God Loves You!

Someone needs another sneak peek at the devotional I’m writing about learning to rest,

Whispers of Rest in the Storm.

Day 23 Rest in the Love of Christ

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were sinners, Christ died for us.

What beautiful words! God demonstrated His love. When my son died, I hurt so much I despaired, “Maybe God doesn’t love me?” In my brokenness, I couldn’t imagine God loving me and allowing me to hurt so much.

loveMaybe you are like me, and you struggle believing that Jesus loves you. Abuse and affliction steal our dignity and self-worth. Even the message we hear from the world is to be loved we must earn our place, prove our usefulness, and show our value.

We have to work for it.

Sometimes, while in the storm, we ask for a sign. In my weakest hour I asked for a sign that God loved me. I’m thankful I asked for a rainbow because they are more rare than pink sunsets. God denied me a rainbow, and I am so thankful that He did.

In the storm, I cried out, “God, if you love me, then save me from this hurt.”

He whispered back, “I already have. I sent my Son. He humbled himself into the womb of a woman. He experienced every human struggle, and did not sin. He is your sign that I love you. He paid the debt for all your sin. He ripped the curtain that separated us. Let my rainbow be my promise to not flood the earth, and enjoy the pink sunsets that I created to declare my glory. Let Jesus be the sign of my love for you. I will walk with you in your hurt. Depend on me.”

Every morning God whispers, “I love you! Look at Jesus and see how I love you.” Romans 8: 32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” These words sooth my aching soul in the storms of life.

Rest today knowing that God demonstrated His love for you through Jesus. We need no other sign. Enjoy the beauty of His creation, but let Jesus demonstrate His love for you! God walks with us through the storm, and nothing can separate us from His love (Rom. 8:34-39).

Is God for You?

I have four files open on my computer, and I switch from one to the other as God speaks to my heart. 1.) Unprepared to Suffer: My Chronicle of Finding God 2.) 30 Days of Rest 3.) My Testimony 4.) You were not alone: the presence and comfort of Christ in our darkest memories. I am so excited about finding Isaiah 53:4 “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering.” My friend, in the most excruciating moments of our lives Jesus was present, experiencing our pain with us. I want to do this article the justice it deserves, I have three commentaries next to me, but it’s not ready because I spent most of the day on 30 Days of Rest.

Here’s a second sneak peek at 30 Days of Rest.

Day 10 Rest in Repentance

Isaiah 30:15 “…In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”

Repentance is not a onetime event.

1 John 1:8 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

Remember how rest has a few definitions? Rest means to recover strength, and it also means to refresh oneself.

John gives us cover by blatantly writing that we sin, and if we say we don’t sin the truth is not in us! We can unashamedly kneel and repent. We need a change in perspective of repentance from negative to a time of refreshing.

Repentance is the only no-shame way to refresh our souls. In repentance, we say that God is bigger than us. His ways are right, and our ways are wrong. Keeping a short account keeps us aware of Jesus’s blood and the comfort of the Holy Spirit constantly.

You have heard that God is for you. It’s an encouraging platitude that can keep us living in pride.James 4: 6 says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” If we are proud and refuse to repent, then God opposes us. The Greek word means that He resists us like a football player stiff arming the coming opponent.

When we rest in repentance, it feels like death. As we refresh ourselves in repentancerepentance whatever is proud will die, and we will be made alive in Christ.

As we moment by moment learn to rest, we will find that humbling ourselves grows easier as we see the fullness of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ our Savior.

Learning to Rest is Work.

I have so much going on right now! I’m giving my testimony at Celebrate Recovery on March 23 at 6:30 pm. and not the Sunday School version. I’m writing a book about finding God in the midst of life’s struggles, and I’m writing a devotional about learning to rest. God calls us to rest in Him, but what does that mean and how do we do it?

I have learned that learning to rest in God takes work. It doesn’t happen naturally .

I’m giving you a sneak peek at the devotional today.

Day 1 Rest in a Prayer for Renewal

Colossians 1:9-14

“We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Pray through these verses everyday this month.

These verses teach us to know, not feel. We need to learn to rest because of our feelings. God created feelings for a purpose. They help us interact with the world around us. They help us to love deeply. They alert us to danger. Feelings are a thermometer not a solution. They give us the temperature; that’s it. When we learn to rest in God, He clothes us, not our feelings, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that we may walk worthy of the Lord.

