Monday, December 29, 2008

More New Beginnings

Friends, with 2009 fast approaching, the topic of New Beginnings is so appropriate. The following article reminds us to Lean on God when our "new beginnings" aren't as we expected.

A New Beginning Written by Carol Van Atta

A woman gives birth … to twins. An alcoholic pours his bottle of booze down the drain. An abused wife chooses to seek help. A convict is released from jail. A worker becomes the supervisor. A daughter loses her mother to a car accident. A mother survives cancer and chooses a new, healthier lifestyle.

New beginnings can happen any day at any time. A new beginning always involves leaving one thing behind and embracing something new and different. However, sometimes, new beginnings may not be of our own choosing or liking. Maybe the worker didn’t expect or want the promotion; yet, a new beginning has been thrust upon her. The alcoholic, on the other hand, has clearly made a choice to try a different path evidenced by the dumping of his precious liquor. Both have entered a time of new beginnings. And although the birth of a child and the death of a loved one appear very different, they both have two things in common: an end and a beginning.

It can be excruciatingly difficult to walk through the doorway of a new season in life. How do we effectively live in the midst of a new beginning that we didn’t expect, or even want?
What can we do to give God glory when our circumstances are not only new, but also extremely painful? Anytime we let go of something old there is discomfort, even pain. Anytime we lose something or someone of great importance we experience a great sense of loss, even hopelessness. Yet it’s comforting to remember that the seemingly greatest loss of all, the murder of Jesus Christ on a filthy Roman cross, resulted in the best New Beginning ever — a resurrected Christ.

His New Beginning and New Life allow us to live our lives to the fullest regardless of what we’ve lost or let go of. For in Christ, we are never alone. We are always loved. We can always expect the best from God. He sees far beyond our pain and suffering and has a way of making every new beginning beneficial to us and to those around us — if we’ll let Him. How can we thrive and even discover peace and joy during the process of letting go? There is a way…God’s Way!

The following acronym has reminded me that the best way to experience a New Beginning is to Lean On God.

L: Live in the truth
Whether you’re battling a tempting addiction, or grieving an untimely loss, a key to embracing any new beginning is to stay grounded in the truth — God’s Truth — God’s Word. Without a foundation of truth, we are prone to fall prey to lies, lies that increase our pain and keep us from growing and moving forward.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” - John 8:32 NIV

E: Enlist others for support
New Beginning times are best faced in the safety net of a group of caring and competent Christian friends. God is relational. Jesus was not a lone ranger. He was surrounded by His inner circle of disciples. We, too, will find support, encouragement, and help from others who have experienced similar circumstances, if we are open their aid.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 NIV

A: Approach God boldly
With Jesus at the right hand of God we have the amazing opportunity to approach our Heavenly King with boldness and confidence. In the Psalms, David gave us the perfect example of how to cry out to God in every conceivable manner. Even in our anger, our anguish, and our anxiety. We need not face anything without God’s help. Go to Him boldly, after all, He tells us we can.

“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” Ephesians 3:12 NIV

N: Never give up
Never give up! Remember no matter what our present circumstance may look like, no matter how difficult letting go might be, with God, we win in the end. It may appear that we are loosing, but, ultimately, goodness and glory can grow in the midst of a new beginning. We must keep our eyes focused on our Leader, and remember to keep putting one foot in front of the other until we cross the finish line.

“…I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14 NIV

O: Overcome obstacles
When we’re in the midst of letting go we can find ourselves burdened by a barrage of obstacles — things on our path that can keep us from walking through the door of a better tomorrow. Certainly feelings of grief and heartache can be part of the new beginning process. Lingering negative feelings and thoughts can become obstacles that keep us stuck. With God’s help and the support of others, we can continue forward, getting rid of whatever holds us back.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

N: Neutralize the enemy
The Bible is very clear that we, as Christians, have an enemy. This enemy of our souls would like to destroy us and keep us from accepting God’s plan for our lives. We can disarm this devil by utilizing the armor our Commander and King so generously provides. Put on the armor daily.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes. You may be able to stand your ground…” Ephesians 6:13a

