This past year, many people have been suggesting that I watch the series:  The Chosen.  However, I grew up watching movies about Jesus–and while they were good, I thought this would be just one more like the others.

Recently, my mom started telling me to watch, “The Chosen.”  I don’t know if your mom is anything like mine, but my mom will suggest something, and then she will ask, “So, have you started watching “The Chosen”?  What do you think of it? “    In other words, she will follow through on her suggestion until her suggestion gets implemented, LOL,–so I started to watch, “The Chosen”.

I was pleasantly surprised.  It is not at all, like any show or movie I have ever watched about Jesus.  There is humor in it, but serious moments–great story lines–great character development.  This is really, really good.

Mostly, I love the character of Jesus.  I love ‘seeing’ the actor bring out the qualities that Jesus actually has: His grace, His truth, His kindness.His humanness, His divinity.

When I first heard Jesus say to me, “Follow Me”,  I was filled with wonder, and overwhelmed by His personal love for me.  As time went on, some of that wonder faded.  Life is hard.  I have grown tired.

This show, “The Chosen”–is reminding me of the days of my first love.  It is reminding me of the wonder of those days.

So I am recommending to all of you to watch the Series, “The Chosen.”  Apparently, people have been giving to Angel Studios, so that anyone, anywhere can watch this series for free. **What a wonderful thing.  God’s love is the only thing I know that is free–although it costs Him, His Son to make it available to all of us.  How fitting that the series that brings us this Good News–should also be free. Click here to go to Angel Studios to watch this and other things for free.

May we be encouraged!!

**. (f you already stream from Amazon Prime and Netflix–you can find, “The Chosen” series on them as well.)


Listening—-one of the best things one can do for someone who is grieving–is to listen to them–just listen–just be with them. So often, people don’t know what to say, and so they say–well–really stupid things–  Things to try to “fix”, things to try to make the one grieving, “feel better.”  Perhaps there is a reason one can’t think of what to say–perhaps the reason is–that nothing needs to be said, but instead listening needs to happen.

After we lost Sean, some dear friends who were in the Pastorate, met with us once a week, for over a year, and they listened to us–and they gave us books to read, and they “were there” for us.  During one of our times together, I was telling our friends–that I could sense God’s presence with me, but God was not saying anything to me–He was “silent.”

Recently, I was reading a friend’s blog–and she discussed this idea of listening, and she discussed how God is listening to us.  Suddenly, it hit me.  When I sensed God’s presence–but He was silent–He was listening to me.  He was just being with me.

He wasn’t trying to fix my pain.  He wasn’t trying to “make me feel better”, He was just listening.

Even as I write these things–I cry.  Lord knows, I need to be fixed.  Lord, knows, I need to feel better.  Yet God listened.  And in the listening, it was communicated, “ I am here for you.  You are accepted by Me.  You belong to me.  You are my beloved.  You belong to Me.  You are accepted by Me.  I am here for you.”

All these things and more were communicated in the listening.

Listening—sometimes it is the best thing, it is the only thing….that is needed by the one who is grieving.

I am sleeping again!! Thank you God!!

I want you all to know, that I have been sleeping at night again.  I am falling to sleep a little later, and waking up a little later, but I am sleeping!!

Again, I am not sure why I wasn’t sleeping, and now I am not sure why I am, except for the fact, that some of you were praying for me, and for that I thank you!!

During these times of stress, sickness and the unknown, many of us are experiencing high levels of anxiety for a variety of reasons.  I think sharing those feelings with each other, can really help, as we pray for each other and communicate our concern for each other. 

This ability we have to show the love of God to each other was made clearer to me when I was in my twenties.   I was single and on staff with Cru and had taken a group of students down to Florida to go to a conference over Spring Break.

The speaker was talking about the love of God.  He said that he didn’t think very many people actually experienced God’s love, were filled up with God’s love, and loved others with God’s love.  He said, the world would be a different place, if people really experienced the love of God.

I felt as if the speaker was talking directly to me.  Here I was, on staff with Cru, a Christian organization, talking to others about God’s love, but feeling so empty on the inside.  I was not experiencing God’s love.

I went out onto the balcony of the hotel room, (one I was sharing with 3 women who were at the conference, but were strangers to me, as they were from another college campus).  The room was empty, and I felt the freedom to pour out all my thoughts and feelings to the Lord.

I told Him that I felt empty on the inside, that I felt as if there was this huge hole inside of me that only He could fill, and I desperately wanted to experience His love.  I was crying and crying and crying.   Then I went into the room, splashed cold water on my face, and prepared to go on with my day.