Today, we may not feel strong. Learning to rest in truth, leads us to wait for the Lord to strengthen us with His power. He will give us endurance and patience with joy, but we can only live one day at a time. If we carry yesterday’s hurts and tomorrow’s worries, we will be exhausted. God gives us strength for today.

If we find that we are carrying yesterday’s hurts, we need to expose them to the Light. Hurts do not heal with time. When we stuff hurts to the basement of our hearts, we subconsciously respond to the world around us out of that hurt. We may not feel rescued from these hurts, but in Christ Jesus we are.

Because of Jesus, we have been transferred to the kingdom of the Son, who the Father loves! We have redemption in Christ! We have forgiveness in Christ! Praise the Lord, we are “In Christ”!



You can read the whole chapter on Bible Gateway in any version you want!

Meditation: My Redeemer is Beautiful!

My Redeemer is beautiful! I am meditating on the great hymn Alas! and Did my Savior Bleed? Was it for sins that I have done He suffered on the tree? Would He devote that sacred head for sinners such as I? Here, Lord, I give myself away. ‘Tis all that I can do. And step by step on this journey of faith, Jesus restores my soul.


I was not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood, as a lamb, unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

He took up my infirmities and carried my sorrows,

He was pierced for my transgressions, He was crushed from my iniquities; the punishment that brought me peace was upon Him, and by His wounds I am healed.

from 1 Peter 1:18-19; Isaiah 53:4-5

His Cross is my Tree of Life

God forbid that I should boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me; and I to the world.

It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,

who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 6:14, 2:20

He’s prettier than I

You are beautiful!

You are. Woman is. We were designed for beauty! Although context matters, 1 Corinthians 11:7 speaks to this. Yes, this is a problematic verse, and I will dive into that a bit. Hopefully, clarifying a few things for women who need to hear of their beauty.

 A man, in fact, should not cover his head, because he is God’s image and glory,

but woman is man’s glory.”

K and KL

My daughter, Katherine, holding her sister, Karis-Lynn, for the first time. Beautiful!

One issue that arises is that Paul says man is God’s image. Now we know that Genesis 2:27 records that He made mankind, both male and female in the image of God. Both man and woman are made in the image of God. Paul goes on to teach about head coverings. He writes to not be contentious about this because he nor other churches have any practice about it. In other words, don’t fight about it. Most of us are tempted to ignore this passage altogether because of the difficulty to understand what Paul is really teaching.

For our purposes, let’s rest a minute on “woman is man’s glory.” Woman, the jewel in the crown of God’s creation, great and wondrous mysteries are hidden in her form and heart. Man can be gentle and caring, but something was lacking in the perfection of the garden. The only thing that filled the void was woman.

Take a moment to admire all that woman is. Her form is desirable. It’s random to quote Seinfeld, but he said it best, “The male body is for getting around.” The male body is made for work. There is wonder in his strength, but we are looking for beauty.

Everything about her body is made for beauty from her hair to her toes. The wonders crown of creationand beauty of childbirth are unmatched in creation. There is nothing lovelier than a newly married bride or a mother with an infant. And, we could go on for every stage of a woman’s development. Right now, I even have pictures of the beauty of silver hair and kind eyes of the lovely mature women in my church. They are beautiful. Peggy, Patsy, and Sue, ya’ll are beautiful, just to name a few!

But, what do women really need? Do they need to hear they are beautiful? Does this really heal their broken places? For a moment, and then tomorrow you will need to hear it again because believing you are beautiful does not heal your broken self-image. It puts a salve on it. It soothes the pain that sin has caused, but it doesn’t take it away.

Mankind’s self-image was forever broken in the garden, when Eve questioned God’s goodness and His plan for her. She saw that the fruit looked good. Sin always looks good, and then it turns on you. She wanted to know for herself. She didn’t want to trust God. She wanted to determine what is good for herself. From the moment she ate the fruit, she knew she was naked, but now our cravings and desires will sway and distort our ability to reason. We have the cloud of sin, a broken self-image.

We cannot see ourselves as we truly are, and often, those who sin against us blame our beauty for their cravings. They use our beauty against us! “You are so beautiful, I couldn’t help myself.”  In response, the abused woman starts eating to put a layer of fat protection to ensure this will never happen again. When did women become responsible for controlling the lust in others?

