled with God because I didn’t want to appear foolish. I’ve argued with Him about not wanting to hug a stranger. I’ve explained to Him that there is a big difference between writing and public praying because you can’t go back and edit spoken words to make them sound better, but He told me to pray anyway. He’s asked me to reach out to old high school acquaintances and complete strangers.  Sadly, sometimes, I haven’t obeyed, but the times that I have, I’m not certain who was blessed more, the person I was prompted to help or me.
Trust God’s bigger plan. Don’t let pride stand in your way. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” – Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV
Noah probably felt foolish building an ark in the desert. Sarah probably looked foolish knitting baby booties at age ninety. The Israelites probably felt silly silently marching around Jericho ready to crumble the walls down with their trumpet blasts. King Saul and two armies thought David foolish for going after a giant with nothing but a slingshot. And I’m certain the blind man probably felt awkward hearing Jesus spit into the mud and standing there while he rubbed it on the man’s eyes.
I don’t don’t believe God uses these scenarios to get a good laugh. These are opportunities for us to humble ourselves to let it all ride on God’s plan. It allows God to grow bigger in our lives and for us to become smaller. And, history has shown, God will reward those who aren’t afraid to obey his prompting.
So go ahead, be brave enough to be foolish.

Big Announcement

It has finally happened! Last week I was offered a book contract to be published. 

Lorri Signing Contract

Thank you so much for being part of this journey with me. 

My first book The Duke’s Refuge will be the first in a three-book series published by Wild Heart Books. If you’re looking for fish-out-of-water, case-of-mistaken-identity, love triangle, Christian romance with a happily-ever-after. Then stay tuned. 

Greater Things are Yet to Come!

I’m not a patient person. I never prayed for patience, because I was afraid to test the running joke that God would give me things to be patient about. However, God put writing on my heart. It is a profession 

where returned emails can take six months to a year. Criticism and critiques are frequent and so is rejection. There is even a website (http://stoneslidecorrective.com/select-your-rejection/) created for authors to help them become better at handling rejection. Writers give their email address and are issued various rejection emails until the author can easily brush it off. 

I have finished five 300-plus page manuscripts. (The first two will never leave my computer.) Writing has become a part of me, and I can’t even imagine not creating stories. The strokes of my keyboard have become a way that I worship God, but doors still continued to slam shut on my dream. However, God was and is faithful.

If you have a dream still left unfulfilled, please take heart. Here are some things I’ve learned from the process:

  1. God is good: Like mana given to Moses and those who wandered in the desert, he gives you just enough of what you need to sustain you each day until you reach the promised land.
  2. Keep your eyes open: There were times I felt inept or wondered whether I’d heard God wrong. But, if I paused from my sulking, I realized how God coaxed me along with tidbits of encouragement: placing in contests, interest from an agent or publisher, or an encouraging email from one of you.
  3. Encouragement from your peeps is invaluable: Friends are a source of strength. You may not know it, but by liking my posts, commenting, or emailing, God was using you to keep me writing. I could never have done this without your encouragement. I am so grateful for every one of you.
  4. Stay limber because you’re going to stretch: Learning is not always an easy process. Sometimes it comes through tough critiques sometimes it comes through failure, but if you can step back and remove yourself from the emotional aspect, you will grow stronger, better, and more refined.
  5. Trust in God’s timing: We live in an on-demand society, but sometimes right now isn’t what’s best. I have learned to trust God’s timing. He knows better than I. I thought the first book I wrote was amazing. Now, I can’t even stand to read it. I’ve tried to go back and revamp it a couple of times, but it needs so much work that I’d prefer to write a new one. Maturing is a slow process, and only God knows when you’re ready.
  6. Greater things are yet to come: My work isn’t over. It is just beginning. I now have deadlines I have to hit and people to which I am accountable. But God has big plans, and I want Him to use me. Who am I to think small when God is so big?
Lorri holding contract

I have had “get published” on my yearly goals for the past four years and have always come up short, but this year I get to check it off. If you have struggled with not receiving a desire of your heart, I hope this helps to encourage you. God hasn’t forgotten. Listen and look for his little pearls of encouragement.

“I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:16, 18-19NLT (emphasis mine)

Thank you for being part of this journey with me. I’m looking forward to the greater things yet to come!

