Love Is

Dear Friends,

I want to preface this post with this word: I wrote this a while back, prior to having major surgery. I want you to know not one part of it is intended to bring any praise or attention to myself. I give God all the credit and glory and I hope you can see His awesomeness in how he has blessed me!

Happy Reading!


“How are you feeling? Are you nervous?” “I had no idea!”

I’m feeling fine. Nervous? Nah, piece of cake. And my response to the last exclamation-well, it’s not like I go about my life telling everyone I come in contact with that my husband needs a kidney transplant and I am so wonderful that I’m giving him mine. To be honest, I don’t really think about my end of it much. It was a no-brainer when I tested in the beginning. The day we found out we passed the first test was one of the happiest days of both our lives. As the next month passed, and I completed test after test after test (sometimes the same one twice), all I could think about was how my husband’s life was going to change. For the first time in years he would feel like a normal human being again. What a gift I could give him!

The “love chapter” in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, speaks of what love is not. It is not boastful. It is not proud. And it is not self-seeking. There is not one thing I am getting for myself out of this, except a new life with my husband (and 8 weeks of recovery with him). There is a reason I have been purposefully keeping my focus on him.

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Does It Matter What We Think? What if I spent the last month focusing on what this surgery meant for me physically? How much stress and anxiety would I have felt? Maybe so much so that I would have reconsidered my decision and backed out of giving my husband this gift. After all, the transplant team at the hospital reminds me multiple times whenever I’m there for an appointment that I do not have to proceed. I can back out at any time. Even the day of surgery, up until they fill my body with anesthesia. But instead of thinking about what might turn into great fear, I am choosing to think about the good of others.

What if I let my thoughts wander the other way, and allow pride to rule. Love is not boastful, right? If I permitted myself to soak in all the compliments and “thank you’s” and praise I was hearing, I’d be doing this for the exact opposite reason.

No, this beautiful gift I can give him is just that. A gift. And I will tell you, this is one battle that’s been pretty easy for my mind to fight. I think a large part is due to the fact that whenever someone brings it up to me, God has helped me train my mind to respond with a focus on someone else. Even when I haven’t been tempted to reflect on the praise I received. The Bible tells us our thoughts become our words and actions, and I truly believe that. I also believe the verse that talks about speaking things that aren’t as though they were. This includes our actions. I challenge you today, in whichever area you struggle in, whether it’s your thoughts or your words, to ask God to help you be mindful of that area and to give you the tools you need to fix it. The freedom you will feel is beyond words!




Photo by Leighann Renee on Unsplash

God Is Real-Surprise!

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

My husband’s kidneys are failing. We found out a while ago that he needs a transplant. At our first visit with the transplant team, we were informed that the donor doesn’t necessarily have to be a perfect match. As long as they are donor-worthy, they can perform something called a swap. I’m in good health, and had decided that I wanted to donate for my husband. So, as much as I would have loved to be able to give him one of my own kidneys, I proceeded with the testing believing I’d be able to donate to someone else, and we’d complete the swap.

Not long after my bloodwork, I clearly heard the Lord say to me, “Why don’t you just ask Me for you two to be a match.” My response? “Because, Lord, I know You’re capable, but I don’t think I have the faith to ask and believe for it.” I didn’t doubt that I heard His voice, though, so I began to pray. Short, simple, and to the point. I asked God to make it so that not only would my blood type match my husband’s, but that our blood and tissue would also be compatible. This way I could give my husband a part of me and we’d truly be one. Not to mention it would make scheduling and the whole procedure much simpler and quicker.

Not long after I stepped out onto that invisible beam, similar to Indiana Jones at the end of The Last Crusade, I received a phone call at work. Not only did our blood type match, but when a part of me was put together with a part of him, there was no reaction. Wow! Why do we doubt God’s ability? Remember, He wants us to come BOLDLY to His throne of GRACE.

throne yes

Does It Matter What We Think? Every single day we are given multiple opportunities to think the best about a situation, or think the worst. What’s the first thing your mind often steers to? With the internet at our fingertips, today, more than ever, we find ourselves researching statistics and looking for facts. But faith doesn’t go based on facts and statistics. Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Do you know the statistics of a spouse being a perfect match for transplantation with her husband? I don’t know the exact numbers, but I do know that siblings have a 25% chance of being a perfect match and a 50% chance of being a half match. And that’s a blood relative! God wants us to live beyond the facts, beyond what we can see. It’s time to start thinking about what God can do for us, and then ask Him and believe it!

