For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
— Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

Finally, one day, during my time away seeking healing, I begrudgingly opened my Bible to this familiar verse and asked God to give me new eyes to see what I was about to read. I couldn’t see Him clearly in the season I was in. I loved God, but it had been so long since I had sensed His presence. I had almost forgotten what He looked and sounded like. Life can be so unrecognizable in the midst of pain, and yet I decided to look up the word plans. I was surprised to learn that the original word in Hebrew is machashabah; a more literal translation is “thoughts.” God knows the thoughts He has toward me. And His thoughts toward me are good.

For I know the thoughts I have for you, declares the Lord, thoughts for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.



​”We can be honest with God even when we are filled with anger or despair because God knows us thoroughly and wants the very best for us. Anger may result in rash outward acts or turning inward toward depression. But because we trust in our all-powerful God, we don’t have to be victims of circumstance or be weighted down by the guilt of sin. Be honest with God, and he will help you turn your attention from yourself to him and his mercy.”

-Life Application Study Bible plan on YouVersion

Interrupted Plans

The story about the feeding of the five thousand can be found in John 6:1-24, Matthew 14:13-36, Mark 6:30-56, and Luke 9:10-17.

We talked about a lot of things in Sunday school yesterday, but this brain-wave of what Jesus did when his plan was disrupted struck me. I never considered that the miracle of feeding those people was an act done during an interruption in Jesus’ plan to get away. Jesus and the disciples were trying to escape the crowds and they just kept following. When Jesus realized their retreat had a following, he turned and provided food for their souls and their bodies.

Accept disruptions as a part of the plan.

In the John telling, there came a point when Jesus realized that the crowd was going to force him to be king. That wasn’t just a disruption in the plan. That was a whole different plan, and it was not what Jesus planned to do. He withdrew from everyone entirely.

It is ok to withdraw when the disruption becomes too much.

A little later in the lesson, we discussed our roles in the miracles of God today. I noticed that in all of these miracles, there’s an approach to Christ.

Ask not, receive not. (Paraphrased from John 16:24.)

It was also brought up that miracles turn us into God’s storytellers. We are to share the good news of salvation through Christ, and miracles are a great way to point to Jesus.

In thinking about roles, we touched briefly on talents and gifts. What do we actually do with our lives?

I’m a Mom. My role is largely dishes and laundry. Or it seems to be! Pastor reminded me that it is also raising up my children in Christ.

I’m also a homeschooler. My thinking was to pigeon-hole all teaching (life skills, Jesus, animals, planets, anatomy, history, math, reading, etc.) into that homeschooling box. Disciplining, chores, and bedtime battles all fall into the Mom box.

The thing is… there are no boxes.

We are to live our lives learning, loving, and sharing for Christ while giving thanks in everything.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
— Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

Homicide and the Infuriating Grace of God

I’ve heard and read the story of Cain and Abel several times, but I’ve never seen it explained so well! This is worth the read.

Abel’s different not because of what he offered but because of what he didn’t offer. Abel doesn’t believe God owes him anything. Abel’s faith isn’t in what he brings to God, but in what God has given to him. Abel’s offering is a better offering, it’s simply an offering brought in faith (Hebrews 11:4).

Mastering Work When Work Masters You

Your work doesn’t determine your worth, Jesus’ does. When you look at the work you do (whether that be the paid or the unpaid work), what’s it worth? Your work is important, but it’s not important because of the name it will give to you.

Keep the work you do in perspective!

You’re not CEO. You’re not mom. You’re not entrepreneur. You’re not pastor. Those might be important, yes, but that’s not who you are. You are a friend of God.

I just loved this article. It is always helpful, and centering, to remember what your true identity is.

Read all of RJ Grunewald’s article. You won’t regret it.

OwnIt365 Day 3 Notes

Gen 6-8

6:9 Noah walked faithfully with God. It was Noah’s faith that enabled him to be saved from the flood, enabled the reception of the Lord’s instructions, and enabled Noah’s obedience.

Job 5

Eliphaz claimed God spoke to him (how?) – that he should be light hearted and secure despite calamity because God’s power overcomes. (v.17-27)

Gen 6

Noah had 3 sons: Shem, Ham, and Jepheth. There were 8 people on the ark plus 2 of every kind of aminal with 7 pairs of each clean animal and 7 pairs of every kind of bird. There isn’t a single animal I wish he didn’t put in the ark. They each have a role to play even if I don’t understand it.

In Noah’s time, no one would have likely believed him, and I would not have been any different. In the movie, Evan Almighty, I would not have believed the world would flood because God promised to never flood the earth again and God is the promise keeper.

In the movie, Evan Almighty, I would not have believed the world would flood because God promised to never flood the earth again and God is the promise keeper.

I imagine God talked to Noah face-to-face. After all, the Lord closed the door (7:16).

