The Road

It’s beautiful over there.

In muted defeat, she admits it…and a forgotten weakness greets her: she cannot resist a beauty that cannot last.

She allows herself this moment–just a moment, so her eyes can flirt with Heaven. But her feet won’t leave the asphalt.

Not this time.

She is smarter now; she knows her road and it will hold her, warm and solid, even in the rain. It won’t confuse her with shapes and hues she can’t describe.

Not like that soft place where colours melt into each other, whispering plans of a future, a hope she’d tried to forget.

The moment ends and her eyes are on the road again. This is her life. Studying her sneakered feet and the thorny trees ahead, she turns her back on the fire. She has made peace with her path.

The fire should respect that and leave her alone; stop pulling her back, reminding her, tempting her, showing her more, making her weak…

She knows the road. She trusts the road. And turning around, she follows it into the fire.

The Puppy

During this morning’s commute, we saw a puppy running through a field. It shouldn’t have been a big deal, but I couldn’t stop glancing over at that dog. His fur laid back in the wind, mouth open just wide enough to suck in all the oxygen he could—that dog ran like his life depended on it.

No, he wasn’t being pursued; didn’t seem scared, threatened, or hurt.

But his collar and the leash that was flying behind him told me all I needed to know. That puppy knew that he was finally free. And as he embraced that freedom with all he had, I tried to embrace the lesson.

See, I have this tendency to see limitations: what I didn’t get in childhood, the time/opportunities I missed, what I suffered, and the far-off things I worry about—the hundreds of thorny what-if’s that grow in my field of vision.

But that puppy reminded me today that although we can’t always escape our leashes—our clingy, persistent things—we don’t have to surrender our freedom to them, either. Despite their presence, we can still run free. We can suck in every opportunity to enjoy the life we’ve been given.

So, I just stopped by to remind you: Don’t spend all your time worrying, anxious, trying to grab the specious life you think you see “over there”. Those leashes and collars will choke real life out of you (Mark 4:19), until you can’t see what’s in front of you: the life you are free to enjoy right now.

See, true freedom is valuing and being present in every moment we have. So, don’t settle for reminiscing on a time you barely remember. Be present now. Enjoy your friends, family, children, life, gifts, time, freedom… now.

Even with your leash sailing in the wind, my friend—live like you know you’re finally free (John 8:36).

Foundations

The first step to building a three-story structure is to dig a hole. Going underground in order to go higher doesn’t make sense—unless you understand construction.

Choosing the smallest thing that the huge tree offers and burying it doesn’t make sense, either—unless you understand basic horticulture.

Everything you do won’t be understood by those around you. If they don’t understand foundations, things that make perfect sense in the long run will look silly when you start.

But build anyway, plant anyway. It may seem crazy, but you don’t know what a big deal it will turn out to be. You don’t need to be understood now, to explain it now, or prove it now. For now, just keep digging. Plant the seed now.

Later, the fruit will speak for itself.

The Seat Belt Sign

I’ve noticed that pilots and flight attendants don’t have the same energy when the flight is over as they did when I first sat down. They’re still polite, yes. But I always feel like their hurried “thanks-for-choosing-us/have-a-good-time” wishes don’t quite reflect what we shared while I was buckled in.

I don’t take it personally, though.  

Taking me to my destination is their job. Once the “fasten your seat belt” sign goes off, that’s everyone’s cue that the job is over and it’s time to part ways. No lingering conversations, no offers of another ride.

The same is true of rejections, mistakes, betrayals, losses…; life’s hurts are vehicles that will always take me somewhere. But when their job is over, I have to get out and explore the new place I’ve landed and its new levels of understanding, wisdom, confidence, truth….

As daunting as our new place may look, we can’t stay strapped into what was just a vehicle. We can’t linger around forever, grieving, regretting, hurting, hating…. We don’t need any more rides. When the seat belt sign comes off, so should we.

The Pond

It started so simply, I nearly missed it—the most sobering conversation of my adult life so far.