I Am Awesome…and So Are You!

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works” Psalm 139:14

“You’re awesome!” This was a recent compliment I received, to which I mentally replied, Oh really? You obviously don’t know me very well. Don’t get me wrong, the compliment was very much appreciated and it made me feel pretty darn good. But being someone who has struggled with insecurity, other, more harmful thoughts quickly crept in and suffocated any positive thinking that resulted from the wonderful compliment.

Have you ever found how God knows exactly what you need at the exact moment in time? It wasn’t long after I received this compliment when I was reading one of my daily devotionals. It led me to the verse above. I took away two things from this verse. First, I was reminded that God loves me and made me Himself. That alone should warrant my praises. Okay, thanks for the reminder. Nothing I haven’t heard before, but I will say it was a good reminder for my slight insecurities.

Second, and this was a huge WOW factor for me, is the latter part. “Marvelous are Your works.” WOW! Do you see it? If not, don’t worry, I didn’t either the first ten times I read this verse. I needed a little assistance. Let me show you. In the beginning of the verse, David said that he was made by God. If he then proclaimed God’s works are marvelous, he was saying that he himself was marvelous, because he was made by God. Soooo…YOU are marvelous. I am marvelous. Isn’t that marvelous?!

I am awesome blog

Does It Matter What We Think? My question to you is, do you believe it? Marvelous is a pretty powerful word. I don’t know that I’d ever think to use that word when describing myself. But God would. I can be confident in that word as I continue to run the race I call life, and keep my eye on the prize even when I fall. I am no less marvelous in God’s eyes when I fall. And neither are you. So when we fall and begin to question our identity and God’s love for us, let’s get up, brush ourselves off and finish what God has started!

Praise: An Answer to Prayer

“I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1

Recently I had the precious opportunity to spend almost two hours in the car alone. As I was driving home from a women’s event, I began to pray in a way I don’t usually pray. Basically, I said, “ok, Lord, it’s just me and you. All my insecurities, my shortcomings, my weaknesses, they’re all here out in the open. Despite all this, please show me how.” I don’t usually bare all my flaws when I begin to pray. But last night, as I spoke to God as if He were my friend, things became real. There wasn’t this barrier between me and the Holy One. It was just me and my heavenly Father.

Often times I feel like I fall short as a good parent. I’m sure I’m not alone. If you have children, you probably know what I mean. Right now I really need to hear from God regarding a few situations we’re facing as a family. After I prayed, I reached to turn the radio off so the noise wouldn’t drown out God’s voice. But as my finger touched the button, something made me stop. I listened to the words Big Daddy Weave sang through my speakers. “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, all the day long.” It stopped me right there. Was that from you, God? Of course we always tend to question whether we really heard from Him, don’t we? We ask Him, but don’t always expect an answer.

Wait, that’s it? How could that be it? Truth be told, I wasn’t very good at praising my Savior lately-especially at home. Maybe I heard wrong. God, how is that going to help me teach my kids what they need to learn?

Then God revealed this to me. I wasn’t sure I was supposed to share it or if it was just between me and God, but I believe if I struggle with this, then someone else must too-surely I’m not alone in this. So, listen closely.

My child, as you learn how to praise Me throughout your day, the difficulties from your trials won’t bother you and get you down because you are simply living in the joy of just praising Me.