Not too long after this, my roommates came in the room.  One of them came to me and asked to give me a hug.  She said, “ when I was coming up here, Jesus asked me to give you a hug and to tell you, that He lives in me, and when I hug you to tell you, He is really hugging you and that He loves you.”

My tears started to flow again…  Jesus heard my prayer, and He had sent another person—someone who was part of His Body, to tell me that He loved me. That void within me started to be filled.

When my friend Becky Crain died, God showed me His love through the Body of Christ, as they came to help her and her family in their time of need.

When Sean, our son died, Rich and I were comforted by God’s love, which was expressed through the Body of Believers as they came to help us and our family in our time of need.

The speaker, all those years ago, was right—the world would be a different place if we – the Body of Christ—experienced His love and shared that love with others.

Perhaps this is the time we can do just that….  When I came to you all, and told you that I was having problems sleeping, you prayed, God answered those prayers.

Perhaps it is as simple as letting each other know what we need prayers for….  Perhaps it is as simple as giving a hug, (to those we are not social distancing from), or responding to a financial need, or being available to give comfort and sending expressions of love through cards and phone calls.  

God wants us to know He loves us, and many times, He wants us—His body—to be His arms, to give those hugs, and His mouth, to say, “I love you”, and His feet—to run to help. 

Being loved by the eternal God is an amazing thing, and it is cyclical—I honestly think that  as we experience God’s love, we love each other,  and as we love each other we experience God’s love, and on, and on, it goes, and where it stops—well– it never stops!

So Be Encouraged!!

The Gift of Laughter

This week I saw a video of Ellen DeGeneres explaining why she was sitting next to President George Bush at a Cowboys football game.  She was funny and humorous explaining how this happened and her key point was we should be kind to everyone, not just to people we agree with and who agree with us.  (A timely and important message—by the way.)

Ellen DeGeneres also explained that she wasn’t really cheering for the Cowboys, but for the other team, the Packers, whose quarterback was her friend. She had to hide her Cheese hat, while sitting in the box.

That reminded me of something that happened to our boys when they were 9 and 11.  They had been invited to the local college coach’s box, as their good friend was the college coach’s son.  The home team was playing Boston College.  Boston College is their grandfather’s alma mater.  So- my boys wore Boston College sweatshirts to sit in the box.   Fortunately, their friend’s mom had a great sense of humor and was a wise woman.   According to my sons, she laughed at the sweatshirts they were wearing and then she gave my sons two oversized t-shirts displaying the local colleges’ logo to wear during the game.

We still laugh about this incident.  It illustrates the point of this blog—laughter can bring us together and diffuse tense situations.  It can restore perspective.

Here’s another situation where laughter saved the moment:  Just yesterday, my daughter was looking for an apple corer.  She had left this implement out –dirty on the counter. She asked me if I knew where it was.  I told her, I had taken care of it, my exact words were, “I probably washed it and put it away, because that’s just the kind of mom I am.”  Instead, we found the corer in the sink, under a plate.  I laughed and said, “Yup, that’s just the kind of mom I am.”  My daughter laughed, and repeated, “That’s just the kind of mom you are.”  We dissolved in laughter, and it was a bright moment for us.

I could have gotten upset with her for leaving the apple corer out on the counter– (we have rules about these things—rules that are ignored frequently.)  She could have gotten upset when she wasn’t finding it – (oh wait she did get upset) J  But laughter—diffused the situation and even made it a bonding moment for the two of us.

 Often, my husband and I can be disagreeing with each other, and then one of us will change the tone of the conversation, just by bringing humor into it.   We laugh and wonder what we were really getting so upset over.

After we lost our son Sean, I thought about that a great deal.  I would look back and wonder why I was getting so upset over so many stupid things.   The things I thought were so important, were not important at all.  In fact, most of the things I got upset over, were rather trivial in the grand scheme of things.    Jesus talked about this with Martha and Mary, (this story is found in Luke 10:38-42)—he said to Martha that she was worried and bothered about so many things, but Mary had chosen the better part, and that would not be taken away from her.  Mary had chosen to spend time with Jesus.   Mary wanted to sit at His feet and listen to His stories and treasure the time she had with Him.  I want to do the same thing—I want to treasure Jesus, the One who loves me and gave Himself for me.  The One who died to give me an eternal relationship with Him.

I am going to say something at the risk of people thinking I’m a little cuckoo – God and I have laughed together.  I talk with Him in my mind  throughout the day, just as I would talk to a friend, and He talks back to me—in my mind, and often, we laugh. 

 My hope for you is that your life will be filled with laughter— So Be Encouraged!!