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The Risk – To Trust or Not to Trust?

One hundred and ninety feet above a gorge of swirling turbulent water on a rope 1300 feet long and only two inches in diameter, Charles Blondin was the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. In Niagara Horseshoe FallsJune of 1859, 25,000 people gathered to see him perform the feat or watch him plummet to a watery grave below. Not only did Blondin make the trip across and back, by 1896 he’d crossed over 300 times performing stunts like sitting on the rope and having a bottle of wine, strapping a Daguerreotype camera to his back and taking pictures of the crowd, crossing with his body shackled, and walking with a sack placed over his head. He even brought a stove upon which he cooked an omelet and lowered it by rope to the Maid of the Mist boat below.

Charles Blondin and Manager Harry ColcordIn my opinion, the most trusting feat was on the part of his manager, Harry Colcord, who crossed Niagara on Blondin’s back. Blondin told Colcord, “Look up, Harry…. You are no longer Colcord, you are Blondin. Until I clear this place be a part of me, mind, body, and soul. If I sway, sway with me. Do not attempt to do any balancing yourself.” (Daredevil of Niagara Falls, Abbot, Smithsonianmag.com Oct. 18, 2018)

Trust is a powerful force. 

Steve Covey in his book, The Speed of Trust, says if trust is removed it, “will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, [and] the deepest love.” (Soundview Executive Book Summaries, Speed of Trust, Vol. 28, No. 11, Part 1, November 2006)

Trust is risky.

Trusting someone is challenging. What if they let me down? Relinquishing control is hard. What if something I need doesn’t get done? We are an independent nation. We’d prefer to fix the problem ourselves. However, a lack of trust slows things down. It also keeps relationships superficial, measured, and distant. In order to reach a deeper level, in order to build trust, we have to take the first step and trust someone else. Steven Covey points out that trust “has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life.”

It is even riskier not to trust.

Many of Blondin’s spectators believed he could make it across the gorge, yet only Colcord had the trust to climb onto Blondin’s back and cling to him knowing his life lay literally in the balance. He trusted Blondin enough to sway with him as the strong winds rocked the rope.

Life will have valleys and gorges. Who are you trusting to get you over them? Are you picking up a balancing stick and stepping onto the swaying rope yourself? Or, are you climbing onto God’s back and allowing Him to carry you over? Are you sacrificing trust to control the small, fleeting moments of your life, or are you trusting in the One who’s bigger than the gorge—the One who controls your ultimate destiny?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding. Agree with Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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Mel Gibson as William Wallace in the movie Braveheart

What is Your Battle Cry?

“Freedom!” was the epic battle cry William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheartin the movie Braveheart) that stirred his ragtag group of Scottish warriors. “Remember the Alamo!” was shouted by General Sam Houston, after the deaths of Texas independence fighters who held out for thirteen days outmanned and outgunned in a mission house called the Alamo. The cry rallied his troops against the superior Mexican army and reminded them of Texan courage under fire. “Give me liberty or give me death,” was spoken by Patrick Henry to raise a militia and fight against British tyrannical rule. It soon became the colonial minutemen battle cry as they marched under banners that read “Liberty or Death.”

A New Battle Cry

At the start of each year, I ask God to give me a new battle cry or a new focus. God may be able to offer some people a phrase or an entire prophecy but I’ve learned I can only handle a word or two. Last year mine was in-tune. I’d like to say I honed in on God, that I keyed in on His wavelength, but I was more like the talking dogs in the movie Up. One-minute God and I are having a great moment and then … squirrel. It was a yearlong growing process where I learned tuning-in also meant tuning some things out.

A Daily Ask.

For 2019, James 1:5 has come to my attention. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for owlasking.” In the past when I’ve read this I’ve always prayed, God help me to understand this specific circumstance, or what to say to this specific person, or what to write for this blog. However, it struck me that praying for wisdom shouldn’t be based solely on circumstances. It should be a daily ask. And since God’s ways are higher than our ways, wouldn’t we want to daily ask for wisdom to align our mind and logic with His?

Don’t Wait for Wisdom. Seek It.

Don’t just wait around for God to drop a wisdom bomb on you. It should be something that we seek out. Proverbs 2: 3-5 says,

    “Indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
    and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
    then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.”

