Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Words that Wound: Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones will break my bones
but names will never hurt me.

As a child, do you remember chanting this in self-defense?
I do and I need to tell you, it’s a lie!

For years I struggled with insecurity—feeling ugly and awkward because I wore eyeglasses as a little girl. That may sound like an exaggeration now, but when fueled by other’s words it wasn’t then. I learned all about sticks and stones and experienced the hidden wounds they caused.

I began wearing glasses as a nine-year old and had a gym teacher who called me unkind names like, four-eyed-monkey-face. In junior-high my science teacher announced to the class that girls with glasses don’t get asked out on dates.

I know; I’d like to give them a piece of my mind too!

Every little girl struggles with self-image and these callous comments only solidified the truth I saw when I looked in the mirror. I never seemed to measure up to the beauty I saw in others.

Years later as a young mother, I grew in my faith and relationship with God. During my prayer time one afternoon I sensed Him say, I love you and you’re beautifuleven your glasses. I have no idea where this came from, but as His words washed over my heart I began to sob. Then a peace I can’t explain filled me as I sat in His presence.

God is such a gracious Father. I experienced healing that day and began a journey of seeing myself through God’s eyes rather than the eyes of others—a journey that continues to this day.

The older I get my past becomes clearer. The healing of my hurtful memories is part of learning who I am as a child of God.  As I discover more about Him, He shows me more about myself and other areas that need His healing touch.

We all have events in our past that have roots to our present struggles. As we spend time in God’s presence, praying and listening, seeking Him through His word, the He uncovers hidden things and brings our brokenness into the light. Healing is the result.

As we share our story, others are encouraged and God is glorified. Romans 8:28’s truth of all things working for our good becomes a reality. Instead of the hurts being for harm, they become redemptive through the healing ways of God.

Everything that God has done for me gives hope to share with another person who struggles with a similar hurt. When I’m willing to share my brokenness, I’ll see His redemptive results. As I walk the path toward Christ-likeness, transparent about where I have come from, others will see an imperfect vessel touched by the Spirit of God.

Only Jesus Christ can heal and bring wholeness to our past. His desire is for our best and to take the areas of weakness and give us His strength. In our broken world Jesus offers healing for our heart through His Spirit who makes all things new.  

Sticks and stones made their mark but the healing we find in Christ is transformative because of the wounds He bore on our behalf. The hurt doesn’t need to define us—it frees us to become all He has for us through the redemptive power of His life broken for us.

How has Jesus ministered to your broken places?
Share your thoughts and join the conversation,

Tweetable: Sticks and Stones may break bones but names will never hurt me
Tweetable: Every little girl struggles with self-image

Max Lucado's book, You are Special:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Run and Not Grow Weary

Join my guest and sister in Christ, Wendy Coy as she shares about our seasons for running...I know I need God's strength to run and not grow weary. How about you?

My spiritual season changed that summer from dry and stagnant to my being flooded with opportunity and activity until my life spun out of control. I was more than exhausted, but I couldn’t stop.  No, I wouldn’t stop.

“I’m worn out,” I whined to my long-ago friend in her newly-acquired wheelchair, fully expecting either sympathy or a stern lecture. The sympathy I wanted; the lecture I would deflect. 

As only an eighty-year-old could, she slammed the door on my pity party. "That's good!" she said, jabbing her finger at my chin. "Huh?" My whimper slid down to my toes.  "You're BUSY. Do everything you can. Do it now, while you’re young and able.”  Funny, I wasn’t feeling young.  My menopausal body felt rather cranky, actually. 

“I’m old,” she persisted. “I can’t write, I can’t walk, I can’t do anything.  I help stuff envelopes now,” she sneered. “Envelopes!” Her finger jabbed again, lower and harder this time.  “Don’t worry about being tired. Now is the time to do as much as you can. Someday you won’t be able to.”

Dumbfounded, I nodded, swallowing hard. “Permission granted,” my heart screamed at my head, waving a huge banner, but my head still didn’t get it.

