Inspirations

When it doesn’t make sense

Seven deaths. Seven deaths in two weeks. My husband and I are pastors, and in the last two weeks alone, we've experienced seven deaths around us. Five church members and two in the lives of friends. That's a lot of funerals. That's a lot of sadness. Even for an emotionally and spiritually strong person, that's a hard pill to swallow. Performing five funerals in two weeks. Comforting families (and yourself) on the loss of dear loved ones and friends. It can take a toll, and we're thankful for the support and prayers of so many. And this morning, as I ...
Read More

Be Still

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord" (James 1:5-7). Sometimes we need a God-perspective to understand faith principles. Our Father is a good God. He loves us and He has provided a way through Jesus for us to come boldly to ...
Read More

A Carefree Life

Have you ever heard a song that took you back in time? There is something about music that reaches into our soul and can cause us to remember another time and another place. Recently while I was driving, a song came on the radio. It reminded me of an easier time in my life where I really didn't have many cares and things were easy. As I reflected on some of the challenges and situations we face now, I said to myself, "Oh, how nice it would be to live a carefree life again." I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking ...
Read More

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Grrrr... That's what my flesh was saying at 4:39am one morning when I was awakened (again) by the never-ending barking of my dogs. But what made me get out of bed and deal with them was compassion for my neighbors! They have never complained to us, but I imagine they've been tempted to secretly point a gun over the fence... I know I have. But instead, I simply got out of bed and found the biggest grandstand cup I could find and filled it with water. As I went out the back (at what is now 4:47am), the dogs barked ...
Read More

Get Back Up and Walk By Faith!

Life happens to all of us. Even though I've been a Christian for many years, recently I found myself in a place spiritually where I couldn't seem to get on top of things. Circumstances were weighing me down causing me to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I was not being very effective because I had lost some of my joy and energy. My focus was on what I could see. I'm so thankful to God for His word because he used it to bring me into a better place. A few days ago I was reading in II Corinthians ...
Read More

Be That Girl

‘Find her, the one they’re all talking about, the forgetful one that loses her shoes’… The classic tale of “Cinderella” has stood the test of time and draws crowds of girls of all ages, young and aged and knows no cultural boundaries. During my June ’17 trip to our children’s orphanage in PAP, Haiti, I discovered that, although oceans and time zones apart, even our sweet Haitian beauties just love, love, love Cinderella. In the company of stepsisters, a stepmother, a big pumpkin, very cute mice and slippers made of real glass, great thought is given to the counsel given ...
Read More

Take Heart

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” It was a year ago from the day I’m writing this, that we found out we were expecting.. our duo was becoming a trio! And soon after our son Jude was born, we picked up our lives to relocate to Upstate, NY, to answer a call to full time ministry. Dreams that had been engraved in my heart since a young girl, unraveling over ...
Read More

Is Your Anger Worth It?

I don't like being angry. I mean, I really dislike being agitated. So when my flesh gets provoked and jumps into the pool of emotion surrounding the event or circumstance that triggered my anger, I could almost get angry for being sucked into an emotion I dislike. The battle is real. James said it best. "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20). For any moms out there, here's an example you might relate to: you ...
Read More

Your Heart is Good!

While visiting with a few ladies recently, one of them said, "The Bible says our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked." I knew she was quoting Jeremiah 17:9 and I could not stay silent. In love I responded that people sometimes quote that verse referring to all people, including Christians, but this was written before Jesus came and gave His life for us. It is true that before Christ, we were sinners and our hearts were not right, but once Jesus takes up residence in our lives, we are no longer "sinners" and no longer have deceitful hearts. Hear me ...
Read More

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

There are times, no matter how strong we are...no matter how much faith we have... the weight of the world is on our shoulders. The mountain won't move. The miracle isn't coming. Nothing is changing and attacks seem to be coming from everywhere. So many feelings swirl around our heads. I'm buried. I'm drowning. I am overwhelmed. It's usually a time we feel weary. We're tired. It's hard to think straight, our eyes brim with tears over nothing at all, and we feel like we're all alone on this huge planet. But can I tell you a secret? We're not ...
Read More

Army of One

I recently heard a phrase that made me chuckle and sigh at the same time. It was: "I am an army of one." I laughed because that's me in a nutshell. For the entirety of Mirror Ministries, it's just been me. And this is probably true of most writers, but I'm also the business office, the book designer, product packer, equipment roady, speaker, blogger, podcaster, tech help, and the list could go on and on... which is why I also sighed. YET, you won't hear me complain. The journey has been (and still is) amazing. And although in the natural, ...
Read More