G: Go forward with God
This is much like “don’t give up.” New beginnings can be scary and we can find ourselves paralyzed, afraid to take another step. We don’t need to continue by our own power. In fact, our limited human power won’t be enough, but with God, all things are possible. Allow Him to lead, as you lean on Him.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength”-Philippians 4:13 NIV

O: Open your eyes
Take a look around at the beauty surrounding you on your journey. As you embrace your new beginning, you will discover (if you open your eyes) the wondrous ways God is working in and around you. From a bubbling brook to the salty surf God is present. Even in your darkest hour if you look you can see His light.

“Ah, Sovereign Lord , you have made the heavens and earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17

D: Decide to worship
Praising God in the midst of any situation brings blessings far beyond our greatest expectations. When freedom from a bondage or addiction is your new beginning it is only natural to praise your Deliverer. When a new beginning is the result of loss, worship may seem at first out of place, but consider Paul, praising God from within his prison chamber. Worship touches the very heart to God, and in turn He will touch yours. Worship God and expect the best.

Lean on God and expect one glorious new beginning after another. Each new day we can be filled afresh with the power of the Holy Spirit who will help us in our new beginnings. Won’t you invite Him to fill you afresh right now?

Father in Heaven,
I am so grateful that You sent Your Holy Spirit to be our helper as we walk the Christian life here on this Earth. Thank you for the power He brings as He fills us up and gives us strength and courage beyond ourselves to face the new beginnings in our lives. Today I ask You to create in me a clean heart. I ask You to fill me a fresh with the power of Your Spirit. Help me to be aware of each step I take and to do it with your help. In Jesus’ powerful name I pray, amen.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Big 5,000!

Precious Readers, thank you for visiting this site. I just happened to notice that I've had over 5,000 visitors since April.

Visitors as far away as Israel, India, China, and Russia, have stumbled onto this site. My prayer is that God would use my words to encourage, inspire, and challenge women around the globe. He is certainly answering that request.

Please, if you like this site and if it helps you in your walk with Christ as a Princess Warrior, refer others. Sign on as a Princess Warrior partner/follower.

Remember to thank God in all things, for He is the Provider of every blessing we receive. God bless you all! I'm looking forward to sharing more Princess Warrior helps in 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Beginnings: A New Year

Merry Christmas! I hope you all had an incredible Christmas. We've been in the midst of a snow storm like much of the Nation. Here in Oregon, we've out-snowed all records. I haven't seen this much of the fluffy-white stuff since I was a kid, and that was a few years back.

Being "forced" to stay inside with my family has proven to be a meaningful and highly educational experiences. Seriously, we did great, considering. I bonded with my kids on a whole new level -- a much needed level. I also spent massive amounts of time in God's Word, soaking in His goodness. Sometimes, I think God says, "Enough!" HE wants us to slow down and rest in Him.

When you can't leave your home, well, you start to focus on what's important. If not, you might go a bit whacko, or as we jokingly say "get cabin fever." So, I'll admit, I got a teeny weeny stir crazy today. But, I think I'll be able to drive my car tomorrow. It's been buried under about five feet of banked snow.

As the New Year fast approaches, most of us are looking ahead and planning for a better more fruitful 2009. I'd like to share a previously published article about that very topic. I hope it helps you prepare for your New Year, New Beginning.

New Beginnings -- Written by Carol Van Atta

Amazingly, it’s that time. A New Year is approaching right on schedule — again. This is the time of year so many of us start making resolutions to change a certain area, or multiple areas in our lives. Maybe we have some extra pounds to shed. Possibly, we are committed to changing a specific, harmful behavior. Our infamous New Year’s resolutions range from simple desires to seemingly full-proof-plans for extensive life change. What we all have in common is the hope that something will change, and life will be different (and better) in the year ahead.

