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In the face of life’s challenges, it often feels like we must choose between two stark options—change or die. While this phrase may sound dramatic, it underscores a fundamental truth about personal growth and success. Our ability to adapt and evolve often determines whether we thrive or merely survive.


Understanding the Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is the belief that our abilities and personal growth are developed through dedication, hard work, and a positive attitude. Unlike a fixed mindset, which assumes our traits are innate and unchangeable, a growth mindset sees every failure as a learning opportunity and every challenge as a chance to grow.


Why Facts, Fear, or Force Don’t Drive Lasting Change

  1. Fear can paralyze us.
  2. Facts alone may not resonate emotionally.
  3. Force can lead to resistance and resentment.

Studies show that a positive mindset approach—reframing our thoughts, rehearsing new behaviors, and receiving positive feedback from relationships—is far more effective in bringing sustainable, long-term change.


The Transformation Strategy

It’s crucial to understand the three-step process of change, transition, and transformation to experience personal permanent positive results; each step has its challenges but also offers unique growth opportunities.

  1. Chosen but Frozen

Many of us are stuck in our old ways, feeling fixed and frustrated. We recognize the need for change but find it difficult to move forward.

The Key to Change: Acknowledge that change is situational (e.g., a new job, diet, or habit). For transformation to happen, we must mentally transition by letting go of old identities and adapting to new realities.

  1. The Neutral Zone

Between letting go of our old patterns and achieving the changes we are desiring in our behavior is a ‘middle ground’ which usually feels like wandering in a ‘wilderness’. Launching into new efforts to achieve personal change can be a lonely ‘lost’ feeling, often described as ‘wandering in the wilderness”. This is the interim period in which the old ways have been shed, but the new ways have not been fully established. It’s a critical time for realignments and repatternings.

The Key to Transition: Stay the course and allow yourself to dwell in this “emotional wilderness.” Though uncomfortable and chaotic, it is within this chaos that old patterns dissolve and new, creative solutions emerge.

  1. The New Beginning

Coming out of the neutral zone, we step into a new identity, experience renewed energy, and discover a new sense of purpose.

The Key to Transformation: Fully embrace the new life and its opportunities. Celebrate the new beginning and the transformation it symbolizes.


The Power of Reframing

Reframing is about changing how you perceive a given situation. It’s not the thing itself—but how you think about it—that matters.

  1. To see things different, Write Down Your Vision: It helps clarify your goals and keeps you focused. “Write the vision and make it plain” (Habakkuk 2:2-3).
  2. Change Your Perspective: Instead of seeing failures as setbacks, view them as valuable lessons. No experience is wasted if we learn from it.


The Importance of Relationships

Positive relationships provide the affirmation and encouragement needed to sustain change. Transformation requires a supportive environment.

  1. Surround Yourself with Supportive Relationships: Build a network of friends, mentors, and colleagues who inspire and uplift you.
  2. Give Back: Offer words of affirmation and support to others. You never know whose life a simple act of kindness might impact.


Practice Makes Perfect

Consistency is critical to mastering any new behavior. Research shows that becoming an expert takes about 10,000 hours of practice.

  1. Rehearse New Behaviors: Regularly practice the changes you want to make. It’s never too late to start.
  2. Stay Committed: Even small, consistent actions can lead to significant improvements over time.


Faith and Transformation

Faith plays a crucial role in personal transformation. Our belief in Jesus makes the difference. He provides the strength and inspiration needed to overcome obstacles.

  1. Listen and Act: “Faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17). Trust that God has a plan for you and be willing to follow through.
  2. Renewal with Redemption: No matter how dire your situation, there is always hope for a renewed beginning to bring redemption.

 

Conclusion

Transformation is not just about changing a few habits; it’s about renewing your entire mindset. You can achieve lasting personal success by adopting a growth mindset, leveraging positive relationships, and staying committed to your new path.

The road to transformation is not easy, but it is worthwhile. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Surround yourself with supportive individuals, stay committed to your vision, and trust in the process.

Want to take the next step? Join our community and engage with others who are on the same path. Together, we can inspire and support each other toward achieving our dreams.

———

Prayer for Transformation Pray this now for yourself:

“In Jesus’ name, I pray for Your passion to be ignited in me so that I will move forward toward the dream You have for my life. Please help me make this change now. I lift my heart and life heavenward in faith, declaring that I will obey Your Word and write down the vision for my future that You want to reveal. I will take action today to step into my new beginning!

Speak to me, Lord. I desire to break through every limitation and fulfill the destiny You created for me!

Give me the faith to believe—it’s time to make it happen!