Wow. Well, Lord, if this is really what You are telling me, then I need Your help. There’s absolutely no way I can do this on my own. And, uh, any chance you can wait till tomorrow? I’m not sure I’m up for starting this tonight, since I’m still on an emotional high from tonight’s event. I don’t want to ruin it with whatever trial may be awaiting me as I walk through the door.

praising my savior all the day long

Does It Matter What We Think? As I mentioned earlier, the hardest place for me to praise God is at home. It’s where I let the pressures of the day fall away, and it’s not always pretty. Yet that’s what God instructed me to do back at the beginning of my prayer. So, what am I going to do? I’m gonna do what He asked me to do, because I know with His help I can do anything. I will praise the Lord at all times. Then I’m going to watch the transformation happen before my eyes, because God is faithful and He would never ask us to do anything that He didn’t think we could do with Him!

Realistic Resolutions

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;” Lamentations 3:22-23

Let’s play a game. I’ll say a word and you say the first thing that comes to mind. Ready? Resolution. What did you think? New beginning? Fresh start? Or perhaps the first word that came to your mind was Failure? Do you remember last year’s New Year’s Resolution? I know I don’t remember mine.

One definition of resolution I found is a FIRM DECISION to do or not do something. Another definition calls it a promise to oneself. I don’t know about you, but that scares me just thinking about it. Typically, we’re the hardest on ourselves, aren’t we? Maybe you’re not like me, but I am often hard on myself when it comes to commitments and following through on decisions I’ve made. Yet I can’t predict the future. I don’t know if something will happen that might cause it to not come true.

My daughter has developed a wonderful habit of being honest with her family. But sometimes maybe she shares a little too much. For example, my husband and I went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (if you haven’t done it, I highly recommend it) not too long ago. One of the changes we made as a result was that we were going to be having what we called “budget meetings” with the kids weekly. This was a time to sit together and talk about the money they’ve made that week, what to save, spend, tithe, etc. The first meeting we sat down and she had just a bit of that 16-year-old attitude (shocker). Then it came out. She didn’t understand why we needed to do this because her dad and I never follow through on anything anyways, so what was the point? Ouch! But she wasn’t wrong on that point.


Does It Matter What We Think? I have a couple of goals I’d like to set for the coming year. However, I have peace knowing that if I don’t follow through today or meet my goal, the verse above promises me that I can try again tomorrow. God’s mercies are new EVERY SINGLE morning. This means that we don’t have to wait for January 1 of each year to start over with our resolution. If we fail, which, let’s face it, we’re human, so we’re bound to fail once in a while, but we have the grace of God to pick ourselves up and try again. And again. And again. I must admit, that makes me feel so much better than making a promise to myself to do or not do something and ultimately know in the back of my head that I may fail at it. So, try not to look at this year as a one-and-done failed attempt at another resolution if you make a mistake by February 1. Let’s look at this year as 365 days of new beginnings!


Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

A Serving of Servanthood

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” Mark 10:43

Crash! I heard the pounding of little kitten feet as 3-month-old Reese ran for safety from the lamp that shattered into tiny pieces across my dining room floor. I didn’t know what to do first. Make sure my precious, adorable, lovable kitten was not injured, scold her for getting on top of the buffet in the first place, get mad at my husband for leaving the lamp out, or laugh, remembering how we joked about that old lamp, hoping maybe one of the cats would knock it down. Mission accomplished. Except that, when it dropped, it was me and four kittens. So that meant that guess-who had the privilege of cleaning up the mess? Moi.

After completing a speedy body scan on Reese, I snapped a picture to send to my husband and fell to my hands and knees, ready to clean up the mess as quickly as I could. As I picked up larger pieces of glass, I found myself complaining, sinking deeper and deeper into self-pity. I didn’t have time for this. I had to make dinner so my son and I could leave in half an hour. Since I was alone, I had hoped to sit down and work on my writing for a bit while dinner cooked. Cleaning up a broken lamp was definitely not something on my list of goals for the precious amount of time I had free that afternoon.

As I crawled around the floor, however, the familiar feeling of guilt made its grand entrance. Didn’t I want the cuddly kittens? Didn’t I want to be a mom and wife, to take care of our home and make sure everything was safe and in order for my family? Didn’t I want to be the one to prepare dinners, ensuring my family was well-fed? I wanted to serve my family, so why was I complaining?