Do you have a resolution this year? Or are you like so many people who have done away with their hopes for lasting, life change? Every year, women ring in the New Year with goals to live life differently on some level. However, a few short weeks later, many of these very same well-wishers end up discouraged and filled with shame and remorse over their failed attempts to make New Year’s resolutions come to pass. Who knows? This may be the second, third, fourth, or fifteenth year someone has tried to “kick the habit.” After so many misguided attempts, why would they even want to try again?

That’s a good question. First consider a few additional questions…

  • What if every spring, the flowers just gave up on blooming?
  • What if the local birds that have migrated to some faraway place just decided to stay put on that tropical island?
  • What if the sun chose to hide behind the clouds all summer long?
    Worse yet…what if Christ had not come to earth as a baby or hadn’t risen from the dead?

I don’t know about you, but I sure love fragrant flowers, sweet singing birds are pretty nice, and, oh, how I love that summer sun smiling down on me, but the thought of a Christ, who didn’t defeat death, is downright terrifying. Without His resurrection power, we really would have no hope for permanent life change — ever.

However, He was born. He died. And He most definitely did rise again.

That means this year, this month, today, or even this moment, is filled with hope for a better future…in Him. We don’t have to white-knuckle it anymore. Whatever your “it” might be, you too can turn from your sin, and release it into the capable hands of the ultimate Life-Changer.

When we desire change, we have the perfect example to follow – Jesus Christ. When we are ready to implement change, we have the perfect guide book – His Word. Finally, we have the perfect power source to strengthen our resolve – His Spirit.

His Son

His Word

His Spirit

As we pursue change God’s way, hope for a better future is no longer a dream; it becomes our reality. We truly can experience freedom in our lives today, tomorrow, and forever. In fact, with Christ, we don’t have to wait for another New Year to roll around, or for the big glittery ball to drop in Times Square. His mercy is new every morning. We can pursue our own new beginning right now.

It is my hope the following acronym for the word FREEDOM will assist you as you start your New Beginning-journey. For it is in our relationship with a loving, redeeming God, where we will find the freedom we so desperately yearn for.

F: Follow Him forward

Romans 15:5 (NIV)–May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus…

We are to follow Christ. As we pursue Him and seek to imitate His ways, we move forward in our process of change. No more slip-sliding backwards. When we truly follow Jesus we are on the path that moves forward and upward one step and a prayer at a time.

R: Repent readily

Jeremiah 18:9 (MSG)–But if they repent of their wicked lives, I will think twice and start over with them.

What a great translation! When we repent, God will think again and start over with us. Start over. A New Beginning…exactly what we are seeking. When we admit and repent of our shortcomings, and sinfulness, God is faithful to forgive and make us white like snow. Clean. Fresh. New. Don’t wait another moment – repent

E: Earnestly Pray

Ephesians 6:18 (NLT) Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.

Prayers are incredibly powerful. They are the foundation for any life change we desire. As we earnestly pray, we will find ourselves empowered by the One true Power Source. There is no better time to pray than right now. Let us pray persistently, remaining alert, and consider our Christian brothers and sisters everywhere, after all, we are on this journey together.

E: Enjoy the journey

1 Samuel 2:1 (NLT) Then Hannah prayed:“My heart rejoices in the LORD! Oh, how the LORD has blessed me! Now I have an answer for my enemies, as I delight in your deliverance.

As we travel down the road of renewal, receiving answers from God along the way, we will have a number of reasons to rejoice. Many times we are so focused on the destination; we forget to enjoy the journey. When we take a road trip, even though the driving might be daunting, dangerous, or just plain boring at times, if we take the time to truly see the unique beauty of the surrounding landscape, we may discover the journey can be enjoyed almost as much as the destination. Enjoy God’s journey. He has planned a perfect path just for you.

D: Devour His Word

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

God’s Word is the ultimate food for our thoughts, nourishment for our souls, and the map we must follow on our journey down the path of New Beginnings. We know when our stomach growls, it is a signal for us to nourish our body with food. So it is when our spirits “growl;” we need to dive into God’s truth and devour His words like the sustaining substance they were created to be.

