Seeking Peace

Isaiah 26:3, Psalm 34:14

Last week was a rough one. It started with appointment after appointment, homeschool is in full-swing, our Life Group joined with a second Life Group at our house for a special series our church is doing and ended with me having insomnia and a sobbing meltdown. You’ve had those weeks too, right?

After talking with Travis for a while he suggested that I visit my parents. Their house is only 3 hours away and I jumped at the chance for a change of scenery and the chance to spend time with my mom and dad. Travis thought it would be a chance for me to clear my head and get some clarity. It’s good for me to listen to my husband because he’s very often right.

Talking with my parents was part of what I needed and Saturday morning as I checked the verse of the day on my Bible app I gained some perspective on my lack of peace…

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you”. Isaiah 26:3

I suddenly realized that the hurricane that was going on inside my head, the stuff that kept me from sleeping and from paying full attention to what the people around me were saying was because I wasn’t keeping my mind on God. My mind was on circumstances and situations as I tried to figure them all out. I was not at peace then but I knew that I would be. I also knew that I was going to have to fight for it.

“Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it”. Psalm 34:14

The message that my parent’s pastor preached on Sunday helped to break through the storm of confusion in my mind. He talked about our purpose and how there are many things that we do in our lives that lead us to the big, true purpose in our lives.

I realized that I was struggling, once again, with my purpose. Homeschooling my kids has changed a lot this year. Instead of me leading teaching on most subjects, we’ve switched to a completely computerized program. The girls do all of their reading, assignments, quizzes and tests on the computer which grades them automatically. I suddenly had very little to do on that front outside of helping them when the computer froze up or dropped the wifi signal. And since they’re both doing some sort of Algebra, math duties have been handed off to Travis because he taught middle school Algebra and Geometry when we lived in Florida. The girls immediately loved the new program. That should have been a huge relief for me but since I need structure it left a huge gap that quickly turned me into a confused mess.

Here’s the thing, I have a type A, need to conquer & accomplish things type of personality and doing the laundry just doesn’t float my boat. Although, I’m 100% certain that laundry doesn’t float most people’s boats. But last night, when I prayed for clarity my current purpose became crystal clear. It hadn’t changed from when the Lord made a way for me to stay home and raise my kids nearly 12 years ago. The confusion came in because I didn’t want to continue doing what God had already called me to do. But when I repented for not wanting to do what I was supposed to do, peace came. I also recognize that this is a season. This season will end (and I will cry because my kids will be grown up) and I will once again be able to conquer something other than homeschool and laundry. Until that day I will be faithful with what I’ve been given to do.

This past weekend I pursued peace and I found it- it was right where I left it. If you find yourself in a state of confusion and turmoil go back to the last place that you were peaceful. I bet you’ll find it too.





What’s True About You?

Recently I was watching Murder She Wrote on Netflix. Do you remember that show? I didn’t watch it when it first aired in the 80’s because I was a kid and had much more important things to do. Halle, my youngest daughter, loves watching it with me and she asks questions about the hairstyles and decor and what it was really like to live in 1980. In the most recent episode we watched called, Sticks and Stones. As the story unfolded I thought about how what was happening on the screen was a very clear picture of what happens to believers when the enemy is at work.

In the idyllic town of Cabot Cove something strange was happening. All over town people were receiving anonymous letters. The letters were accusatory, pitting neighbor against neighbor. One accused the lead character, Jessica of having an affair with a friend’s husband, one accused a local businessman of cheating on his taxes and one said that a local fire was arson. It seemed bizarre that suddenly and for seemingly no reason these letters started appearing. As the episode progressed the investigators realized that one of the letters was true and that all of the other letters were sent to bring confusion and to make the truth seem like all of the other lies.

I tend to observe people. Not in a “people watching” sense. I observe people to try to determine where they’re coming from and I listen, really listen, to what they’re saying.  What I see very often is people who are Christians but that walk out life according to lies that they believe about themselves. I notice it often in people that grew up in an abusive home or if a parent’s actions weren’t outright abusive, they were careless with their words, called them names or berated them when they didn’t get things right.