The book of Proverbs is an entire book of the Bible dedicated to wisdom and it has thirty-one chapters which happens to be one for every day of the month. It’s as if God knows we need a daily dose. 

If we ask, God has made it clear that He is willing to provide. When Solomon requested wisdom instead of riches, long life, or death to his enemies, it reads to me as if God was giddy to supply it. God told Solomon in 1 Kings 3:10-14, “I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!”

I can picture God with a big triumphant smile, pumping his fist and saying, “Atta-boy.”

Now, you probably won’t see me riding horseback, my face painted half blue, and raising my fist in the air and shouting, “WISDOM!” But, I am giddy myself when I think of what God is going to provide and how it will impact 2019 and the years to come. 

What is your word for this year? What is your Battle cry? Fight song? What is God putting on our heart? Ask for wisdom and our generous God will give it to you.

Wishing you a wise and wonderful 2019!

Happy New Year!

Intelligence  Vs. Wisdom
Here’s a profound post I found on the difference between Intelligence and Wisdom.

1. Intelligence leads to arguments.
Wisdom leads to settlements.

2. Intelligence is power of will.
Wisdom is power OVER will.

3. Intelligence is heat, it burns.
Wisdom is warmth, it comforts.

4. Intelligence is pursuit of knowledge, it tires the seeker.
Wisdom is pursuit of truth, it inspires the seeker.

5. Intelligence is holding on.
Wisdom is letting go.

6. Intelligence leads you.
Wisdom guides you.

7. An intelligent man thinks he knows everything.
A wise man knows that there is still something to learn.

8. An intelligent man always tries to prove his point.
A wise man knows there really is no point.

9. An intelligent man freely gives unsolicited advice.
A wise man keeps his counsel until all options are considered.

10. An intelligent man understands what is being said.
A wise man understands what is left unsaid.

11. An intelligent man speaks when he has to say something.
A wise man speaks when he has something to say.

12. An intelligent man sees everything as relative.
A wise man sees everything as related.

Intelligence is good
but wisdom receives better results

I found this on the Beyond the Opposites blog page. To see the full post along with some life hacks regarding smart verses wise people click here:
http://beyondtheopposites.com/2018/05/11/whats-the-difference-between-intelligence-and-wisdom/#sthash.95rumfOu.dpbs

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Water drops splashing

Clean Behind Your Ears

“Did you wash behind your ears and neck?” my grandmother always Earasked before she squeezed me and kissed me there. I’d have a moment of panic knowing I’d probably forgotten. Sometimes, it was because I was in a hurry or too tired or lazy. On occasion, it was a willful act of defiance because I didn’t want to come in from playing when all my friends were still outside enjoying themselves.

It never seemed like a big deal until we’d visit my grandmother. I knew she was going to brush back my hair and perhaps find dirt. If she did, she never mentioned it. She kissed every square inch until I was squirming from the ticklish sensation.

Her kisses filled me with the hope that there is a love greater than my hidden dirt.

God’s love is like that. He sees our rebelliousness, our hidden sins. Yet, He loves us anyway. Enough to leave heaven and become human so that we might understand the extent of His love.

Back around the time of Jesus’s birth, the Israelites were waiting and praying for someone to save them from the tyrannical Roman rulers. God offered something even better—hope. It came in the unexpected form of a baby with a supernatural love to save us from our sins.

Hope is knowing that this isn’t all there is.

There is more to life than this moment.

Hope is a savior born who didn’t just come to save the day but to save us for all time.

water splashingHe washes us clean even the hidden dirt behind our ears and on the backs of our necks. He sets our eyes not on this world but on the one that is to come — one where we will have new bodies free of pain, where there are no tears, and where death has been vanquished.

That is our hope, born on Christmas day – not save from temporary troubles but to save us from our sins for all time and to give us eternity with Him. Hope is in the one who was, and is, and is to come because God is love (1 John 4:8).

“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12

 

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Magi following Star of Bethlem

Wishing You a Messy Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas stories is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robertson. I choke up every time I read about the Herdman children, a ragtag group of troublemaking siblings, who discover the true meaning of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, book cover by Barbara RobinsonChristmas while performing in a church pageant. As I read, my kids will hear my voice crack, look up, and shake their heads, “Mom, are you crying?” I’m touched by how Imogene Herdman’s veil is smudged and crooked, and Leroy Herdman, dressed as one of the Wise Men, carries in the ham given them by social services instead of the customary bowl of incense. They made the church’s lovely, traditional pageant into a messy, discombobulated event.