O: Open your heart and mind to His truth

Proverbs 3:5 (KJV) Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In order to grasp God’s truth, we need to pray for an open heart, and an open mind, to better receive the truth, know the truth, and obey the truth when we hear it. Be prepared to hear the Lord speak. He will.

M: Make new friends and move mountains

Colossians 3:12-13 (KJV) Put on therefore the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

As we walk in godly love for one another, by forgiving, encouraging, and helping, we will find the strength to do what one person alone could never, ever accomplish. Friends, we need the power of the Spirit, and the power of each another. Together, we can move mountains! Often, our New Beginning and long sought after freedom rests just on the other side of the highest peek. But together, we can make it through the roughest terrain. We were never met to “go it” alone. Jesus had 12 disciples. He knew the value of loving and supporting relationships. Let us learn from His example.

As we’ve discovered, change can be challenging, but this New Year, as we journey together down the road to freedom, let’s stay focused on the one guiding us…Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy New Beginnings!

You are not in this alone. Jesus promised the abundant and fruitful life as the result of being filled (directed and empowered) by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit-filled life is the Christ-directed life by which Christ lives His life in and through us in the power of the Holy Spirit (John 15). You can pray a prayer like this to be filled with the Holy Spirit today:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for a New Year, a time of new beginnings and a hope for freedom and renewal in our lives. No matter how many times we may have fallen short of our goals in the past, may we be reminded you are a God of tomorrows. You have a plan to prosper us, and to give us a hope and a future. With You all things are truly possible. May we trust You to do what You do best…love us. I ask that you would instill deep inside every one of Your children a new hope and greater level of trust as we take those first baby steps forward toward our future.

I acknowledge that I have been directing my own life and that, as a result, I have sinned against You. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith.

I now thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.Help us to resist temptation and to rise above our difficulties as we work together to serve You, to serve others, and to find freedom at last. In Your name we pray, amen.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let it snow!

Friends, the countdown to our Savior's birth has begun. In a few short days, we will celebrate the birth of Jesus.

It is so easy to take His birth for granted. We've heard the story a million and one times, and for many of us (I'm guilty, too) we get pretty comfortable hearing it. We tend to forget just how miraculous of an event His birth truly was. His birth, subsequent death and resurrection marked the beginning of a whole new age. For the first time in history, every person, gentile and Jew alike, could approach God with a freedom and confidence found only in relationship with Christ. Every man, woman, and child became worthy, because of Jesus, to become part of a new family, a royal priesthood, a holy nation -- a new generation of believers.

Christmas is the ultimate birthday celebration, offering hope for the future and forgiveness for our past mistakes. As we countdown the days to His birth, let us remember that Christ is who makes it possible for us to reign real as His princess warriors. Who we are, is all about Who He is.

As I sit at my computer, a snow storm is raging outside my window. The fury of nature pounds and screeches just beyond the walls of our home. Thankfully, we are protected from the freezing temperatures and icy landscape.

This sight reminds me that in Christ we are surrounded by His love and protection. We are safe from a howling, harassing devil who would like nothing better than to destroy us. Just as I am safe from the storm in my home, we are all safe from satan when we are covered by Christ. Have you wrapped yourself tight in His love, power, and protection? Do you take as much time preparing to use the Sword of His Spirit -- His Word -- as you do planning for the Big Freeze?

There is no better time than right now to cozy up with Christ, basking in His glory, and reading His love letters to the world -- to us. Imagine yourself trudging through huge snow drifts in subzero temperatures, with an icy wind clawing at your face. Brrrrrrr.....

Now picture a warm light in the distance. As you draw closer, that light becomes a man. A man with his arms open and waiting to wrap you in heated blanket. You would be foolish not to run into those waiting arms.

