The Cost of Passion

Today I’m joining Faith Barista to write about the passion God has put on my heart. I think the timing of this assignment is, once again, so perfect.

As some of you know, I have a marriage blog called, Messy Marriage. For many years, I’ve felt a huge passion for improving not just my own marriage, but helping others in their marriages as well. And I’ve had the privilege of doing this both in my career as a counselor, and also through the many churches my husband and I have served in over the years.

But I feel like there is often a high cost that comes with a God-given passion. Part of my passion’s high cost is the need to be real and authentic about my own marriage journey that has had more than its fair share of messes and mistakes along the way! It’s been hard, even painful sometimes, to be that honest, especially since my husband is a pastor and I am, of all things, a marriage counselor! (Don’t think for a second that God’s humor is not lost on me!) But God has convinced me that:

  1. Speaking the truth is where healing begins
  2. Everyone, whether they want to admit it or not, is messy now and then.

In fact, on that second one, my heartbeat is to normalize messiness in marriage because my hope is that by doing this some will come out into the open that would’ve stayed in hiding under the cloak of “all’s fine.”

But all is not fine for many. And God can’t help us if we don’t realize how messed up we and our marriages are—then surrendering it all to Him!

That’s my passion! I want to wave that banner. I want to face the high cost and personal embarrassment that often comes with helping others in this way. And the fact that I feel so strongly about that in the face of pain, convinces me all the more that it’s what God has called me to do!

Now, there’s a second cost that has come to bear with this passion. I recently shared that I’ve been feeling “down and out.” And I think that part of my problem is not having enough time for my passion. I’ve been trying to keep too many plates spinning in an effort to keep a lot of good things, like “writeontheknows,” going. So I’m facing a hard decision—that’s often weighed down with grief—to no longer do a lot of good things in an effort to do what is best.

Sadly, I must say that I will not be blogging on writeontheknows any longer. This isn’t a snap decision. I’ve prayed about it and thought about it for a long time. And because I really love this blog, this is a very painful decision for me to make, especially since I have some recent subscribers. I hate pulling the plug for them so abruptly. But this is what I feel I must do.

For those of you who are interested in the subject of marriage however, please stop by my other blog passion: because that’s where I’ll be camping out from now on!

Today’s Post is linked to


I’m Down and Out

I must admit it . . . my faith is weak right now.

I’m tired of trying to figure out why. There are plenty of reasons “why,” but they don’t really matter anymore. The fact is, I’m here in a valley and I want to find the road outta here fast!

I’ve prayed like the man who came to Jesus asking the Master to heal his demon-possessed son, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”(Mark 9:24) It sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? If I say I believe, then why is there still unbelief? After all, I do believe God can do all things.

The thought that is on the surface for me, is that I doubt myself. I’ve believed God has called me to do a certain task, and now I’m looking at myself (not a pretty sight!) and I’m looking at my seemingly lousy circumstances and figuring that I’ve been wrong.

I didn’t really hear God’s voice.

But then again, I think that’s sort of a cop out. God doesn’t really need me to be special in order to do His will. So when I look deeper, I see that I actually have a lack of faith in God because my circumstances aren’t panning out like I think they should.

But who am I to know what God’s will or activities look like? How do I know whether He is busy in the unseen spiritual realm making huge changes or not?

When I look back on my life and study the silent or quiet times of my walk with God (and there are plenty of those to choose from), I see that very often those were the times God was the busiest. Sure, He might not have been busy with my circumstances on those occasions, but He was busy in a bigger and more profound way in my heart. Oh, how I pray that is true this time around!

Are you facing a challenge in your life right now that has you questioning God?

Have you prayed about a certain matter over and over and still there’s no visible change in your circumstances?

Would you be willing to share what you’re struggling with in my comment section?

And if you’re not struggling, would you mind praying for me that Christ would help me to overcome my unbelief?

Thanks so much, Friends!

This post is linked toNo Ordinary Blog Hop and

Product Details Over my vacation I read Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love (not to be confused with the summer blockbuster, Crazy, Stupid, Love). I have a lot of respect for this man, so I was really looking forward to this read. I have seen him speak and I feel like he can be a riveting and powerful speaker, but I found the book to be a bit dry at times. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy or feel inspired by this book in many ways.

I really, really did!

In fact, there were many very convicting chapters and concepts, especially towards the middle section of the book. But both the beginning and the end of the book did not hold my interest as much as I was expecting they would. I did appreciate the fact that he included video clips on his book website, I felt this resource enhanced my reading experience.

