The Moment Before

Have you experienced the moment before? I’m sure you have. Here’s what I mean:

  • You get an email saying your lab results are now available on line.
  • Your SAT scores (or GMAT, or final grades) show up in the mail.
  • Your kid (or parent, or best friend) sits down next to you and says, “I have something to tell you…”

This list could go on forever. We all have those moments when we know the information we are about to receive will be very, very important and could be truly wonderful or nearly devastating. If you’re like me, your breath and heartrate change, and time seems to stand still.

What do you do in that moment before? I won’t discourage you by telling you what I used to do, or what our enemy wants us to do. Instead, let me tell you what I’ve finally learned to do, what I’m hoping you will learn to do as well.

  • Remember that the One who is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving is in charge of this moment and all the moments to come.
  • In heart and and mind say, really say, “I trust you in whatever this moment is about to bring.” (If some part of me doesn’t actually mean that yet, I’ll ask the Lord to intervene with added trust as well.)
  • As much as possible, release and relax every bit of that now-tensed-for-bad-news body.

And then, open the email, read the letter, listen to the loved one—all the while letting an undercurrent of silent prayer pervade as you accept the bad news or celebrate the good. Afterward, be still sometime soon. Ponder, pray, and worship the One in charge. My pastor says, “The only way you can learn how to pray is to pray.” The more we do it, the more it becomes the second nature prayer is meant to be! And the more we pray, coming into the throne room of God and seeing that it’s our loving Dad sitting on that throne, the more we can face those “moments before” with peace.

Photo by ErikaWittlieb via

A Bit of Business, or The Way Things Work

Yesterday, Steve asked, “Why do I have to look at those unpleasant ads at the end of your blog?”

Ahh, the light went on at that moment. Most of you, my very valued readers, may not know about the way things work.


First of all, thank you for reading! It means a great deal to have you taking in my words and considering them.

Secondly, thank you for commenting. That’s really the only way I know you’re reading. It means the world to me to hear what you have to say.

Last of all, my apologies for those ads. However, those are added by WordPress at their discretion, because I don’t pay for an upgraded site. I hope those ads never dissuade you from reading to the end of each essay. And if they do, please be sure to let me know.

Here’s something else you may not know. In order to remain respectful of your time, I try to keep each blog down to 300-400 words. Since I’ve already used up about half of that, let me just leave you with a few favorite quotes this week:

  • “When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.” (Jim Harris)
  • “Essential to parenting is being the person you want your kids to become.” (Ky Faciane)
  • “We don’t have the power to control people’s emotions.” (Uncredited)
  • “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.” (John Ortberg)
  • “If you’re only going to enjoy the day if your plans work out, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.” (Joel Osteen)
  • “If people determined our destiny, we would never have heard of King David.” (Uncredited, but I heard this basic point from 2 separate pastors in one week.)
  • “God’s faithfulness in the past needs to motivate our worship in the future.” (Ty VanHorn)

So, which one of those strikes you today?

And do you have a favorite inspirational quote? Send it on! I’d love to read it!

Judgement Free Zone

pixabay handcuffs judgement free

I joined a group of women for coffee this morning. We were there to share our lives, our needs, our gifts and our prayers. The woman who brought us together had posted a sign on the wall that read “Judgement Free Zone.” (And one that said, “’Fix-It’ Free Zone” too, but that will have to wait for another day.)

Do you ever feel like the Lord is poking on you? Well, that sign was one more way he used to tell me I need to work on my awful tendency toward judgement. All of life should be a judgement free zone! Still, I struggle to ignore those nitpicky little notions that pop into my head when I see someone doing life wrong (aka not MY way). I’d like to share a few quotes that help me steer clear of judgmental muck and mire. Actually, the first should be enough for us all.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Jesus in Matthew 7:1-2).

“Give people room to be human.” (Joel Osteen)

“Carry a shield. And treat others as if they don’t.” (Rachelle Gardner)

Carry a shield? Yes, indeed! Since, sadly, we don’t live in a judgement free world, we’ve all got to be wary of allowing the judgment of others to wound us or, worse yet, to dissuade us from following the path we believe the Lord has laid out for us. While we are surely called to serve one another, we aren’t necessarily called to please one another.

Truth be told, though, the person on whom I often exact the toughest judgement is myself. I read these wise words a few nights ago:

“Speak to yourself the way you would speak to someone you love.”

And how do we handle our fiery self-judgement when we’ve absolutely made a wrong choice? Here’s what my pastor says:

“Religion says, ‘I messed up. My dad is gonna kill me.’ The Gospel says, ‘I messed up. I need to call my dad.’”  (Ky Faciane)

Anytime we make the mistake of judging ourselves harshly, the best and only answer is to go back to our Lord, confident that he still loves us and can cover all our misdeeds. ‘Same goes for the misdeeds we see going on in other people’s lives. We can and ought to pray. Sometimes we may be called to counsel. But I’m ready to start building more judgement free zones. Join me, won’t you?!?