Storing Up Treasures

What is it about me and money?!  Why have I mistakenly believed for my entire adult life that in order to live a life of abundance I must earn a 6-figure income and have enough in the retirement fund to support me, my spouse and all of our progeny for decades of extravagant living?!

The Bible, which is our primary source of wisdom on every subject known to mankind and womankind, challenges my very Western, “gimme-gimme” type of thinking.  If, like me, you have falsely bought into the notion that an extraordinary life is tied to extraordinary wealth, I’d like to invite you to join me in a treasure hunt into God’s Word.  Let’s see what the Bible has to say about it!

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.  Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.   (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

These verses erase the option of riches being a prerequisite to the possibility of living a life of abundance and meaning.  We mistakenly presume that it is impossible to live a full and meaningful life without the benefit of gargantuan portions of money.  Money is definitely a benefit and most of us certainly wish we had more, but never base your potential for living an abundant life on something as transient as your checking account.  Never use your monetary lack as an excuse for living an inferior life.


One issue Paul clearly addresses in these verses is that the rich are not automatically experts at that which constitutes a life of abundance.  Some of the most fulfilled people alive today don’t have a penny to their names and yet they live a life full of Heaven’s extraordinary abundance.

Paul reminds all of us that riches are uncertain.  Paul is instructing that riches are absolutely unstable and that money can disappear as quickly as it can appear.  There is no guaranteed way to invest one’s earthly goods and riches in a worldly system of finance.  Many people, at every historical juncture, woke up with great wealth but went to bed as mere paupers.

The only thing riches seem to guarantee is there will always be something to worry about.  Paul is addressing how important it is to separate who you are from what you own.  As believers, we do not fix our hope on the uncertainty of riches but on God, the Giver of all good gifts.  Whether one is hugely rich or devastatingly poor, we are all to fix our hope on God who is the rich One and who gives richly, extravagantly, and abundantly to those who are His own. 

Life Indeed!

“ . . . storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed”  (1 Timothy 6:19, emphasis added).

There is a guaranteed way for every believer to amass a fortune because there is a secure place, designated by God, where all investments are safe and are unable to be stolen or even diminished by time.

The greatest use of your time spent on Earth is to spend it for something that will outlast your own life.  The wisest and most generous use of your resources is to invest them in the unshakable Kingdom of God.

When you choose to be generous, regardless of your finances, you have tapped into one of the greatest secrets of living life indeed.  Selfish men and women, although financially secure and smugly in charge, have no idea what true living is all about.  It is not riches that guarantee abundance, but it is a lifestyle of generous giving and reaching out to others. 

Have you discerned what is truly important in life?  It is to place all of your hope on the God who blesses His children enormously.  It is not your ability to acquire riches and accumulate possessions that is the guarantee of a wealthy lifestyle.  Life at its core is lived best by someone who generously and consistently gives of their gifts, their resources, and their time.  Intentional givers know the joyful truth that we are not here to amass an earthly kingdom, but to build a heavenly fortune!

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Let’s Talk, Darling

    Are you a mom?  What is going on in your life?  Do you need encouragement … support … advice?  Do you need HELP?!

    If you are a mom and are not too proud to admit that you don’t have it all together, I’d like to simply and sincerely encourage you to take advantage of a new way for moms everywhere to connect about issues that touch our lives.

    “Let’s Talk, Darling” is a webinar sponsored by MOPS International but it is for moms of every age with children of every age.  This webinar will focus on relevant tops that we all know you are already thinking about, questioning and wishing that you could talk about with someone who has gone before you.

    The next webinar will air live on April 17 at noon ET.  This event will be titled, “Let’s Talk, Darling, About Marriage”.  Kathi Lipp will be leading the discussion that will help every mother discover truth concerning these issues:

  • New ways to put fun and flirting back into your relationship
  • Three ways to put some extra spice into your marriage (even with kids in the house)
  • Two things that every husband needs to hear from his wife on a regular basis
  • And lots of fun ideas from other moms!

             To join this valuable discussion, just go to and join in!

    And … one more thing … if you make a comment on this blog post today your name will be entered in a drawing to receive Kathi Lipp’s new book “The Husband Project”.  Just simply write a comment below along with your e-mail address and we will private message the winner.

    So moms … let’s gather around the computer today and figure it out together!  Let’s discover not only how to mother well but also how to be loving wives.  You know what … we can do it!  With a little support … with a little help from our friends … and with a lot of wisdom from above we can do this!

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A Story of Mobs, Snoring & Betrayal

It is holy week … the week that the Christian church recognizes to mourn the death of Jesus and to celebrate His resurrection!  It is a week of unbelievable betrayal, of loud hosanna’s, of good-bye meals and of desperate prayer.

This is a week that always sobers me and annually causes me to evaluate my faith.  During this week every year, I walk up Calvary’s mountain with Jesus and carry my cross beside Him.  I want Easter to force me to examine the woman that I am and the course that He has for me.

Oh … don’t worry about me.  I will celebrate on Sunday!  I will shout with the crowds in triumphant procession but for today…allow me to evaluate who I am and who I am becoming in the story of Christ.

Jesus took the three disciples with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane who had been with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Peter, James and John were the three that Jesus fiercely desired to stand with Him in prayer.  These were the three, Peter, James and John, who were closest to Him. 

They had heard him laugh over the antics of children and had seen him cry at the tomb of Lazarus. 

They had celebrated miracles with this Man Who went about only doing good. 

They called Him their Teacher, their Friend and the Son of God.  They knew Who He was … make no mistake about that.

But this night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, while Jesus prayed ... Peter, James and John slept. 

While Jesus sweat great drops of blood ... the great triumverate snored.

While Jesus cried in agony ... the three friends, whom He trusted, slumbered. 

Peter, James and John knew that Jesus was about to die the violent death of a criminal and yet they dozed and drooled.  Where were their hearts of compassion?  Were they faithful friends or forgetful acquaintances?

Three times Jesus came to the disciples ... and three times they were sleeping.  They couldn’t wipe the sand from their eyes and thus nodded into sweet dreams while Jesus fought in agony over His destiny. 

Jesus was about to be brutally murdered in order that Peter, James and John could live forever with Him.  And yet they couldn’t stay up past their bedtime for Jesus.  What kind of friendship is that?!

We become outraged at the seemingly careless actions of Peter, James and John and yet how often have I been caught giving into the twilight of lackadaisical behavior when Jesus calls my name?

"Carol … could you spend time with Me?”

I watch television when there are prayers to be prayed.

"Carol … could you read my Word to you?”

I read novels when there are people to be loved.

“Carol … would you worship Me?”

I snore while my culture crumbles.

Just as the Savior needed Peter, James and John ... your Savior needs you.  My Savior needs me.  He has entrusted us with the power of prayer.  He has entrusted us with the Great Commission.  He has entrusted us with the Gospel.

In this Garden, Jesus prayed, “ Not as I will ... but as You will.”

Have you ever tried praying that prayer when your life was crumbling?  Have you ever prayed, “Father, Your will be done”, when faced with cruel circumstances?

If we learn nothing else from this particular event in the life of Jesus, we should learn to pray while others sleep and to desire the will of the Father above all else.

When Jesus finally roused the three from their slumber, they had a view in the moonlight of a mob coming up the western slope of Mt. Olive. After the mob, led by Judas, seized Jesus, Peter stayed in the courtyard of the high priest.  It was there that Peter denied Jesus three times.

I wonder if Peter would have denied Jesus if he had prayed rather than slept.  I wonder how different my life would be if I would pray ... rather than sleep.

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Hope and Facts


Just 4 letters. 

H. O. P. E.

Where does it come from?  Can it be bought or sold?  How can just 4 letters make such a profound difference?