Nothing But The Truth

If you've ever watched a movie with a courtroom scene in it, or been in a courtroom in person yourself, you have probably seen someone take an oath and be asked to place their hand on the Bible and swear or affirm to tell "...the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God." While thinking about writing this article, I did a little research. One article I read stood out to me and said that the oath taken before testifying was meant to "bind the conscience of the witness to tell the truth" in order ...
Read More

Little Eyes Are Watching

My little eyes are watching All you say and do And when I grow up big and tall I want to be like you. My little ears are listening To everything you say I am learning how to grow up To be like you someday. So be careful how you teach me To be the person that you are. You’re a knight in shining armor You’re my brightest shining star. - big brother- I clearly remember the very first time I read this poem. It was my senior year in high school, and a mom of a Jr. high girl ...
Read More

Don’t Yield To Fear!

If you are driving down the road and see a yield sign, what are you to do? You are to either stop or slow down to allow the other traffic to proceed. John 14:27 says, "I leave the gift of peace with you - my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don't yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts - instead, be courageous!" (The Passion Translation) According to the dictionary, the definition of yield is "to give way to." When Jesus says, "Don't yield to fear," He is saying, ...
Read More

Don’t Let Self-doubt Talk You Into Quitting!

Have you ever gone for a job interview and the interviewer asks you, “What qualifies you for this position?” And we’re armed and ready with our lists, aren’t we? Well, if we want the job we are. We have our education history. Our job history. A long list of strengths and (hopefully) a short list of growth areas. We share our experience and talk confidently of why they want to hire us. “I’m the one you want. I can do this. Hire me.” This self-reliance is a far cry from what Moses was feeling during his meeting with his employer-to-be ...
Read More

Long Suffering – Unleashed!

Long-suffering. This. This is not a word that I have pursued in my walk with Christ. In its implied meaning, for me, it is suffering for a long time. I am all about celebrating and rejoicing, but you will not find me in the line signing up to suffer for a long time. :o) Then one day a dear friend asked me if I knew what suffering meant in Latin. I had no idea. She shared that it meant passion. From there we had a discussion on what long suffering could mean if we understood the true meaning, rather than ...
Read More

New Doesn’t Mean Comfortable

“It’s a new season, a new day. It’s also your choice if you will walk in the new thing or if you will continue to walk in the comfort of yesterday.” The first entry of my journal for 2017 seemed exciting. A new season sounds thrilling and attractive, much like a new pair of Louboutins. I confidently walked into 2017 ready to wear my new season with grace and strength. What had not registered on my spirit at that moment were the words, “your choice”. I would have to make a choice to move forward or stay comfortable. What I ...
Read More

BE an Inspired Woman!

How many of you would agree Jesus is amazing? wonderful? outstanding? Me too! So think about this: Jesus is the head of the body of Christ, so what kind of out-of-proportion image do we have of Jesus when we see Him as amazing and wonderful but ourselves as small, inferior, and insignificant? The Bible says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people ...
Read More

When the Excitement is Over and Life is Mundane

It’s the day after Christmas, and my house is still. Everyone’s sleeping but my dog and me. I’m sitting by the twinkle lights of my tree thinking about the past couple of months and how it’s all over. After months of planning. After weeks of shopping and searching for just the right gifts. After hours and hours and hours of baking and wrapping and plotting and planning….we’ve opened the gifts and eaten the food and goodies. We laughed and joked and cried and laughed again. And now….it's the day after. It’s over. But is it? The excitement of the day ...
Read More

Take Time To Reflect This Christmas

A study of elderly people was done and they were asked what they would do differently if they could live their lives over again. One of the prominent answers was that they would reflect more. The word reflect means, "to think deeply or carefully about, review, contemplate, or meditate." If this was true of "The Greatest Generation," how much more is this a challenge for us today? Despite all our technological advances that were designed to make life easier and to save time, we seem to be so busy and not have time to do everything we would like. In ...
Read More

Low Drama Mama

Just a little bit about me……….I have one unique and amazingly humorous, faithful husband (I got the right one baby), five passionate children that love God, and twelve energetic grandchildren that keep me on my Mimi toes (and I love it)! Our extended family includes two furry babies, Chloe, a pure-bred Shih-Tzu and Ruby Sophia, a rescued feline. Although necessary, I don’t like prop-planes, but I DO love traveling. Our last trip to Honduras was one of my all time fav’s. It’s always a rewarding highlight for me to cross the Atlantic Ocean from the USA to our LHC Orphanage ...
Read More