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Does It Matter What We Think? Not long after this incident I had another lesson in servanthood. Guess I didn’t learn the first time. We were invited to our friends’ house for dinner and I spent several hours that day creating a couple of desserts. When dessert was served, however, our host presented a delicious-looking pie. Immediately I felt frustrated and inadequate. God immediately asked me, “Tracy, don’t you want to know what it truly means to serve Me?” Yes, of course, Lord. Not five minutes after the pie was placed on the table I excused myself to the rest-room, a sanctuary where I could have a quick fit and then pull myself together in private. While in the bathroom my eyes were drawn to the shower curtain like metal to a magnet. The word “serve” jumped out at me. In that instant God showed me the real meaning of servanthood. He reminded me it’s not about how much time we spend on something or whether we’re appreciated or acknowledged for it. It’s in the act itself of doing something for the sole purpose of pleasing someone else, taking no thought whatsoever to ourselves. Just like Jesus when He washed His disciples’ feet. Just like Jesus as He lived out His entire life on earth. As we embrace this holiday season, let’s remember Jesus’ actions while He was here, and strive to be like Him, the servant who rearranges his/her thinking so we desire to put others’ before ourselves. To be the person who takes pleasure in picking up shattered pieces of old lamp from the floor, because in doing so, we are learning what it truly means to serve.

An Attitude of Gratitude

“A gracious wife brings glory to her husband.” Proverbs 11:16

The topic for the dinner event was grateful. I would’ve preferred to speak on fear, since we seemed to have an intimate relationship. Gratitude, however, was honestly something I focused on in November or when I struggled with my thoughts and intentionally expressed my thanks to God during my prayer time. I really didn’t know what I could talk about that people didn’t already know. What story did I have that they could relate to about being grateful that they hadn’t heard a million times already? As I began to prepare my talk, I thought it was a good idea to decipher the difference between gratitude and thankfulness. Guess what? The Greek work “eucharistos” is the same for both, thus clarifying for me the difference-There is none!

That was good news since I wanted to use a lesser-known Bible verse about being thankful for my talk. One that people would hear or read and say, “Oh, I never thought of it that way!” So, it was exciting for me (and, I’ll admit, a little hard to swallow) when I found that the word “eucharistos” as an adjective mean gracious or agreeable. “A gracious wife brings glory to her husband.” In other words, a thankful wife brings glory to her husband. As Joyce Meyer would say, “ouch, hallelujah!”

You see, this month I’ve been trying to focus on ways to express my gratitude to others, and wouldn’t you know, last week God showed me I had been forgetting about my family. Why is it that often times the people we’re closest to are the ones privileged enough to get all our leftovers? So, I found it funny (ha, ha, God) that the verse He led me to was one about our family.


Does It Matter What We Think? I want you to think for a second about how this verse is worded. A gracious or thankful wife. What would come to your mind if I asked you to describe a nagging wife? I’m sure it wouldn’t take you long. That person is known as a nag because of a repetitive behavior that has come to define them. A thankful wife is not a wife who expresses her gratitude once in a while, but who has developed this as a character trait of hers. Purposefully. Intentionally. How can we do this? By thinking about what we’re thinking about. Make it a habit to express gratitude to our family members.

Are you single? Or perhaps you’re a husband, and therefore you think this doesn’t apply to you. Don’t worry, you’re in luck! The Bible tells us that Jesus is our bridegroom and we, the church, are His bride. The comedian and TV star Tim Allen recently said women might say they want to be happy, yet we always find something to complain about. I’ll admit, I was one of those women in the audience who initially laughed but then was struck after the fact that, wow, he’s right. That is true – at least for me. Since we often find something to complain about, let’s think how happy we’d be if instead of focusing on the negative we focused on the many things we are thankful for. Life would be great! Are you living in a way that brings glory to Jesus by being a thankful “wife”?