Can you smell hope?  Does it bloom only in the spring?  Is there a store that sells hope … a radio station that plays it? 

What does hope sound like?  Does it have taste?


I have discovered that hope may be the most valuable intangible that I embrace.  If I refuse to hope … I am refusing to believe.  I am ignoring an umbrella of faith.

I think that you can have hope without faith … but you can’t have faith without hope.

Life is hard, you know?  Money runs out … bodies betray … people are difficult … things need fixing.


Is “hope” a Pollyanna-like attitude that ignores facts?  I have never been very good at ignoring what I see or what I know.  Perhaps I need to get over that.

I have found it much, much more difficult to live without hope than I have found it challenging to ignore facts.  I will choose hope over facts any day.  Every day, choosing hope seems like the best possible choice.

Can hope and facts co-exist?  Are they compatible or mutually exclusive? 

This is what I do know … my facts don’t tell the end of my story.  What I see with my natural eye may actually be the pretense. What I am unable to see with my eyes may be the solid stuff of life.

And so I hope.  I believe.  I refuse discouragement and shake off despair.  When my circumstances whine and scream and demand … I choose the quiet whisper of hope.

When the facts of my life thunder and quake and pontificate … I choose the sweet smile of hope.

We all choose.  We choose hope or despair.  Hope or discouragement.  Hope or anything.

I don’t know what circumstances are shrieking at you today but I can tell you that if you can choose to hope you are choosing strength.  And joy.  And purpose.

Perhaps the facts that we face are actually only the fog that surrounds and therefore clouds our view from the truth of hope.  Maybe when the cloudiness of our human existence lifts, what we will realize is that hope was not ignorance but it was substance and held more truth that the fog.  Perhaps what we will know then, that we don’t know now, is that facts mask what is true, real and genuine.

And maybe, just maybe, what I need to remind myself every day is that hope is the foundation of the life that was meant for me.

And so I embrace a friendship with hope.  I will wrap my mind around all that hope declares and promises.  I will speak in hope and think about hope.  I will use hope as the anchor of my very fragile soul.

“Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.” – Psalm 31:24

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Best Selling Author!

I don’t know whether to cry … to faint … or to shout!! However … considering the great news that I have to share with you this morning … I just think that I will SHOUT!!!!

My new book, “No More Ordinary!” just hit #2 on Amazon’s Hot New Sellers’ List!! Are you kidding me?!!

“No More Ordinary!” is also #3 on the overall Hottest Sellers of the Day list on Amazon!!  God … You are so good!!

It is also #7 overall on Amazon’s Christian Spiritual Growth List!! Is this really happening?! Would one of you pinch me?!

Ever since I was a little girl in the second grade … my heart’s desire has been to write books. I knew that books could take you places you had never been and could teach lessons that were otherwise unattainable.

I knew that the power of the written word was extraordinary and truly life changing. I knew, at 8 years old, that within my ordinary soul were hundreds of books yet to be written.

“No More Ordinary!” is a rich and challenging look at what abundant life is at in its core. Jesus came not only to forgive your sins and take you to heaven … but He came to bring heaven to earth! He came to get heaven into you while you are living in the warzone of planet earth.

The life that Jesus came to give is a life so magnificent and unparalleled that even the angels gasp in wonder at the life that we have been given. If you want to live this kind of life … you need to read “No More ordinary!”

If you have already bought your copy, thank you, from the bottom of my 

heart! Now – would you consider buying one for a friend?

If you haven’t yet bought your copy – would you do me the honor of buying one today?

Now excuse me … I need to go shout some more!!

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"She Is..." Devotional

Introducing a brand new devotional...

"SHE IS..."  

Your mom story is different from anyone else’s because you ... your life ... and your children are unique. 

You were created to mother the children that you have been given by the grandest Father of all! 

Join us from May 1 - 10th, and discover that everything  that He is ... you can be also as you travel the exciting, often times tempestuous, yet always fulfilling experience of motherhood!  


  • Whether you are a mom of 1 or 19...this is for you!  

  • Whether you are a mom of babies, preschoolers, teens or adult children...this is for you!

  • Whether you are married or single...young or old...this is for you!

  • Whether you are waving the white flag or living the pinterest dream...this is for you!

 CLICK HERE  to sign up for the 10 daily devotionals (beginning May 1st and ending May 10th) to be delivered to your inbox.  We'll share funny stories, yummy recipes, specific prayers, tips from seasoned moms, and so much more!  If you've ever needed encouragement for the journey...this devotional is for you!

She Is a Warrior.  She is Tender. She is MOM!

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Today is a Treasure

Humbled.  Honored.  Excited. 

Unbelievable!  A dream come true! 

A racing heart … a dry mouth … a mind that pauses in wonder.

This week has held a red-letter day for me … but this week, the first week of April 2014, is not really where it all began. 

It started on September 7, 1960 … the day that my beautiful mother walked my sister and me halfway to the one room schoolhouse in the tiny village of Alabama, NY. 

Mom held my hand from the safety of our family home to the Methodist Church, which was halfway to school.  She kissed my expectant cheeks and then waved good-bye as I walked the rest of the way without her gentle voice and her guiding touch.

I was about to start school … the grandest adventure of my life!  Waiting at the one room schoolhouse for me was my teacher … a young Australian war bride by the name of Margaret Dombrowski.  I fell in love that early autumn day.

I fell in love with Mrs. Dombrowski and with school.

Mrs. Dombrowski didn’t merely teach me to read and write … she taught me to LOVE reading and writing.  Her impact on my young life was profound as she was my teacher for the first three years of school.

On the third day of the second grade, in September of 1962, Mrs. Dombrowski placed a book in my hands.  It was “Little House in the Big Woods”  by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I was in love with again … with Pa and Ma, Laura and Mary, Baby Carrie … and their good old bulldog, Jack!

I finished “Little House in the Big Woods” in 3 days and had read through the entire Little House series by the end of second grade.  I was not a child genius by any stretch of the imagination … I just simply loved to read.

While long division and figuring out the order of the planets gave me a headache … I would read anything that Mrs. Dombrowski placed in my anxious hands.

While I never was chosen first for the kickball team or learned how to do a cartwheel … I knew the delight of rolling words around in the caverns of my brain.

Can you really know your calling in the second grade?  I certainly did.  I wanted to write books just like Laura … and Louisa May Alcott … and Carol Ryrie Brink … and Maud Hart Lovelace.

I knew that my love for communication and the written word would never be a passing fancy but it might be the reason for which I had been born.

I knew that I knew that I knew that someday I would be an author … that someday I would write a book.

I grew up … went to college … fell in love … married the boy of my dreams … and began having babies.  5 of them.

And I fell in love again.  I fell in love with motherhood.

Hence, the childhood dreams of yesterday faded into the very real existence of wiping noses, changing diapers, dying Easter Eggs, hanging Christmas stockings and praying bedtime prayers.

But every January 1, when the McLeod family sat down to talk about New Year’s resolutions and goals … mine was always the same … to write a book.

While my children were dreaming of hitting home runs … buying a new bike … convincing their Dad to get a puppy … saving their pennies to buy an American Girl Doll … or being the president of their class … my dream never changed.

I wanted to write a book.

What I didn’t realize then … but I do now … is that during those years of Little League and tea parties … of piano lessons and roller blades … of puppies and American Girl dolls … is that I was indeed writing a masterpiece.

Actually … I was writing 5 masterpieces by the titles of Matthew, Christopher, Jordan, Joy and Joni Becca.

Every year, from the time I was 12 years old to the year that I turned 51, writing a book was my primary New Year’s resolution.  In case you have trouble with math like I do … that was 39 l-o-n-g years.

Oh … I had written hundreds of books in my mind and heart over the decades but never did I have the convergence of time, self-discipline and desire until the spring of my 51st. year.  Then … I wrote my first book and had the audacity to self-publish it.