Overall, I do feel as if I have been challenged to be more giving and loving. I really felt convicted during chapter four, “Profile of the Lukewarm.” It was almost painful to read through that chapter! I felt the same way about chapter eight, “Profile of the Obsessed.”

Francis Chan has a gut-level honest way of saying the truth that reminds me of one of my all-time favorite modern-day “prophets,” the late Keith Green. You feel convicted to your core, but also a little bruised and weary at times too. Don’t get me wrong. He never says something in a judgmental way. He simply brings light to the sharp and penetrating* power of God’s Word.

After reading this book, I am moved to be more loving, more givingmore like Christ. I don’t want to live my life for my own personal desires and goals, but instead for Christ’s purposes and glory. To do anything less than that is falling short of my calling as a believer, as a Christian.

Even with my slight disappointment, I still feel like Francis Chan packs a powerful punch in Crazy Love . . .

So I would give his book an A- rating.

If you are a believer and looking to hone your purpose in life, this book will give you many things to think about and even more things to get busy doing!

*Hebrews 4:12

Today’s post is linked to – No Ordinary Blog Hop and

For the past two weeks I’ve been on vacation. (In fact, I’m still relaxing at my In-laws cabin in Dandridge, Tennessee as I type!) But I wanted to share some of the highlights from our trip so far . . .

Our first stop was at King’s Dominion Amusement Park near Richmond, Virginia.

The guys especially liked the “Intimidator” with such amazing drops that you nearly black-out at the end! Oh, and don’t forget to compare my youngest, Braden’s, hair with the first pic. I think that gives you a visual of the rush of air you encounter on these rides!

A quick stop at Colonial Williamsburg just in front of the Governor’s Palace.

A nice shot on Virginia Beach of my three good-looking sons.

We took a little tour of Cape Henry’s lighthouses – one of which was the first built in America.

We went to Steven Furtick’s church, Elevation, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Elevation posts all of their sermon series they’ve had over the years on this wall. (BTW, Steven wrote the book, Sun Stand Still. Check out my review of his book here.)

My Mom and Me

This month’s challenge for the Hearts at Home Blog Hop is – How are you like your mom and how are you different?

Moms are such an important part of life. In fact, God thought so highly of moms that He decided to begin each or our lives with a mom! So I totally agree that it’s important to reflect on our moms every now and then.

My mom loved God and His Word. You could always find her sharing a scripture of encouragement or wisdom to me and my brother and sister. I don’t think I’ve shared scripture with my children as much as my mom did with me and my sibs. It is something I’m grateful for. I think I’ve certainly gained a love of God’s Word from her and have been trained to see its usefulness from her example. What a great gift she gave!

My mom was also a powerful woman who never fully realized the power God had given her. She always had an opinion and was not afraid to voice it. She influenced me in too many ways to elaborate on here. But I definitely think I’m like her in my desire to be powerful.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I want to be powerful in physical strength. I’ll leave that to my college and teen-age sons who like to lift weights and build their manly physiques! Haha!

But I want to be powerful in helping others learn from me what I’m learning from God on a daily basis. That’s what my mom tried to do and often did more than she ever realized. And that’s where my mom and I are somewhat different. I realize that I am powerful. Not that I am powerful by my own might, mind you! But I realize I’m powerful whenever I let God work through me to help others.

I think my mom sometimes realized that, but often lost sight of how God was using her due to her insecurities. Those insecurities kept her bound and limited in her impact. Don’t get me wrong, I have insecurities too, but God has freed me from so many of them over the years.

Come to think of it—I don’t know, but it seems like God has blessed me more in that way than my mom. I won’t try to understand that disparity. But because my mom loved me, I don’t think she would mind that God has blessed me more in “that way” than she was blessed . . . because, after all, moms are generous and self-sacrificing like that!

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Afraid of Silence

What do you think having the “gift of gab” means?

In searching it out, I’ve found contradictory definitions. But one that seems to be prevalent is: “Having the gift of being able to speak easily and freely.”

I have to admit that I have envied these kinds of people in the past. Conversation, especially in a formal setting, doesn’t exactly come easily for me. But fire up my computer, and the words just flow like Popsicles melting on a 100 degree day! (That’s something we’ve been experiencing all too often around here in the midwest!)

Now I know there are those with this “gift” who clearly know how to include another person within a conversation. But sometimes conversing with someone who has the gift of gab, is like driving the wrong way on a one way street—you just might get run over by your chatty friend!

Please know that I am not just airing a pet-peeve here. I’m sending out a reminder to every one who tends to talk a little too much and not listen enough (and yes, that can be me too)! . . . 