Amen.”

 

 

Life can be smooth sailing until a crisis hits and we find ourselves in a spin, desperately trying to regain control. These moments, however, steeped in challenge and unpredictability, can also be the breeding ground for transformational growth. In this blog post, we explore how to reframe crisis into opportunities for creative possibilities through faith and trust in God’s plan.


Catapulting through Crisis: A Personal Story

My world turned upside down the day my husband Rich announced his diagnosis of terminal bone marrow cancer. In an instant, the bubble of our perceived security burst, and we were plunged into the depths of uncertainty and fear. A crisis of this proportion was something neither of us had been prepared for.

Throughout life, we all have our ‘bubbles’ punctured by unexpected events – personal losses, relationship breakdowns, or shattered dreams. Yet, it is in these very moments of crisis that we are presented with a choice: to react with tense turmoil or to reframe the situation and respond with a vision of creative possibilities.


“It’s not the THING, it’s HOW I THINK about the THING.”


Transformative Impact of Trials

The New Testament reminds us that facing tests and challenges with joy reveal the genuine endurance of our faith. It’s during these pressures that our trust in God’s sovereignty becomes more than a mere concept; it anchors us firmly in hope.

 

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 (NIV)

 

Crisis should not signal a dead-end but a catapult – a chance to harness stored energy and propel ourselves closer to God and to a deeper understanding of His plans for us.


Enduring Suffering and Recognizing Sovereignty

Romans 8:28 reminds us that for those who love God, all things work together for good. This scripture is a light as Rich and I navigate through the darkest valleys of his illness, confronting the reality of mortality while simultaneously embracing the daily presence of God’s unwavering sovereignty.

Just as the apostle Paul writes,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Whether in times of peace or crisis, this reassurance of God’s active role in reshaping our calamities for His glory instills peace in the troubled heart.


Rich’s Journey of Recovery

Forty-three days ago, Rich commenced a Stem Cell Transplant at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center. It was not just a medical procedure; it became an arduous path shadowed by hope and the tangible manifestation of sacrificial love, as Rich’s sister Lori donated her stem cells.

DAY 41 marked a significant turn in Rich’s health, bringing to light not just his strength but the unwavering love and faith in God’s provision that carried us both through this period of isolation and vulnerability. He has now officially received a successful transplant, and we look forward to going home very soon. His prognosis for the future is excellent.  We are thrilled.

 

Our testimony is:

Crisis reimagined as a divine catapult can lead us to unexpected heights. Every moment of uncertainty, fear, and pain can become an opportunity to grow in faith and realize a deeper purpose that extends beyond our fleeting trials.

In every hardship, we have the choice to surrender our traditional views of adversity and see them instead as divinely given opportunities for untold growth, deeper trust, and a reminder of our sacred relationship with our Creator.

May you recognize the creative possibilities hidden within each trial and allow God to use your crisis as springboards to elevate your spirit, deepen your faith, and manifest His glory in your life.

 

If you’re facing a crisis, remember:

◊ God is with you, even in the storm.

◊ Every trial is an opportunity for growth and deeper dependence on Him.

◊ Your strength is multiplied when you surrender your battles to the Father.

 

Reframe your crisis today – say out loud to yourself right now:

“It’s not the thing that’s happening, it’s how I think about the thing!
I give God the thing, and am open now to His better plans for me!”


May the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

 


 

FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS!

Today, I will focus on:
Moving forward.
Positive outcomes and not obstacles.
How far I’ve come and not how far I have to go.
The blessings and not the burdens.
The possibilities and not the problems.
The miracles and not the mess.
God’s grace, provision, favor, mercy and unending love.
Today, I’ll keep my focus on the faithfulness of God.

– Pastor Rich

 


 

Dr. Robyn Wilkerson

As I sit within the stark, yet strangely comforting walls of the ICU hospital isolation unit at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center Stem Cell Transplant hospital, the concept of waiti​ng takes on a new dimension. It’s a forced pause, a liminal space filled with anxiety, hope, and profound introspection. For two weeks, my husband, Richard, and I have made his hospital room our temporary abode as he undergoes chemotherapy and a Stem Cell Transplant for bone marrow cancer.

Waiting has become our constant companion. Waiting for treatment to begin. Waiting for his body’s reaction to the potent chemicals. Waiting for results that will dictate our next steps. And yes, even as we navigate through this journey, we know there’s more waiting to come.

In these moments, it’s easy to feel that waiting is a thief of time, a purgatory of sorts, stealing precious moments and replacing them with uncertainty. However, as I’ve walked this path alongside Richard, I’ve come to understand that waiting is never wasted in God’s economy.