What’s not to love about a book named, “The Rooms of a Woman’s Heart?!

Since writing the first book nearly 10 years ago, God has opened doors in the publishing industry for 3 other books.

Defiant Joy!” is the story of my battle with depression after losing 5 babies and the power that I found to battle that wicked emotion with the principles found in the Word of God.

“Holy Estrogen!” is a humorous, hopeful look into the world of emotions gone wild.  Who knew that the Bible talks about stress, anger, worry, difficult people and even broken hearts?!





This week, my fourth book, No More Ordinary!” was published by Bridge-Logos.

"No More Ordinary" is my attempt to challenge believers to tap into the life of God’s dreams.  Every day is a miracle!  There is no such thing as an “ordinary” day or a “blah” day when God is involved.

Life is a rare and priceless treasure!  Do not waste one more hour or even one more minute in the dregs of worry, discouragement or grayness.

What is your dream?  Perhaps today is your day to get off the couch of mediocrity and remember your childhood passion.

Why were you born?  If you are still breathing, there is still time to discover the purpose for which you were created.  Do it today!

What do you love to do the very most?!  That is where the dream begins that God placed in your heart!  Trust me … I know.

God has a life of “No More Ordinary!” for you.

Humbled.  Honored.  Excited.

Unbelievable!  A dream come true!

A racing heart … a dry mouth … a mind that pauses in absolute wonder.

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3 Lessons I've Learned From a Girl Named Cady

I am 59 years young … teetering on the brink of celebrating 6 decades of living!  You would think that I would know everything there is to know by now, wouldn’t you?! 

You would think that I would know why winter is so long and why children grow up and leave home and why bad things happen to good people.  But I don’t know the “why” of any of that.  I simply don’t know why.  I just know that it happens.

I have learned 3 new lessons this week the hard way.  I now have in my heart the understanding of 3 life truths that have been completely excruciating to learn.  I have learned them from a young woman by the name of Cady Morgan Lewis who married the man of her dreams only 9 months ago.

When Cady and Jordan were married on June 29, 2013, Cady knew exactly what she was getting into.  Jordan had just been told that the cancer he had fought 2 years earlier had come back with a vengeance.  Cady heard everything that the doctors had to say and married Jordan anyway.

She married him because of faith.

She married him because of hope.

She married him because of love.

"But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – I Corinthians 13:13

Jordan walked into heaven on March 20, 2014 … just 9 days short of their 9 month wedding anniversary.  Jordan’s healing is complete and he now lives and breathes in the presence of Jesus!  Imagine that!!

As I have watched this couple valiantly stand in faith, hope and love over the past 9 months, this is what I have learned from 2 young people, who although decades younger than I am, possess a wisdom and strength far deeper than anything I have ever tapped into.

  1.  – I have learned what true love looks like.  I have learned that true love is not found in Valentine gifts, honeymoons and diamond rings.  True love is found in the ICU, in choosing to sing rather than cry and in listening to what the doctors have to say but in believing for life anyway.  Cady’s commitment to Jordan’s life and to his healing are what true love looks like.  Cady loved her man deeply, passionately and thoroughly.  She had the resolve and strength to love when others would have given up.  I want to love like Cady Lewis has loved.  True love will always look exactly like Jordan and Cady Lewis to me.

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

2. I have learned how to stand in faith.  Cady and Jordan possessed a gargantuan faith that was never threatened by worst case scenarios, the grim diagnosis of medical experts or the severe symptoms that Jordan endured.  They continued to believe for a miracle healing until Jordan took his last breath this side of heaven and then Cady believed some more.  Cady’s belief in Jordan’s total healing never wavered.  Jordan’s belief that he would “live and not die and declare the works of the Lord” never wavered.  Jordan had more faith in his little finger than most of us stir up over a lifetime.  Whenever I need to stand in faith for a miracle again, I will remember the faith of Cady and Jordan Lewis.

 3 – I have learned how to continue to trust in God’s goodness when my prayers don’t receive the answer I so desperately desired.  My faith is absolutely not shaken in a God Who is always good even though Jordan now dances in the presence of Jesus and not on earth with his young and beautiful wife.  I love God more today than I did on June 29, 2013 and on March 20, 2014.  I love Him even when His answer does not line up with my deepest desires.  You see, I don’t believe that God said “No” to our fervent prayers for Jordan’s healing … I believe that God said, “I will heal him forever and ever!”

Whenever I read the story of Lazarus, I always wonder, “Jesus, why did You cry?”

Why did you cry when you were confronted with the earthly death of your dearest friend?  Was it because you missed him?  Was it because the people were saying, “Why weren’t you here?”

There is a stirring in my heart today that the reason that Jesus cried was because he knew how wonderful heaven was … and he was about to bring Lazarus back from that place where 23 year old young men are forever healed and whole and laughing and dancing.  Jesus cried because He was about to bring Lazarus back to the war zone of planet earth when heaven is actually the ultimate goal of every life regardless of age.  I believe that Jesus cried because we, his children on earth, focus on the temporary while He focuses on eternity.

So now what do we do?  We pray for this spectacular bride and for all of the todays and tomorrows yet to come for her this side of eternity.  We pray that Jesus, the God of all comfort, would comfort her broken heart.  We pray that His dear presence would envelope Cady’s heart and give her the strength to carry on.  And, we rejoice in the short life of Jordan Alexander Lewis.  We rejoice that he lived … that he loved … that he hoped … and that he was a man of extraordinary faith.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those whoa re in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God, for just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” – II Corinthians 1:3-5

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The Wonder of Now

I have been known to be guilty of longingly believing, like Scarlett O’Hara, that tomorrow will be better.  I am often convictable of gazing yearningly into the glory of the future unknown and then mistakenly dream about fictional days that will most certainly be exponentially more wonderful than any real today could ever be.

I am sure that I will make more money next year …

I am certain that I will lose at least 30 pounds in some magical month in my perfect and self-disciplined future yet to be lived …

My marriage will be better tomorrow … my house will stay cleaner next week … I will solve all of my problems in 2015 … and I will get to live at the beach very, very soon.

"Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” – Proverbs 27:1

But the simple truth is this … today is the very best day of my life.  There is no richer or fuller gift than the undeserved endowment of the present.  Today is the moment of miracles … the present holds the certainty of great wealth and the assuredness of an existence that is quite simply, too good to be true!

What is without fiction or exaggeration is that I am able to choose how much splendor I will wring out of today.  Will I slog through uncommon moments and look dull-eyed at all that I have been given?  Or will I embrace the ordinary miracles that rear their lovely heads in every waking moment?           

If my focus is fixed on the remote possibilities of tomorrow, I will never be captivated by the wonder of now!

" … And tomorrow will be like today, only more so …” – Isaiah 56:12b

If you are a mom, don’t wish your child’s life away by saying things like:

 “I can’t wait till my baby sleeps through the night … or is potty-trained … or learns to talk … or goes to pre-school.”

Indulge in the amazement of parenting that belongs to you today.  When you are up with a colicky baby, pray that this little heart will stay soft toward the Lord and that he or she will walk in their God-directed destiny in life!  Don’t waste time mourning over lost sleep but celebrate the quiet moments of prayer that are so vital to the person that this little life will become.

Treasure every season, every day and every unscripted opportunity to pour love, time and training into the child who will become the legacy that you leave behind.

"In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider – God has made the one as well as the other so that man will not discover anything that will be after him.” – Ecclesiastes 7:14

It’s not only mothers who deal with the propensity of believing the fantasy that tomorrow holds the treasure that today lacks.  It’s all of us in every season of life who agree with the falsehood that Scarlet so aptly stated,  “Home … I’ll go home!  And I will think of a way to get Rhett back.  After all … tomorrow is another day!”

