Wednesday, February 12, 2014

To Live the Width of Our Life

From a Mother's Heart to Her Daughters...

Dear Daughters,
Today our hearts are heavy again, grieving for a life ended by cancer at an age too young. You knew her, you went to school together. Cancer doesn't care who it chooses but this classmate of yours fought it hard. Kori may have only live a few short years-20 was it? But she lived it wildly doing more than most of us do in our lifetime. Amazing.

The length of her days may have been shorten in our view but she live the width of those days. She lived well. Can we say that? Her testimony was about serving and loving loud and Jesus was spoken in her actions and in her words.

Girls, our hearts breaks for her family in this loss but our faith should help us celebrate her life. May her legacy motivate us all to not just live the length of our day but the width of our days. May Kori's testimony spur us to live loudly and to cling to Jesus.

Reach out to others girls. Serve fervently. Find your purpose and live each day with all you got!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Snake Eggs in Your Head

From a Mother's Heart to Her Daughters

Girls, the next 5 words may be the wisest words I could pass on to you. I ashamedly know these words all too well...

Every Sin Begins With a Thought.

Jentezen Franklin has really nailed this thought in his book "The Spirit of Python: Exposing Satan's Plan to Squeeze the Life out of You".  That's what sin takes parts of your life away from you, it can even take your life.

Satan has been referenced as a snake in the Bible. In Genesis, the serpent (satan) persuaded Eve to sin and satan is no different today. As a snake lays eggs to hatch more of its kind, so too does satan lay eggs in our life to keep us from what God created us to do. Whether though another person, media, music or whatever, we see, we like, we want. Sometimes this can be used to produce good in our life. Sometimes it only produces something bad in our life.

Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. ~ James 1:15

The greatest battle for your soul is not the war going on between angels and demons; it is the war going on between your ears. The battle  starts with how you think and the "snake eggs" you allow the enemy to lay in your head." ~Jentezen Franklin, The Spirit of Python

What you allow your eyes to see, your ears to hear, your mouth to speak effects your being. It effects your atmosphere. It flows into your living.

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:35 (RSV)

We allow images or thoughts to take over our mind because we think it will make us happy or fulfill a desire. The constant thinking on these things, be it good or bad, will eventually work its way into our heart.

The eye is a light for the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. And if the only light you have is really darkness, then you have the worst darkness. ~ Matt 6:22-23 (NCV)

Eventually these images or thoughts becomes an action. Satan can convince you that it (the imagine or the thought) is good for you. Maybe its the thought of a relationship with someone, a party to go to, whatever it is, the more you think about it, the more satan will feed into it if it is wrong for you.

The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down the strongholds erected against His truth. We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.  ~ 2 Cor 10:4-5 (The Voice)

You have to make it a habit to measure your thoughts against Christ or his Word to know if it is something you should allow into your life. You can't control every thought that comes into your mind but you can control how long you dwell on it.

Don't let stans eggs be planted!! Don't let the things of this world influence you away from the things of God. In his book, Jentezen reminds us that the devil works like a python to restrict your growth and limit your influence. When a python squeezes its victim, not only does the breath stop but its movement is also completely restricted

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. ~ Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Anchor your heart and your mind in Christ. It is your only protection against the python!

I love you!!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

No Resolutions, Just a Revolution

From a Mother's heart to Her Daughters...

Dear girls,
A new year quickly approaches and many people will make a fresh start, claim new year resolutions, and hope for something better. I heard a pastor James Merritt (from Touching this morning speak to this and he gave us a much better approach to this new year...

"No resolutions-just a revolution"

 Drawing from Philippians chapter 3, pastor Merritt laid out a practice I am well familiar with. and I share it with you here. This is so vitally important to life and I have practice it for years. I haven't been perfect in the process but it has grown me into a better person and I have bloomed in my spiritual life and closeness with our God. You can too.

Read the following passage and read the three steps I encourage you to take in your own life:

12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I do not[c] consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly[d] call in Christ Jesus. (HCSB)

Forget what's behind (Phil 3:13b).  Where you have been is only important in how it has gotten you to where you are now. Look at what you have become. you can't forget your past but it can influence you. only allow your past to influence you in a positive way-what can you learn from your past? How can it grow you? You know you have learned from your pass wen you can talk about it.

12 I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be.
13 No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us. (Living Bible)

Focus on one thing (Phil 3: 13& 14). Focus on what God as for you in today and the days to come. What one thing can you focus on for this new year? For me, it how I can be more anchored in Christ as I wrote about in the last post. Ask yourself "what goal would God have for you in this new year?" Pray about it. Diligently pray about it. Be in God's Word daily. The greatest thing you can do on a daily basis is to seek Him and hear from
12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. (Amplified)

Press on (Phil 3:12 & 14). Fulfill what is ahead of you. Live each day surrendered to Jesus, honoring Him with  your thoughts, your words, your living. Our life was given to us by God for an eternal purpose. What is your eternal purpose? What has God created you to do with your life for Him, for eternity's influence?