You don’t think!

Can’t you do anything right?

I can’t stand to even look at you!

The words sting and may not break a bone but can certainly crush a spirit. I have watched many people, including people that I love, walk in the brokenness that those kinds of lies bring. I call them lies because that’s what they are. Unfortunately people that grow up constantly subjected to those things often seem to live down to those expectations or they work very hard to be successful to prove that those things aren’t true about them. The truth though is that anyone who has confessed Christ as Savior has a new life.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

Several years ago I was walking through a season of brokenness. During that time God was lovingly and patiently walking me through it. One Sunday as I was at church worshiping I suddenly saw a picture in my mind of my birth certificate. On it nothing was written except that in the box that said Father was written, God. In that moment I understood that I no longer had to live according to anything that happened in my past. Jesus was the new standard for my life. I was no longer bound to live up to or down to any standard set for me by anyone else, I was only bound to Jesus Christ and his will for me. That moment set me free from things that I had carried with me for years.

So how do you find and walk in freedom and recognize the lies that Satan bombards believers with? I’ve narrowed it down to 5 steps that might seem too simple or basic but as someone who has walked through many difficult seasons- one might even call some of them impossible- this is what I did. And, quite frankly, this last month or so has been really difficult for us as a family and this is how I got through it. With the exception of #4 because Travis and I have been part of the same church for more than a decade. The impact that ministry has had on our family is immeasurable and we wouldn’t be the people that we are today without it. Now, on to the steps.

Step 1. Read the Bible daily.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

It may sound too simple but if a believer doesn’t regularly read the truth of the Bible they can easily be deceived by the enemy. Lies becomes obvious when compared with the truth. Is your path off of where it should be? The Bible will help make that path straight.

Step 2. Pray daily.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

Simply put, praying is communicating with God. Pour out your heart to him and listen to what He has to say to you.

3. Worship

 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.  Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! Acts 16:25-26

Some days I crank up worship music in the living room for a time of worship or while I’m doing housework. Worship drowns out the enemies accusations and gets my eyes off of me and onto the one who is greater than my problems, bigger than my fears and failures and gives Him the praise that He deserves.

4. Find a Bible believing church

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.Romans 12:4-5

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25

A believer should never try to go it alone. Do you know what happens in the Savannah when a zebra gets separated from it’s herd? It gets eaten. I need other believers, you need other believers. Don’t fall for the lie that church is just a bunch of rituals or irrelevant or not for you. The church is the body of Christ and you are part of that. Pray and ask God to lead you to the church that He wants you to be part of.

5. Resources

There are many resources available but one that I’m really familiar with and have a great deal of respect for is the ministry of Neil Anderson. His ministry is centered around those who are bound and broken finding freedom in Christ.  I went through a series of teachings on his books Victory Over the Darkness and The Bondage Breaker several years ago. It was truly life changing for me in that it helped me to recognize the things that I believed about myself that weren’t true.

I’ll leave you with this, a short list of some of the things that are true about you if you are a follower of Christ:

freedom in christ




When Things Don’t Go As Planned


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Proverbs 16:9; Psalm 37:23

I was walking through our neighborhood recently, pondering what to write about. My mind wandered to a time, nearly 5 years ago when our oldest daughter, Amanda, was going through a really tough time. Her plan had been to get married and live close to us. She never wanted to move away from home – ever- she was adamant about that. Then through a series of difficult events it became clear to her dad and I that her environment had become toxic and she needed to make some really big changes. We encouraged her to move to our home state of Florida and to attend our alma mater. We really wanted her to have a fresh start in a safe place near our family and to work toward a career in something that she really loved.

Once she got to school her whole life blossomed. She immediately had a circle of the best friends anyone could want. Opportunities for performing as an actor became so abundant that she was even overwhelmed at times and she became a co-host for the campus TV show. Then she met an amazing man that became her husband and our son-in-law. She’s now working at her university and finishing her film and communications degree.

