Lorri Dudley

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

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Woman overlooking city

Made for This

As an author, I love to play the what-if game.

What if the hero believes the heroine is dead?
What if the heroine gets robbed and thrown in the poorhouse?
What if the heroine falls overboard?
 
As a mother and wife, the what-if game isn’t as much fun.
 
What if they get bullied at school?
What if there’s a car crash?
What if we fail?

If worrying burned calories, I could quit the gym and eat ice cream all day.
 
You’d think as Queen, Ester wouldn’t have had much to worry about, but that wasn’t the case. A decree had gone out that all Jews were to be killed, and their possessions confiscated on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month. Ester was Jewish, but she’d never told King Ahasuerus. If she sat back, her beloved Uncle Mordecai and her people would die. 
 
Wouldn’t telling the king be an easy fix? All Ester needed to do was explain to the situation. However, the punishment for approaching the king when he didn’t request the person’s presence was death unless, by chance, he extended his golden scepter to them. Already thirty days had passed since the last time she’d summoned by the king. What if she’d fallen out of favor? What if she failed? What if she perished?
 
What if it was the moment for which she was created?

Her Uncle Mordecai set things into perspective. He asked her if perhaps she was placed into her royal position to save her people.

Sometimes we, too, need to have a shift in perspective. In her Mark of the Lion seriesFrancine Rivers writes a scene where one of the characters suffers a stroke and can no longer speak—a terrible situation. However, the woman realizes God allowed it to happen so she could focus all her energy on praying for her daughter’s salvation.

I may not like it when my son is bullied, but I get the opportunity to tell him who God says he is. I wouldn’t wish for my boys to get into trouble, but it’s an opportunity to show them my love is unconditional. I hate failing or making mistakes, but it’s a chance to demonstrate humility.

These moments we can take for granted.

But what if they are the moments for which we were created?

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Soccer celebration

It’s Go Time!

Baby feet

My book baby is out in the world.

Let the heart palpations begin. We’ve all been there: leaving an interview, finishing a tryout, turning in an exam, hitting send on a proposal. Our nerves tingle and our stomachs flip over in hopeful trepidation.

But then the doubts creep in.

I’ve woken up at 4 am for the past four nights. I can’t say what woke me up, but as soon as I did, my brain started working overtime listing out all the things I need to do, reviewing all I’d forgotten, and berating myself for the mistakes I couldn’t reverse.

I was under attack.

Maybe it was because of the early hour, but it took me a bit to realize I didn’t need to lie there and listen to my thoughts. So, I fluffed my pillow, prayed, and left things in God’s hands.

There will be resistance to seeing your dreams fulfilled, but a bump in the road isn’t anything to a God who can move mountains. Seeing my dream in print was a long time in coming, but it was the process that challenged me to grow. I am a firm believer in learning vicariously, so here are three key things I’ve realized:

  1. It’s more effective to be the vision than just to cast the vision: It’s easy to tell others, “Don’t give up,” but the most significant impact was for my children to watch mom face adversity and to see me keep trying. They saw the tears, the stress, and the doubts but witnessed me over and over sit back down at my computer and keep typing. “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” – Proverbs 24:16
  2. Trust God despite the outcome: Whether my book flies off the shelves or sits there gathering dust, I’m going to remember what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said to King Nebuchadnezzar as they were about to be thrown into the furnace.  “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).  No matter what, I know God will work all things according to His purpose, and that’s what allows me to sleep at night.
  3. It’s the strength of others lifting you up that gives you a grand perspective: I can’t tell you how many times an encouraging email kept me writing, or my kids praying for me, or other people’s excitement that boosted my own. I will be forever grateful to all the friends, family, church members, and wonderful souls (some of who I haven’t even met face-to-face who’ve carried me on their shoulders). Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Thank you for cheering me for during those times when my legs ached, I grew winded, and the finish line seemed impossible to reach.

My race isn’t over. I may have only gone a few laps, but it’s because of you that one foot continues to move in front of the other.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and may God bless you! 

Football or American Soccer celebration

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Girl under Christmas Tree

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Girl making list under the Christmas Tree

“Is it time yet?” A gallon of Redbull doesn’t compare to Christmas anticipation. The merry gentlemen may be resting but the holiday electrifies little children as they countdown the weeks, days, and eventually hours.

My legs used to wiggle under the covers, and my ears strained for the sound of jingle bells or reindeer hooves on the rooftop. My brother refused to sleep until the moment of Christmas arrived. He’d call out, “Is it time yet? Is it Christmas?”