We didn’t! We are not that powerful!

Even in the Muslim culture, where women wear burkas, rape and all manner of harmful sexual situations exist.

Maybe you can’t identify with sexual abuse, but you can with the emotional bully who, through words, stole from you. I have been there. I guess I was an ugly kid because a significant person in my life called me an ugly duckling. I have never felt like I measured up. If you asked me to describe myself, I would say, “I’m not ugly because guys have objectified me, but I’m not pretty enough to be loved.”

And here is the problem. How does God fix it? I can look in the mirror and recite mantra after mantra, “I am beautiful.” I may feel better a little, but my self-image is broken. This mantra, “You are beautiful!” fails to restore your self-image.

Only Jesus gives us Truth in a world filled with lies.

Women, we are not powerful enough to control the sin in other people’s hearts. The only proven method of conquering the curse of sin is the death of the Sacrificial Lamb.

We can’t be pretty enough! We can’t be good enough. We can’t work hard enough. We can’t be born to the right parents, after all, Adam and Eve had the perfect Parent, and they still sinned. We can’t make enough money. There is nothing that we can do.

He is prettier than I am.

I can never be good enough, kind enough, pretty enough.  I still fail.  I still fail to do all that I want to do.  Even my best is not enough.  Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”  I have to take responsibility for the sin in my life that has broken my self-image.

So, how can we truly be beautiful?

Romans 13:14 says, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”  How does this happen?  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  His righteousness and clean garments are ours by faith.  They become ours at the moment of our salvation.

Applying the reality of salvation is a process.  With our first step of faith we begin a life-long journey of growing in our knowledge of Christ.  Knowing Jesus is the goal of our salvation.  If my goal is merely my own healing, I am settling for far less than what I could have.  If my goal is my own sense of beauty, I am missing the beauty of Christ.  In Him, I am completely beautiful.  He gave me His beauty.  He is much prettier than I.rest in truth

Let us rest in the truth that we are beautiful

because Jesus is beautiful.


Raising Boys is Smelly Work

(This post can be true for girls. I’m raising two myself, but my focus is boys.)

Boys1Little boys get a bad rap sometimes. They run too fast, wiggle too much, rough house a lot, and a host of other physical activities that exhaust adults. My motto is, “Everything that makes a great man, makes a difficult boy.” We want men to solve problems and build great cities, creating safe spaces for society to thrive, but when boys create forts in the living room, there is a mess to clean. I think my eleven year old, Carter, creates problems just to solve them!

God told Adam to be fruitful and multiply; fill the whole earth and subdue it. My job is to teach these little guys not to subdue me or anything else that isn’t under their authority. Right now, the only thing under their authority is themselves, a dog, and bearded dragon named Bob. I haven’t quite convinced them that learning to master themselves is currently enough for them. As Proverbs 16:32 says,

Better a patient person than a warrior,

one with self-control than one who takes a city.

Sometimes I count the years left to teach and mold. Time slips by too fast! But God is faithful, He helps us in all our troubles!

We live in the perfect blend of suburbia and woods. Our neighborhood is at the base of a huge hill (small mountain or something in between) and the boys have good friends that live in the neighborhood at the top of the hill with just enough woods in between for an adventure. The hideout is down the little creek past the thorn bushes to a clearing in the woods with a bunch of plastic lawn chairs. They spend hours out there alone, doing whatever it is that boys do in the woods. (Don’t tell them I can hear them!)

One day the boys went up the hill to jump on their friend’s trampoline. Because they wanted to stay until the last minute to play, they asked if could pick them up, rather than hike back down the hill. As they got in the car the smell of boy was overpowering, and I couldn’t help but comment, “Wow! You boys need a bath. You

Caleb in Cop

Caleb 9 years old

smell like the woods.”

My sweet Caleb responded, “Mom, boys always need a bath. I get sweaty and smelly just playing video games! How come you always smell nice? Girls always smell nice, and boys always stink?”

Controlling my laughter, I said, “Well, I guess that’s just how it is. Why do you think boys stink?”

Christian laughingly said, “It’s because boys like to fart!”  One thing you have to get used to about boys is that farts are always funny, and any conversation will eventually come around to farts.

After the laughter died down Caleb said, “Well, I think it’s because Adam was made from the dirt and dirt makes mud and mud stinks! Eve was made from Adam’s rib. And ribs are delicious!”