What Scarlett was ignoring, and what you and I ignore as well, is that the choices we make today determine the joy and love we will experience tomorrow.  The investment of whole-hearted engagement in the present will assuredly bring a wealth of resources tomorrow.  However, the focus must be on living well today.

"My mouth is filled with Your praise and with Your glory all day long!” – Psalm 71:8

Perhaps you would like to spend just a few minutes of today making some declarations with me that have the power to unlock the beauty and glory of all of the “now” moments of your life:

Today I will splendidly and extravagantly spend time listening to others and not merely thinking about me.

Today I will celebrate my current season of life and not foolishly long for different days, experiences and activities than the ones that have been delivered to my doorstep on this day.

Today I will not worry about what I do not have but will gratefully share all that I do have with the people I meet along the way.

Today I will use my fine china for no reason at all!

Today I will sing without regret and say “thank you!” loudly and often!

Today I will smile at children … give words of encouragement to strangers … and respond to the love I have been given.

Today I will wrap myself in the glory of creation … whether it is in the sparkling and quiet white of a winter afternoon or in the firefly and watermelon moments of summer.  I will deeply inhale the luscious days of new birth that only spring delivers and thoroughly appreciate the color and harvest of an autumn afternoon.  Whatever season I am in … that season will be my favorite!

Today I will be the very best “me” I can be and I will cease creating the fantasy “me” of the future.

I will make myself at home in the pleasure of today and find the fingerprint of God in every moment.  I will listen for His heartbeat and for the song of life that comes only from heaven.

I will tie myself to the present … and be captivated by the gift of today!

“And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness and Your praise all day long.” – Psalm 35:28

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How to Be at Peace in the Busy-ness

My focus must remain on Him Who gives me peace in the storm

Whew!  Life can be busy and bothersome at times, can’t it?!

Schedules, calendars, appointments, errands, meals, laundry, relationships, budgets, career, family, housework, pets, parents, children ….

And the list goes on … and on … and on …

How does a believer survive in the midst of the crushing demands?  How can one remain a person of excellence while living in a world of mediocrity?

How can one person assure that life is consumed with the right stuff and not mere distractions?

On any given day of any calendar week of the year, the resolve that it takes to accomplish my “to-do” list is exhausting.  And you know what?!  I love every single minute of it!

Why do I love the busy-ness and thrive in the consuming schedule?  It’s simply because of one familiar Bible story that changed my life nearly 40 years ago.

"Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.  She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His Word.  But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone?  Then tell her to help me.”    But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things …

 But only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42

It’s all about what we choose to be the main part and not the minor part of our ordinary lives.  I have discovered in my extremely swamped life of deadlines, expectations, reminders, goals, dreams and commitments … that One Thing comes first.  One thing always comes first.

My focus must remain on Him and not on the stuff.  I must give to Him the first part … and therefore the best part … of my day.

It’s Christianity 101.

If you find yourself sinking under the relentless call of an overloaded schedule, you might want to take some advice from the life of Mary and her frustrated sister, Martha.

Choose the good part of life.  It is really all that is necessary.

Choose to spend time early in the day with the One Who goes to the heart of your issues.  Welcome Him into your life and set yourself strategically at His nail-scarred feet.  Listen to His Word with delight and submission.

Don’t be distracted with the voices that call the loudest.  His loving voice may actually be the softest but it is also the most important voice you will ever hear.  He wants you to choose to listen to Him and not to the cacophony that the tornado of the urgent creates.

We all have preparations that seem imperative at the moment.  Like Mary, and like Martha, we all must make a choice of value and priority in those intense moments of life.

Will you choose the things that worry and bother you?  Or will you sit at His feet and be captivated by His presence?

I choose to be in awe and wonder that He has chosen to dine with me in the hovel of humanity that I have built.

He chose to come to me … to my life.  And now, I must give to Him the best part of who I am.  Everything else is just stuff.

He is my One Thing that is truly necessary.

Deadlines come and go … demands change their tone of voice … the page of the calendar month will turn.  But He never changes.  He is the Constant in an unstable and urgent life.

Every one of us must choose.  We all have the opportunity to be frustrated or to be faithful.  We have the power to select those things that consume the best part of every day of every month of every year.

My choice is clear and certain … like Mary … I love being at His feet.  I love marinating in the Words that He speaks.  I love Him.

The miracle that happens when you and I choose the good part is that the rest of the day is ordered and productive.  I am able to move mountains of details and accomplish endless lists of tasks with ease and in a timely fashion. 

When I give Him my best...He gives me His perspective

And even when something remains unfinished … or someone is disappointed with my effort … or there are phone calls that have not yet been returned … or a deadline that looms still … my heart is at peace.  When I give Him my best … He gives me His perspective.

And so today I choose.  I choose the good part which shall never be taken away from me.  I choose a position of submission.  I choose not to embrace frustration, worry or bother but to celebrate His presence in my ordinary life!  

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Share the Joy!

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Help Women Live No More Ordinary!

Beloved Bible teacher and author, Carol McLeod, is on a quest to help women leave behind the grayness of a black and white existence to tap into the glory and grandeur of friendship with God - and would love YOUR help!

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We’re inviting you to become part of Carol’s social media launch team to help women live “No More Ordinary”!, (Carol McLeod’s new book project releasing April 1, 2014.)

Here’s how it works:

  • As part of the social media launch team, we’re inviting you to help get the word out about Carol’s new book, No More Ordinary!, through the social media channels you currently use - Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc - throughout the month of April.
  • Anyone interested in participating will simply fill out the form (below) and submit it to Just Joy Ministries. 
  • If selected, Just Joy Ministries will give you access to the “posts” for you to share on your social media. You don’t have to create the posts; we supply them for you!  It’s EASY!
  • Participants will then post three to four times each week - whenever convenient for you - from April 1 - April 30, 2014. 
  • As a thank you for being part of the launch team, we’d like to give you four gifts: a digital copy of "No More Ordinary", a 25 Day Companion Devotional to "No More Ordinary”; an Insider’s Guide:  10 Daily Choices to Living an Extraordinary Life; and an Exclusive Audio Teaching "No More Ordinary” by Carol. 
  • As much as we would love to, we cannot accommodate everyone. Therefore, the launch team will be limited to those who have an active social media presence. For more information, please email Just Joy Ministries.

To become part of the launch team, please click the link below and fill out the form.  

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God Size Dreams

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One of my heroines of the faith stepped into heaven this week.  Perhaps you have never heard of Ann.  She was a college dean of women, a marathon runner, a singer of songs and a dreamer of dreams.

Ann wrote books that changed my life when I was just a college girl myself.   Her books, although simply written, were heartfelt and stirring.  Ann helped me develop my belief that we serve a BIG God to Whom nothing is impossible.

Have you ever read …

“I’m Out to Change My World!”

“I Love the Word Impossible!”

“I’m Running to Win!”


When Ann finally got married at age 35 to a potato farmer from Idaho, she wrote the book,

“I Gave God Time!”

Ann and I both walked the long and lonely road of infertility and God answered both of our prayers.  Ann adopted 4 little boys, fed them ice cream cones, raised them on a potato farm with her husband, Will, and sang the songs of life to them.  After Ann adopted these 4 miracle boys, she wrote another book,

“And With the Gift Came Laughter!”

Ann’s spirit was contagious and her love for Jesus was all-consuming.  When I was 20 years old … I wanted to BE Ann Kiemel.  But God made me Carol.  Ann and I each had our own races to run and although they intersected at times … she was she and I was me.

If Ann’s life taught me anything at all, it was that we serve a BIG God and that He puts dreams in the hearts of His children.  Your dream is NOT the impossible dream because you serve a God to Whom nothing is impossible!