The seasons changed yet again, and another long, dry spell beat my willing hands into frustrated fists and crippled my eager heart. I waited for ten long, soul-deadening years. Finally, the door swung open on a new opportunity and I ran. No, I sprinted through that door. I pulled all-nighters, worked furiously, and I smiled.

There is a season to run; a time to dive into the deep end of the pool with one’s clothes on and swim furiously without stopping. This abandon isn’t politically correct.  This passion is not balanced.  Balance stifles, blinds and patronizes the heart’s running leap. There is no balance in the Kingdom. Rhythms of quiet and rest, joy and delight, restraint and energy, yes. But not balance. 

Jesus did not practice “balance.”  He taught until he had to run from the crowds to survive.  He healed “all who were ill” -- ALL. (Mt. 12:15, NIV). He went out to be with His Father and pray --all night. That is not balance, it is passion.  All-out whole-hearted running to the will of the Father, doing the delight of His heart and doing it with abandon.  He waited thirty years, but He ran like blazes for three.

 “They will run and not grow weary…” says Isaiah 40:31, after the waiting. There is a season.  If your heart draws you, and the pieces fall in place; if the door opens and you cannot be restrained; if the question comes and you must say yes, then run.  He who calls you says “Now!” It is your season to go “all-in,” to do the very thing you were created to do, to “leave no doubt,” and to burst through every door. 

Run, run my soul, and do not grow weary!
Wendy Coy is a worship leader, intercessor, prayer minister, teacher and writer — but primarily a lover of Jesus.  For more than 25 years, her passion has been to teach people to hear the voice of God, pray effectively, and minister the love and healing of Jesus. Wendy is the author of “Learning to Pray Like Jesus” (one woman’s journey to listening and healing prayer) and “Tough Stuff,” (an interactive healing discipleship curriculum for youth groups).  
Wendy and her husband Phil founded and direct innerACTS, equipping emerging leaders to minister effectively in prayer, worship and small groups.   At home in New England, she loves all things choral and music in general, contradances and Celtic bands, cooking, crafts, and creating community wherever she goes.
Join Wendy's blog at Road to Emmaus

 Find Wendy's books on Amazon:


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Shield of Protection

God’s favor is a shield. ~  Psalm 5:12  

Psalm 5:12 caught my attention - I love the imagery it portrays.
When I think of a shield, I imagine ancient warriors wielding swords while adeptly protecting their bodies with metal plate armor. To think of a shield being God’s favor takes imagination.

What does it mean? How can His favor shield me?

I remember driving on a dark and unfamiliar road, experiencing a near miss from an oncoming car. Once the car came to a stop, and my body quit shaking, I realized how close I came to being hit. A thank you, Lord, escaped my lips in a prayer. I felt protected that night and shielded from harm.

The Psalms are filled with instances describing God as our Rock, Fortress and Strong Tower. He is Almighty God, our Protector. He steps in and fights battles on our behalf when we need His help.

In the story of Moses (Exodus 14) leading the Israelites out of Egypt, God placed a cloud between the people of Israel and the charging Egyptians to protect them. He shielded them from their enemy, allowing them to cross the Red Sea all night without being pursued.

God's favor as a shield makes me consider that:

He sees me.
He only allows things that are ultimately for my best.
He is able to watch over those I love.
I can ask for His protective shield around me.
I need protecting from my enemies.

Tell of a time when you felt shielded by God. How might this have been His favor?


Image courtesy of 

Psalm 91 is a rich storehouse of God's Protection:

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Son of God - Movie Review & Winners of Prize Pack

Drum Roll..... The winners of our Son of God Prize Packages are, Dianne Butts and Jane Rattray. Be sure to email me your mailing address so Grace Hill Media can send your winnings. Dianne and Jane will receive a Son of God movie soundtrack, companion book and a jigsaw puzzle. YAY!

Son of God opened in theaters on February 28, 2014 and box office numbers show it to be a great success. After seeing the epic miniseries, The Bible, I knew I needed to see Son of God on the big screen. Son of God employs scenes from The Bible miniseries and adds additional scenes to create the story of Jesus' three year ministry on earth.

Disclaimer: Son of God is a 'No Mascara' event.