So? What are you waiting for? Run, sisters, run! Wrap up in Jesus right now. Pour youself a cup of steaming cocoa or coffee and open your Bible. Re-read the Christmas Story with new appreciation. That little babe in the manger came to rescue us from the chills of life and the fires of hell. And all He wants for His birthday is our love and acceptance of His open arms. Receiving His gift is the greatest gift of all. Let us remember to unwrap it every day. Amen!

Please watch the above video for a reminder of God's Greatest Gift -- Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another Christmas Reminder

I heard a story about a woman who was doing her last-minute Christmas shopping at a crowded mall. She was tired of fighting the crowds. She was tired of standing in lines. She was tired of fighting her way down long aisles looking for a gift that had sold out days before. Her arms were full of bulky packages when the Elevator door opened. It was full. The occupants of the Elevator grudgingly tightened ranks to allow a small space for her and her load. As the doors closed she blurted out, “Whoever is responsible for this whole Christmas thing ought to be arrested, strung up, and shot!” A few others nodded their heads or grunted in agreement. Then, from somewhere in the back of the elevator came a single voice that said, “Don’t worry. They already crucified him.”

We need to remember who is responsible for the whole Christmas thing. It is all about how God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son so that who ever believes in Him might have eternal life. John 3:16
-Author Unknown-

I don't think I need to add another word to that little story. God bless you. Merry (almost) Christmas!

Take the time to watch the above clip in its entirety. The scenes change. The ending is priceless. If you think your Christmas Season is full of challenges! All in all, though, this stuff is so minor compared to the 'BIG THINGS" in life. However, and believe me, I know; 12 days of this would make me nuts, too.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Christmas Story (continued)

If you are just tuning in, you will want to read the last post featuring Part I to this modern Christmas Story. Read it and hurry back!

So it continues ...

Later that evening:

"Hey girl, you don't look like you belong down here. What's up?" A young woman with ultra-damaged, bleached hair asked. She slunk over to where Mary stood alone on Broadway in the heart of Downtown Portland.

"I don't know where I belong anymore." Mary was too tired and discouraged to fear the tough looking street girl.

"Let's sit over there, on that bus bench. Tell me all about it. I got all the time in the world." The girl gently pulled Mary to the empty bench.

"Why do you care?" Mary looked closely at the young woman's face, surprised by the sympathy she saw in the girl's sunken, hazel, eyes.

"Maybe I don't. Maybe I do," the girl shrugged. "I'm bored, lonely, and hungry. I listen; you buy me a burrito. Oh, my name's Nancy." She smiled revealing several missing teeth.

"I'm pregnant. My parents kicked me out. My boyfriend says he needs time to think about the whole deal, and my God-focused high school expelled me when I tried to talk to the guidance counselor, today. Oh, and my best friend told me I was crazy. So much for love and grace, huh?" Mary handed the girl a dollar bill.

"I don't know much about love and grace, but I do know something about your problems. I got kicked out when I was thirteen. I was really into boys and did some stupid stuff. My dad talked me into an abortion. Now, I mostly do drugs and have sex for money to survive out here. Believe me, you don't want this life." Nancy stuffed the dollar into her pocket and looked away, ashamed.

"What can I do? No offence, but I don't want to end up on the streets." Mary hoped she hadn't overstepped her boundaries, but for some reason she believed she could talk candidly with this girl.

"No harm. It's the truth. You don't want what I have. Later, after I'd already made my choice. I heard about this special home. You know, a real nice place out in Gresham. They help pregnant girls, like you. You can live there and they don't care how you got pregnant. It's called Bethany House. You even get your own room, meals, counseling, support, and from what I've heard, lots more." Nancy pulled a crumpled flyer from her inside coat pocket "See, here's the place. For some strange reason, I've been carrying this around for months. I guess now I know why." She held out the faded paper.

"Thanks. You know something, Nancy, no matter what you've done, God loves you. I'm going to tell you my secret. You probably won't believe me either, but, oh well. My son is the Chosen One, Jesus. When He's born something amazing is going to happen. You can count on that." Mary smiled, feeling a little flutter in her abdomen for the very first time.