All you have ever prayed about … longed for … asked for … and dreamed about is possible because you serve a God Who is big enough to pull it off!


“Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we or think according to the power that works within us!” – Ephesians 3:20

God is capable of accomplishing far more than you or I could ever ask for or imagine!

You can never out-dream God!  I dare you!!

The Cistine Chapel started out as a dream …

Disney World started out as a dream …

Flying in a man-made contraption started out as a dream …

The cure for polio started out as a dream …

The end to slavery started out as a dream …

Women getting the right to vote started out as a dream …

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Your biggest, most gargantuan dreams pale in comparison to God’s tiniest, most miniscule dreams for your life!

“… according to the power that works within us …”

Paul’s God … and Ann’s God … is your God!  You and I have the same power that my heroine, Ann Kiemel Anderon, and the apostle Paul shared. 

In honor of Ann today, I am stirring up my dreams again.  I am making a bucket list of things that might seem stamped “IMPOSSIBLE!” but God looks at and says with a grin, “Yes!!  We can do that!!”

It’s time for you to dream again and to stir up the gift of God within you!

Stretch your thoughts … increase your delight in Him … enlarge your desires … multiply your prayers and petitions to the utmost

You honor God when you dream big dreams!  You honor God when your prayers are unrealistic!  God never thinks that a child of His is being presumptive in prayer … most of us are guilty of asking for far too little!

Whatever we ask … or even think to ask … our big God is able to do more … exceedingly, abundantly more!

You and I have been joined to Someone Who is more powerful than you or I have ever begun to imagine!

This was Ann’s prayer when she became a youth director in the inner city of Boston.  Today … let’s allow it to become our prayer as well …

"Jesus, You called me.

i am nothing

but You are everything

and i only make one request --

that You do things

so big

so unusual

that people will be able to look on

with such a sense of awe

and say it is too wonderful--

only God could have done it."

Ann Kiemel Anderson … thanks for dreaming big dreams and praying big prayers. 

Thanks for singing your song and running your race.  Thanks for saying a resounding “YES!” to God.

And Ann … just so you know … you really did change my world.

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Breaking the Lie that Abundance of Money = JOY

I am excited to share today's blog post with you!  My friend, Lauren Greutman of has asked me to share some thoughts on breaking the lie that abundance of money equals happiness and joy...   Be sure to click the link below to read the full article on Lauren's blog!

What is it about me and money?!  Why have I mistakenly believed for my entire adult life that in order to live a life of abundance I must earn a 6-figure income and have enough in the retirement fund to support me, my spouse and all of our progeny for decades of extravagant living?!

The Bible, which is my primary source of wisdom on every subject known to mankind and womankind, challenges my very Western, “gimme-gimme” type of thinking.  If, like me, you have falsely bought into the notion that an extraordinary life is tied to extraordinary wealth... {Continue Reading ... >>>}

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It's Time


I strongly despise … desperately abhor …  positively detest all things pertaining to winter!  (Sorry … I couldn’t say the word “hate”.  McLeod’s are not allowed to use the word “hate”.)

My strong aversion includes temperatures below 50 degrees … fluffy white particles that float down from the sky … icicles that hang around every window and along every gutter of my home … the words “wind chill factor” … as well as short, sunless days and long, artic nights.

But truly … deep in my soul … now listen to me …  this is no laughing matter … I am not a girl who was made for endless snow and long days of frigid temperatures.

What do you agonizingly loathe?

Perhaps for you it is potty training … or being a widow … or never having enough money.  We all have something that leaves our hearts hollow and longing desperately for tomorrow.

Maybe for you it is being single … or working in a dead-end job … or taking care of aging parents.

For me … it is winter.  And I live where winter is not just a slice of the year but is a very large portion of the year.  I live where winter starts in late October and sometimes lasts until Mother’s Day. 

And this winter, the winter of 2014, has been legend.

Do you remember the book, “The Long Winter” by our favorite childhood author, Laura Ingalls Wilder?  Now that’s what I’m talking about…

Since you now understand my peculiar pain … let me share with you the work that the Lord has done in my heart.

I am allowed to love sunshine more than cold.  I am able to continue to celebrate days at the beach and to smile when I remember reading a good book on my back deck in the summertime.

However … what I can’t do is complain or wish my life away.  The Lord had a heart to heart talk with me this Siberian winter and said, “Carol.  Stop it.  Stop whining and stop wishing away your life.  Stop it right now.”

How did He say that to me, you might wonder.  Well … simply the way He normally talks to me … through His Word.

“This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24

God has given me today and when tomorrow comes … He will give me tomorrow.  But today is my day and He is here.  He is in today just like He was with me yesterday.

If I linger on my pain and discomfort pertaining to a certain season in life, what I am actually doing is wishing away the joy of today.

If all I can think is, “32 more days until spring … 31 more days until spring … 30 more days until spring … ” what I am actually communicating to the Lord that He is not enough for today. 

He is indeed enough for today … and for yesterday … and for every tomorrow.

THIS is the day that the Lord has made … I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!

Are you wishing your way out of a season?  Do you h**e a particular season in your life? 

Are you just done with 2 year olds … or being alone every night … or dreading taking your mother to the doctor one more time?

Are you completely over the never-ending pile of laundry … or the stack of bills on the kitchen counter … or the lack of purpose and direction?

Then it is time for you to meet the God of today … and meet Him in the present tense moments of your life.

When God told Moses that His Name was “I AM”, I believe that God was introducing Himself to all of us.  He is the God of NOW and we must rejoice in the winter-like moments of NOW!

God is a God Who is strategically with us in the present tense of our life.  He didn’t introduce Himself as “I WAS” or “I Will BE” but He boldly declared, “I AM!”

Now … before you go theologically ballistic on me … I know that He was powerfully with me yesterday and that His loving presence will go before me into tomorrow.

But God desires to meet with us today … right where we are!  He is with us in the “I AM” moments of life whether it is a winter season or whether we are delightfully sipping iced tea at the beach.  God’s blueprint for living commands His children to rejoice today … in the dead of winter!

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The truth is this … you are His gift to today.  His presence in you is what makes today sizzle with possibilities … stretch with endless boundaries … and sparkle with heaven’s wonder. 

You meeting Him in a place of praise will warm up the coldest, most desolate day of your life. 

You choosing to worship Him regardless of wind chill factors or depth of snow will determine how much joy you will wring out of today.

Don’t give the weather so much power in your life!  Don’t give potty training … or loquacious office workers …  or the economy the power to determine what kind of day you will have today.

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Allow His presence to regulate the atmosphere of your life! 

This IS the day that the Lord has made … I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!

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Life's a Beach

Can you believe it?! I’m at the beach in February …. AH-H-H-H-H!!

(That was a happy scream in case you were wondering!)

What is it about the beach and me? 


At the beach, I have definitely found my “happy place”. The beach is the place where I often hear the voice of God clearly and miraculously speak to me from the thunder of the waves and the beautiful longing of the sunset.

So … today … in honor of the “Winter of 2014” … I thought that I would share with you some lessons from the beach!

1 – My life is so small. 


As I walk along the beach every afternoon, I feel so small in comparison to it all. I don’t feel insignificant … just small. 

My footprints are quickly washed away with the rush of a single wave.

No one knows my name at the beach … I am one of hundreds who walk obscurely.

The ocean is splendid and vast … all I can see for mile after ocean mile is the emerald blue of relentless waves topped off by marshmallow puffs of white. It ends only when it meets the horizon.

The horizon is within my human view … I can reach out and touch it with my eyes.  The place where the ocean joins with the atmosphere of earth is hundreds of miles away … and yet I can see it.

The beach is so magnificent and I am so ordinary.

