Today? I feel surprised that this challenge is over. I feel in my heart it has started a new thing for me: early morning quiet time. Time for Scripture, for reflection, for writing, for being still.

Today I’m feeling the rush already with Halloween activities & getting my boys ready with costumes today for the school storybook parade.

Even at 6am, some days I can feel the pressure of the fast world we live in pressing in, pushing down on me.  Even here in the quiet space. I feel it: “hurry!!”

But today is special; today marks a completion but also an continuation. I gave myself many extensions in the challenge, but at the end? I keep going to carve out this time & space for God, and that is always worth it. No matter if I had done 31 days in a row or 25. It has renewed me, and I want to keep it up.

Thank you for taking this journey with me, through the early morning darkness & the foggy brain words. I pray the Lord presses upon your heart to carve out time for just Him. I pray my heart remembers how it has soared even as it fought to rise from sleep. All the success counted as success, and even the failure counted as lessons on missing it.

I challenge you to do the same: rise early & spend time. As often as you can.

“You will be my people, and I will be your God.”

Jeremiah 30:22


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It stared when I lost my sunglasses.

I had packed all the bags, the boys clothes probably more carefully chosen than my own. Packed the Halloween costumes & helmets. Packed the diapers for my littlest; got all the boys’ church shoes with a pair of socks in each size.

I did remember my phone charger. But I forgot my sunglasses. And then I realized I forgot to tell the boys to pack a water bottle in their backpacks, in which they chose a blanket, book, & stuffed animal for the trip.

I start to beat myself up when I am digging through my purse looking for the missing sunglasses. “Why is my purse so messy?? What did I do with those sunglasses? Why is it the one thing I really needed to bring for my own comfort, is absent?” I spiral down into frustration & self-condemnation. All the other straws just fan my flames of self-disapproval.

But why? The purse may have bothered me, a little, enough to encourage me to clean it out, IF the sunglasses were there. Because they were absent, suddenly, the state of my purse became a judgement on my life.

Why do I expect myself to forget nothing? Because I like to plan? Because being prepared makes me feel in control? Because I think I can? Why can’t I give myself grace for my mistakes?

Why even call forgetting my sunglasses a ‘mistake’? Why classify it as a failure? Can’t it just be an oversight? Can I give myself grace in the naming, in the assignment of blame?


My messy purse is full of good things: my wallet, my cell phone, my notebook of paper. It is also full of ridiculous things: disposable straws, a rubber tball, a coupon book, ear buds, trash, bag of chips, a baseball hat.

It was weighing me down. Physically & emotionally. The healthy response is to clean it out; I should expect it to need cleaning out because it is well used. I need to give myself the same grace.

So today?

”I rise before dawn & cry out for help; I put my hope in your word.”

Psalm 119:147

Yes Lord. Help me not be trapped in the lies of the enemy. Free me from unrealistic expectations. Help me lay down my desires for perfection. Amen.


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”I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, & I will be their God because they will return to me with all their heart.”

Jeremiah 24:7

My reading this morning in Jeremiah was full of the warnings of God, the call of his prophets to the people of what will come to them if they do not turn away from evil. It is hard for me to grasp God’s plans; the intense violence that may come to the people surprises me. My vision of God is tame.

Jeremiah talks of how God will roar like a lion, a lion coming out of his den. He talks about how it may come to pass, and how God is calling for repentance. The lion, I’ll always associate the lion with Narnia.

Its odd that story helps me learn so well, and so I cling to it. Aslan, the great lion, is not a tame lion. They say in The Lion, the Which, and the Wardrobe, “Is he safe?” And the reply, “He’s not safe, but he’s good. He’s not a tame lion.” And again, I see that he carefully inflicts a wound as a punishment for the physical pain caused to another in The Horse and his Boy. And of course Aslan eats the white witch & turns Rabadash into a donkey.

But it does make the lion in the Bible mote understandable, clearer to see, to me. To see the justice carries out, his tender love despite his wrath, and his judgement. He is not a tame lion, but he is good.

I want a heart that returns to God. I want a heart to know God. I want to hear his warnings & know that he is good. Rain falls on the wicked & the just, but I want a heart that knows God.


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Yesterday evening we watched our middle boys play t ball. It was probably the only cold night we will have here in FL this season, and it was lovely to wear a sweater & scarf and NOT be eaten by mosquitos. It was a game very similar to many others, but we confronted something in our 2nd born.

He plays 2nd base & short stop most often this year, but doesn’t play them well. He doesn’t understand how to cover the base, and his coaches haven’t taught him the skill yet. Most of their plays are pitcher-to-first-base-outs which are easy to get the kids to do on repeat. Hey! It works! But my boy still stands feet from the base & when we try to explain he gives us this strange “I know what I’m doing” thing.