Son of God is the life of Jesus told from the perspective of John the Apostle. The story line follows the Gospel of John and despite a few instances of poetic license and small details (like Nicodemus visiting Jesus during the day rather than at night) it is a well done portrayal. The authors claim this is a story told in the spirit of the Book, and there are some scenes where a Biblical scholar would differ.

Yet, for me, seeing the story of Jesus come alive out of the two-dimensional pages of Scripture is a joy. I love His interactions with people and events I read and treasure from Scripture. His calling of Peter and Matthew are vivid. And Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee and the Tax collector during His meeting of Matthew - A powerful dramatization of the heart of the Pharisee who is bucking Jesus' every step and the humble repentance of Matthew as he answers the call to follow Christ.

Son of God shows Jesus' interactions with the woman caught in adultery, the lame man being lowered through the roof, and the feeding of the 5,000 - all of which made me rejoice inside saying, Yes, He is Able to do all things!

There is only one negative to share, though it is purely a cinematic one: The story didn't always flow like a big screen movie, it had a couple of abrupt scene endings reminiscent of commercial breaks. This wasn't a total negative, just an observation to the writers and film editors that I think better transitions could have been employed.

Overall, Son of God is a well done triumph of bringing the life and times of Jesus to the artistic movie world. Our society thrives on visual entertainment and the idea of bringing Truth to people's eyes is awesome. You can't help but leave answering Jesus' question, "Who do you say that I AM?"

Either we are willing to follow Him and accept His forgiveness and hope of eternal life through the cross, or we are like the soldier, Malchus whose ear was healed by Jesus after Peter severs it with his sword during the arrest in the Garden--Malchus appears to continue in His way of following Rome. Though a few times you see him reach up and touch the ear that Jesus touched.

I want to believe if I lived during that time, and if I encountered Jesus in such a powerful way, my life would be changed. Yet, Jesus tells Thomas, "blessed are those who haven't seen, yet they believe." His power and presence transcend time and His message continues to touch and draw lives until He comes again.

So, Go. See Son of God. I'd love to hear your impressions. Seeing the movie will give opportunities to talk with friends, co-workers and others in your world about the greatest events in history. His-Story.

And be prepared to answer, Who do you say Jesus is? And will you answer His call to, Come, Follow Me.

Many blessings on the reach of His message through Son of God. And may it create a desire for people to open His word to read more....


Get the movie soundtrack or a small group study guide just in time for Easter preparations at

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Ready for Spring

The winter has overtaken us here in New England. The coldest, snowiest, longest winter we can remember. We're ready for spring. But winter hasn’t shown any signs of giving in yet.

We woke up to 7 degrees outside this morning yet the birds were singing. As we sipped hot drinks by the fire, my hubby, John remarked about the birds-- "they have faith that spring is near, even if it doesn't feel like it."
We’ve heard a few chickadees. The morning sun is shifting in the sky. But, the deep cold keeps us stoking the woodstove and wearing extra layers. 

So, I dream of warm sunshine and things turning green, wondering when I’ll get my first glimpse of the new season.

I bought sunflower seeds when I was shopping the other day. I have faith, knowing that May 31st will be here so I can plant them. The thought of sunflowers tipped toward the sun makes me smile.

I’m envisioning my herb garden springing to life; the chive tufts sprinting toward the sky, blooming with yummy onion flavored flowers. There’s nothing like enjoying a salad with delicious herbs picked fresh from my garden.

There’s a lot of snow to melt before I can see the ground. We have another storm pending this week—so bring on the snowplows. I’ll have to imagine spring just a bit longer before it arrives for good. Good news is, we get to change the clocks and spring forward next week. That gives us a bit more daylight in the evening. Psychologically it’s a good thing.

Hebrews 11 says, Faith is the substance of things hoped for. God who made the sun, moon, and stars, establishing the seasons of the earth, will bring forth new life after the dormant winter months. Just like hearing those birds singing in the cold, it gives me hope.

What’s your favorite thing about spring?
Images copyrighted, Jeanne Doyon. Please ask permission to share.