In this culture of “me first” in which we live, the fact that I live a small life may seem disrespectful and initially ignoble. But it’s not. A small life does not always translate into unimportance. It just means that there will always be something grander … someone more fluent and famous … certain life goals that may never be reached or attained.

My life is a small life.

Don’t misunderstand what I am trying to say … it’s not that I am nothing. It’s just that He is the Something to Whom this small person joyously submits and answers.  What a wonderful realization that the world doesn’t revolve around me and my problems … but around Him and His promises!

That’s why I cling to Him especially at the beach. He is the only One Who can give my life meaning and purpose. He created me and He created the waves. I am more valuable to Him than the seagulls that sore and the sand that sparkles like a million little diamonds in the afternoon sunset.

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“My days are like a lengthened shadow, and I wither away like grass. But You, O Lord, abide forever, and Your name to all generations.” – Psalm 102:11 & 12

2 – My life is so significant.


The waves never stop rolling … the birds never stop diving … the sand never stops existing. 

Day after day after day. Year after year after year. Generation after generation after generation.

Regardless of weather patterns … changing seasons … high-rise condos … visiting travelers … or the time of day. The beach and all that it encompasses just continues to exist … rarely anything interrupts the pattern of the beach.  The waves, the wind, the sand, the birds, and the seashells don’t have a choice.  

My life is so significant that I get to make a difference at my moment in history!  I am empowered, by the Creator of the universe, to leave footprints in the sand of history that will never wash away. I do more than merely exist … I live at full-throttle with eternity in my heart!

My life is not pre-determined by the sun, moon, stars or even gravity! I work in tandem with God and all that He is to make a splash that is heard around the world!

My life is so significant!!

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

3 – The grandeur belongs to all of us.

On my daily walk along a two-mile stretch of the beach, there are extravagant, palatial homes and multi-million dollar condominiums. My gaze sweeps to include Spanish architecture … Southern plantations with pillars … pink, weather-beaten cottages … and nondescript cement block domiciles.

The farther I meander down the miles of beachfront living, the less opulent the homes become. While I begin this daily stroll in the middle of human wealth and earthly extravagance, I quickly find myself among the lives of those who live in weathered and run-down shacks.  However, the amazing truth is this … each home shares the same view!

Regardless of their address … the grandeur is the same!  Regardless of real estate price point … the magnificence is still breathtaking!  Regardless of architectural style or income bracket … the view never gets old!   I don’t know what your living conditions look like today, but I can tell you this, we all serve the same God! The view, as we meander through life, is not determined by our circumstances but by keeping our gaze on His glory!

As I walk down the beach, I determine whether to look at the living conditions on my right … or the unequalled view of creation on my left.  Will I be hypnotized by what man has made or by what God has created?!

My challenge to you today, whether you are spending a week at the beach or are frozen in time with a winter that never ends is this …Choose your view! Don’t look at your run-down circumstances but fix your gaze on His glory!

Don’t get too big for your beach … your life is not about you but it is about the God Who created you!  You are of vast importance to the Creator! He thinks about you more times every day than there are grains of sand along the endless seashore!

Take off your shoes and ruin your pedicure! There is life to be explored and celebrated every day … splash in the waves of circumstance and leave lasting footprints along your moment of history.

“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.”  – Psalm 139:17 & 18a

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The Gift of Joy


Everyone I know desires to live a joy-filled life.

Young moms and seasoned moms are desperate for it …

Teen-age girls long for it …

Widows and widowers search fiercely to rediscover it …

Empty nesters, single women, corporate executives, divorcees, and college students all wonder where joy can be found.

Depression and discouragement place themselves within easy grasp, don’t they?  Frustration and sadness are usually within whispering distance.  No one needs a GPS to find the blahs, melancholy or hopelessness.

If we all long for it so intensely, where is it? Where is joy?

Depression and discouragement are known for their strong and paralyzing hold on men and women like you and me.  However, I have found that His presence is well-able to demolish the chains of sadness and disappointment.

            Will you continue with me on this amazing journey to joy?!

A Baby Named Joy

There were a group of shepherds who were defined by an inky and black existence.  These men, who were the lowest dregs of society, spent night after hopeless night taking care of someone else’s dumb sheep.  These uneducated men had no chance of promotion or pay raises.  Their lives were defined by sheep drool, sheep dung and the perpetual echo of a sheep’s “ba-a-a-a”.

However, one night that began as the carbon copy of thousands of other dark, cold nights, the world of the shepherds was instantly invaded by the announcement of a great joy!  The heaven’s exploded in rare and glorious colors and the angels of eternity made a grand pronouncement into the hopeless world of the shepherds:

“And behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be to all people; for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”  (Luke 2:10-11).

The eternal reason the angels could announce joy had invaded Earth was because joy had come in the person of a Baby named Jesus.  Heaven opened its portals that night and joy splashed into our lives forever.  He came into our inky darkness and the joy of Heaven dripped into our world.

No matter how hopeless and dark your life seems to be, always remember that a Baby was born whom heaven had named “joy”.  The life of this Baby changed everything for every person in all of history.  His presence has come to earth and with Him He brought the joy of the atmosphere of heaven!

A Garden of Joy

I don’t know much about agriculture but this is what I do know:  when a farmer plants cucumber seeds … cucumbers will grow.  When a gardener plants sunflower seeds … sunflowers grow in that place.  It is true in every branch of agriculture and botany that you will always reap what you have sown.  If you plant radish seeds, you will not be harvesting carrots.  If you plant a rosebush … there is no need to worry that turnips will grow in that place.

However, the Bible makes one exception to this valid and scientific rule:

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting”  (Psalm 126:5).


If your life has been nothing but pain and sorrow and tears, let me assure you that your life holds more potential for true joy than someone who has lived with a white picket fence guarding the tulips of their life.  The Bible says all of your tears are going to miraculously reap a harvest of joy and rejoicing.

God takes the tears of disappointment and sadness, fertilizes them with His presence, and out of that place of deep pain will erupt an abundant harvest of joy.  You are never immune to this miracle or left out of this promise.

Only God can take your worst defeat, your greatest pain, and your moment of raw sorrow and turn it into His miraculous and irreplaceable joy.  Only God.

Here He Comes!

And now, if you are still struggling to find this solid by-product of His presence, let me just encourage you today to be grateful.  Spend some time this very minute in heartfelt worship and thanksgiving and before too long the ripples of joy will begin.

When you begin to sing in spite of pain and disappointment you will discover the most glorious gift of all … He has arrived!  He will come walking to you across the years of disappointment and gloom.  He does not come alone but with Him comes the dynamic gift that follows Him wherever He goes … the gift of joy!

*** This blog is an excerpt of Carol’s newest book, “No More Ordinary!”  To pre-order your copy today, click here.

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Journey to Joy - Week 2

All of our lives are a journey … a journey from somewhere to somewhere. Perhaps your life has been a journey away from abuse toward emotional and physical health.

Maybe your life’s journey has encompassed education, travel, and scintillating relationships.

Did you start life as a victim in a dysfunctional family and now you are proud to say that you have built a victorious family of function and faith?

My life’s journey has often lingered in the land of depression but I can confidently say, now, that joy is my home address!

Joy Defined

In the fifth grade, my beloved teacher, Miss Sullivan, taught her curious class of eleven-year-olds, that in defining a certain word, one should never use the word itself in the definition. The rule Miss Sullivan taught all of her eager learners is an accepted grammatical rule that most savvy writers and wordsmiths follow implicitly.

However, I have discovered, it is nearly impossible to define the word “joy” without using the word itself in the definition.

The Hebrew definition of the word simchah is: “joy, mirth, gladness; the joy of God.”

The Greek definition of the word chara, is: “joy, gladness; the cause of occasion of one’s joy.”