I have a hard time disagreeing with his logic! What I love about this is that my boys look for answers to life’s problems in scripture.

Lately, the public discourse centers on men and their particular sin patterns, but I want to focus on what Jesus calls them to be.

Carter and KLMeek. Many mistake meekness with weakness, but meekness is strength under control. I want my boys to develop their strength as men knowing that they will always have to seek the Lord to be meek.

Strength. I want my boys to be strong: emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Because if we accept this world as it is not as we would have it to be, many people take advantage of those who are weaker. I want my boys to take up the cause of the widow and the orphan, always using strength to protect. Caleb wants to be a chef. He wants to open a restaurant called the Glass House and serve good food to the homeless. Then he wants to become a police officer, so he can protect people.

Authority. Authority means responsibility. I want my boys to know that their responsibility comes from the Lord and model their lives after Christ, who being the very nature God humbled himself to death on the cross. Jesus served others without lording His power over those in His care.

My boys are these fantastic creatures that bring adventure and laughter to my life. The years of parenting have taught me that parenting is more about learning to be the role model for what I  want to develop in my children than disciplining my children. Learning to submit myself to Christ’s care and control is difficult, but when my son says, “I went down front to pray because I knew God was speaking to my heart. And sometimes I’m like Jonah. Like Jonah, I choose death over getting my heart right too. All those people threw their possessions overboard to calm the sea. I choose being lazy over helping Carter clean the bonus room. And loosing our devices is like death.”

How can you argue with that? My heart sings praises to the Lord!

Sojourner Truth: If she can, I can!

Every student in America is familiar with the names of Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Hancock, George Washington…etc.  The Founding Fathers inspire us. Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence was ground breaking in both breadth and scope for the individual.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

As self-evident as these truths were, many continued to suffer in bondage. As we walk down the path of life suffering comes to us all, but we don’t have to live in bondage.

Selfishness tempts us to narrow our vision, and forget the great women, who came before us that fought for many of the freedoms we now enjoy.

When I need inspiration, I look to Sojourner Truth.

sj 1

Born a slave in 1797, Sojourner endured untold emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Although, she lived isolated from other African-Americans in New York, her many conversations with God led her to take a walk of faith to freedom. Her first action as a freed woman was to sue a white slave-owner, Solomon Gedney! He had bought her son illegally. She is the first African-American woman to sue and win! She got her son back.

What makes Sojourner an example to those who suffer is how Christ worked in her heart to rid her of bitterness and unforgiveness. Because she forgave those who hurt her, she spoke with dignity and righteousness as opposed to vengeance. She became an itinerant preacher calling all to repentance and for the equality of all.

“When she arose to speak in their assemblies, her commanding figure and dignified manner hushed every trifler into silence. (pg. 113-114).”

Her famous speech “Ain’t I a woman?” should be mandatory reading for every student (pg. 131-135). During a suffrage meeting in Ohio of 1851, a heckler left the white women invited to give the address speechless. After standing up to her full height of six foot, she took command of the audience against “Dat man ober dar” who said “dat women needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted ober ditches.” She reminded the audience that no sj2man had showed her deference by helping her out of a carriage or over ditches or gave her the best place. Truth pulled up her sleeve barring her strong arm, and in a voice “like rolling thunder” she commanded them to “Look at me! Look at my arm! . . . I have plowed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me—and ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man, when I could get it, and bear de lash as well—and ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen chilern, and seen ’em mos’ all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”

As the crowd cheered, she continued, “Den dat little man in black dar, he say women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wan’t a woman! Whar did your Christ come from?” Raising her voice still louder, she repeated, “Whar did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothin’ to do wid Him.” What a rebuke?!?

My favorite quote is in defense of Eve “If de fust woman God ever made was strong enough to turn de world upside down all alone, dese women togedder (and she glanced her eye over the platform) ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now dey is asking to do it, de men better let ’em. Bleeged to ye for hearin’ on me, and now ole Sojourner han’t got nothin’ more to say.”

Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave

Everything in quotes can be found in the Narrative of Sojourner Truth

The more I read about Sojourner Truth’s life the more convinced I am of God’s goodness and His plan for salvation and restoration for every soul in bondage.