Don't make resolutions for the new year. Resolutions are too easily broken. Make this new year a revolution! Make God your first focus of each day-the anchor of your living. Change. Grow. Bloom.

I love you!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013


From a Mother's Heart to Her Daughters...

Hey girls, we are closing out another year.  It's a year I would freely give back, to live differently in so many ways. And now I am looking ahead as I always do, searching for a spiritual focus for the new year ahead of us. A focus that will make me a better mother for you, a better wife for Joe, and a better maidservant for God. I think I have found that focus within two words this year...

Enough & Anchored

Our days of 2013 and the word Enough have produced for me the word Anchored for 2014.  Enough comes from walking through these days in 2013. Anchored is the action to turn 2013's enough into a healthy Enough in 2014. Hang with me here...let me explain....


I don't want my enough from 2103 to mean "I have had enough"...God knows I feel that way in work, in our home, and with our losses this year. I'm sure you do too. This enough has caused me to lose my spiritual footing in each of these areas. No, I want enough to represent a different type of Enough.


Like Phillip said to Jesus, this too is where my heart and my mind have settled...
“Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.” (HCSB)

I need for God to be enough. We need for God to be enough.

It requires an attitude shift. It has to be a longing of the heart and of the mind combined. 2013 was not a year to keep for the most part. I would like to erase parts of it completely but instead, it has pointed my heart and mind to my need for more of God in my life, more reliance on Him, more dependence on Him, more resting in Him...

As a family we need to make God our enough, grasping to His truth more and embracing His peace that surpasses all understanding.

Enough.  More of God, less of me. More of God, less of you. How? Here is where the birth of my word, our word for 2014 comes into play....the action of our enough:


God the anchor of our 2014. The assurance of His presence in our life. The steadfast embrace of His leading. Anchoring us to what matters most. Keeping us on course for His eternal plan with our lives. Praying more. Savoring His Word and applying it to our living. Being Jesus to others.

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. ~ Hebrews 6:19

2013 threw some pretty tough storms our way. Some days I fell into the arms of God, other days I withdrew into my own emotions of the pain and my feet failed to take me where my Comforter was waiting. My faith weakened in my pain when it should have grown stronger in His grace. Instead of calling upon God's name in our losses, I allowed the waves of grief to flood over me and I missed His rest. I did not mirror to you a life that trusted in God's timing and accepted His plans. Forgive me girls.

Forgive me Abba.

I need more of God in 2014. We need more of God in 2014. So I pray these words from the song below and I pray it also becomes the prayer of your heart.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours, and You are mine

Oceans by Hillsong

I love you girls. More than ever I want to radiate God for you in 2014. To lead you closer to the Anchor of our souls. You are His and He is yours.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Living through Grief

From a Mother's Heart to her Daughters

Dear Girls,

Grief seems to be our main "something" these days. Losing two grandfathers in 5 months is difficult. No, it is more than difficult, it's painful! One grandfather fought death to the end, the other peacefully gave in to it. One death unexpected, the other expected. Both a man after God's own heart. How lucky we are to have had them in our lives.

Disease is like a sin. It can creep up on us and suddenly attack and destroy like the unknown virus your Grandpa Durnell had. Or it can come to you almost innocently and hide itself in your soul and quietly erode at your core until it can take over like the heart failure and COPD your Grandpa Arnold died from. But no matter the grip of sin in our life, we ultimately have the final control over it if we have God on our side.

Death did not kill or destroy your grandfathers. Death was only the means for them to enter into eternity where they are promised that perfection of living with their Jesus in a new world and in a new body. A promise they have always since that first time when they called on God and said "I believe. I want you in my life". Sin and death can take away our earthly body but it cannot take away our eternal body.

But death leaves us with grief. There is such a sadness and void in our hearts and in our minds. Yesterday my morning devotion took me to the story of where Jesus was praying on the Mount of Olives right before he was to be taken captive and crucified on the cross of Calvary. Remember that story? Remember how Jesus was praying and he would come to the disciples to ask for their support and each time he did they were sleeping? Well, I read Luke's version of the event and Luke cast a new light on it for me in this season of our grief. Read it...

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Luke 22-NIV)

Did you catch why the disciples were sleeping? They were exhausted from sorrow. Jesus had warned them that they were losing Him, their friend, their mentor, someone they loved very much. It was so painful to them that it stressed them to the point of mental, physical, and spiritual exhaustion. Their mind could not comprehend why death had to happen. Their bodies were drained of any strength from the sadness and depression of this loss. Spiritually they could not even pray.