"I'm ready to believe anything at this point. I better go. Call that number, okay?" Nancy rose and walked away. There was a new bounce to her step.

Glancing at the paper, Mary knew what she had to do. Find a safe place until the baby was born, and hopefully, Joe would decide to marry her and accept the child. She hurried to a nearby phone booth. As she slipped the coins into the shiny slot, Mary instinctively understood that somehow everything was going be all right. Just as the angel had said, with God all things are possible.

Alone, pregnant, and afraid -- not the words most of us consider while reflecting on our Savior's mother and the feelings she must have felt during the first weeks and possibly months of her pregnancy. We picture a loving Joseph, a cozy stable, and a Mary filled with joy. Certainly, there was joy, but I suspect that Mary, who wasn't more than 14 or 15 years old, was actually terrified. After all, it wasn't every day a girl found herself pregnant by God Himself. Most of the Jewish population expected the mother of their Messiah to be royalty, not a common young girl engaged to a carpenter.

What did her parents think? What about her friends, or their neighbors? Before the angel appeared to Joseph, did he calmly accept his wife-to-be's astounding circumstances? After all, sex outside marriage was punishable by death. Had Joseph denied Mary his name, where would she have gone?

Thankfully, Mary didn't have to answer that final question, but there are so many single, pregnant women in our world who do. Yes, yes, many of them have made poor choices that led to an "unplanned" pregnancy. I refuse to say unwanted, because God wants all of His children. No one is created without God's hands in the design, married, or not. Certainly, committing to purity and having sex only within the covenant of marriage is preferable and God's ideal. However, the staggering statistics easily demonstrate that God's best is not always the norm in our world today.


Teen pregnancy rates are much higher in the United States than in many other developed countries. They are twice as high as England and Wales or Canada, and nine times as high as the Netherlands or Japan.

Each year, almost one million teenage women -- 10% of all women aged 15 to 19 and 19% of those who have had sexual intercourse -- become pregnant.

78% of teen pregnancies are unplanned, accounting for about one-fourth of all "accidental" pregnancies annually.

It's difficult even to imagine the Virgin Mary as yet another statistic, but had she found out in 2008 that she was pregnant and alone, what would she have done? We have young, hurting women who desperately need to experience the love of God in tangible ways that will help them make better choices in the future, and allow them to raise their children up in the Lord in spite of their own difficult circumstances.

Having a safe, Christian refuge to call home is crucial first step in this process of healing and change. Such a refuge, Bethany House, offers a home and program of hope for pregnant young, women and their babies. With godly principles woven through the fabric of the program, women are able not only to gain practical and education insight about pregnancy and motherhood, but also are allowed to grow up spiritually and emotionally, thus finding a new hope and future for themselves and their unborn children.

During the Christmas Season, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, there is an opportunity to reach out and touch the lives of many wounded women and their children -- women with no husbands, even families in sight. Women who have no warm bed to rest a tired head, no food to eat, and no medical care. There is simply not enough room at the inn for these women.

We, precious sisters, can bring tidings of great joy. A ministry like Bethany House cannot operate on its own. It wasn't meant to.

With financial support, in-kind donations, and the love of volunteers, it will continue to flourish. Sisters, Princess Warriors, this is a ministry that I support wholeheartedly. I wanted to give you an opportunity to give the gift of life this Christmas. We know so many people who have everything. Why not send a donation to this program in their name?

Instead of purchasing another item for re-gifting next year, give an eternal gift. I personally know that this 20-year-old ministry has struggled financially this year like so many of us and so many other worthy ministries. However, any gift can help keep their doors open.

Sadly, three maternity programs in my area have closed this past year due to finances, and all at a time when pregnancy rates are once again on the rise. Many Christians speak out against abortion yet do nothing tangible to support life. Bethany House is an opportunity to give in relation to God's truth and your values.

Believe me; God will gift you back in mighty ways.