Because most of his life at 6 years old is spent in direct submission to our authority, this seemed strange. But we let it slide for be majority of the season, hoping he’s learn. Here we are last night, sitting in the car after piling in like our crew does, confronting.

“Boys? Are you reachable?”

Are you someone who thinks they know it all, or are you someone who listens & asks questions about something new? Do you tell others who try & help you that you don’t need it? What kind of life will you have if you don’t submit yourself to being taught?? Nobody knows how to do everything!

My sweet eldest says to me: “ Mom, you’re like a teacher for us too! But one that always stays with us & even loves us! And God is a teacher too I guess! He’s like the teacher that never leaves.” With his enthusiasm, I could feel the frustrations melt away & replaced with sweet joy. How true son of mine; my you always be teachable to the best teacher of all, God.

The confrontation of all did not phase the need of the one, so it was revisited. How many of us spend much of our lives as un-teachable? How much chaos & trouble is invited our way when we shut out the advice of our elders? Do I submit myself to the Lord’s teaching? Do I submit myself to a mentor’s guidance?

Being teachable. May the Lord guide me in wisdom & may my prayers for my boys include the humility to listen to teaching.

“The goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience & a sincere faith.”

I Timothy 1:5


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Waking early has helped me set aside time to pray for my boys. I pray for them everyday, many times a day, but not as often when they aren’t with me. I’m being reminded that those prayers are powerful.

So, yesterday morning I prayer for my oldest to have a good day after a string of days where he came home with hurt feelings by kids at school. He prayed at dinner time prayers for himself, that he would have a good day. And God answered him; I picked him up with a smile on his face for the first time this week.

At bedtime, we were saying our normal prayers when I suddenly was moved to give thanks for the answered prayers. We gave God the glory & gave our thankfulness for his answer. I stopped praying & asked James if he understood? “Did you realize that God gave you a good day today, just like you asked!?” He was so excited: “wow!!” I explained that God doesn’t always do what we ask, but this time He did! My boy said, “I’ll have to say more prayers to tell God thanks.”

And I realized he prays on his own; he said it so naturally. And my heart got all soft&squishy. My boy rejoiced with me in the simple answer of his prayer. I have so much to be thankful for.

I hope I can respond like he did; I want to offer more prayers God in the realization of your faithfulness & your presence. I want to keep offering up my boys to you early in the day that they may be pursued by your Spirit the whole day through.


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This morning? I daydreamed. As I’m reading Jeremiah 12, I came across verse 16, and my imagination was ignited.

“…to swear by my name, “As the Lord lives…””

Jeremiah 12:16

All at once I’m thinking of Narnia, of those lovely characters & how they swear “by the Lion’s mane”. I feel that rush of desire, to continually pledge my allegiance to my Lord, as they did then. In Narnia, the story written by CS Lewis, the characters all continually speak of Aslan, the great Lion. He is spoken of with such tenderness & love, and he speaks to his children in the ways I always hope God will speak to me. The emotion I feel when Aslan is present in the story is exactly how I want to approach my Lord. That story stirred in my heart love for my savior that I had not experienced; the romantic expression of longing for & delighting in God’s presence was new. I love the way I can usher in those feelings of my devotion to my savior by using the words, “As the Lord lives” just as they do in the Chronicles of Narnia.

From the text, it seems (I’m not a Bible scholar) as though Jeremiah is being told it’s favorable for them to swear “as the Lord lives!” As opposed to the allegiance pledged to the god baal in that time. The New Testament tells us that when Jesus came, he instructed them not to swear. But to “let your yes be yes, and your no be no”. I’m curious though why we don’t use, “As the Lord lives!” Because it stirs something in my heart as I declare it.

I will have to do some more digging, but I hope that if you share my romantic soul, that it woos your heart as it does mine to declare my affection.


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Today? I couldn’t get the words out. I couldn’t get the brain awake. I read the Word of God in a sleepy foggy haze, and yet? I believe that even in my feeble attempt, God can make something out of it.


So here I sit, mid day, stil hoping for some words about how my heart swelled last night sitting at the Young Life annual fundraiser Banquet. It is one of my favorite events, because we always get to hear from the kids who have been in the programs; they tell us what it has meant to them. They tell us what God has done in their life through the ministry of Young Life. We get to listen to their hearts, in crowded room stillness, & soak in the goodness of our God. He has been so faithful to us all, uniquely & yet similarly faithful. Just like he promised us in His Word. He shows up!