The Purpose in ​the Pause 

First, waiting teaches us patience. In a world that prizes instant gratification, patience is a virtue that seems almost counter-cultural. Yet, James 1:4 reminds us, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Waiting refines us, helping us to grow in maturity and faith, trusting in God’s timing rather than our own.

A Time for Growth

Secondly, waiting is a time for growth. It’s during these periods of seeming inactivity that our faith can take root and flourish. Just as a farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains (James 5:7), we too are called to wait on the Lord, allowing Him to work in and through us in ways we might not immediately understand.

Drawing Closer to God

Most importantly, waiting draws us closer to God. In the stillness, away from the distractions of our daily routines, we find ourselves in a unique position to hear His voice more clearly. It’s a time to deepen our relationship with Him, to pour out our hearts, and to find comfort in His promises. Psalm 27:14 encourages us, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

The Ministry of Presence 

During this waiting period, Richard and I have also discovered the ministry of presence—being there for each other and for others, even when words are inadequate. It’s in the quiet moments, the shared glances, and the simple acts of holding hands that we find strength and solace. Our situation has allowed us to witness to others, sharing the hope and peace that come from trusting in God, even in the midst of trials.

Embracing the Waiting

As we continue to navigate through this season of waiting, we do so with the assurance that this time is not wasted. Each day brings its own challenges, but also its blessings. We’ve learned to embrace the waiting, finding joy in the small moments, gratitude for the medical team’s dedication, and a deeper faith in God’s plan for our lives.

Waiting is never wasted when we wait with God. It’s a time of preparation, of growing closer to Him, and of learning to trust in His perfect timing. Our journey is far from over, but we move forward with the confidence that comes from knowing we are never alone. God is with us in the waiting, transforming our hearts and minds, and preparing us for what lies ahead.

As we wait, we do so with hope, remembering the words of Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” In this season of waiting, let us wait with expectation, looking to God, the author and finisher of our faith, who makes all things beautiful in His time.

I love November and especially Thanksgiving. One of the reasons I love this time of year is the reminder it gives all of us to slow down, remember our blessings, and thank God for everything He’s given us.

Did you know Thanksgiving started as a celebration of a good harvest and provision? Those who first came from Europe to the United States would have starved during the long, cold winters without a good harvest. Additional provision came from their growing relationship with the Native Americans, who provided furs, additional food, and the knowledge the settlers needed to survive the winters.

God provides for us as well. He sows seeds into our lives, seeds that grow and bless us.

 

Seeds from God

God plants seeds of growth, faith, hope, and abundance in our lives. What a wonderful gift! As the master sower, what He plants always comes to fruition. Let’s look at a few of the seeds God has planted in our lives and how we can use those seeds can bring growth and increase to each of us.

God’s Word (Mark 4:14)

I believe there is no more powerful growth tool available to us than God’s Word. It sows hope and promise into the lives of everyone who hears or reads the messages within. Within the pages of Scripture, we find stories of love and loss, trials and conquests, and stories of ordinary men and women in relationship with God.

Seeds of Faith

No matter how small and insignificant our faith seems, it is enough to move mountains (Matt. 17:20). How? Our faith ties us to the most powerful force in the universe: God. Faith is a seed that results in a harvest larger than we can conceive. Matthew 17:20 tells us, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

The Kingdom of God

Mark 4:26-27 tells us the Kingdom of God is a seed that will grow no matter how arid the soil. All that is required is workers. Each of us is called to help grow the Kingdom of God. In return, we find a community of workers who become our family in Christ.

Generosity

Generosity is a seed God grants to each of us so we can sow it in the lives of others. It’s a reciprocal gift in that we must give to receive! “But remember this—if you give little, you will get little. A farmer who plants just a few seeds will get only a small crop, but if he plants much, he will reap much.” (2 Cor. 9:6, TLB)

Planting Our Seeds

God plants seeds of growth and blessing in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to do some sowing of our own. God gives us a mission for our lives. He grants us vision and provision to help us fulfill that mission. But we can get in our way if we aren’t mindful of our thoughts and actions. Why?

Because what happens in your mind often happens in time!

I mean that if we focus on what we want, and keep our thoughts on our goals, we are much more likely to achieve them.

The problem is our mind often spends a good deal of time replaying the PAST. I know it happens to you too. We’re moving along, taking steps to secure our future, and then we think that things didn’t turn out how we wanted the last time we tried something new.

Not good. When the past becomes the focus of your thoughts, you cease forward movement.