Due to my frustration at being a grammar elitist and knowing that substance is lacking by using a word in its own definition, I decided to dig deeper and valiantly endeavor to find the root definition of the word “joy”.

“Joy wrought by the Holy Spirit” was a definition that resonated a bit stronger in my frustrated soul because at least it gave some credit to the Holy Spirit.

And then, at last, I came upon this definition from a Hebrew dictionary I found among my father’s archaic library: “the blessedness that the Lord enjoys.”

Although this definition uses a derivative of joy in the word “enjoys”, I found myself completely agreeing with this ancient meaning found among stacks of dusty, dog-eared books.

Joy is the atmosphere of Heaven. It is the air God the Father himself breathes in every day of eternity. And because joy is Heaven’s delivered gift to me while I walk on planet Earth, it is my delight and strength to experience the blessedness that God on His throne enjoys.

Wow ... put that in your heart and marinate in it!

Joy is God’s gift to us as we snuggle into His presence and hunker down into all that He is and all that He gives.

You Are Cordially Invited …

Have you ever been invited to dinner at a dear friend or family member’s home and then been forced to sit and watch hours of family, vacation and holiday videos?  Well … consider yourself invited over to dinner at my life because I, too, am going to force you to view my journey to joy!

Last week, we lingered over scenic view #1 in this verse, You will make known to me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11

Today … welcome to scenic view # 2!

“Do not be grieved [or depressed] for the joy of the Lord is your strength”(Nehemiah 8:10).

You have an enemy who desires that you would live in a constant state of debilitating, relentless depression and discouragement. This enemy is unable to change the fact that you are Heaven-bound and have been guaranteed eternal life. He can do absolutely nothing about your entrance into Heaven’s gates. Since he can’t touch eternal life, what he attempts to do is to ruin abundant life. Don’t let him do it!

You have a God who wants to inject you with His joy because it is God’s miraculous, perpetual joy that will deliver strength to your life this side of heaven’s glory.

The devil does not want you strong. This diabolical laughing stock of a shadow of absolute nothingness wants you to be the weakest version of yourself possible and so he goes about it in one singular way: the devil attempts to steal your joy.

The devil is not after your marriage, your health, your finances, your children, or your relationships. What He is after is your joy and the way that he tries to access your joy is through your marriage, your health, your finances, your children, and your relationships.

Do not let the devil have your joy that Jesus died for! Stand toe to toe ... nose to nose ... with the accuser of the brethren and have a stare down. Hang onto your joy and declare in his face,

“Devil, you weak, whining, immature caricature of all that is not holy, you will never ... not ever ... not in a million Sundays ... or in a thousand eternities have my joy. One of us is going down and it ain’t gonna be me!”

If you release any of your joy to the enemy it will turn you into a weak, whining, and ineffective Christian because the joy of the Lord is your strength.  Other than your salvation, I believe that your joy is the most valuable commodity you have been given while walking the surface of planet earth and sucking in oxygen.

The powerful gift of joy is able to give you indomitable strength during your days of pain and trauma. If there is anything the devil hates more than a Christian ... it is a joyful Christian.

Hang onto your joy.  Don’t ever let go of  your joy because joy is what will give you the strength to fight and to carry on every day of your life!

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The Journey to Joy

For many years, I was a depressed Christian.  I loved the Lord dearly during those dark days and even knew that I was going to heaven when I died.  However, I couldn’t discover the joy of His presence on earth.  I felt removed from hope and peace.  The black hole of depression was my constant companion and my ugly friend. My depression was birthed in a nearly six-year battle with infertility.  I sent 5 babies to heaven who had only lived in my womb between 12 and 20 weeks.  Each conception was a miracle … and each interruption was a devastation.

My hormones were out of control … my hopes were dashed …  and my arms were empty.  Every morning when I got up, the black hole called my name.  It followed me around from the kitchen to the laundry room to the grocery store.

Although I already had given birth to 2 delightful, precocious, lively little boys … I knew that I had been created to be the mother of more.  Motherhood was my destiny and my calling.  Why was it all so difficult?

After losing 5 babies prematurely, I then became unable to conceive.  My body was in full-blown betrayal and everything that a woman was supposed to do was impossible for me.

I spent years on high doses of fertility drugs and knew the despair of a cycle of disappointment every month on day 28 … or 29 … or 30.

During these sad, frighteningly hopeless days, I developed an addiction.  The addiction of my own choosing was not found in over the counter drugs or in obsessive shopping.  The addiction to which I tied myself did not come in a bottle filled with an alcoholic substance nor was it attached to binge eating.

My addiction … my drug of choice … was truly a miracle.  While I was depressed and reeling from the pain of dashed hopes, unanswered prayers and a body that was betraying me, I became addicted to the Word of God.

During the days of blackness, the Bible became a source of joy and light.

During long nights of hopelessness, the Word of God spoke promises and purpose.

During months of discouragement, the Bible was a voice of encouragement and blessing.

My arms were still empty but my heart was full.  My prayers were as yet unanswered but I was falling in love with Him … over and over and over again.

I would go through it all again to know Jesus the way I know Him now.

During that season of healing and restoration in my life, I asked the Lord to allow me to become an expert on joy.  What a bold prayer for a barren woman to pray!

And now I eat joy … share joy … talk joy … enjoy joy … distribute joy … splash joy … know joy … and have built a life on the joy of His presence.

Over the next few weeks of blogging, I want to share with you the principles that I have learned from my addiction to the Bible.  Every week, I will be sharing a Bible verse with the word “joy” in it and what the Lord taught me from this particular verse.

Perhaps you can view it as if you are receiving weekly vitamins of the very best kind!  A weekly injection of joy in your dark, diseased soul!

I don’t know what has caused your depression and discouragement, but I can assure you that His Word is able to heal you and encourage you.  Believe me … I know from personal experience that His Word is a miraculous healing drug and a wise and faithful counselor.

Join me … as I share with you … my journey to joy!

“You make known to me the path of life;

in Your presence is fullness of joy;

in Your right hand there are pleasures forever”

(Psalm 16:11)


The joy is found wherever He is.

  • He is in every sunrise and sunset.
  • His presence is visible in the first flowers of spring and in the glorious leaves of fall.
  • His voice is heard in the symphony of worship and in the giggle of a baby.
  • His presence resounds in the roar of the ocean waves and in the majesty of snow-capped mountains.
  • He is found gently caressing His own in the trauma of emergency rooms and in the aftermath of violent storms.
  • He is found comforting widows and brokenhearted parents.
  • He is there in the humdrum of daily life when the dishes are piled high, the laundry is mountainous, and the bills never end.
  • He is there in unending days of loneliness and piles of tissues by your bed.
  • He is with you ... and with Him ... He brings the gift of Heaven’s joy!

When I am being overtaken by the deceit of my emotions what I really need is more of Him. In order to cultivate the joy of Heaven’s grandeur in my puny, ordinary life I need more of His presence and more time spent at His beautiful and nail-scarred feet.

When my joy begins to fade and is often replaced by loneliness or depression, I am gently reminded by the Holy Spirit that if I am lacking joy ... guess who moved?

All the joy I will ever need this side of Heaven is found in hanging out with Him. It is found when I relentlessly choose more of Him and less of me; it is found when I understand the value of intimacy with the Lover of my soul.

If you need joy to be more practical than poetic, perhaps these suggestions will propel you toward the possibility of joy:

  • Choose a Scripture that has the word joy in it and memorize it.
  • Say it again and again and again.
  • Sing a favorite song from when you were a child in Sunday school.
  • Sing it again and again and again.
  • Whisper a prayer for someone other than yourself.
  • Read your Bible at least three days a week ... then four days a week ... then five days a week ... until you have made it part of the substance of your life.
  • Sing at the top of your lungs while you are driving.
  • Invite some people into your home to pray.