If you enjoy sleep, Christmas Eve at my house was not the place to be. We’d rouse our parents every fifteen minutes to see if it was time to open presents. By the time morning arrived, Mom would drag her sleep-deprived body out of bed and stumble to get a cup of coffee. Dad would get their revenge by making us wait at the top of the stairs while he checked to see if Santa truly paid a visit.

The anticipation was almost our undoing. Permeant smiles fixed on our faces, and the occasional nervous giggle burst through our lips. Our hands gripped the railing and our feet danced beneath us, ready to bolt the moment we were given the okay.

Are we looking for the return of God the same way?

Matthew 24:42 and 44 says, “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming… You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Are we prepared?

Do we wait with expectancy, or have we become complacent like the foolish bridesmaids from Matthew 25:1-4? “The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.”

Are we staying awake with anticipation?

Sleeping Santa

Matthew 25 continues: “The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 
The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.”

Are we ready for the banquet or late for the party?

The decorations are set, dishes prepared, and table arranged for a wedding feast. Jesus awaits his bride. Are we anxiously anticipating the day our Bridegroom arrives? Are our oil lamps full? Have we set our hearts right?

As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’s birth, let us not forget the reason He came.

And that He’s coming again.

Girl with lamp waiting expectantly

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Man diving into lake

Dive in

Boy swinging on rope swing into lake.

Rope swings aren’t something you can do halfway. You either swing out over the water, let go, and go all in. Or, you swing back and crash into the trunk of a tree. Somebody tied a rope to a tree near the reservoir not far from my house. It’s been taken down now, but we used to hear the whoops and see the splashes as they plunged into the lake. I know it’s only time before the boys try to make one of their own.

Peter was a rope-swing kind of disciple. He jumped into things with both feet. He was notorious for getting out of the boat to walk to Jesus on water and sinking a few seconds later when he got distracted (Matthew 14:28-30). He spoke before he thought and often put his foot in his mouth. One minute, Peter was having divine revelations about his Lord, and the next, he was being reprimanded, “get behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:13-23). He told Jesus, even if the others fall away, he would not. Even if he died, he would not deny Him. And then, before dawn that next day the rooster crowed (Matthew 26:33-34).

Man diving in lake

But despite all Peter’s mess-ups, God loved him and had a great plan for his life. He chose Peter to be the rock upon which He built His church. When Jesus returned from the dead, he stood on the shore calling out to Peter and his fishing crew. As Peter recognized his old buddy Jesus, he couldn’t wait a second longer to see him. He dove into the sea and swam into shore. The rest of the men were left to reel in the nets and row in the boat (John 21: 4-9).

God favors the excitable. He blesses those who step out in faith. He desires us to be all-in.

He wants our fervor.

But how do we do that? Part of it is letting go and letting God (like I mentioned in my last blog), but here are some suggestions of ways I’ve dialed things up a notch when I feel like I’ve plateaued or started to coast in my faith:

  • Crank up worship music and dance around the room. Not a dancer? Lift your hands, and see where it goes.
  • Sing along until your voice won’t let you.
  • Not a singer? Chant scripture like it’s your war cry. Repeat it like a mantra. Let it sink into your entire being.
  • Give something away, whether it be a free meal or just a smile. Feel the love of God flow through you into others.
  • Lay prone on the floor and pour your heart out in prayer for someone.
  • Watch a sunset, or go for a hike, or sit under the stars, and praise God for his creation and the great work of his hands.
  • Support a new endeavor upon which your church or pastor is embarking. Join the vision to make it happen, serve, and be blessed by how God moves.
  • Join a church group or lead a church group. Nothing strengthens your faith like being accountable to and for others.

Don’t worry about messing up or appearing silly. Peter sure didn’t, and God is good at covering faults.

So go ahead. Dive all-in. 

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Crocuses blooming

A Change Will Do Us Good

Crocuses blooming

Spring is my favorite time of the year. It holds the promise of warmer weather. Our dead yellow grass springs up in a verdant green. Buds on trees burst into flowery white clouds, and bulbs open their colorful faces to the sun. The cold drabness of winter comes alive and new again.

The same thing happened to me after I started going to church. My husband and I, up until that point, had put our heads down and poured everything into growing a company and savings. Then, 9/11 happened and brought the world to a standstill. That horrific day stirred up questions I hadn’t wanted to face. Is this life all there is? Is there truly evil in this world? Do I serve a purpose?

I’d like to say we started attending church that Sunday, but no. It took me five months of stifling those niggling questions before the aching need, for something I didn’t yet understand, overrode my excuses for why I should stay in bed. My husband and I warily strolled into church. In my mind, I was just going to give it a try.

I left changed.