As I thought about everything God did I was so excited! I thought about how great it was that God interrupted her plans. I wasn’t excited or happy about the heartache she experienced but what came out of it is something that only God could do.

Proverbs 16:9

We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps.


Psalm 37:23

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

In the last couple of weeks we had to buy a car and it was unexpected. Travis and I had been praying about it for a while and I’d done a lot of research on makes and models to find out what type of vehicle would be best. We landed on a car and bought it fairly quickly. The next day I decided to take Halle out for a short drive and she said, “Mom, there’s a crack in your windshield”. Blerg. It took the wind out of my sails a bit because I put a lot of time, effort and prayer into the whole thing. How could I not notice a crack in the windshield? Well, I know how I missed it. It’s small, about the size of a spider, and the day we took it for a test drive it was really overcast outside. Thankfully, CarMax has a 30 day repair guarantee so it wasn’t going to cost me anything other than a trip to Franklin and a couple of hours waiting.

I hate waiting rooms because they remind me of hospitals. I determined to make the most of it though. I went to the library the day before to check out a book. As I perused the aisles I came across a book that looked interesting, Murder on Music Row. It seemed kind of interesting because I like mysteries, the Nashville aspect seemed intriguing and since I was looking for Sherlock Holmes the material seemed similar at least. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “Amy, do not get that book”. I was a bit puzzled but figured that whether or not I was hearing from God I should just put it back. I found a Sherlock Holmes book that was small enough to put in my purse and planned on grabbing my ear buds too so I could tune out and pass the waiting time reading. That night as I laid in bed I thought about my plan and prayed that if God wanted me to interact with the people around me instead I’d do that.

So, the next afternoon I took my car to the shop, dreading the whole experience. The mechanics were nice but said that if they replaced my windshield I’d have to wait an hour after they were done before I could drive it. Thankfully Travis works close by and brought me lunch and we were able to hang out for a bit. While he was there other people came into the waiting room. One of them was a woman who was dealing with a double ear infection and had been for nearly four months- I’m going to call her Sally. I felt bad for her and realized that I’d never heard of anyone that had to deal with an ear infection for that long. I wondered if I should offer to pray for her and was waiting and quietly asking the Lord if that’s what I should do. While I was trying to figure all that out I was interrupted by a mechanic updating me on the status of my car. During that time, Sally  had gotten a cold water bottle to press on her neck behind her ears to help relieve the pain. And while I would have loved to have had a clear word from the Holy Spirit on what to say or do I just heard the words, “Do you trust me”? I’ve been in this position before, a few times actually. A couple of times I’ve failed and left without praying for anyone and once I got past the panic rising up in me to pray for the stranger standing in front of me. This time I told the panic, no. I’m not going to freak out this time. I thought that she needed help that the doctors hadn’t been able to give her and I know Jesus. My compassion for her pain moved me past my comfort zone. So I just asked her if I could pray for her and told her that Jesus loves her and that he cares about things like infected ears that won’t heal. Then I prayed. It wasn’t weird and it wasn’t terrifying, it was just me bringing Jesus into the market place.

And then do you know what happened? She started talking and asked me if I listen to country music. I don’t listen to country music but I’ve lived in the Nashville area long enough to know that I should say that I don’t in a way that’s kind and humble- because a *lot* of people not only listen to it but are involved in some aspect of the business. As it turns out, her husband is a country music star. The band he’s in is a big deal and she started listing off the songs that I should listen to. She thought I’d like the  ones that are uplifting and encouraging. Then she played a video of one of their songs from their new album.

So, while there may have been nothing at all wrong with my checking out a book called Murder on Music Row, her husband is a big deal on Music Row. She may or may not have been offended by the book but what that said to me is that the Holy Spirit knew ahead of time who I’d be praying for the next day and that God was most certainly directing my steps. All-in-all a broken windshield doesn’t seem to be such a bad thing.

