The Hair Bows (#jammed daily devo, day 340)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 340: Wrapped up.

“God is with us.” Matthew 1:23

Perhaps in an attempt to prove to the world that my house is not a total catastrophe in Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 7.41.31 PMthe morning, on occasion I neatly pull my girls’ hair back and slap a big bow on their heads. Looks like we’re all put together, and no one has to know about the soggy cereal meltdown…

“I love your bow!”

And we all smile. Mission accomplished. IF only life could wear a big bow.

In the context of today’s verse, Joseph received instructions of who Jesus was going to be, and his role as His earthly father. He awoke from his dream in obedience.

“Why can’t God just tell me what to do in a dream?” I can’t help but thinking.

“If He would just speak to me directly like that  …it would be so easy to know what I should be doing!” Like putting a big, God-handed bow on my day …my life.

We look around at each other in comparison and assume that everyone else’s situation is better and easier than ours, unless they are obviously homeless on the street. And even then, on really bad days, we are tempted to believe that even they are somehow better off than we are.

I don’t believe it was easy for Joseph to obey God. But he did. That’s a lesson that we can apply to our lives everyday, all day. How many inclinations do we have to do the right thing each day, that we pass up or pass by? How many grudges are we choosing to hold onto? Habits are we refusing to break? Times we fail to listen?

The hard part of obedience – that’s where a lot of Christians fall short of walking in their calling. We can see it …feel it …but then it gets hard. Then we have to work alongside people. And people are imperfect. And we are imperfect. And so …we give up.

Missing between the part when Joseph woke up from his dream and the recording of his obedience, is everything in between. Sometimes, we have to rely on divine understanding to conquer our biggest hurdles.

“God is with us.”

That’s what they would call Him, Scripture says. That’s what we call Him, now. He’s with us. So what is stopping us from being obedient? He came here to allow us the opportunity to walk in God’s purpose for our lives despite of our grudges, binges, and imperfections.

So, what is stopping us from waking up to obedience?

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for Jesus, and the opportunity His death allows our lives. Thank You for teaching us through this text today that You are with us, empowering us and convicting us …changing us. Forgive us for fighting You, and running disobediently towards our own solutions. Forgive us for quitting when the tasks You assign get hard, and people are hard to deal with. Bless us to see our own imperfection, and accept Your grace so that we may extend it to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Dreaming,


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The Puppy Principle (#recall12 series)

“Would you like to get well?” John 5:6b (NLT)

recall12-mar-tweet-1Sweating down the sidewalk past lunchtime, calvary of whiners in tow, I tried to focus on the petunias lining the lakefront streets. Aggravated by the lack of parental response, foot stomping and arm tugging ensued. The shrill demand escalated to a bossy holler each time my toddler strode past another furry friend.

Girl wanted a puppy. But her parents were not puppy people. Not even dog people. Barely cat people.

A happy life requires a walk of faith that fuels the good things meant for our future. This month’s #recall12 verse will show us how, in letting go, we grab who we are destined to be.recall12-mar2

1. Dreams are God-placed.

 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.” John 5:4-5

Sometimes we don’t want to get well because we don’t realize our lack. Of course this man wanted to get well. But he’d been sick for so long it was hard for him to imagine it actually happening. Instead of blind faith in the possibility, the man rehearsed a life’s worth of rationalizations competing against his opportunity to be healed.

When we don’t consult our Creator before discounting ourselves, we’re in danger of missing miraculous healing. Operating outside the will of God won’t allow us to experience the good He has plan for us.

2. Dreams are too big for us to accomplish on our own.

“When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” John 5:6

Do we want our dreams, or God’s dream for us? Our good Father created mankind out of love. We want His dream over anything we could possibly conjure up.recall12-martweet2

This verse is an important question to ask ourselves anytime we’re in faced with decision. It has the capability to reveal sickness. Sometimes we don’t know we’re sick until we look back at how we used to feel, or forward to a timeline we can’t fill in.