Here’s another scenario. We’re sitting down with our journal and vision board, plotting our goals for the next quarter, and we wander off into daydream land in our minds. Imagination pre-plays the FUTURE. While that’s great if it helps create momentum, it’s entirely possible to dream, dream, dream, and never actually do.

So, what do we do instead? We VISUALIZE.

 

David visualized his encounter with Goliath. He gathered the tools God provided—his sling and stones—and he took action. Visualization is always followed by action.

Gideon visualized the wall falling. God gave Gideon step-by-step instructions on what he should do to conquer his enemy. He could have questioned, doubted, and delayed, but he didn’t. Instead, he followed through and won the battle. Visualization leads to follow through.

Noah visualized the ark as designed by God. He built it in faith with no idea how he was going to finish the task. When the ark was done, God provided what Noah’s family would need to repopulate the earth after the floods. Visualization in faith leads to provision.

Moses visualized the Exodus. But he thought he couldn’t do it. God told him otherwise. So Moses shared that vision with the people of God living in Egypt. Eventually, they escaped Pharoah and his army and headed to their Promised Land. Visualization leads to results.

What about visualization in your life?

You need to:

  • Visualize the INCREASE
  • Talk INCREASE
  • Move toward INCREASE

Take action in faith, and the rest will happen.

Right now, at Thanksgiving, we are at the cusp of the seasons. Fall is turning to winter. The harvest is done, and it’s time for the slower pace of winter. Yet, with the seeds God has given us, a little faith, and our visualization, we will INCREASE our lives and the Kingdom of God!

The key to having a fruitful and abundant life is our response to the Word. The way we receive God’s Word is critical to having a fruitful and blessed life. The seed is productive only if the soil is receptive. The Word is good seed. Are you good soil?

 

Happiness leads to success in every area of your life—work, health, relationships, creativity, and energy.

This isn’t just something I know.

Positive psychology researchers did a meta-analysis (a study of other research) of more than 200 studies of 275,000 people worldwide with amazing results.1

  • Happy people tend to be more helpful, creative, prosocial, charitable, altruistic, and healthier.
  • Happy people live longer.
  • Happy people are more likely to marry and tend to stay married longer.
  • Happy people have more close friends and casual friends, and they earn more money.

Happiness and life satisfaction are available to the young and the old, women and men, blacks and whites, the rich and the working-class. This means you can have happiness and life satisfaction and all of the benefits that happy people experience.

But what does happiness have to do with developing a Growth Mindset?

Well, our thoughts have the potential to become our realities. I’ve seen this over and over in my lifetime. What you believe about yourself impacts your success or failure.

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck tells us that our beliefs play a pivotal role in what we want and whether we will succeed. According to Dweck, our mindset plays a significant role in determining achievement and success.2

It’s All About The Mindset.

The word mindset encompasses how we view ourselves and the world around us, especially intelligence and talent.

There are two primary types of mindset I want to tell you about. The first is a fixed mindset. Those with a fixed mindset believe intelligence, talent, and other abilities are inborn, fixed, and unchangeable.

The second is a growth mindset. Those who have a growth mindset believe abilities can be developed and strengthened. If you’ve listened to my sermons and teachings, you know I am a firm believer in the growth mindset.

Yes, some people seemingly have inborn abilities, and Scripture even tells us that God grants some abilities to certain believers to help them accomplish the tasks He puts before them.

But Scripture also tells us that we all have the ability to GROW. Jesus spent His entire ministry helping those around Him develop and strengthen the abilities and qualities they would need to grow His church.

Those who have fixed mindsets were often taught that to succeed. They needed to look smart instead of putting in the effort to learn and grow their intelligence.

They are more concerned with how others are judging their appearance. Those with a fixed mindset fear they may not live up to the expectations of those around them.

Sound familiar? I see this every day on social media. So much of our culture now centers around the expectation of perfection.

We are taught that we need to LOOK a certain way, and few people put in the work actually to become the person they are pretending to be.

Look at the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Those with a growth mindset were taught to explore. They learned to embrace experiences and enjoy challenges.

Instead of seeing a mistake as the end of the line, they were taught mistakes are learning experiences and a chance to improve.

Those with a growth mindset learned to try new things and make mistakes to learn and reach their true potential.

That is the key. A GROWTH MINDSET helps you live up to your potential!

Developing a Growth Mindset

Your mindset directly impacts your life. Developing a growth mindset helps you achieve more, and it gives you the focus you need to work harder to achieve your goals, become more resilient, and persevere when you face difficulties.

A Growth Mindset makes it possible for us to change our lives and achieve our goals. So how do we develop a strong growth mindset?