We don’t need to be afraid of the silence.

Remember the old saying, “Silence is golden?” That phrase probably was written by a frustrated friend of a “Chatty Cathy.”

Why do we need silence in a conversation?

  1. It brings calmness to the conversation.
  2. It offers the opportunity to think about what has just been said.
  3. Believe it or not, it allows for connections to form.
  4. Obviously, it offers the other person the opportunity to share his or her thoughts, which gives a sense of mutual enjoyment.

Here’s why I think some people are afraid of silence:

  1. Silence means I’m allowing you to accept or reject me.
  2. Silence means I’m trusting you enough to wait on you.
  3. Silence means I’m trusting that you’ll still find me interesting when I’m quiet.
  4. Silence means I’m willing to give up control.
  5. Silence means I’m willing to open up and let you approach me.

If you want to have intimate, close friendships, remember that silence is not a dead-end street, but a bridge to gap the distance between you and your friend.

For more thoughts on how to be more engaging in conversation, check out my past post: 2 Kinds of Listening.

Today’s post is linked to – No Ordinary Blog Hop

Have you ever taken a spiritual gift inventory?

Very often they can be a helpful tool in pinpointing exactly how God has specifically designed you for His purposes.

Moses being inspired about a new blog post?

On many spiritual gift inventories, I’ve scored high on the gift of “prophecy.” That doesn’t specifically mean that I have the urge to go around preaching damnation to every hooker on the corners of all busy inner-city streets! But it certainly means that I’m drawn to “the truth” of God’s Word and want to share that “truth” in many ways with others—hence, my blogging takes on a whole new meaning.

But along with every “gift” or “talent” that God gives us, there’s this other-side of that same coin, that can be negative, even hurtful.

And the negative, hurtful side of being a truth-teller is an inability to have compassion or extend grace.

I’m not saying that I can’t have both in my life at the same time, but it is often a difficult balance for me to strike. I have to really lean into God, asking for His grace, when I am feeling a conviction rising up within me (especially when that conviction involves perceptions about other’s wrong-doing!).

God has been showing me this area of weakness for a lot of years. And although I think I’ve softened somewhat over the years, I still tend to err to the side of cold, hard truth. There isn’t anything that can get my blood boiling more than when a lie is being believed/propagated or when an injustice is being committed.

But when it comes to having compassion for those who make those same mistakes, I often fall short.

One way that I’m trying to work on this weakness in my life is by biting my tongue. I’ve realized that I’m not the only person in the world who can recognize God’s truth. I’ve realized that God often uses my love and compassion to influence others toward change more than my harsh words of challenge. I’ve realized that God is a lot more active than I give Him credit for. It’s not just up to me to set the wayward straight. The Holy Spirit’s got that gig down already.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I should never confront someone.

But I think I tend to feel that God cannot reveal a sin to someone without my help!

How arrogant is that?!

Which leads me to my next way of dealing with this weakness—I release the person/situation through prayer to God. I pray that God would convict, provide, direct, whatever for that person and trust God to do just that.

If I’m still in doubt about whether I should say something, I pray that God would strongly urge me to take a specific step perhaps of confronting. But then I always need to “speak the truth in love.” It’s a delicate balance that I hope to have figured out by the time I’m 90 or so!

So, what spiritual gift has God given you that sometimes trips you up?

And, how do you positively deal with that hurtful side when it emerges?

Today’s post is linked to Faith Barista and answers the question – What has God been saying to me in my time alone with Him?


“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:1-2 (NLT)

I admit it.

I’m a wimp when it comes to pain.

If there is a way to go around it, then I’m all about finding that way! But when I read this passage in 1st Peter the other day, I was convicted about my approach to life.

My Current Approach…

  • When my husband hurts my feelings, I’d rather set him straight than swallow my pride and forgive his misstep.
  • When I encounter someone who is antagonistic toward Christ, I’m dodging the subject and the discomfort it brings to share my faith.
  • When my kids need correction, I don’t always correct them with patience and thoughtfulness. Instead, I’ll unload my frustrations on them as a way to stop their bad behavior and feel relieved all in one!
  • When someone gets the very things I’ve wanted but have not received, I find it easier to fall into the arms of envy or even bitterness than to trust God’s goodness and justice.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. I do these kinds of sick tricks every day—dodging the pain and suffering of being a fully devoted follower of Christ.

But did you notice what Peter says in verse one? He says that in order to be “finished with sin,” we must suffer! I don’t think I’ve ever thought about this concept fully until today. I’ve known that pain and suffering are the tools God often uses to refine and develop us. But I’ve never thought about it being the way to close the door on sin.