How to Host Thanksgiving at your Home

One of my favorite times of the year is Thanksgiving! I love cooking for days, setting a beautiful table and sharing a delightful meal with friends and family. But hosting a meal especially Thanksgiving can be overwhelming for many people. Hopefully these tips will help ease the frustration and give you some creative ideas along the way. Take time to gather your favorite recipes and make a list of the ingredients you need before trotting off to the store. This will make you more time efficient and ease your frustrations. It also helps to plan what days you will cook ...
Read More

Unexpected Battles

"Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep" (1 Samuel 30:3-4) They didn't see it coming...at all. David and his men were returning home from a time of raids and battles. They had been successful, but war is war and I can imagine how ready they were to get back to their families. I'm not sure of the landscape of Ziklag, but at some point coming around a bend, over a hill, or just off in the distance they realize something is wrong. "...they found ...
Read More

A Note From the Future to Myself

Since you, my “self”, never had any older Christian women to speak into your life, I thought I would share what “we’ve” learned through the trial and error of life. If you can hear me now you will make better choices and become rich in treasure that cannot be destroyed. Lesson # 1: God made you beautiful, and special. Do not waste time comparing yourself to others. Instead of focusing on what could or should be better, look at what is. You have youth. You have strength. Enjoy your God given beauty and be secure in who you are. Appreciate ...
Read More

Grace For Every Season

The song, "Amazing Grace," is one of the most loved hymns of all time. In order to be saved, we must receive Jesus as our Savior then He saves us by His grace. It truly is amazing, but saving grace is only the beginning. We can learn to walk every day in the grace of God. One definition of grace is God empowering us to do what we cannot do for ourselves. As I celebrate my 60th birthday this month, I have been reflecting on God's marvelous grace toward me. There is daily grace, but there are also times we ...
Read More

How do you handle the pressure?

Am I the only one who’s felt more than once as doomsday approaches (er…I mean election day) like you're in one of those nightmares where the bad guy is chasing you but you can’t move? You’re running and screaming and crying for help, but no one hears and he closes in and you’re stuck in quicksand with the feeling of “There’s nothing I can do to escape!” burning in your belly? Or is it just me? I had a dream years ago that I was leaving the mall and I just knew in my gut that if I walked out ...
Read More

How to Pray Scripturally for our Nation

As we enter the final week before the critical election in America, we must acknowledge that we do not have all wisdom or understanding, but that we have a God who does. I exhort you to join me in contending for His will in our nation. Here are some scriptural prayers you can pray: PRAY FOR EYES TO BE OPENED We pray for the eyes of all Americans to be flooded with spiritual light, so that they would see and pursue His destiny. We also pray for His power to work through those who believe. Ephesians 1:17-19 (NKJV Strong's,) that ...
Read More

Increase Our Faith

And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith" (Luke 17:5). Wow. That can't be the last time the Lord heard such a request. Almost daily, I face something personally, or I cross paths with someone going through a rough time who needs encouragement in their faith. Just recently, I was visiting with a woman who was updating me on her situation. I had ministered to her a couple of weeks prior, and as I sat and listened I was delighted as I observed her "increased" faith. She wasn't completely out of the woods yet, but she had made ...
Read More

Where are you God?

Dear God: Where are you? Why haven't you answered my prayers? I have cried out to you night after night asking you to make my daddy stop drinking. And here I am again, listening to the brutality of his drunken rage at 2:00 in the morning. The screaming and yelling, slamming of doors, foul language, and the hateful statement that he made about me. Why are you letting this continue? It has been going on for over 10 years. Please, won't you make it stop? It is the middle of summer, and I am buried under a pile of covers ...
Read More

I Thought I Was Past All That!