How does all this fit together?

Whether you’re the one who is in difficult or devastating circumstances or you’re dealing with life’s little annoyances, God is there to direct you. He cares about your life and about where you end up. Ask Him to direct you and then listen and obey what He says. When things don’t go as planned, very often it gives God the opportunity to change our lives in very real and meaningful ways. I don’t rejoice over the hard things I’ve been through, some of those times were so painful I didn’t know if I’d make it through them. I do rejoice though in the fruit that came out of those times, that I’m not the same person I was and that I can share with others that no matter what you’re going through God is there and wants to direct your steps.





Thoughts on Prayer


Luke 18:1-8, Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35

It’s spring time, the season when most everyone in my subdivision emerges from their winter hibernation to start working on their yards. Personally, I enjoy gardening or rather I enjoy aspects of gardening. When we lived in apartments I used to dream of all the things I would grow once we had our own yard. Once we did have our own yard I discovered that Tennessee doesn’t have nice black topsoil like I’d imagined but instead was hard clay. I never imagined that digging would be such a back-breaker! I don’t really enjoy that aspect of gardening- imagine that!

Thankfully most of the things I planted last year survived the winter. Snapdragons, Dianthus and a silver plant that the name escapes me, along with a lot of things that the builder planted. The thing I added this year was ranunculus. I wanted to add something to the mound around our silver maple tree. In researching them I found out that you can only get them by planting root systems that had been dug up and dried beforehand since they won’t survive Tennessee’s winter. So, I found a box of roots at the store and planted them around the tree. Then I watered…and watered…and watered. It looked like I was watering nothing and I felt a little embarrassed as my neighbors walked by and waved at the crazy lady watering the dirt & mulch.


As I stood in our yard contemplating how silly I looked, I thought about the dry, crunchy root systems I’d planted in the ground. They certainly didn’t look like anything I should plant. They looked like something I should throw away or put in a compost pile. Then I thought about prayer and how sometimes circumstances in our lives, in the lives of people we love or in the world around us can look pretty bleak but that prayer is the water that brings those things to life & it’s the work that breaks up hard places like digging breaks up Tennessee clay.

A little over two years ago our family traveled to Florida to be with our oldest daughter when she got married. We stayed with Travis’ parents and I had what would be my last face-to-face conversation with my mother-in-law. She shared her heartbreak over the state of the lives of people that she was close to but her hope & faith that God would bring them to repentance and change their lives. During that conversation we agreed to take one day a week to pray for those family members, believing that our prayers would change things. And do you know what happened? We saw things change…


We saw God bring life when things looked hopeless.

The lives of people are changed when believers pray. Jesus taught us through parables and by example how important prayer is. He also taught us the importance of praying continually.

Luke 18:1-8 New Living Translation

One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”

Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”

It’s wonderful when I pray for something and the answer comes immediately. It’s a great faith builder and encouragement. It doesn’t always happen that way though. Jesus’ encouragement here is to pray and keep on praying. There are people that I know and love that need me to pray for them and to keep on praying. Our nation needs for me to pray and keep on praying. Our world needs for me to pray and keep on praying.

If there are hard places in your life or in the lives of people you love I encourage you to  pray and keep on praying.



The Parable of the Talents



Every second and fourth Wednesday we host a Life Group from church at our house. We share a meal together, talk for a bit and have a Bible study. This past Wednesday we looked at a passage from Matthew.

Matthew 25:14-30New Living Translation (NLT)

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver[a] to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![b]22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.