There wasn’t a bolt of lightning. I didn’t break free from my cocoon and morph into a butterfly during that service. I remember being greeted by a man named Donny who smiled and welcomed us. I recall pausing to look at my husband during worship to see if the live band overwhelmed his instilled Catholic mindset. (He now is the electric guitarist in that band – go figure.) I had laughed and smiled all through the sermon about parenting, and a woman named Laura hugged me on the way out.

Butterfly emerged from cocoon

We drove back to our same home, in the same car, but I wasn’t the same. My heart held hope. I remember feeling lighter, excited. The earth hadn’t fallen off its axis. For everyone else, the day had been a day just like any other, but the dead shell of my old self had cracked open, and a small sprig of the changed me started to grow.

Easter reminds us of Jesus’s love and the ultimate sacrifice made for us, yet we still go about our week normal. Shouldn’t Easter renew the same feelings of hope and excitement? After being reminded about the cross, how are we not left changed?

Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr said, “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” Two thousand plus years after Jesus’s death, the world has changed a great deal, but I beg to differ with Monsieur Karr. We are not the same. Jesus’s resurrection allowed the Holy Spirit to come into the world. It emboldened the disciples and changed hearts. An encounter with the Holy Spirit helps you see others differently and find love where there was none. It prompts you to be moved, be changed, and to love because you are loved. 

Don’t remain unchanged. 

Let the truth about Jesus’s sacrificial love sink into your heart. Steep in the hope it brings and gets excited about the promise of everlasting life with a Lord who’d give everything to have you by His side for all eternity. Realize there is more to life than wake, work, eat, sleep, and repeat. You have a purpose. Become grateful for what God has done for you, in you, and is going to do through you.

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20 NLT

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Modern clean lined living rooom

Comparison – The “Oh Shiney Object” of Purpose.

I threw out all my home décor magazines.

It turns out they were not good for my mental state.

Modern Living Room

I’d look at the beautiful homes and the new fashions and colors and grow discontented with the scuff marks on my walls, the dents in the baseboards, and the outdated style. The more I compared my home to the fancy high-end homes of the rich and famous, the less satisfied I became with what I had.

We’d done some renovations already. Why wasn’t I satisfied with that?

Tom Gilovich, a behavioral economist from Cornell University, found that although we might find a slight uptick or rush in happiness when we first purchase something, it quickly dwindles as we adapt to it. Psychologists have coined the term “hedonistic treadmill”—after the initial rush of happiness wears off, to maintain the feeling of stimulation, people go out and purchase another and another to maintain the rush.

The ugliness of comparison.
Saul, the first king of Israel, was a tall, handsome, and a fierce warrior. He was everything the Israelites wanted in a king. However, Saul was driven crazy by a song. In 1 Samuel chapter 18, women were singing about their heroes and the decimation of their enemies by chanting Saul had slain his thousands, but David has slain his ten thousands. King Saul should have been psyched. David was on his team. By destroying their enemies, David saved King Saul a lot of work and added to his greatness. But Saul wasn’t happy.

“We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated by purpose.” – Bob Goff

The ugliness of comparison altered Saul’s judgement. It distracted him from being a great King and instead turned his focus onto being better than one specific shepherd boy. From Saul’s view from his castle, the grass seemed greener in the shepherd boy’s pasture. Ultimately, comparison destroyed Saul.

Woman putting on makeup

I see the same inner turmoil, especially in women. We often get all dolled up, not to woo our man, but to one-up the other women present. The beast of comparison rears its ugly head. The true purpose of enjoying friendships is often lost behind layers of mascara, lipstick, and tummy suckers.

“Happiness isn’t getting what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve already got.” – Garth Brooks

My house is not shiny and new. It’s a home. It’s lived in, comfortable, and enjoyable. Troupes of children pass through, tracking in dirt and raiding the cabinets. If I updated it into the mausoleums pictured in the magazines, in the end, how much happier would I truly be? And for how long? Would I be trading my family time and or writing time for safeguarding the house against smudges and scratches? And what happens when the next magazine issue comes out with a different latest up-and-coming style?

I’m exhausted thinking about it. It’s not worth it to me. As it turns out, I derive more pleasure out of knowing people feel welcome in our home. I do, however, hope that distressed furniture will make a comeback.

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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.
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."

Woman's praying hands

The Perfect Way of Unanswered Prayers

“Did you ever wish you had a girl?”Woman's praying hands

I froze, ornament in hand suspended midway to the tree. My middle son peered at me, his eyes seeking an answer. His question drew the attention of my youngest, and they both stared at me with unblinking eyes.