The first step is to rationalize.

 

Understand that it’s normal to mess up and make mistakes. REFRAME errors as a part of life, something you can learn from.

What error have you recently made or witnessed? How can you reframe that moment to make it easier to accept and learn from?

Next, develop a sense of optimism.

Use that optimism to put a spin on apparent failure.

Instead of saying, “Well, that’s that. I’m never going to be a good artist.” Instead, tell yourself, “I didn’t get the concept down the first try, but I’ll do better next time!”

Think of a moment when you felt like a failure. How can you put an optimistic spin on that moment?

Understand and embrace the value of practice.

Progress comes from trying to improve.

Focus on the learning process and your incremental improvements instead of how far you have to go.

What goal can you apply the principle of incremental improvements to?

A role model can be valuable in changing your mindset. If you have a mentor or coach, look at how they deal with mistakes and growth.

Who do you know who can serve as a role model you can learn from? Think of something they’ve done that inspires you to want to change.

Realize that change can be difficult. There are no easy or quick solutions. Instead, build enthusiasm and embrace the challenge.

How can you embrace the challenges you will face as you pursue your goals?

Try to deal with reasonable challenges yourself. Don’t hide from them or pay someone else to deal with them. If it is not beyond your capability, you will learn and develop new abilities!

What challenges are you facing right now that you can try to deal with on your own before you bring in “expert” help?

Reframing your thoughts also helps you develop a growth mindset. Reframing often starts with changing the way we think and the questions we ask ourselves.

You can change your perspective on experiencing events, ideas, concepts, or emotions to find the most valuable, positive alternative to move ahead, adapting, and implementing solutions for achieving goals.

Choosing to see a different perspective is essential to problem-solving, decision-making, and new learning.

Remember this affirmation: As I turn my thinking around, I break free in a new direction toward the solution.

Frames

When we shift our thinking or perspective on something, we refer to that new point of view as a “frame.”

Different frames represent varying possibilities for perceiving the same thing in different ways.

When we use frames, they help us interpret the world around us and represent that world to others. Understanding reframing can also give us insight into understanding self-fulfilling prophecies.

Our beliefs unconsciously direct us in our moment-by-moment choices and actions. However, what we believe actually drives our viewpoint and our mindset in every situation.

Self-fulfilling prophecies have been called the “Pygmalion effect,” a term derived from a play that later became the Broadway musical My Fair Lady.

Professor Henry Higgins won a bet to prove his opinion that nurture was more powerful than nature in the story.

To make his case, he located a crude, unrefined young woman named Eliza Doolittle. With his coaching, she transformed from a street urchin to a charming, enchanting beauty.

The fictional story presents how our self-perception, or who we think we are, is a prime basis for how we will experience life.

We behave according to who we believe we should be.

Not only does what we believe about ourselves impact our destiny, what we believe about others affects their behavior, even without their knowledge.

Meaning is found inside reframing, no matter how bad the circumstances might be.

Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II.

She was imprisoned for her actions in a Nazi women’s labor camp along with her sister Betsie. Corrie wrote years later of her conversation with God regarding the condition of their barracks.

The circumstances for the inmates were unimaginable everywhere in the labor camp. Still, Corrie had come to discover that her barracks were the most uninhabitable due to an infestation of fleas.

According to Corrie, she complained to God about fleas when she suddenly realized they kept the correctional officers from entering their barracks.

Because of the fleas, she and Betsie were allowed to lead worship services after the hard days at work, using a Bible they had managed to smuggle in.

The very thing she despised was the thing protecting her ministry.

By reframing problems, you can get closer to the new ideas, solutions, strategies, and resources you need for a breakthrough in your growth.

 

To reframe your thinking is to create a new, positive pathway forward to success intentionally. Reframing is an essential attribute if you want to maximize your leadership.

Reframing lets you change your perspective on how you choose to experience relationships, events, ideas, concepts, or emotions to find a more positive alternative for your purpose of moving ahead, adapting, and implementing solutions.

Your choice to see a different perspective is essential to problem-solving, decision-making, and new learning. It also helps you improve your mental health!

Want to develop your Growth Mindset? Download my free resource packet!

 

 

  1. Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life. New York: Currency (2018).
  2. Carol Dweck, Mindset – Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential. 2017

When you are in your final minutes of life looking back, what do you want to see?

I want to see:

  • A woman who gave it all she had.
  • A woman who loved God absolutely.
  • A wife and mother who nurtured and supported and LOVED.
  • That I followed the path God laid out for me.
  • That I reflected God’s love and purpose to everyone I met and everyone I loved.

