The Turn (#jammed daily devo, day 363)

December #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 363: Don’t forget to spot.

He who takes refuge in the shelter of the Most High
    will be safe in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 (VOICE)

“Mom! Mom!” my little ballerina leaped into the kitchen with glee, “Look how many times DECJAM29I turned!”

My tiny dancer had been determined enough to earn a lot of monetary support through her skill at the dance team’s turn-a-thon fundraiser. It was a lot more than I could do without losing all of the day’s nutrition, but she had learned how to continue turning without getting sick or falling down. A skill every ballerina has to learn …how to spot.

Spotting is simply finding a place to focus the eyes on while the rest of the body turns. The goal is to hold that gaze as long as possible, until the body demands that the head whip around with it. Then, quickly, the dancer removes their eyes from that spot for a split second, and then finds it again. The whole process is repeated for as many times as their are turns required.

God will provides us with the talent He has gifted us to work with. The challenge lies in knowing what that is, and when and how to work hard. It’s hard to find our spot, and challenging not to discount our gifts in seasons of hard work. Self-doubt can sink-in when life isn’t running in the direction we feel like going.

Today’s verse was written out of encouragement for a discouraged people, but a people that worshipped God. There is shelter and encouragement in faithful worship and willingness to keep working. 

When we venture outside of the window God has designed for us to work, it’s easy to become distracted. The world around us, and the needs that pop up daily, press us. Tuning in to God’s voice above the volume of other opinions and advisors in life is critical.

The wisdom and guidance we seek is revealed through God’s Living Word. Jesus promises never to leave us. Day by day, in search of wisdom, He will teach us and guide us. Jesus is our refuge this side of the gospel.

Looking to the next year of life and the resolutions it begs us to set, let’s challenger ourselves to pick a verse to spot as we turn the calendar over day after day. Eyes on Him maintain balance.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for being our shelter in the darkness, and our hope in times of need. Thank You for reminding us of Jesus in our lives, and in verses that we’ve never noticed Him before. We can be assured that He’s there, and ask for Your forgiveness for brushing Him aside to pursue what lies in the darkness, anyway. Bless us to be wise in working the window You have purposed us to perch upon. 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 Spotting,


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Stay encouraged!

The Birthdays.

IMG_7673One of my best girlfriends has a knack for remembering everyone’s birthday.  Has for years.  She’ll not only remember her friends birthdays, but their kids, too! I’m really lucky if I get my second daughter’s birthday and my wedding anniversary straight!  I don’t know what kind of steal trap you have for a brain, Christy, but you’ve inspired me to get my sh*&# together this year…I even bought a planner…and every time I write another birthday in it I think of you.  The thirties are great for friendships, aren’t they?  If you’ve done anything right at all…if you’ve experienced any little bit of life… and especially if you’ve produced little lives of your own…you have undoubtedly collected a group of girlfriends that you would die without…and frequently about pee laughing (mostly because of those little lives we created…for more reason than one…) with over crap we would have been mortified to share out loud a decade earlier.

Since I made a resolution to remember everyone’s birthday, I decided to drag my daughters into the mix, too.  Because kids that are 4 and 6 need to learn the value of making a New Year’s resolution, right?  Of course they do.  So, my little planner is filled with family and friends and my daughter’s friend’s birthdays.  I now realize that my kin might aim to be “friends with everybody” just like their mommy…how cute, right.  (It’s adorable…especially since stamps are so cheap right now.)

“See, Brianne…it’s somebody else’s birthday a few times each week…just from the people that are connected to our lives,” I explained.  “Isn’t that cool?”

“Where’s my birthday in there?” she responded.  “And I can have my birthday party at Skateworld this year, right?!?!?!”

Well, baby steps on the “let’s learn that everyday doesn’t revolve around me” lesson.  Guess we have all year to cement that one into their tiny little brains.

This New Year, I have a lot of resolutions.  Resolutions to get in shape, lead a healthier life, be a better mom…tons of self improvements that, realistically, I know may or may not cause immediate or lasting change.  But the hope of each new year, and each new…or refreshed…resolution, is an overall goal of being better and continuing accrue a little more wisdom with each passing year.

The difference in my resolve for 2015 is who I make these resolutions for.  Lots of times we resolve to better ourselves for the people in our lives.  For those around us, we try to be better people, so that we can soak up some positive feedback.  Addicting, isn’t it?  That positive feedback?

Well, maybe I just speak for me, but I somehow doubt it.  The biggest resolution is the one at the root of them all.  Who am I doing this for?  And what’s it going to do to and for me in the long run?  What am I changing…and why?

My oldest daughter’s resolution is only to suck her thumb at night.  Appropriate, since she’ll be seven in a few months.  But really…she just wants us to stop nagging her about it.  Can’t say I blame her.  That’s pretty good motivation to make a change.

My four year old’s resolution is not to yell at mommy…or stomp…or kick…or throw things.   Again…appropriate.  However halfway into day one she caved and kicked me in the mouth.  I mean, how dare I turn the TV off after four Barbie movies in a row….

To resolve to be better you have to know you are.  We’re all given a certain talent set from above.  Unless those attributes made unique to each of us are celebrated and expounded upon to the greatest out of our human capacity…then no amount of resolve is going to satisfy us.  Sometimes a little focus on what you’ve excelled at over the past year is a more accurate compass than picking yourself a part.

My oldest daughter, Brianne, has revealed to us all over the last year two major breakthroughs in her personality.  One, that she’ll never give up.  No matter how many times she falls on the ice or crashes on roller skates, she’ll always get up with a big smile and carry on.  That kind of resiliance is a gift.  Celebrate that one in 2015, I say!  Second…she ran downstairs on Christmas morning to find a tree full of presents Santa left her, and the first thing she wanted to do is give her Papa the present she picked out for him at the Secret Santa shop at school.  Precious.  Celebrate that spirit of generosity in 2015..and expound upon it!

Lauren, my yougest daughter, has asked to be called by her “real” name from now on.

“Call me by my real name, mom.” she said at bedtime one night.

“OK, Lo Lo Bear…I’ll call you Lauren,” I agreed.

“No, Mom. My real name is Lo Lo,” she corrected.  “You call me Lo Lo.”

Kid walks to the beat of her own drum…quite litterally…and it’s a very bouncy drum.  Celebrate that self assuredness at such at young age.  Rock that in 2015.

IMG_7674God Bless in 2015!  I hope my little Lo doesn’t whip as many things at me as last year, and I wish my oldest the best on thumb sucking.  Changing is hard, but that also means it’s most likely worth it.

Happy New Year!



Stay encouraged!