Was this one of those questions that could impact them for the rest of their lives? I could picture them lying on a couch addressing a future psychologist, “The reason I can’t hold a job or have a family is that my mother really wanted a girl.”

I am a girl, and it’s natural to want what’s familiar to you, but thankfully, we don’t always get what we want.

I hung the ornament on a limb and turned to face them with an honest answer. “At one point, yes. I thought having a girl like myself might be fun, but God had a better plan. God knew what I wanted before I realized it myself. He knew that as soon as I met you, you would be the ones I wanted, and so I’m very thankful that God went with His plan and not mine.”

Later that same night, as we were setting the table, my youngest poured the milk and asked me, “Did you have a boyfriend before Dad?”

I set a plate down and wondered what was it about today that had them asking all these questions. “Yes, I dated some boys in school.”

His eyes grew big and solemn. “Did dad know?” He whispered the words as if I’d been cheating.

Holy moly, I needed to be very clear. “No, no, no. I hadn’t met your dad yet.”

“Did you break up with them?” he asked.

“Well, some I did, but some broke up with me.”

“If you didn’t want to break up, did you want to marry them?”

Dinner could have been burning on the stove, but I wouldn’t have cared. It was one of those rare, amazing moments when you hold your child’s complete attention. I inhaled a deep breath. “At the time, I had wanted things to work out, but I’m very, very, grateful that God didn’t answer those prayers. He knew there was a better man for me—your dad.” I smiled. “God’s ways are higher than our ways. If I had married one of those men, then I wouldn’t have had you.”

I searched my son’s eyes for an indication that my elderly wisdom might have registered.

“How did the other boyfriends break up with you?” He smiled a mischevious grin. ​

Maybe it would sink in later.

All those questions reminded me to be grateful that God hadn’t answered my prayers. Back then, I had wondered where God was, why he hadn’t responded. I My boys sitting togethermourned the loss of what my mind had conceived, but God was patient with me and forgiving. All the while he was maneuvering the pieces of his puzzle into place to form a bigger picture. Looking back, I see his fingerprints everywhere. And, if I had one prayer now, it would be that my own children wouldn’t try to force the pieces of the puzzle together. That they would trust in God’s plan and relinquish their own. Psalm 18:30 says it best, “As for God, His way is perfect.”

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

Battle of the Saintes painting

The Meaning of Shalom

My two oldest kids were terrible sleepers as babies. If they slept for over two hours straight, I’d do a happy dance. When I discovered I was pregnant with my third, I Baby Name Finder: Baby Name Wizardwas determined this child would be a better sleeper. I even typed into the baby names finder what name means “sleeps through the night.” The closest it could determine was Shalom which means peace.

Shalom. I’d heard this Hebrew word before but usually associated it with a Jewish greeting or salutation. Shalom actually has a deeper meaning than just peace which we often associate with the absence of war. It means inner well-being, prosperity, and health. Now, I didn’t end up calling my son Shalom. A friend of mine had already given the name to her daughter (who is a lovely girl both inside and out, and I couldn’t think of a better name for her), but I love the idea that every time she calls her daughter’s name she is speaking prosperity, peace, and health over her little girl.

I’ve been researching the British Caribbean during and after the American Revolution for an Island book series I’m working on, so I’ve been digging into Battle of the Saintes paintinghistorical events, piracy, and Caribbean life in the late 18th and early 19th century. One thing I never realized was how the Caribbean Islands impacted the Revolutionary War. The British Navy, at the time, was the greatest in the world. America standing up to the mother country was like David going up against Goliath. However, Britain was also in a power struggle with France over the Caribbean islands which were valuable for their sugar exports. British Naval forces were split between fighting in America and protecting their island holdings from foreign invaders. The division weakened British naval forces in their fight for control of the United States (O’Shaughnessy, An Empire Divided, 2000, p.185).

The national election is this week and Newscasters have been as excited as a weatherman before a blizzard. I try not to be political, and I don’t plan to start now. I’m typing this on Monday knowing it will be read after the polls have closed and the results determined, and I did that intentionally. Because one thing I’ve come to realize about people whether on the left or right is that we all want shalom. We all desire well-being, happiness, and prosperity and to see others prosper. Jesus (the Prince of Peace) said it best in Mark 3:25 which was echoed in a speech by President Abraham Lincoln, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” We are stronger when we are unified.

No matter what the outcome, I hope we find unity as a country and as the body of Christ. That we stop pointing fingers and instead focus our pursuits on life, liberty, and happiness. I pray we will each strive to reach shalom.

So, may you have health and well-being, may you continue to chase your dreams, and may you prosper.

Shalom!

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