 

I had a good start. My parents were loving. They loved God, each other, and their family. We had a happy life. My dad (happy Father’s Day, Dad!) was a warm, affirming father, and mom was ever steady, always ready with the solution to every situation.

Inside our house and church, I felt solid. I felt strong and smart. I was invincible. But as I grew, it didn’t stay that way. Culture affected me.

I was thirteen years old when college and high school students began streaming into San Francisco for the infamous Summer of Love. Living in Southern California heightened the peer pressure to be in the “in crowd.”

My parents accepted a pastorate in the Pacific Northwest, and we moved away from the cultural turmoil. At seventeen, as I graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, my closest girlfriends rushed into unrestricted sexual expression, anti-marriage relationships, and began a lifetime in pursuit of professional career goals outside of the home.

Although my outward appearance suggested I agreed with the popular youth rebellion, I knew I was going to walk into my destiny of spiritual leadership in ministry. And then I met Rich.

I had the strongest impression that if I didn’t marry my youth pastor boyfriend, I would go against God’s plan for my life. Marrying Rich Wilkerson was my surest tether to my spiritual inner voice, but being a wife and functioning inside the church as a pastor in 1973 wasn’t easy.

I knew I had been called to spiritual leadership, but finding a pathway to my goal seemed impossible.

I was struggling, but God was always present, quietly nudging me. My Father in heaven supported me always, just as my earthly father did.

Time brought the births of four sons and the daily routine of caring for children. And then life changed. Our third son, Graham, was stricken with spinal meningitis at six-months-old, and inside that terrible tragedy God volunteered me to become the mother of a handicapped child.

I thought I would explode. Furious with God for letting me down and for not healing Graham the way I requested, I quit praying. My marriage was tested. No matter which direction I tried to go, I felt trapped.

My faith in God went through the wringer.

Denial, begging, and rage became my constant conversation with God.

Why me?
Why did I have to be a mom to a “special need” child?
What have I done to deserve this prison of broken dreams?
How will I ever rise above my circumstances to fulfill the mission God has placed in my heart?

And then one day I realized God, my Heavenly Father, hadn’t abandoned me.

He was there for me as a teen when I fought against the negative effects of an out of control cultural revolution.

He hadn’t abandoned me when he called me to leadership, marriage, and motherhood.

And most of all, He hadn’t tossed me aside when He called me to be the mother of a special needs child.

My Heavenly Father, OUR Heavenly Father, just wanted me to depend on Him. I didn’t have the strength to go on, but He did. I was feeling sorry for myself because all I could see was the “now.” He saw me from those last minutes. He saw a woman who was growing and becoming.

He used every situation in my life to help me grow stronger.

This weekend is Father’s Day. My earthly father is no longer here with us, and I miss him. I miss his hugs, his support, and his quiet certainty about the power and love of God.

While my Dad isn’t here, I’m still surrounded by fathers who love, support, and help their children grow.

Happy Father’s Day to my loving husband, who has always been there for our boys.

Happy Father’s Day to Jonfulton, Rich Jr., and Taylor, who are raising our amazing granddarlings to walk God’s path of growth and purpose. You are such amazing fathers!

Happy Father’s Day to all the men who are serving their families and helping their children navigate life.

And thank you, God, for always being my Heavenly Father.

 


Justice has Been Served

A verdict has been delivered in one of the most watched trails of this decade. I’ve waited along with the rest of our country as evidence was piled on evidence, leaving little doubt that an unarmed man was willfully and painfully killed by another man, an authority figure, who knew better.

Here’s what I know. Violence is part of our world, and it shouldn’t be. Racism is systemic and ugly and it shouldn’t exist. In any form. What should exist is an overpowering love for our fellow humans. That is what Jesus called us to do with our lives. We are to love, serve, and share His love with our fellow humans.

 

A Duty and a Gift

When I was asked to serve as the hostess for George Floyd, I was honored. I was honored to be given the opportunity to help bring a tiny bit of peace to his loved ones and all of those suffering in our country.

Looking back at that moment now, I think the opportunity to serve in the midst of darkness and sorrow was a gift. It opened my eyes, placed me in the middle of the pain, and it’s allowed me to see the trails so many of our brothers and sisters face every day.

Up until the moment that jury came back with a verdict, much of the turmoil surrounding Mr. Floyd’s death was political. Pundits talked on the news and talk shows about the “realities” of racism and the need to defund, give more money to, train better, or empower our police forces. So many opinions, but none talked about the need to love our fellow citizens.