I want to tell you that as I watched the kids holding their cardboard testimonies, my heart beat faster as they shared bravely. Shared their struggles with depression & loneliness. Shared their battles with anger & sadness & fear of what others think. They bared their hearts raw, unmasked. Then, they flipped the card & we got to rejoice with them in their deliverance. I cannot watch kids step out in such courage without taking in that quick breath. Seeing how the Lord moved in such power bringing freedom makes my eyes tear up & my heart feel like it could burst. What joy overwhelms me in the presence of God’s footsteps traced before my eyes in the lives of students!


I am still sitting in the swell of those kids’ testimonies. I am thankful for the good advice to listen close as my heart is moved in tenderness. To write it down, to name the gift. To lean in close & ask God, “what do you want me to do in response?”

I’m so grateful that this year, we have a front row seat to see these kids’ lives changed by God. My hubs&I are team leaders for a here in our town, and I cannot begin to tell you what a sense of purpose & fulfillment these acts of service bring to my life. It’s as if God whispered to me, “see? Look what I’m giving you?” And all I can do in response is stare, baffled. “Lord, how did you fill my one life so completely full? How did you manage to overwhelm my little life with your endless acts of grace happening all around me. The daily laying down has become the daily filling up. God, you are amazing.”

I’m in awe of what God is letting me do with my one life. It feels like the fullest life I’ve ever known. My joy for what is to come has never been more.

“Now May the God of hope fill you with all joy & peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”


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I find it ironic that even as I challenge myself to continue to walk in faithfulness, rising early in the morning to spend time with God, I fail. I recognize, and am even amazed, at the significance of the activity. And yet? I still fail to do it.

I try again to fit it in during my normal day, and again, I feel frustrated at the lack of available moments for my brain to function. I am tempted to feel embarrassed, frustrated with myself, like I’m failing. I want to get it right, because I feel as though I can see it in my sights but not hit the bullseye.

I just took a 30 minute break from writing for a poopy diaper change/laundry putting away/garbage collection trip upstairs. This work isn’t an interruption. It’s part of what I’m called to do daily; it’s my act of sacrificial love for my family. It’s not a distraction; it’s a crucial part of my life. I cannot believe the lie that the activity of serving my family is a burden. I get to have this family; I get the privilege of taking care of them.

So the activity of morning quiet time? It’s crucial. It’s key. It’s significant. It’s important. It’s necessary. And do I always do it? Not yet.

I need to keep practicing. I believe God will use it. I believe my failure doesn’t change that. Even though I am tempted to wallow in my failure, because I know I’ve missed an opportunity I will never have again, I cannot give up. I need to keep practicing.


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It’s weird, but as I waited for my coffee this morning, I suddenly decided to get a tea cup instead of my normal coffee cup. Debates have swirled in my head over the choices of what cup, and I’ll let you in on my inner dialogue.

– Tea cup: basically half a cup of coffee. Must be consumed quickly, or looses heat. Sometimes feels gone too quickly, or like having too little. Too much trouble to make a second half cup of coffee.

– Coffee cup: standard. Usually cannot finish before becomes cold. Often will only finish half. Seems most comfortable, yet wasteful.

– Yeti cup: too much coffee. Stays hot for a long time. I can always keep drinking it, which leads me to have too much over time. It’s a continual drinking process until it’s gone or I cut myself off.

So you see, I’ve struggled to land on what is best. I choose daily what I feel is most appropriate in the moment, and this morning, it hit me. My cup has been too big. I need a little coffee to help wake me up; it does a magic work in my brain to help the sleep sluff off & the thoughts begin to become consistent. But too much coffee first thing can throw me off, shifting my normal 1-2 cups of coffee into the 2-3 cups a day range. It’s good to know what is too much for me, and 3 cups qualifies.

My life is similar these days; I try to take on too many tasks at once, multitasking my household activities & becoming frustrated as none of them end up accomplished. I look too far ahead to what I need to do, and sometimes, I need to just remember what to do today. I’m a planner at heart, and I need the vision of what’s coming & what’s now, but I have to pour the right size cup of coffee. Or it all starts working against my anxious desire for control.

Lord, you know me so well. You show me how to bite off what I can chew, to get the right size cup. You give wisdom on choosing; you make me capable in the tasks. You set the work for me to do; I can trust you to teach me how to do it. Lord help me do it.

“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life & peace.”

Romans 8:6


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”They say that waking up is hard to do… I know that it’s true…”

yup. Today feels hard. I struggled to wake up my brain, even as my body obediently moved from the bed. My eyelids have been the most contrary, continually requesting permission to close.

Lord, today feels hard. Grant me peace that even as I struggle, that you will still be near.


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