A New Journey

Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power 2 Thess 1:11

“We’re about to get the next 1,000 readers.” ”Here’s the next step to take on your writer’s journey.” ”We’re about to start. Join me?” “Feeling overwhelmed?” These are just four email subjects I received in the last 24 hours. There are also two other phrases I’ve heard repeatedly lately. “You need a platform” and “build your email list.” My head is spinning just as I write this and I feel a dull ache begin to throb across my forehead. Oh, but I’m not done. Last night for the second time another new term reared its ugly head in my already overwhelmed brain during a rerun episode of Shark Tank. In order to be successful, it’s important to have “laser-like focus.” Oi. Where do I point my imaginary laser when millions of voices are screaming at me from all sides, all demanding my “focus” in order to be successful?

Last year I was given a great treasure. A book. I love books! Only this one was a hidden treasure. I love fiction, and this book was not fiction. I placed it on a stack of other books in my night table for future reading and proceeded to forget about it for the year, until I’d shuffle through the stack looking to see what might interest me at random times between books. Finally, one night I pulled it out and thought I should probably read it because it was, after all, a gift, and I did appreciate the gesture. I had no doubt it was a great book, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea-or didn’t look like it.

After dusting it off I read the title again. Wonderlust: A Spiritual Travelogue for the Adventurous Soul. That night as I read chapter one, my eyes were opened to the hidden beauty within these pages. The author, Vicki Kuyper, journaled through the years as she travelled to various places around the world, seeing God show up time and again in various ways in her travels. I was about halfway through the book and one night just after returning home from a writer’s retreat, when my mind was on overload about where to begin first, I read the chapter titled, Journey Toward Purpose. I figured I already knew my purpose, which was to write, speak and teach. I just needed guidance about where to start. Boy was I in for an awakening that night.

As I began to pray after finishing the chapter, God spoke something so completely opposite of what I thought that I didn’t doubt for one second it was His voice. He said, “Tracy, your purpose right now is not to scramble about trying to make money with your platform, it’s not which freelance job you can land first, and it’s not even trying to finish your next book so you can submit it to your top agent of choice.” Needless to say I was a bit taken aback, and of course, ready to argue. “No, Tracy, I need you to do something else right now. Something more important. Your purpose is to pray for your husband and your children.” God was telling me to put everything else on the back burner and focus my strength and energy on interceding for my family, specifically some things that will be coming up for us in the months ahead.


Photo by Michael Heuser on Unsplash

Does It Matter What We Think? Nothing matters more to me than hearing the voice of God and obeying the call. I believe He called me into teaching. I believe He called me into writing and speaking. But I also believe He called me to be a wife and mother to these three, amazing people in my life. As a result, I know He will take care of all else while focus my laser-like vision onto my purpose for today. I also know my purpose tomorrow might be completely different. Maybe tomorrow He will tell me to focus all my energy on just loving others. Maybe it will be next week when God tells me again to bring my focus back to my platform. Maybe it will be next month. But I’ve learned that it’s ok. Like the disciples’ prayer above, I want to be found worthy of God’s calling for today, whatever that is, so I can fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith!

How about you? Have you had a deep desire to do God’s work, something you knew you were called to do, but had to put it on temporary hold to fulfill another calling?


One Thing I Learned from DC Comics

“For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me.” Job 3:25

Term: Parademon. Definition (taken from a comic book website, Genetically engineered, mindless soldiers. Ever heard of them? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either. Parademons are slave to Darkseid, DC Justice League’s arch enemy. My son filled me in on the important details about these half-man half-demon creatures when I told him I needed material for a blog about fear. And since many of my other blog posts have something about Marvel superheroes in them, I figured, why not make it fair and talk about DC this time, much to my daughter’s chagrin. If you haven’t noticed by now, we are a super-hero family through and through.

After finding a video clip on Youtube, I clicked the button and watched as Ben Affleck (Batman) made his action-packed entrance into the picture. I didn’t have to wait long for the parademon to rear its ugly face. These creatures seem to have the form of man but remind me of The Mummy-ugly, shriveled, translucent skin, sharp teeth inside ridiculously large mouths… You get the picture. In the clip, Batman held one end of a rope as a man dangled from the other off the top of a building, fearing for his life. When the poor man asked Ben-I mean Batman-what he wanted from him, Batman’s reply was one word-fear. He proceeds to explain, “they can smell it.” Who’s they? You guessed it. Parademons. You see, according to the comic, parademons actually feed on fear. That’s right, they FEED on FEAR.