 

Judgment

The men and women who served on that jury had to set aside the opinions and give a decision based on evidence. That’s what each of us will face at the end of our lives. We will stand before our Lord and He will open the Book of Judgment and give an accounting of the evidence of how we’ve lived our lives.

He won’t judge us on popular opinions, like the pundits. He won’t judge us on what we intended to do, like we might hope. He’s not going to judge us by who we knew. He is going to judge us on the evidence.

 

Did we follow His commandments?

Did we LOVE others?

Did we SERVE others?

Were we leaders when we were called to lead?

Did we follow faithfully?

Did we LOVE others?

Where our hearts pure?

Did our thoughts stay focused on Him?

Did we stand up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves?

Did we LOVE others?

 

Those men and women made a decision based on evidence, and that decision wasn’t made in malice. They made a decision for what is right. They made a decision against violence and hate and murder.

They didn’t malign the police force. They supported positive policing by agreeing with the evidence given by the police. They stood up and said murder is wrong. Abusing authority is wrong. Killing a man because you don’t like him, or because he is the “wrong” color is not going to be permitted!

They gathered together and gave the judgment they felt was right based on the evidence. And it was a judgement that brought tears of relief to eyes around the country. Justice has been served.

 

Moving Forward

Now we need to move forward. We need to LOVE one another. We need to serve one another. And we need to change our culture to one that encourages love instead of hate, peace instead of violence, and harmony instead of discord.

That will look different for each of us. As we move toward true equality and justice in our country, LOVE is what we need. We need to LOVE our brothers and sisters, our fellow humans, and all of God’s creation.

 

 

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)

Do you remember the story of Esther? It kind of has the feel of a fairy tale, doesn’t it? And like most fairy tales, it contains the Divine secrets of transformation inside the life and death story. God used the most unlikely girl to save His people from genocide. She could overcome life’s challenges because of His blessing and guidance.

Today, I want to encourage you with her story. Just as in Esther’s story, (1) your fate will be like that of the rest of the crowd, (2) God can and will replace you with someone else, (3) you could lose more than an opportunity, and (4) you might miss out on your mission in life. Let me explain.

First, your fate will be like that of the rest of the crowd. I know we all want to believe we are special and won’t have to take the risks of the generations before us. Sorry, friend, but that is a myth. If we aren’t willing to take risks, we can never expect to rise to the occasion. In Esther’s story, she was given the opportunity to intercede on behalf of her people. Mordecai reminded Esther that even though she was queen, she would fare no better than the rest of the Jews if she didn’t step forward and do what she was called to do.

Second, God will replace you with someone else if you don’t seize the opportunity. Vashti’s place was given to another (Esther). Mordecai reminded Esther that if she sat back and did nothing, GOD would accomplish His purposes with or without her. He wanted her to understand that if you are sitting on gifts, or opportunities, that God intends to be used for HIS purposes in the lives of those around you – and if you don’t use them for His purposes, God will get it done without you. When that happens, your sense of destiny will sit on the shelf. It’s possible that you will live and DIE and never fulfill your purpose, and never really experience happiness.

Third, you could lose more than just an opportunity. Esther could have lost more than a chance to do the right thing. The situation was so dire that she could have lost her life.  Although doing the right thing at the right time can seem risky, in the long run you will incur a greater risk by DOING NOTHING.

Finally, you could miss out on your mission in life. Mordecai speculated that if Esther failed to act on behalf of her people, she might miss out on God’s purpose for her life. You will never accomplish your mission by remaining idle.

God worked through one young woman to save the Jewish people from total annihilation.

In Esther’s situation, PREPARATION met OPPORTUNITY. She prepared for over a year for her opportunity to be queen. And it could have stopped there. She could have lived her life as a queen and turned her back on her people. Although that would likely have resulted in her death. Instead, she was blessed with success. SUCCESS happens when PREPARATION meets POTENTIAL. Never underestimate the potential of one encounter!

So are you willing to risk the good so you can reap the BEST? The key is to prepare, so that when you meet opportunity and potential, you too can have SUCCESS!

You can’t hide your attitude. It is the chief part of you that the world sees. And it alters not only their perception of you but also your perception of yourself. The state of your spirit and mind influences your choices and determines your words and your actions.

Attitude is tangible, friend. It’s real, and it matters. We may not control all of our life circumstances, but we can control our attitudes and how we react to our situations. I’m not sure about you, but the Covid-19 pandemic has forced me to do some attitude reevaluation. Sometimes several times a day. This world we are living in right now is tough! So how do we deal with it and our attitudes?

God has given us the ability to stand outside of ourselves and test our thoughts. Isn’t that a blessing?! You and I can stand on God’s Word to capture toxic thoughts, and then we can counteract them with godly wisdom.

