The Step Back. (#jammed daily devo, day 191)

July #jammed: Grace serves.

Day 191: Space to breathe.

 Be like obedient children as you put aside the desires you used to pursue when you didn’t know July 10better.” 1 Peter 1:13

“Are  you ready to go?!” I excitedly asked my toddlers.

“YAAAAYYYY!!!!” and off we went to meet up with friends for a day of fun in the sun.

Or, so we thought.

No replies all morning, I had a sneaking suspicion that we were being ignored. Ditched, even. Hoping the lack of reply on the other meant a silenced ringer or a dead phone, we headed off to the planned meeting spot anyway. Every suspicion I’d had was right, and then some.

“Mom, there they are! Right over there!”

I took a deep breath and walked over to join, where we all felt the sting I feared. Rejection. My daughter walked up to me with tears in her eyes, and we both cried all the way home. I somehow thought life would be different in the grown-up world  …but I was wrong. And it stung.

Today’s verse is a stark reminder of what to do when we feel worldly pain like my daughter and I did that day. First, forgive. Without even thinking about it. And then, we ask God  how to guard the hearts.

Walking with Jesus changes us, but it doesn’t drag everyone else along with us. There will be times when, no matter how much we want to be friends with everyone …and believe me, no one wants that more than me …we have to handle conflict and allow our hearts space to heal.

What I learned that day, and continue to learn from every reoccurring experience like it, is that rejection won’t crush me or kill me. In fact, it brings me closer to Jesus. We will often spend our whole lives looking for someone as dependable and reliable and loving and compassionate as He is. We will never find that person. He is it. The One that shouldered the cross is the only one capable of cradling our hearts.

So all of the coffee dates unhonored, dinners ditched out of, and unreturned messages are not in vain. Loving people is never wrong, and neither is forgiveness. But the hurt leaves a little bit of a scar after the wound heals. One to remind us to prayerfully guard our hearts.

Take the space to welcome other faces. Be friends with everyone, but know who your Friend is.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for friendship. Thank You for the good and the hurt that comes from letting the guard of our hearts down. Forgive us for seeking solace in anyone other than You, and help us to know when we’ve earned some space. 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 Friend-ing


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The Dukes …Up. (#jammed daily devo, day 160)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 160: Grace defends.

“Still, the Lord is true to His promises; He will hold you up and guard you against the evil one.” 2Thessalonians 3:3June 9

“She did it on purpose.” she whispered through fresh tears.

“I know,” I commiserated, as I put my arm around my girl.

But it didn’t make her feel any better. She was still stinging with shock and hurt, dukes-up and ready to defend herself. When we’re hurt unjustly, a flood of entitled emotion threatens to steal our peace. It’s never easy to see our girls collapse into our arms in tears, but when they do, we have to reassure them that God is for them.

Bullying is an epidemic, and backsliding insults dealt with a touch of laughter leave us to wonder if there’s even a line to cross anymore. For those raising daughters, it can be a battlefield of over-dramatic bullets out on that grade-school play ground. Stay off of it, and in conversation with your girls about how to be friends as Jesus would.

He associated with anyone, the very Son of God being privy to the good knit in all of us at birth. Jesus was kind to people despite their dysfunction, and didn’t exploit their personality traits for a laugh. Though He was friendly to all, Jesus had a special group of close friends, more trusted than most. He told the apostles all the Father had told Him. He held Mary and Martha in a special place in His heart. His cousin, John the Baptist, was especially dear to Him.

Today’s verse promises us that God will defend us. He will strengthen us to be strong when we need to be strong, and uphold us in defense when we have been wronged. Christians are called to forgive as we have been forgiven, but we need to guard our hearts. Authentic friendship is trustworthy, and we …and our girls …need to know that when that trust is broken, friendship beyond forgiveness is not an obligation.

When faced with tough situations, we can pray with our daughters …and remind ourselves …to pray hard into those uncomfortable, betraying, and “left out” moments.

The evil one is after our children, and he’ll mess with their relationships just like he messes with ours. We must be careful not to let our hearts be hooked into the middle of every conflict, and remember to pause and pray until there is a peace about moving forward.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for defending us on life’s battlefield. Thank You for having our backs, and opening our eyes when we need to stand firm in Your Word. Forgive us for tolerating and accepting treatment that we know we are worth more than. Help us to operate in grace and embrace Your defense. 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 Dukes-Up,


Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Little Treasures (#jammed daily devo, day 158)

June #jammed: Under the Blanket of Grace.