What is fear?  In the book of Job, amidst all of Job’s seemingly endless sufferings, his friend shared a dream. “Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake.” (4:14) The Hebrew word for fear is pahhad, or “shaking” (n: “to shake”). Fear does crazy things to us, both mentally and physically. (Image below taken from a nice website name).


Does It Matter What We Think? Take a minute to think about a time when you’ve been extremely afraid, or terrified. What kinds of thoughts were you filling your mind with? How did your body physically feel? I think the creators of DC knew what they were doing when they created these parademons. Have you ever noticed that when you’re afraid, if you let your mind dwell on the fear, the problem always looks so much worse than it really is? I mean, we could scare ourselves into believing our husband is having an affair every time he picks up his cell phone. Oops, was that out loud? Yep, that was me not too long ago. Because I let the enemy FEED on my FEAR as my mind dwelled on that one fearful thought. If I had continued on this path, eventually, as Job said, the thing I feared could have come upon me.

Here’s the great news. There is a way to rid ourselves of these parademons! 1 John 4:18 tells us, “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.” If we don’t give them something to feed on, they will disappear. How do we do that? God is love, and if we put on the armour of God, we can withstand even the worst fears. Speak truth instead of lies, think about good things instead of scary, and know the Word, which will help you put your trust in the One thing that can save you from allowing even your worst fears to come true! Remember, that at the name of Jesus, EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. (Phil 2:10)

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How about you? I’d love to hear of a time when you allowed yourself to give in to thoughts of unrealistic fears, or a fear that your mind blew way out of proportion. Or maybe it’s never happened to you – maybe I’m the only one?

The Merry-Go-Round Mind

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life…Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Matthew 6:25-26

I love going on walks through my neighborhood. There’s this one place called the “wetlands.” When I was growing up, (I live in the same neighborhood as when I was younger), the road passed through a swampy area where various animals lived, including beavers who cleverly crafted dams for passerbys to enjoy. It’s so beautiful, especially in autumn when you can see beyond the wetlands to all the beautiful foliage. I always slow down there during my walks for a minute or two, but the other day was different.

I went for a walk because my mind was swirling and spinning about things going on in my life. Often it happens to me as work, writing, emails, phone calls, appointments, and school schedules all fight for the forefront. This day, however, I had really only one thing on my mind. Yet still my mind spun, around and around, like it was on a merry-go-round that had an explosion in the control panel, destroying the off switch.

As I started downhill on my way to pass the wetlands for the second time, I pumped my arms in an attempt to will my legs to catch up to the speed of my mind. I didn’t even realize this was happening, and yet as my legs went faster, my mind sped up. What a sight I must have been! As I approached the bottom of the hill, though, I heard that familiar still, small voice. It said, “slow down.” Slow down? My first response was no way. I can’t. I’m on a mission. I need to keep walking. And thinking. And walking. And thinking. But I slowed down. Ok, God. You know better than me.

“More.” What?!  It took all the strength I had but I forced myself to slow down even more. As I slowed my pace, I found my mind slowing as well. I approached the wetlands and that’s when I heard it. God was speaking to me through the sounds of nature. The birds sang, the crickets chirped, and God showed me something very important that day.


Does It Matter What We Think? The thoughts that swirled through my mind on the walk that day were not bad thoughts. They weren’t evil, or unkind. But they consumed me. God showed me through that experience how important it is to train our minds to slow down and focus on Him and His glory, whether it’s a beautiful sunset, a field of flowers, or the animals speaking into the quiet air. Jesus continues the verses above, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (vs. 28-29) God created these things for us to enjoy, but I would’ve missed it all that day if I didn’t slow down and jump off the merry-go-round.

Has God ever spoken to you through His natural creations? I’d love to hear about it!