Death does the same thing to us today...if we let it. As I have walked away from the death of my most precious father and your grandfather, I experienced all three of those effects. Mentally and physically I withdrew. It has been hard to formally pray but I determined to keep talking to God, to keep in His Word knowing it would carry me though. Losing my precious father-in-law is no different so I am even more determined to talk to God and allow Him to carry me through this. In that determination I still grief but that grief is met with a peace that can only come from God.

Your grandfathers would want you to do the same. Jesus was important to them. They sought God in their living and they pass that legacy down to you. Embrace that legacy. It will get you through the toughest of times. I know. I want you to know this. Experience this.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Your Life is Like a Leaf....

From a Mother's Heart to Her Daughters

Dear girls,
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven...~Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

 This week I am in Michigan as I begin this post. It's Oct 1st and I have been driving North. It is such a beautiful drive. The changing colors of the leaves in red, oranges, yellows, & browns mixed in with the greens are beautiful. I was told today that the next two weeks will be the most colorful but I find this weeks canvas of fall colors just perfect. This picture from the car really doesn't do justice to what I was seeing:


Your life is like a leaf...with changing colors in seasonal adaption. Life gives us seasons of joy, of sorrow, of growth, of death. There is the season of infancy to childhood to youth to adulthood  to the advanced years of aging-each adapting and changing colors.  

With each of these season we mature. For some us we will age back into a resemblance of infancy through illness and diseases. For others life will be cut short. Seasons of color. Seasons of adaption.

We have seasons of success and seasons of failures. There may be season of sins, seasons of selfishness and there may be seasons of sacrifice, of giving, of redemption. Seasons of color. Seasons of adaption. 

All of the colors found in our life are under the watchful eye of the Eternal One. Whether we want Him to be or not, God is in control and He does have a purpose for the colors in our seasons... 


And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. ~ Daniel 2:21


Fall can have a two-fold significance. The changing colors can represent hope or the changing colors can represent impending death and loss. But without the hope, without the loss there would be no re-birth, there would be no growth.  

The trees lose their leaves and go dormant for a season only to be rebirth to even bigger foliage in the next season.  Spiritually we can be like the leaf with seasons of colors, seasons of dormancy, seasons of change, seasons of rebirth and growth. What your mother has learned is that it all means nothing unless I keep focused on God. 


You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. ~ Isa 26:3 (Amplified)


No season is beyond what we can endure. In the good times and in the bad, there is always a hope that can bring us through and it only comes from looking to God.


[God's] hope is real and true, an anchor to steady our restless souls, a hope that leads us back behind the curtain to where God is... ~ Heb 6:19 (The Voice)


So no matter what season you are in, no matter the color of your life, take it to God. Praise Him no matter how hard it gets. In the end you will find peace.


Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah ~ Ps 62:8 (Amplified)

God is our safe place. Many times in my difficulties, in my grief, I wish I had gone to Him sooner. For when I did, I was able to experience that peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7). I want that for you.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

When He Reached Down His Hand for Me

From a Mothers Heart to her Daughters....

Dear girls,

This morning as I was listening to a minister on TV and he mentioned this hymn. Though I grew up in the Southern Baptist church, I do not remember ever singing this song. What powerful words. Here is a modern version of it from YouTube:

When He Reached Down His Hand for Me
Once my soul was astray from the heavenly way
I was wretched and vile as could be
But my Savior in love, gave me peace from above
When he reached down His hand for me
When the Savior reached down for me
When he reached down His hand for me
I was lost and undone, without God or His Son
When he reached down His hand for me
I was near to despair when He came to me there
And He showed me that I could be free
Then He lifted my feet, gave me gladness complete
When He reached down His hand for me
How my heart doth rejoice when I hear His sweet voice
And the tempest to Him I can flee
There to lean on His arms, safe secure from all harm
Since he reached down his hand for me

I have not been able to find the author or the circumstances behind the writing of this song. This is what I do know....when life is crashing around you...when grief grips your every emotions...when pain suffocates you and you feel like you cannot breathe...listen to this old song. Close your eyes and allow God's Spirit to cover you. There is a transforming spirit of peace and release. I cannot explain it.

My failures in life and my losses have really weighed heavy on me this year...this summer especially. I do not know how I could breathe each day if I didn't first lean on God. No matter how bad I felt, no matter how much I wanted to give up, I have found healing in praising God anyway. Nothing else has been able to comfort me more than those things from God-reading the Psalms, hearing old songs like this, prayer.  Nothing on this earth can numb me enough to escape the harsh realities of this year but I can feel an incredible peace and joy and it only comes from God. He is my sanity.

I am working on letting some things go. It's keeping me from His healing. It's keeping me from that peace and joy God has for me in my pain and loss. You will have to do the same. Life will never be easy nor will it be perfect. No matter what you face, seek Him girls. Make Him your life. And learn to praise God in all things. You will be stronger, happier, and even content in the worst of times. Mama knows.