To learn more, or give an online donation, visit:
Let's make our own Christmas Story this year as we touch two lives at a time and generations beyond with Christ's love and generosity. Thank you for letting me share this with you. God bless you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Christmas Story

Blessings, friends! I hope you like my new holiday-themed blog design. I thought it would be fun to update the format to reflect the season. Thank you everyone for your touching comments in relation to the posts on this site. I can't express just how much your words mean. Knowing that my writing is challenging, encouraging, and motivating others in their walk with Christ is a gift worth unwrapping many times over.

I hope you enjoy the following story I wrote for a magazine in 2005. It's as applicable today as it was then.

Mary's fingers flew across the keys of her new laptop. The precious homework aide was her favorite birthday gift from her mom and dad. She was, finally, sweet sixteen, a straight A-student, and head of school's cheer leading squad. However, after returning from a recent mission trip to Mexico, her aspirations were slowly changing. Cheer leading didn't seem quite as important anymore. Helping others discover the miracle of God's grace had taken center stage in her life, next to Joe.

Joe was the best boyfriend any girl could ask for. He was kind, attentive, attractive, fun, and he respected her godly values. Not to mention, he was already in a carpentry-training program after completing high school a year early. They'd known each other since kindergarten. Mary rested in the knowledge that someday she would rest in Joe's arms as his cherished wife. Glancing down, she twisted the silver band on her left ring finger. The ring's words -- True Love Waits -- helped provide her with the encouragement she needed to face a world filled with so many young people having sex and not waiting for "true love." This tiny piece of jewelry represented her commitment to remain pure until her wedding night.

"Honey, lights out," her mother's voice drifted up the stairs, interrupting her thoughts.

"Goodnight mom, dad," she called out before shutting off her computer and slipping between her cozy, flannel sheets. Life was sweet. She hoped her dreams would be sweet as well.

"Mary!" A musical voice trumpeted. "Awaken, child."

Bolting upright, Mary clutched her comforter under her chin. How long had she been asleep? Nothing could have prepared her for the massive form towering over her bed. His skin was copper and shone like the afternoon sun. A cascading mane of golden hair draped over his muscular shoulders. Dressed in a flowing white tunic secured with a belt adorned with jewels, the winged creature smiled.

"Do not fear God's chosen one, for you, Mary, have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive a baby, and will give birth to a boy. His name is Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end to His Kingdom."

Still terrified, yet honored by his request, Mary had to ask, "How is this possible, angel? I am a virgin. I'm not even finished with high school."

The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore the child you bear will be called the Son of God. Also, your loving Aunt Elizabeth is also pregnant in her old age, for with God, nothing is impossible."

The implications of this request were beyond Mary's understanding. However, she did know the One who had sent this angelic messenger, and she could not resist His love. "I will do it, gladly," she agreed.

With his mission completed, in a roaring tornado of wind and blinding light, the angel vanished. Mary was left breathless, her heart pounding like a stampede of wild horses under her nightgown. How would she explain this to her parents? to Joe? to anyone?

Sliding from her bed, her knees sank into the soft carpet. "God help me," she cried, "God help me."

Three Months Later

"What do you mean you're pregnant?" Her father's voice reached a decibel level Mary had never heard in her sixteen years living under his roof.

"Honey, calm down. Let Mary explain." Her mother interrupted.

"Dad, please, listen. I didn't have sex ... "

"Were you raped? I'll kill him! Was it Joe?" Her father's voice again escalated.

"You're not listening! I am pregnant by the Holy Spirit, Daddy. An angel came to me and told me I would have God's Son, and to name Him Jesus." She couldn't believe she'd finally said the words out loud.

"Mary! That will be enough! I've never heard of such a stupid thing. Until you can tell the truth, you can just get out of this house. No daughter of mine is going to be seen pregnant and tell people she got pregnant by God. People will think we're crazy, abusers, something. When you're ready to tell the truth, you can come home, until then, pack your bags." Her dad turned and stormed away; slamming the door with such force their two-story house shook.

"Honey, go stay with a friend or something until your father calms down. I'll talk to him. You and Joe better do something. I know we've always been against abortion, but maybe in this case it might be the best thing." Her mother tried to sound soothing.