Which, truth be told, was much more how the real event happened.

The delivery of all of my children took place in a hospital with nurses and doctors caring for me. They all suited up for the delivery and scrubbed with sanitizer before they entered the delivery room. Mary, a teenager, gave birth in a lowly dirt floor manger among animals and straw. There were no nurses to hold her hand and tell her when to push. There was no doctor to gently guide baby Jesus into this world. He was born in a barn and slept in an animal’s water trough with sheep bleating and donkey’s neighing.

And then God’s guests appeared. Back in Jesus’s day, there was no indoor plumbing. There was no deodorant. People stank especially those that tended Shepherd and sheepafter animals like shepherds. Shepherds spent days under the hot sun and slept on the cold ground at night. After the Israelites settled in agricultural based Egypt, shepherding lost its prominent position as a trade. Sheep and goats were a threat to crops and therefore a menace to settled farmers. Shepherds were relegated to pastoring their animals only in desert areas and were shunned like tax collectors (Shepherd’s Status, Alcorn 2008). Yet, God sent an angel to invite them to be the first to meet the savior.

There is not much known about the wise men, except that they were called magi and came from the East. Historical records depict the magi as dreamers and stargazers. They sat in the presence of kings who asked their advice for Magi following Starinterpreting astrological signs, dreams, and omens. But, they didn’t know everything as seen in the story of Daniel and in Joseph. When the magi were asked to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar and the Egyptian Pharaoh’s dreams, these wise men didn’t have the answers. They were still searching. So when a bright star appeared in the night these pagan magicians felt compelled to follow it through the desert and bow down to exalt a Hebrew baby as king (Magi, Wise Men or Kings? It’s complicated. by Chad Ashby).

When I think of Jesus’s birth, it’s as if God went out of his way to make a point: Jesus came for everyone. God chose for His one and only son to be born to a teenage girl in a dirty manger. The first visitors were stinky shepherds and pagan astrologers.

If anyone ever wonders if they are good enough to be loved by God, please remember the Christmas story. God didn’t send His son just to save the righteous. Jesus is the gift of amazing grace available to anyone willing to accept the offering. God gave His son to become the light and hope for the blue-collar shepherds, the spiritually lost intellectuals, and the Herdmans of this world.

And most of all, He came for you.

Wishing you a merry and messy, Christmas, because we all need a savior.

If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, here’s a snippet from the Best Christmas Pageant Ever movie (1983) where the Herdman’s are performing the Christmas Story.
Annunciation stained glass window at St. Mary's Holdingford, MN

Courage in the Unknown

“I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” 

Those Valiant words came from the lips of a young virgin during a time when there were so many consequences for an unmarried pregnant womanAnnunciation-Stained glass window at St. Mary's in Holdingford, MN. I wonder if Mary considered whether Joseph might divorce her for being with child? Did she have any inkling that she would travel a great distance while nine months pregnant on a donkey without a place to sleep? God told her she would give birth to not only a son but to a savior but did she even conceive of the idea that her son would not be accepted by this world. That he would be beaten and crucified, and she would watch him die?

I’m a gasp-out-loud sort of person, especially during a movie when a truck comes out of nowhere and slams into a person. I jump and suck in a loud gasp. Sometimes I’ll grab the hand or knee of the person next to me in a tight grip. It’s my natural shock reaction to the unexpected moment. It might be because uncertainty puts the fear of God into me, even for good things like vacations, surprise parties, and heaven.

Yes, even heaven. I’m excited to go there someday, and I know heaven is an amazing place with no more pain, or tears, or death. It has singing, laughter, and streets of gold. However, a part of me wisHeaven's opening sky imagehes to see travel brochures showing the houses with many rooms Jesus has prepared for us. Or, a panoramic spread displaying God’s light glinting off the streets of gold. Or, maybe images of the river of life’s crystal waters flowing from God’s throne down by the fruit-laden limbs and strong roots of the tree of life (Revelation 22: 1-2).

With these Biblical descriptions, the unknown can still be scary even if it’s a good unknown.