Thomas Jefferson may have written words proclaiming freedom for all, Sojourner Truth lived it out. I have not suffered even a fraction of a fraction of affliction as this great woman, and if she can believe in God’s goodness, then why should anything hold me back?

sj quote


Meditation: Great Things He Has Done

I am thankful this Sunday morning to meditate on the great things God has done! He is restoring my life one day at time, one moment at time. He pulls the pieces together in His masterpiece to “But I received mercy because of this, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate the utmost patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:16


Meditation: Great Things He Has Done

To God be the glory!

With his blood he has saved me;

with His power, he has raised me!

To God be the glory for the great things He has done!

Bless the Lord,

O my soul, and all that is with-in me bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all His benefits:

who forgives all my iniquities,

who heals all my diseases,

who redeems my life from destruction,

and crowns me with loving-kindness and tender mercies.

Adapted from Psalm 103:1-4, My Tribute and Bless His Holy Name

My Tribute by Nicole C Mullen

The Importance of Rest

Encouragement comes from so many places. My sister-in-law, Amber Browning, started a Facebook page, where she shares health tips. Everything from exercise to healthy recipes to supplements are included. But mostly, she shares encouragement! Amber is a fierce friend, awesome homeschooling momma, and a loving wife, who loves Jesus even more than all of these. Today, she shared about the importance of rest. She says,

Rest “So often people start off strong, then life happens, there is a bump in the road, they get discouraged, and they end up quitting. It’s a cycle I’ve seen over and over again (I can also speak from personal experience on this one). What if I told you, “It’s okay to rest, to slow down, to take a break every once in awhile?” I’m sure you’ve heard the sayings, “life is a marathon” or “slow and steady wins the race.” By all means, sprint when you can, but know there is time to rest and refresh too. Pacing yourself is key! If you can find balance and consistency day to day with bits of sprinting and rest in whatever goals you’re trying to achieve, you’re going to do well. You WILL get there! Don’t give up when you feel like quitting. Take a breather, regroup, remember

Amber Browning

Amber Browning, momma to 4 boys, homeschooler, encourager!

your WHY, and focus on doing better tomorrow than you did today. You’ve got this!!!” #consistencyiskey #encouragingwords #youcandoit #thehealthyvibrantlife #nrf2activated

Follow this beautiful friend here…The Healthy Vibrant Life Facebook page.

Preach the Gospel to yourself every morning!

I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with self-image, self-worth, abandonment, feeling loved, and a host of other issues. Alvin Reid’s book changed the way I tell others about Jesus, as well as how I talk to myself every morning. In his book Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, he encourages us to preach the gospel to ourselves every morning. This changed my life!

(I’m working on a book review.)

RunningAlthough, I fall short of God’s glory all the time, I am justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ. It’s not by works or achievement or intrinsic value.

I’m so thankful that I no longer live under conviction, so that I have to keep beating myself up over the consequences for my sin.

I am so thankful that I don’t have to muscle through life by the power of my will. Now, I can ask the Lord to forgive me for my pride, when I care too much about what other people think about me. Jesus left his throne in heaven and humbled himself into the womb of a woman. I can humble myself to see both the good and bad things that I do, take healthy correction, and identify abusive behaviors in others.

I am so thankful that I can be as patient with my healing and growth as Jesus is with his

Half Marathon Finisher

We finished the Mercedes Half Marathon (13.1 miles). I wanted to wear my medal around for the 1st week! Feels good!

disciples. Even when I am cold and irritable with my family, I thank Jesus for being patient and tender. In Luke 22, just before the crucifixion, Jesus asks the disciples to pray while He went to pray.  When He returned, they were asleep.  Jesus was gentle, I can be that too.

I still have struggles in this life because I am being made into the image of the Lord Jesus. Making this dead heart alive is no easy task! I am thankful that in Christ I am blessed with spiritual blessings because they will not burn up in an earthly fire. I am holy and blameless in His sight. I am adopted. I am a first born, a co-heir with Jesus. I am forgiven. I have the Holy Spirit leading, guiding, and teaching me. I am chosen and equipped with special gifts to do His will. Because of Jesus, I can run the race that God laid out before me.

Now, because of who Jesus is I can go tell others about the freedom, healing, and love that I found.

Instead, be filled with the Spirit,

speaking to one another with psalms, hymns,

and songs from the Spirit.

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,

always giving thanks to God the Father for everything,

in the name of our Lord and Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:18b-20