Day 158: Grace’s Place.

“The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.” John 10:10 (VOICE)June 7

“Mom!” my daughter warned, “you can’t look in this treasure box …you’ll just get mad.”

She’s right. I think collecting things off of the floor wherever we go is really gross. I’d probably get mad and start picking things out of there and throwing them away. But it’s her “treasure.”

It’s not all worthless, though, even through practical eyes. She has always found pennies on the ground where ever she goes. Even from the seat of her stroller she would yell, “WAIT!! MOMMY!!! PPPEEEENNNNNYYY!!!” And sure enough, a penny there always was. Maybe a piece of smashed gum once or twice ...oh, I better check that treasure box for that …

Today’s verse describes the thief’s malicious intent. Some thieves steel for the thrill or for the challenge, as a bi-product of addiction, or for survival …but not this thief. Satan seeks to steal what is precious to us, in order to destroy us.

malicious- intentionally harmful; spiteful.

Far worse than losing things that we can claim on our insurance policies, this idiot stirs up trouble in our relationships, our families, our parenting, our friendships, our marriages …our literal lives. We should be wary to pray into our relationships with the people that God has placed in our lives. Anytime there is conflict stirring, he is anxiously waiting to start picking things out …

God says, “It’s not good for man to be alone,” but he would love to leave us that way.

That’s not the way Jesus operates. When His hand is in a situation, he promises “life with joy and abundance.” I hold out hope that “abundance” means I can literally be friends with everyone, but ‘joy’ is the key word. It’s OK to extract ourselves from situations that the joy has been sucked out of. It’s, in fact, a good signal to pause and pray.

Pastor Steven Furtick puts it best, “enabling dysfunctional relationships is not the same as forgiveness,” and “forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation.” In our search for how to handle things, let’s not hand them right over to the one that wants to wreck us.

In a society that pushes for answers and litigates the ever-living-life out of everyone and everything …prayer is a powerful way to shut it all down. Guard those precious to you, but don’t squeeze every relationship into a box. Let them all breathe in and out to His joyful and abundant rhythm.

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Father, Praise You for other people! Thank You for creating us to be social creatures instead of solitary beings. Forgive us for letting the thief stir up trouble in our lives, and help us to be wary and watchful to listen for Your guiding voice through the turmoil he attempts to cause in our lives. 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 Treasuring,


Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Lash Glue (#jammed daily devo, day 129)

May #jammed: Growing Grace.

Day 129: Invisible.

“Don’t eat with people who are stingy…” Proverbs 23:6(NLT)

The first lesson competition dance taught me, besides sticker shock, was fake eye-lashimage-129 application. It’s a lot more intimidating than it looks, and far easier than waving a mascara wand at a moving …flinching object. Still, the mistakes at the beginning were to be expected, and as I tried to slide those lashes into place I left a trail of gray glue.

A total new-bee to all things glued on …I picked up the gray glue instead of clear. Thank goodness for think, black eye-liner. I added a step because I didn’t pay enough attention to the first one …or get a little bit of an education on lash glue before I bought it. The gray stuff was probably cheaper. That’s what I get for being stingy.

Today’s verse defines a miser. A stingy person who says they are generous but isn’t heartfelt about sharing their wealth. The danger in this is dishonesty, and it’s bound to show up like a streak of gray lash-glue eventually.

They are always thinking about how much it costs.
    “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it.” Proverbs 23:7 (NLT)

This not only addresses the whole issue of sharing wealth with each other in generosity, but I believe this can be applied to accumulating people in our lives. How often to we agree, or go along with, so not to make waves …or to be accepted? We do it way more often that we like to admit. We’re programmed to seek approval, and look for it from the wrong places. 

You’ll be sick and lose what little you did eat,
    and you’ll waste your breath carrying on a pleasant conversation.” Proverbs 23:8 (VOICE)

Jesus was honest and generous. Generosity shouldn’t stem from dishonesty or legalism. It should come from the heart. If we’re just being generous with our money, our time, or our friendship to gain something in return, then we should check our heart’s intentions with His Word.