OwnIt365 Day 2 Notes

Gen 3 The Fall

First, there was something we couldn’t have, and then there was someone to entice us to have it anyway. Second, Satan cast doubt on God by his crafty questions. He also created a desire that wasn’t there before – the first example of marketing/advertising! Third, Adam and Eve lingered and considered. The more they looked, the more they wanted and the quieter the command of God to not to became. Finally, they ate. They disobeyed God.

Job 3-4

Job cursed the day of his birth after all the disasters struck his family, wealth, and person. He did not curse God.

Job 1:8 God was talking with his angels and Satan, and God brought up Job. It’s odd to consider God having conversations with Satan, much less to mention people. What if it was me?

“Have you considered my servant, Deb?”

Eek! Well… even so. It’d be all to God’s glory. I’d just read Job over and over again.

None of the trials Job experienced were a result of anything he did. God called out Job and allowed Satan limited ability to strike Job because… He wanted to? Had his reasons? To show his glory?

Do we need to know the specific “because”? God did so because he can. God is sovereign and I don’t have to understand his reasons to trust him.

Job lost his children, his property, and his health. However, Stan could not do what God did not allow. In everything, God is in control. That is very comforting.

Why God allows suffering…
Romans 5:3-5
We rejoice in our sufferings because they produce endurance -> character -> hope. And hope doesn’t shame or disappoint because of God’s love poured into us via the Holy Spirit.

My storms? Health, special needs children… yes, I have storms. Lord, help me to rely more fully on you!

OwnIt365 Day 1 Notes

I started the whole Bible plan from OwnIt365. I didn’t want to lose my notes. So, here they are:

God created everything from nothing but his will. God and Satan talk to each other. God is in charge and limits Satan’s actions.

Gen 1:1 “heavens” — plural? Maybe like we say peoples meaning “all kinds of people” … “all heaven” meaning nothing is outside God’s creation.

Gen 1:31a “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Why was it very good?

I’m reminded of Nancy’s fridge magnet: “God doesn’t make junk.” Maybe he said that to remind us that fundamentally, creation is good. The bad comes in with sin… everything would be good without sin breaking the good down. My imagination isn’t good enough to picture the world without sin – that’d be heaven.

My most favorite thing that God created is the stars in the sky – how ordered & beautiful. Least favorite is bugs that bite/sting people. The weirdest is probably man – humankind.

I cannot create something from nothing unless your talking abstract. God spoke STUFF into being and brought about life with his breath. I can only create moods with my words: tension, peace, laughter, etc.

Juggling the Kids’ STUFF

As I finalize plans for the coming school year, I’m often overwhelmed! There’s so much to do, so many different things to juggle, and so many ways to mess it all up. I can’t be the only feeling this way!

Lord, be with all of us parents as we plot out our plans and help us keep those plans in check with You. Grant my fellow parents and I peace and success – whatever that may look like. Bless our children with your love above all, and then a little bit of learning to help make life go well with them. Sprinkle in even more love and a lot of fun too. Thank you, Jesus, for delighting in each of us so we can delight in You as we go about life, not overwhelmed but free.

Leaders and Volunteers at Church

I got to join a gathering of folks who love Jesus and serve the community through their own awesome and unique ways at CrossPoint last night. So many people! It was a fun gathering, and I’m so very grateful for all the people that “bring it” to make church happen. We are the church. Thank you, Lord, for empowering us with your love!


“Grace is given to heal the spiritually sick, not to decorate spiritual heroes.” – Martin Luther

“Christianity isn’t for the Little Engine that can. It’s for the train wreck that can’t.” – Dan Emery Price

“We contribute as little to our spiritual birth as we do to our physical birth.” – Jacob Preus

“It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you.” – Tim Keller


Pray Before You Speak


Jesus Calling Devo

This devo from Jesus Calling really struck me this morning. I’m typically quick with my words. It seems sometimes that I’ve been trained somehow to be quick witted, sarcastic, and funny. That is a hard thing to unlearn, but I really need to!

I’ve noticed that things go so much better when stop taking altogether when I’m in a bad mood or angry.

I love the simple prayer, “Help me Holy Spirit” but I think I’d rather just go with, “Help me Jesus.”

Lord, help me remember to pray this bullet prayer before a word leaves my lips… especially when I’m upset or grumpy!

Prayer for Emotional Roller Coaster

​Dear Lord, remind me to pause before I react. Sometimes the stresses of life pull at my emotions, which cause me to have reactions that tear at my relationships. Please forgive me for poor reactions in my past. Thank You for second chances. Thank You for the way You prepare my heart for everything that I’ll be facing today, tomorrow and in all my tomorrows to come. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

– Lysa TerKeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministries Facebook Post

Gift of Faith That Saves

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
John 6:63‭-‬65 ESV

My faith in Jesus is enabled by the Father. Not even my faith is my own doing! It is God alone who saves.