Joy is a heartfelt and strenuous discipline that only the desperate are brave enough to choose.  I must choose His presence in spite of the world that roars around me.

For those who lack joy, perhaps part of the dilemma comes from looking for joy in all the wrong places. We mistakenly believe relationships will deliver joy, or that it is possible to purchase joy at the mall along with Gucci, Godiva, and the Gap. We think we will find joy at Disney World or at Harvard. Those pursuits, and many others, will leave you empty and lifeless, but the joy of His presence will fill you to overflowing and will give you the undeserved, miraculous gift of abundant life.

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Does your heart ever feel overwhelmed? Are you ever disheartened by your inability to meet everyone’s demands and expectations?

Some days my heart vacillates between being raw with paralyzing frustration and simultaneously stimulated by a thousand agitations.

In the midst of my obsessive mental processing and impaired human emotions, I starkly realize that in the insistent whirlwind of life, I still have so much for which to be grateful.

Yet continuously … the floods of demands, disciplines, people, habits, chores, vices and commitments create a massive quagmire in my life that can only be described by one desperate word, “overwhelming”!

The call of life is just so deafeningly loud sometimes …

David the worshipper … the man after God’s own heart … shares my incompetence at dealing well with all that life dishes out.

“Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer.

From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is overwhelmed;

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy.

Let me dwell in Your tent forever;

Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.”

Psalm 61:1-4

Although I do not know what specifically overwhelms you, I can assure you that though the source of your staggering obstacles may look much different than mine, the answer for both of us is the same.

“Hear my cry, O God!  Give heed to my prayer.”

When you are overwhelmed, take it from David:  the first thing you need to do is cry out to God.  We need prayer more than we need our circumstances to change.  Just going to my infinitely gracious God, Who is lovingly attentive in all of His ways, reminds me that I am not in charge.  There is Someone mightier and more powerful than I am Who is well able to bring relief to my mountain of stress.

From the end of the earth I call to You, when my heart is overwhelmed!”

There is no sin in calling out to God when you are completely and utterly overwhelmed.

The sin would actually be in turning to other less satisfying options.  Have you ever mistakenly believed that spending, eating, being entertained, going to the spa or responding with your emotions is what you need to conquer the overwhelming circumstances and events of your life?  Those things are deceptive distractions and possess all the healing power of a miniscule band-aid following open heart surgery.

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I …”

The second word of advice that is discernable in David’s prayer is that we all need God to lead us.  We need Him to take us by our human hands and then to guide us with His divine hands to a higher place.  He always wisely leads His children to a more secure vantage point than the circumstances of life are able to offer.  The benefit of standing on a rock that is taller than I am is that I am above my circumstances and therefore can see them from heaven’s perspective.

One of the most destructive mistakes that any of us can make during moments of overwhelming madness is to be led by our emotions.  Anger and impatience will do damage to relationships that may be difficult to repair.  I must humbly realize that my emotions often lie to me but God will lead me in triumph even in overwhelming times … especially in overwhelming times.

“For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy …”

When you are feeling overwhelmed, focus not on what is causing the irritation or annoyance but begin to declare Who God is.  Remove your eyes from your circumstances and set your mind, mouth and gaze on the only One Who is able to help you!  God is your safe place and will strongly protect you against the enemy forces of busyness, difficult relationships, a failing economy, health challenges and priorities.  He is more than able!

“Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.”

There is no safer, more peaceful place to be than abiding in Him and with Him.  When I linger in His presence and enjoy the safety of His Word, the overwhelming things of this earth truly grow strangely dim.  When His nearness overshadows all that calls my name, I am at peace at last.  The life that He gives is the life that I have dreamed about and longed for.

His presence miraculously empowers me to face another day of the demanding details of life.  The Word of God powerfully protects me and shields me from the rapid fire of life’s demands.  Prayer helps me to wisely focus on that which is eternal and not on that which merely stirs up a raucous.

So … the next time that you or I find ourselves in similar and overwhelming circumstances … let’s not walk but run to Him and all that He is!  I resolve to take a break from this mad, mad, mad, mad world and to set my heart where it has always belonged … in Him.

While others are juggling the voices, the tirade and the insistence of this temporary world, I will be the one with my hands in air, gaze fixed on heaven and crying with gut-wrenching desperation, “HELP!”

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I have a friend who says that one of her New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 is simply to be a better friend. Now … it’s difficult for me to believe that it’s even possible for this girl to be a better friend because she is much, much more than awesome.  She is caring, consistent, loving and kind every day and in every way.

She is a good listener and a servant.

She laughs at my jokes and has been known to cry with me on occasion.

She is always ready for a girlfriend date but doesn’t intrude or presume upon my time.

She prays with me … calls me higher … sends me Scriptures … and is one of my chief defenders.

Who could ask for anything more?!

The gift of a truly caring friend is a rare and priceless gift.  In your entire lifetime … you may only be given 5 true friends or perhaps 10 friends who are loyal friends … friends who bleed for you … cheer for you … and cry with you.

From the day I was old enough to run across my grandmother’s backyard to Annie Scroger’s house … I have loved having friends.

Annie and I had matching bikes when she was in the third grade and I was in second grade.  They were pink and white Schwinn bicycles.  Mine cost $32.  I remember.

I remember playing dolls and wearing our mother’s old bridesmaid dresses while dancing with imaginary princes.

I remember playing school with Denise Dix and taking turns being the teacher, writing on the miniature chalkboard and sitting one another in the corner.

I remember planning birthday events with Karla and the youthful addiction to staying up all night at pajama parties.

I remember reading the same book at the same time with the redheads who lived across the street and around the corner and then crying together at the end of the book because the story was over.

I remember playing endless games of Monopoly, Scrabble and Clue.

I remember going on long walks with Diane and dreaming of the prom, wedding dresses and babies yet to come.

Girlfriends … what a treasure this side of heaven!

It was during my high school years that I had a defining moment concerning friendship.  I realized that being a friend was not cultivated so much in what you did together but it was in how you treated one another.

Bike rides, Monopoly games and baby dolls faded in importance as I observed the way that girls treated each other.  I longed for a friend who I could trust … who wouldn’t gossip about me … who was faithful in difficult days and in good days … who wouldn’t betray me.

In a world of high school flirtations, drama queens and uncertain motivation, the Lord gave me a handful of girls who knew right from wrong … who knew the value of keeping a secret … and who were faithful.

Susie … Patti … Mary Ann … Diane … thank you for being my friends during the turbulent high school years.  You were … and still are … a treasured gift.

And now … in my adult years … the focus of friendship is not on doing or even on being … but is on becoming.

I long for friends who will pray for me and I for them.  I long for women in my life who will call me higher and show me what the Bible says.

I long for women who value Fruit more than feelings and esteem faith over facts.

I deeply appreciate women who aren’t afraid to accompany me through fierce storms and walk through fires with me.

I celebrate women who speak truth, sprinkle it with love, and call it “encouragement”.

Friendship, for me, in this season of life is more than pedicures, lunch dates and giggle fests.

It is infinitely more than chick flicks, accessorizing and commiserating.

Friendship is partnership in the Gospel.

Friendship is a twinship in prayer and in purpose.

I’d rather have a friend who shared a Bible verse with me than a recipe or a sale brochure any day!

The call of friendship is found in a woman who is determined that both you and she will walk in divine destiny not in mediocrity.

A valued friend will go to battle with you and for you.  She will roll up her sleeves, get on her knees and shout while the battle rages and the enemy fires.

Now … that’s a woman I’d love to go to lunch with!  And who knows … maybe we will even take time to get a pedicure!


I’d love to hear about your friends … from childhood … high school … and now.  What is the lesson that God has taught you about being a friend?

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