Yet, here was Mary whom the angel Gabriel approached and said that she, a virgin, would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceive a child. Mary heard all this and said, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:26-38)

I’d hate to think of my response. Assuming I didn’t run screaming from the room at the surprise of seeing an angel, I probably would have either said, “You want me to what now?” or “I think you have the wrong address. Check with Natalie next door.”

Are we ready for God’s opportunities? Are our hearts prepared to say, I am the Lord’s servant, may your word be fulfilled?

The Christmas season is a primer to ready us with anticipation. Our eyes, ears, and hearts should have their antenna up for opportunities to show God’s love and spread joy. It’s easy to follow the known family Christmas traditions, but what is God stirring up in your heart this Christmas?

Is shopping, decorating, sending cards, and other busyness overshadowing the prompting to do something nice for that Scrooge - 1984 Actor George C. ScottScrooge in your life? You know, the one person you want to avoid, but God keeps bringing him or her to the forefront of your mind. Are you valiant enough to say, yes Lord, the way Mary did?

It can be scary to reach out to someone who may not be receptive or whose reaction could range anywhere from mild disinterest to an explosive diatribe. But, if God is tugging upon your heart to do something nice for that person, don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you.

Through Mary, God blessed the world. We might not be ready for that pressure, but we can start with one.

In the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone.”

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Woman indoor rock climbing

How Are You Anchored?

I was suspended in air. Literally not figuratively. My feet floated about a foot above the ground. I clutched the rope in a death grip as I dangled, knowing if I let go my husband would plummet to the ground.

When we first got married, I wanted to take ballroom dancing lessons. My husbandWoman indoor rock climbing is a good negotiator, so he agreed but on the condition that I’d take indoor rock climbing classes. It was a fair deal, and even though rock climbing was intimidating, I found it to be a lot like the game Twister but hanging off the side of a wall. We had a couple of lessons, and everything was going great. The instructor even decided it was time we climbed on our own.

By the time I noticed my mistake, it’s was too late.

My husband reached the top of the thirty-foot wall and signaled he was ready to repel down. I tightened my grip on the ropes and yelled back to go ahead. He released his hold and leaned back in a trust fall.

I jerked into the air like a rag doll only to come to a jarring stop as the anchor caught. My feet pedaled air, and I quickly realized what I’d done wrong. There are three slots one can hook into on the anchor rope. This important rope secures you to the ground so that when a smaller person, like myself, partners up with a big  6’3” male, we don’t go flying to the ceiling while our partner crashes to the ground. The three slots are for basically, tall, medium, and small. I should have hooked into the small, but unknowingly, I inserted my carabiner into the tall loop.

My husband instantly knew something was wrong, probably because he expected a nice easy descent but instead he dropped two feet before slamming to a halt. “Everything okay, babes?” he asked.

“Everything’s fine,” I said in a tight voice and smiled, hoping he wouldn’t notice I was suspended in air.

I eased the rope between my gloved fingers. Once his feet touched the ground, mine did also.

We laugh about it now, or at least I do. He may still my shake his head at me. But it goes to show how important it is to have a proper anchor.

Anchor“This hope [Jesus] is a safe anchor for our souls. It will never move.” – Hebrews 6:19 (NLV)

Without a proper anchor we all are like rag dolls being jerked around by our emotions, trends, and what the world tells us will make us happy. When we anchor into the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, life is no longer happening to us. It’s happening for us. We gain peace, clarity, and purpose.

When we aren’t anchored to a firm foundation, it’s easy to drift and be tossed about. When my boys leave for school, I often say, “Remember whose child you are.” If they don’t know to whom they belong or what they stand for and against, then they can be easily persuaded by whims, their friends, and charismatic adults. I want them grounded in the Rock of Ages, not grasping for earthly things that moths and rust can destroy (Matthew 6:19-20).

If you are going through motions, feeling lost, or floundering adrift, seek Jesus. But, don’t just haphazardly clip into Him like I hooked my carabiner into that anchor. Seek Him with a ready and open heart. In Jeremiah 29:13, God says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Stop wandering aimlessly through life. God has a purpose and a plan for your life. His foundation is secure, and He’s waiting for your knock upon His door.

Let Him be your anchor.

Meme with anchor. 2nd verse of "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less."

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