Last night, my son, Matt, was lamenting how long it was taking to have his old keyboard instrument repaired and returned to him. I was confused because he seemed so attached to the new one we’d bought him. I asked if he’d prefer to use the old one again when it’s fixed.

Noooo!” he exclaimed. He insisted that the new keyboard was a huge upgrade, detailing some of its techy bells and whistles.

On a whim, I asked if he’d missed any of those functions while he was using the old keyboard.

“Not really,” he said, half-smiling. “I loved that keyboard.”

I finally understood. He was attached to it now for the same reason he didn’t know its shortcomings then: it was his first keyboard.

That led to a conversation about what it’s like when what we have is all we know.

“It’s like fish in a pond,” I mused. “They think the pond is everything because they’ve never seen a lake. If you take them to a lake, they’ll think it’s everything because they’ve never seen a river. And river fish think it’s everything until they get to the ocean…”

Matt replied, “So we’re all like fish in a pond. We don’t know what we’re missing yet.”

What happened next was pure Holy Spirit.

His point took us from fish to a discussion on dating at his age, my adolescent years, marriage, spiritual growth, his observations of my growth as a parent, his feelings on abortion, God’s Grace, and humility.

Man, I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t expecting that conversation to still be with me as I got ready for bed. I wasn’t expecting it to be confirmation of something I’d talked to God about earlier that night. I wasn’t expecting the revelations and applications that hit me in the shower this morning. I wasn’t expecting it to be the clarity I’d been praying about for years.

The relationship that seemed like a waste of my whole life at 19, was just a pond.

The God-fearing man I met and married after that relationship imploded in my 20’s, was just a pond.

The maturity and character I’d witnessed in that man when we battled Matt’s 35% chance of survival at birth, was just a pond.

The times I struggle with my God-given purpose, doubting my abilities as wife and mother, are just a pond.

Watching our son grow and mature in service to the Lord, in his music ministry, becoming our church’s interim organist this month at age 15—as awesome as that is, and as grateful as I am for the Grace that’s brought us here—it’s just a pond.

At my highest highs and lowest lows, God has proven that He always has more in store. Better days have always followed.

So whether this season of your life is a rough one or your best one yet, I pray for you the humility to see the bigger picture. In the tough seasons of life, marriage and parenting, hold on. It’s just a pond; better days are up ahead. In your victories and successes, stay humble. It’s just a pond; better days are up ahead. Whatever season you’re in now, this isn’t the end—not by a long shot. There’s more because eye has not seen nor ear heard the things that your Father has prepared for you (1 Cor. 2:9). So, in your rejoicing and in your weeping, know that God isn’t done with you yet. Keep expecting the God of your ancestors to increase you a thousand times more (Deut. 1:11) than this pond.

And when He does…when you just can’t imagine it being any better, remember that you still don’t know what you’re missing yet. The One Who gave up everything for you says it’s still just a pond.

Mid-week Message

This is your mid-week reminder to keep it light. That includes your entertainment choices, because you’d be surprised how they can influence your mood and play with your emotions. Maybe now isn’t the best time for that dark mystery where everybody dies in the end (a hard lesson from my last movie night choice. Epic fail.).

Depression is a sneaky animal, so heaviness and negativity in your spirit is risky right now. Internet drama might be entertaining, but it’s probably not wise to have all that toxicity parading up and down your timeline all the time. Facebook’s ‘Snooze’ service offers multiple free uses. The ‘Block’ feature available on many social media sites is also complimentary. (Just saying.)

Not everything that’s attractive, accessible, and familiar is best for you in this Season. Read that again because it might be the reason you ended up here, my friend.

You’re welcome.

Do You Not Perceive It?

Last year, when churches were locked down, I pined for the privilege of lifting my voice with others—all of us worshiping in one accord. I was eager to return to God’s House, and when the restrictions were lifted, I did. This past Sunday, with new limitations of 25 people per service, my invitation to attend should have been great news.