How many times do we walk away from friendship disappointed, but can honestly say we got what was coming to us? When we tell our feelings to follow Jesus’ feet, we can be wise in giving of ourselves.

jammed-click-to-tweetFather, Praise You for the honesty of Your Word. Thank You for blessing us in this life, and forgive us for our lack of pure generosity. Bless us to give out of our heart for You, and not to our own agenda; and help us to be aware of frivolous attempts to redirect our gaze from Your eyes. 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 Un-misering,


Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Friend Book


The fog cast an erie lure of anxiety over the pier. It had enveloped the lighthouse, and I checked my footprints to make sure I hadn’t drifted off the pavement to the glazed-over river. I trekked on, trusting it was still out there beyond the mist. A wispy top-layer of snow revealed one single set of down and back footprints. All alone … I threw my arms up and let started to dance-walk to the new album I couldn’t stop listening to.

My quest to “be me” occasionally feels akin to walking down the pier in thick fog. I lose sight of what I know is there. God always has a way of breaking through the thickness with a shard of light. Many times, that glint of hope comes in the form of a friend.

There has been a book about friendship spinning around in my head for many years. Perhaps it circulates because I have never quite found an author that has addressed my trademark quest to “be friends with everyone.” I believe when God asks me to write about something, He has a lesson for me to learn and a story someone needs to hear. Research and reading unravel answers, but sometimes God uses people to pull it all together.


Making a new friend, or approaching a new season with an established one, takes a slow walk in humility. John 15:9 instructs us to “remain in His love,” and snap judgements and circles of gossip definitely lie outside of it. Walk in prayerful consideration to stop and think before saying or doing anything that could hurt another soul, especially one that is akin to your friendship; but without disregard for a sweet one you may be squashing before it’s given the opportunity to sprout buds and grow.

imageThat foggy pier walk rekindled a revelation I’d had years back as a young runner. Comparing the trace of my tracks in the snow, one set revealed a wisp on the tail of my heal where I had drug my feet. The other set, after I noticed and corrected the problem, was nice and clean. Dragging feet cause runners overuse injuries from this mark of improper form. In my friendships, I’ve been challenged to peer into the past before before moving forward.

Don’t fear forgiveness …the asking or the receiving of it. You may open the door of relief for someone who needs to unload the burden of imperfections that they carry. We all carry them. “We all fall short.” (Romans 3:23) So, have mercy.

I picked up a cross necklace a few years back when I needed a constant visual reminder Jesus was with me no matter how tight the drama in my life was wound. The first time I put it on, I noticed an inscription on the back. “Be the change.” As a new coach implementing lots of changes, I took it as a sign I was running in pace with God’s plan. Really, it just meant to be me through the change.

Kindness can mean everything to someone living in a moment in which everything is crumbling. When my kids come to me annoyed with a classmate, the sting of past experience flares to the surface.

“There’s always something good you can find about a person,” I teach them, “Find it, and focus on that.”

Focus on the light beyond the fog.


Friends defy definition. Church friends, Bible study friends, high school and college friends, teammates, family, bloggers, work peers, neighbors and far away friends, Facebook friends, and authors who write words that resonate so much with our hearts that they feel like friends …and church that can feel like home even though it’s several states away from our actual homes.

I believe friends populate our lives because we were never created to walk out life’s lesson alone. We are the church. Set here to love the people in our lives. Jesus is the perfect definition of friendship. And because of Him we can go to our Great God in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). We weren’t meant to be alone. We can reach out to friends He’s placed in our lives to allow their light alongside ours to pierce through the fog.


Throwback Update:

Wow! Reading this reminded me how afraid I was to tell my story …worried that no one would be able to relate. The original post was the framework for a review of “The Gift of Friendship,” by Dawn Camp. I highly recommend it. Her words and the collective stories contributed to it came alongside me when I need to know that I was not alone.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned while writing my own book on friendship, “Friends with Everyone,” is to let go of fear and trust God’s timing and purpose for my story. Of course someone needs to read it. You know what?! I needed to read it! We are all placed in each others lives, purposefully, by a God who isn’t in the business of coincidence. Stay tuned for my next release …”Surface.”

Click here for a copy of “The Gift of Friendship,” by Dawn Camp.

Click here to grab your copy of Friends with Everyone …and Happy Reading!!!