We can’t change yesterday. It’s over. We can’t undo the mistakes, disappointments, and failures. That includes both our mistakes and the failures of others. We don’t get a do over. It’s gone. But, if we allow the pain of yesterday to spill into our today, we poison our potential for positive forward results in our lives. And I know you want positive forward results, just like I do!

We all deal with challenges and difficulties, often daily. It’s exhausting to navigate the stormy waters of life, but I want to encourage you right now—you aren’t in your boat alone! Nothing is more overwhelming than believing all the challenges of life are your responsibility. Want to know a secret? Well, it’s not really a secret at all. Our problems, struggles, and challenges all belong to God.

God loves you and is fully aware of every circumstance you are facing right now. Your choice is to trust yourself or to trust Him.

Trust YOURSELF or Trust IN GOD. Which are you going to choose?

When you trust God, it doesn’t release you from responsibilities or obligations; it means you aren’t facing those decisions alone. Today, you can stop carrying your load all by yourself. Go to the Lord and ask Him to take control. You may need to be patient, but He is always faithful. And while He is taking care of the hard stuff, you can make sure your attitude is right.

Try saying these verses, filling your name into the blank, as you take a closer at your attitude and who you are depending on:

  • I praise you because I (_____________) am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Ps. 139:14)
  • Do you not know that your body (_____________) is a house of God where the Holy Spirit lives? God gave you His Holy Spirit. Now you belong to God. You do not belong to yourselves. God bought you with a great price. So (_____________) honor God with your body. You belong to Him. (1 Cor. 6:19–20)
  • He fills my (_____________) life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles! (Ps. 103:5, NLT)
  • The LORD your God is with you ( _____________). He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you (____________), renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy. (Zeph. 3:17, GW)
  • God makes his people strong (_____________). God gives his people peace. (Ps. 29:11, MSG)

I like to think there’s a sea in all of us. Your internal mental world, which we can correlate to an ocean, is the deep, wonderfully rich composite of you, filled with your thoughts, feelings, memories, dreams, hopes, and desires.

However, it can also be filled with storms of inadequacy, insecurity, regrets, fears, disappointment, and hopelessness. We’ve all felt this inner sea crash in on us, threatening to drown our future. So how do we prevent these negatives from becoming our reality? We change your lives, one thought at a time.

“Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], and your plan will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].” (Proverbs 16:3, AMP)

Thoughts are things, and they will become our reality. When we decide to change our lives, we have to first change our reality.

One of the most powerful abilities God granted to us is the ability to choose our thoughts and think things on purpose. You and I don’t have to think about whatever falls into our minds. This is a life-changing revelation! Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) tells us, “As [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he.” I say it like this: Where the mind goes, your life will follow.

If we don’t learn how to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4–5), we won’t live the life Jesus died to give us. Jesus offers a life of peace with God, peace with ourselves, great relationships, genuine joy, and the ability to become everything God created us to be. It comes down to choosing to believe what God says (the truth) more than we believe our feelings, what other people say, or our circumstances.

So how do we embrace that truth and accept the peace God offers us? The Bible talks about three actions we must take to gain a mind that comes to an agreement with God.

1. “Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things]” (Col. 3:2, AMP). Before we get into a situation where we must make a choice, we must decide in advance where our intention is focused. For instance, before you get into social situations, decide, “I will not gossip. I will not ruin someone’s reputation and offend the Holy Spirit.” Other situations may require you to decide things like, “I will not use language that is toxic today.” Or “I will not waste time on selfish arguments.” Alternatively, “I will not hang out with people who are destructive influences.” We must make a positive decision before we encounter the negative.

2. “Do not be conformed to this world … but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2, AMP). Renewing the mind is a constant process. We must take time every day to study God’s Word so we can intentionally think according to what it says. No one is perfect with this, but we need to make progress so we can keep our minds renewed and can grow in our relationship with God.

3. “Gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Peter 1:13, NKIV). This is old-fashioned terminology, and you might wonder what the writer meant. He was saying that we need to get all the trash out of our minds so we can keep “running our race” in Christ Jesus. God intends for you to win the race you are running for Him, as the first-place winner! By clearing out our minds, we are ready for action to follow God’s plan for our lives.

Commit to set your mind on God’s Word, renewing your mind with truth and getting what I call “stinkin’ thinkin’” out of your way. Yes, it might take a little time, but as you continue forward, you’ll start to enjoy the life God is offering you today. All it takes is a little more progress, one day at a time. The first step to understanding how to control your thoughts is to learn how your brain functions.