Now, I realize that as long as I’m alive and breathing, I will sin. But perhaps I will sin less if I surrender to the pain in my life—and dare I say it—even embrace pain?

Please hear me! I’m not saying that we should all go out and look for or conjure up pain. But perhaps we should welcome it when it comes. Perhaps pain is a blessing in disguise. And if I realized just how much God is using pain in my life to help me sin less, then wouldn’t my entire attitude change when trouble comes my way? I think so!

I don’t know if I’m there yet—ready to embrace or welcome pain—but I’m willing to think differently when pain comes my way next time.

How about you?

Do you think this would make a difference in your life?

How would it make a difference?

Fill ‘er up!

Meditation is a cultural buzz word these days. I hear it everywhere from Dr. Oz to Julia Roberts. It seems as if this word is thrown around like a Frisbee to anyone who wants to play! And I know that I’m stepping into controversial waters with some, but I just have to say . . .

I don’t believe that Christian meditation and eastern meditation (or perhaps more appropriately, “popular meditation”) are the same thing.

Eastern mediation involves emptying your mind. Your only focus—if any—should be on your breathing. The goal is to reach the state of No Mind,” which is praised in Zen literature.

In contrast, Christian meditation is about filling your mind with God’s truth, His Word and listening for His still small voice. Instead of pursuing “No Mind,” it is taking on the Mind of Christ.”

First of All

I think many are being duped into thinking that one is as good as the other. In my opinion, there is no comparison. One may bring calmness, but the other brings truth and life. I also believe that although eastern meditation may bring a sense of calmness, it’s a dangerous practice that leaves you open and vulnerable to spiritual influences. Remember, you are to . . .

“Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life.”  Proverbs 4:23 (CEV)


“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:11 (NLT)

Second of All

Even though “meditation” has become popular in our culture, for Christians, it is an often neglected yet important spiritual practice. Just as our gas tanks run empty, so do our spiritual tanks. We need to “fill ‘er up” so to speak and here are some ways to do so with meditation . . .

Ways to Meditate

  1. Memorize a Bible verse and meditate on it when you’re facing a stressful, tempting or painful moment.
  2. Pray a Bible verse, using your name or personal pronouns where appropriate.
  3. Read over a special verse, stopping and focusing on the first word to really absorb its meaning. Then reread the verse focusing on the second word this time. Repeat until each word has been given special focus. Consider if the verse has taken on a new meaning to you.
  4. Envision a Bible passage, such as the 23rd Psalm. Imagine a scene with Christ, as your Shepherd, leading you beside still waters, etc. What does it feel like? Look like? Smell like?

These are just a sampling of ways. It certainly is not an exhaustive list.

Do you have some ways that you meditate on God and His Word? If so, share your ideas with us!

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Looking for Completeness

Today’s post is part of the Heart’s at Home Blog Hop for the month of June.

And this month’s blog hop is to answer the question, If I could go back in time and tell my teenage self one thing, what would it be?

My parents didn’t have a great marriage. So I remember thinking in my teen years that I would make it my mission to find a great guy, and not only escape my difficult family of origin, but also show my parents how to have a great marriage.

Ahhh, ignorance is bliss!

I took my idealistic and naïve notions with me into my dating relationships, often driving some of my boyfriends crazy! And, honestly, running a few boyfriends off!

When I finally met the guy that would become my husband, we ended up repeating a lot of the patterns that my parents had in their marriage—surprise, surprise!

But if I could’ve whispered into my teenage ear before any of that occurred, I would say . . .

Quit running after an ordinary man to be who the extraordinary Christ should be in your life—the first true love of your life!

Thankfully, all along the way, God was the One whispering this truth in my ear. And at some point, I actually listened and realized that He was right. Imagine that?!

I want to clarify at this point that I am not in any way saying I regret marrying my husband. I am so, so happy to be married to my husband, Gary. But I do know that I’ve put him, our kids and myself through so much more drama because I believed that Gary could and should complete me.

Looking back, I know that God used (and continues to use) all of the people in my life and especially my husband to act as “iron sharpening iron,” so His will was not thwarted by my unrealistic expectations. But I also realize that my compulsion to be in a relationship and eventually marriage, made my spiritual and emotional maturation process much more complicated, difficult and slow.

So, even though I can’t really speak to my teenager self, I hope that this will be a resounding statement to any of you (of any age) who are rushing into a relationship . . .

Don’t pursue a soul-mate or spouse until you can say that Christ is and will continue to be your first love.

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