But I hesitated. This was neither fear of exposure nor the Sunday-morning lethargy that shows up every now and then; I couldn’t sanitize or pray this away.

Maybe God is about to say something that will change everything.

I dragged myself out of the house anyway, suddenly thinking about that “new thing” scripture that pastors and prophets have been talking about this year. Starting the car, I wondered what new thing might spring up after this Season of Silence. And if we were still scurrying to adjust and react—still safe-guarding or re-inventing our old thing—how would we recognize a new one?

I can’t claim to know what God is up to. He never seems anxious to divulge details…but what if this time, it’s different? What if the silence is to help us perceive His direction; His path through the wilderness?

Maybe God is about to say something that will change everything

So maybe, right now, worship in one accord is all of us being still—and listening for His voice.

Isaiah 43:19

Majestic

This weekend I remembered a netball match I saw at least 7 years ago. One team had a huge player: 16 years old, 6 feet tall. The other team was made up of mostly adult women, but none came close to this girl in size or presence.

She was majestic.

In the first 2 minutes of the game, I witnessed an attack on this girl by one of the shorter women on the other team. She ran at this girl hard; the unexpected impact almost knocked the teen to the ground. I knew why. By the end of the game, we all did.

But the assault bewildered the huge girl. She looked at the woman with a surprised hurt I will never forget—like she just couldn’t understand why. And for the rest of the game, she avoided an opponent half her size…which eventually cost her team a victory that had pretty much belonged to them in the beginning.

If we’re not careful, we’ll make the same mistake.

The enemy’s tactics are designed to keep you bewildered and licking your wounds. Listen: I know that thing came hard for you. I know it was a dirty, unfair move. I know it cost you something last time you tried and I know it still hurts. But I’m telling you with love, friend: that’s not a reason to bow out. You don’t know what’s riding on your finishing…or where this round will lead. So get up again, love. Shake it off and try again because you have a God who breaks rules for you, too. And He says this Victory is yours because His Power is within you, and that makes you…Majestic.

What Will It Be?

You get a say.

I recently saw negativity defined as “the ability to find a problem for every solution”. I’ve been revisiting that in my mind and re-assessing some of the interactions I’ve had lately.

If you do the same, you might be surprised at how much negativity there is around you. It’s not just the news and talk shows, either. It’s the people in your circle, the ones you share and spend time with.

It might not be such a bad idea to sit back, be still, and take stock of who’s influencing your outlook, how you feel after you talk/spend time with those around you; who’s breathing life into you–and who’s draining it.

You have a choice in the way this year plays out for you. No, you won’t get to choose all of its little details. But, friend, you get to choose who you’ll stand with and what you let into the sacred space of your emotions. You get a say in what you hold on to and what you let go.

I pray you’ll be bold and let go of negativity and its sources. I pray you’ll remember that you get a say; you have a choice in how this year will go. I pray that every day this year, you’ll choose Peace.

Blessings and love…Tee❤

Be Still

Breathe. Relax those tense muscles around your neck, shoulders, and back. The ones in your legs too. And breathe.

There’s a lot going on right now; many little fires demanding immediate attention, because THIS,THIS,THIS is important!

Here’s what’s important, friend: your peace. Without that, nothing else matters much.

“Be Still and Know: A 40-day Journey to a Calmer Soul and a Deeper Relationship with God” is designed to help you secure your peace and grow closer to its Source. Every day. In 5 minutes or less, you can be inspired by Scripture, dive into a short, insightful reflection and grab a nugget to take with you through the day.

No, this devotional won’t magically add more time to your day. (Sorry.) But in 5 minutes, it could help you turn your whole day (and your year) around! We all need help staying calm and focusing on what really matters right now. Pick up a copy and grab yourself some peace!

Available on Amazon in ebook and print formats (click the link below):

https://www.amazon.com/Be-Still-Know-Journey-Relationship-ebook/dp/B08R25XWZ5/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=