After reading the passage our leader asked some questions about what we’re stewarding currently and what’s the hardest for us to steward well. As thoughts bounced around the group my friend, Katie shared with the group something along the lines of, ‘If God is telling you to do something and you don’t do it he’ll move on to someone who will’. A wave of conviction washed over me and settled as a knot in my belly and a weight on my heart. It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced conviction like that. I wanted to run somewhere, anywhere so I could sob in repentance. Since we were in the middle of a life group meeting that we were hosting I couldn’t very well do that. It’s probably just as well because I had to sit there marinating in conviction while continuing to listen to what God had to say to me through people in the group. Sometimes I’m so ready to repent of something that I don’t hear everything God wants me to hear.

When our group started talking it didn’t take long for the one thing I was supposed to be stewarding but wasn’t to rise to the surface. I remembered a time many years ago seeing John Bevere at a local church. I’d read his book, The Bait of Satan, a few years before that and was impressed by his insight and challenged by its content. During that speaking engagement he told a story of how God had asked him to write a book but he hadn’t done it. I don’t remember exactly how much time had passed but finally God said to him, ‘If you don’t write this book I’ll find someone that will’. His story stuck out to me because I wanted more than anything to do God’s will. I didn’t write back then nor did I ever consider being a writer. I was a singer. I followed Gods leading to study music in college and I wanted to be a worship leader. Being a music pastor was my first job out of college. Then I discovered that I didn’t really like being a music pastor although, since God had called me to study music in college, told me very clearly to be a music pastor & opened an incredible door for me to have a job before I even graduated from college, (keep in mind I was a divorced, single mom) I was very determined to continue along that career path. Truthfully, I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to study music because it was an amazing experience.  I love worshiping & leading worship when I have the opportunity but by the time my youngest daughter was born I felt God calling me to stay at home with my three girls.

I never started blogging because I wanted to write. I only wanted to stay in touch with my friends and family and keep them updated on our lives and share pictures of the kiddos. My friends were bloggers too and so we’d read and comment on each other’s blogs and it was just fun. As our kids got older some of my friends quit blogging and moved onto other things and some of us started writing less about kids and diapers and more about things that were important to us. Then one day I found myself writing without an audience that I knew personally (except for my parents and Travis). I didn’t know who was reading what I was writing, my little community of friends was gone and I felt less sure of my thoughts and opinions. By nature I am very much an introvert. I like to keep my thoughts private unless I’m talking to someone I’ve grown to trust. Writing was the thing that rose to the surface that night as my friends were discussing the scriptures. Saying that it rose up seems so calm, it was more like it was shouting with jazz hands and blinky lights.

I don’t have time. I’m not a writer. I didn’t study English. Why would anyone care what I have to say? What if I say the wrong thing? What if I write about the Bible and it’s not accurate? What if I start writing and stop again? These thoughts and many others have kept me from writing consistently. But fear of failure, pride, and excuses all fell away in our living room that night. What about music? Well, I’m on the worship team at church and I feel confident that I’m stewarding that the way God wants me to at the moment. I’ve also been reminded recently that I didn’t only study music. My major was Sacred Music and the amount of hours I spent studying the sacred (Bible, theology, etc.) rivaled how much music I was studying. At the time I was frustrated by having to spend so much time studying something that had nothing to do with music. I had no idea that it was going to be a well for me to draw from in the future.

In the week since we had that meeting I’ve repented of my stubbornness and disobedience and have embraced this new season in my life. If I’ve learned anything in my time on this planet it’s that seasons change. I’ve always used my voice for Jesus and it’s just taking a different form in this season.

I don’t want to be the unfaithful servant. Not ever again. I’m thankful for grace and that God cares enough about me to correct me.

So where do I go from here? I write…and write and write and write. On Sunday during the worship service at church God clearly identified a block of time that I could utilize a different way so that I’d have more time in my day. My writing content is going to change too. I still plan on writing things about life but I want to wrap that into posts that are more devotional and inspirational in nature. I think that by focusing on the Bible and how it applies to not only my life but also to the life of others I can fulfill what I wanted to do when God called me to ministry many years ago. I wanted to help people and I wanted to see Jesus change their lives the way he’d changed mine. If writing is one of the ways God wants me to do that then okay, I’m willing to do it.