3. Dreams are built into the fabric of our person.

 ‘I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.'” John 5:7

recall12-mar2How often do we operate in blind trust without knowing for certain what the future holds?To stake claim on the God-sized dreams He crafted us to accomplish, we must recognize who we are and the work we have to do.

How often to we make excuses like the man in the  passage? In his defense, he may have perceived his prose as simple matter of fact. Those of us who see the healing coming wonder, “where is your faith?” No painful situation easily attaches itself to faith. It takes discipline to have faith when it hurts …and it’s hard.

4. Dreams are work we get to do.

“Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!'” John 5:8

The people of Joshua Chapter 3 might have missed walking through a river on dry ground, had they sat around and asked questions first …doubted that they could …or waited to see what they would get in return for their hard work.

Imagine what the man in John Chapter 5 might have become had he said, “no, I don’t think I can…” or “Jesus, that’s impossible.”

We are the image of a God who does the impossible. It’s our belief …our faith …that needs to catch up. In relationship with our Father, a privilege Jesus gave His life for, we can continually pray for guidance. Step by step, God will illuminate the work required to meander the path of our life’s purpose.

5. Dreams don’t have to wait.

“Instantly, the man was healed!” John 5:9arecall12-mar3

When we wake up each day with intention to seek God’s design for our lives, He is faithful
to answer and send His Spirit to guide our way …right away. When we walk with Christ, we live in happiness amidst the darkness. The switch can be flipped in an instant. The winds of change are swift.

Four years after the foot stomp parade along the petunia-lined streets, the “we will never have a dog” people are total dog people. Looking back, my husband and I are still shocked at the shift of our hearts. “I’m still not a dog person,” says my husband, who searched for just the right puppy …named her …and bought her a Christmas sweater.

Stay open, in prayer, for unexpected winds of change.

Happy Puppy-Principling,


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The Right of Way (#jammed daily devo, day 34)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 34:  In a jam close to home.

“But a person who denies spiritual realities will not accept the things that come through the Spirit of God; they all sound like foolishness to him. He is incapable of grasping them because they are disseminated, discerned, and valued by the Spirit.” 1Corinthians 2:14 (VOICE)post-image-34

The plan is brilliant, really. We leave for the drive cross-country after dinner-time, and anticipate our arrival by lunchtime the next day. The kids sleep, the traffic is mute, and I’ve grown fond of witnessing the sunrise over an unfamiliar stretch of highway as I claim my space behind the wheel.

 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” 1Corinthians 2:14 (NLT)

This time, the navigation was silenced an hour away from our driveway. It was discouraging to hear the square screen on the dash confirm the delay we anticipated. My husband re-routed to avoid ice-covered roads and weaved around the flashing salt monsters as we made our way out of our home state.The beginning of the journey was nail-biting, but we only ended up two hours behind schedule on a 19-hour trip.

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)

Often, we we get tripped up so close to the start of things, it seems too discouraging to move forward at all. “Will the whole way be like this?” we ponder. So many dreams fall off that first cliff, never to be seen again. In an instant world, we have forgotten how to wait. The patience to endure a dream deferred is made of hard work and small steps of obedience.

 Success starts with a humble beginning and a long road. In the different translations of today’s verse, Paul teaches us that our ability does not determine the path of our dreams, our God does. When we walk with Christ, we see what we need to see to get to the dreams He desires for us …which are greater than anything we can ever imagine.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Your will for our lives is perfect. We know this, because You are love and You love us. You want whats best for us, and for us to enjoy and be happy in this life. Thank You for creating happiness! Forgive us for overlooking it in search of something our hands are capable of crafting. Bless our lives with the loving embrace of Your Son, Jesus, and empower us to follow Him on the path to Your dreams for us …delays and all. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What’s the worst traffic jam you’ve ever been in? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Traffic-Weaving,


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Stay encouraged!