I woke up at 3:45 this morning. Yes – the first number was still a three. Now, I’m an early riser, but that’s early even for me. I’d like to say it was because the Lord woke me up to pray or something super spiritual like that. But no – it was because of something I thought I’d overcome many moons ago. I thought I was past all that. And…I was super hungry. I snacked my way through the day yesterday and I woke up starving. And self-deprecating. I had cried myself to sleep and woke up with the same ...
Read More

Where I Stand

These days everyone wants to know "who you are" in an effort to figure out "where you stand" on the insane amount of issues going on in the world right now. The world, and even some Christians, will judge "where I stand" based on what they see and think they know about me as a person from what they see. For example, at first glance I am black/African-American, and because of that - not all people - but some will assume I think and feel a certain way about various issues. Another example - I am a female. Once again, ...
Read More

Being a Voice in Your Wilderness

John the Baptist was a curious prophet in the word of God, His ministry was to prepare the way for someone else, his own cousin, Jesus the messiah. What John said about himself was that He was a voice, who cried out in the wilderness: prepare the way of the Lord!! But what did he really preach??? He preached repentance, and he preached it to the most religious people of the day. To repent means a change in actions , John said “ bear fruits worthy of repentance.” The world has truly become a wilderness whether I want to recognize ...
Read More

Embracing Change

Anyone who knows me very well knows I am resistant to change. I have been driving the same car for ten years. We were at our last church for 16 years and we have been at our current one for more than seven years. No one can accuse us of being church hoppers! I have worn my hair basically the same for the last ten years with a couple of slight variations in length. We lived in our last home for 14 years and have been in our current one six years. I have a hard time picking out clothes ...
Read More

A Letter to Myself a Year Ago

May is here and with that Graduations everywhere you look! My baby sister, Francesca (also JudiJo's niece) graduated high school last year and is currently a student at the University of Missouri. I loved her blog post so much that I wanted to share it with Inspired Women everywhere. Francesca shares her heart about her transition from High School to College and what she would have told herself a year ago. This message applies not only to those graduating this Summer, but to those who are in any transition in life! As I also keep hearing lately, sometimes we have ...
Read More

Scribbles: Trusting God with your mess.

Scribbles are cute when a child is just learning to use a pencil or a crayon. I remember the excitement we experienced when my children made their first efforts at trying to draw. Their little scribbles made us beam with pride, every little mark was adorable. It was cute until they began to use the newly discovered talent to mark on walls, cabinets and closet doors. I would usually end up explaining the rules one more time and clean up the mess. But, if one of them began to scribble on the others paper the crying would start. It’s a ...
Read More

The Leaf and the Dreamer

With flashlight in hand, I carefully made my way down the uneven dirt path. As I walked, I prayed. I poured my heart out to God in the stillness of the night. It was cold, yet my heart was warmed by His abiding presence. "O God, you have placed a dream in my heart that I cannot run from..." As I pondered my heartfelt words, staying sensitive to His voice, my flashlight caught a glimpse of something on the ground. It was a heart --lying there in the dark, yet smiling at me as if God had placed it there ...
Read More

Hidden in My Heart

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Your word I have hidden in my heart. Your word I have hidden in my heart. Your word I have hidden in my heart. Are you the type of person who likes to study the word with a few different Bible Translations, notebooks, and other inspirational books all spread out and opened to the perfect place? I am… Unfortunately as a Momma of 3 little boys, 5 and under I don’t know the last time that that has happened. I often get so ...
Read More

Overcomers in This Life

I recently had the privilege of attending a ladies’ retreat sponsored by our church. It’s always a great time when we get together with friends of like mind, as well as when we meet new friends. For me, one of the highlights of the retreat was when four of the ladies on the leadership team did a short drama/dance to the song “Mercy Tree” by Anthony Evans. (If you haven’t ever heard it, I encourage you to download it from ITunes. You will not be disappointed.) Tears flowed down many of our faces as we watched these ladies bring a ...
Read More

When You Jump the Gun

In honor of track season starting last night....in 37 degree weather, I might add....I was reminded of something that happened last year when my heart was broken for my oldest son. He runs the 400m dash in track. He'd worked and trained for months, and he only lost 2 races last season, and then he came in second by a hair. He qualified for district prelims, and he had a real chance to make it as a freshman to the finals. That’s a big deal. But sadly, his nerves and excitement got the best of him, and he jumped the ...
Read More

Sisterhood

I sat around a table with a group of my female students in Nepal a number of years ago, sharing stories of families and upbringing. A common thread of shame began to surface as every one of them admitted to feeling as if they had been a disappointment to their parents for being born a daughter. This was nothing shocking or new to them, as it was to me, but simply a cultural fact. “To be a daughter is to be a curse”, they explained, “because money is wasted in raising her only to give her away for someone else’s ...
Read More