"Abortion! I can't believe you're even suggesting that. We love God, remember?" Mary raced up the stairs, her thoughts in a whirlwind. Where would she go? Who could she tell?

Fanatically, shoving her clothing into a large backpack, she raced to get away from her mother, who was no in her room calling abortion clinics.

"Sweetie, this doctor says twelve weeks isn't too late. There's still time."

"Who are you, mom?" Snatching her favorite stuffed bear, Mary bolted from the room. Her mom, whom she no longer recognized, trailed behind, still trying to convince to at least Visit a clinic for advice.



The photo above is a little girl born at the maternity home, Bethany House.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No time for Christmas?


Typical of last minute Christmas shoppers, a mother was running furiously from store to store. Suddenly she became aware that the pudgy little hand of her three year old son was no longer clutched in hers. In a panic she retraced her steps and found him standing with his little nose pressed flatly against a frosty window. He was gazing at a manger scene. Hearing his mother’s near hysterical call, he turned and shouted with innocent glee: "look mommy! it’s Jesus - baby Jesus in the hay". With obvious indifference to his joy and wonder, she impatiently jerked him away saying, "we don’t have time for that!"

SOURCE: From "THE WONDER OF CHRISTMAS" by Glenn Pease. shtml

With the Christmas Season in full swing, life can get a little hectic ... don't I know it. Sometimes the busyness that seems to accompany this time of year can lead us to feel out of control, even frustrated; especially, as finances are so tight for many of us.

After reading the above story, I was reminded, again, that there is only One Real Reason for the Season -- Jesus Christ. If we don't have enough time to slow down and appreciate His ultimate gift to us -- salvation -- then we are indeed too busy. More than busy, we are in trouble. No shopping schedule or holiday parties should interfere with our devotional and prayer times.

Ladies, if we find ourselves caught up in the whirlwind of December, it's time to find our way back to the True Reason for the Season -- The celebration of our King's birth. Jesus is never too busy for us. How can we possibly consider becoming too busy for Him?

Disclaimer: This message is not to berate you, but too challenge you in your walk away from what the world deems "normal." Remember, we're not of this world. Let us live like we know who we belong to. Amen!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Keep Praying

Precious Princess Warriors, the "Holiday Season" is now in full swing. It was heartbreaking to see the sad news story about the stampede at WalMart. A rush for stuff literally killed one worker. How terrible that so many people are willing to stomp on another human being just to get a discounted item. Unfortunately, we live in a culture of death. Life is not valued the way it should be. Killing has become so commonplace, society at large simply ignores the repercussions of this moral decline.

What can we do as Daughters of the King to reign real this Season in the midst of such selfishness and greed?

I think that's a pretty valid question.

Most importantly, we must keep praying. Morning, noon, and night ... and in between. It's so easy to get caught up in all the busyness that our prayer life starts slacking.

I know for me, every night I'd come home from work and we'd all end up bickering and biting at each other. I was the leading lady in this nightly production, and some production it was. A few too many raised voices for my taste.

It was then I realized that I'd been praying less. So, in response to this not-so-fun development, I committed to praying every night, in the car, on the way home from work. Guess what? My household has improved 110%. I can feel God's peace and power as I take the time to honor Him and simply talk with Him on my evening commute.

Considering I'd written an article about becoming a Praying Road Warrior, I thought I better get back to walking what I'm talking. Which is another way we can help others see the light during this sometimes chaotic season.

Living like we belong to Jesus is the best gift we can give the world around us. That old saying: You might be the only Bible someone reads, comes to mind. I don't know about you, but I'm not always the best Bible. It's time for all of us to put our actions where our words are. Amen!

Prayer and walking the walk are two huge ways we can bless those around us in the coming weeks. Won't you join me in extending Christ's hands to a hurting, hungry, and very confused world?

If you would like to commit to this challenge, please send me a note. I'd love to hear from you. God bless you, Princess Warriors.