A Day At The Circus

Yesterday was the perfect day. Everything went right. I did my devotions. Everyone got to school on time. Work was great and very productive. My computer didn't act up. The lipstick stain came out of the dress I wanted to wear for our couples' banquet for church that night. When the kids got home from school, everyone was peaceful and got along, and I even had one whole hour - without interruption - to get ready for the banquet. My husband and I had an amazing time together and enjoyed our fellowship with the other couples. When we got home, ...
Read More

Pregnant with Purpose

Recently at our prayer group, Russ Adams spoke on seeing the dream for our lives fulfilled. God will place the seed of a dream inside of us and conception will occur. We may be pregnant and not even know it right away. There are very rare cases of women who show up at a hospital due to pressure and pain and find out they're ready to deliver a baby. As a mother of two sons, one who weighed 10 lbs. 3 oz. and one who weighed 9 lbs. 2 oz., I cannot comprehend not knowing I was pregnant! But at ...
Read More

Abundance

I believe that this year, 2016, will be a year of superabundance for the person who intimately knows and follows Jesus, no matter what the rest of the world looks like! As I was praying about what to speak about for our church's ladies' brunch for the new year, God gave me one word-ABUNDANCE! The psalmist says in Psalm 65:11-13 - You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. 12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, 13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, ...
Read More

SHARE the LOVE

They said to the woman. "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." John 4:42 It’s one of the greatest love stories written down. A woman whose destiny was determined for her. Gender, race and religion held her captive in a community of despised people. And as if that wasn't enough, she was broken and cast off by her own people. It was likely why she walked alone to draw water from the well on the day she met ...
Read More

Honey is Sweeter Than Vinegar

Recently a lingering dull headache pushed me to drive 75 miles to our wonderful chiropractor for an adjustment. En route I called to book the appointment only to be flippantly told by a new receptionist that the office hours had changed and I had already missed the time for morning adjustments and would have to come much later that day. The thought of waiting in pain due to their new schedule, that they obviously had kept to themselves, roused great irritation in me. This fleshly inconvenience coupled with the receptionist’s obvious uncaring attitude caused me to speak harshly to her ...
Read More

That Your Joy May Be Full

Everyone wants to be happy. It’s a hot topic right now. If you do a web search you’ll find websites, books, songs, movies, blogs, etc., all dedicated to the pursuit of happiness. In fact, I recently read an article titled, 10 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Incredibly Happy, in which they suggest that in order to be incredibly happy we should exercise, sleep more, spend more time with friends and family, get outside more, help people, practice smiling, etc., all good things. I would like to add one more thing to that list, pray. Does prayer really produce happiness? I ...
Read More

My Strong Displeasure

I love it when my teenage daughter opens up and randomly starts sharing her thoughts with me. I've learned however, to let her express her feelings without jumping in too soon with a "mom redirection" when her venting appears to be getting the best of her. She's told me more than once, "Mom, can't I just tell you how I'm feeling before you correct me?" She's right of course. I just know the ways the enemy gets his little hooks in our heart so I'm careful to help her recognize it too. Recently, we went to get a coke after ...
Read More

Beauty Face

Ten years ago if you had used the word “selfie,” people would have given you a puzzled look because the word did not exist. But today, almost everyone knows the word which is used for taking of photo of yourself. You can even buy selfie sticks to attach to your smartphone in order to include more people or scenery in the photo by holding your phone further away. Recently, my husband, Jerry, wanted to show our six-year old granddaughter the inside of a bird’s nest high up on the branch of a tree. Using his creativity, he made his own ...
Read More

Chronic OverLOAD

“God does not have to depend on human exhaustion to get His work done. God is not so desperate for resources to accomplish His purposes that we have to abandon the raising of our children in order to accommodate Him. God is not so despairing of where to turn next that He has to ask us to go without sleep five nights in a row. Chronic overloading is not a spiritual prerequisite for authentic Christianity. Quite the contrary, overloading is often what we do when we forget who God is.” ~ Excerpt taken from Best-Selling Book, Margin/The Overload Syndrome. In ...
Read More

The Promise of Hope

This rainy Thanksgiving weekend my social feeds have been flooded with beautiful images of Christmas trees and homes filling with red and green, gold and silver. Families preparing for what most might say is the most cherished holidays of the year. Christmas has always been my favorite and this year is going to be a little more special than normal. While everyone else is decorating, I will be spending this week packing! YAY! We are completely overwhelmed with gratefulness as our family takes a step forward into one of God's promises to us! One that has been several years in ...
Read More