Lu says, "Let's talk."

Suffering Through Easter

cross of nailsGuilt. Shame. Condemnation.

I have experienced all the above. Haven’t you?

Easter is approaching and I can’t help but think about Jesus. How can anyone go through the Easter season and not think about Jesus? He suffered. I’m not suffering.

There was a time I would have felt guilty about not suffering. Not only am I not suffering, I am feeling extremely blessed. My entire family will be celebrating together this Easter and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Jesus carried our guilt, shame, and condemnation so we could live in freedom. We can be blessed because He put an end to condemnation and striving to be “good” as means of acceptance. If Jesus Christ is your Lord and Master, you are good. You are good enough. In fact, you can’t get any better.

Enjoy His complete gift. Enjoy blessings. No condemnation.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

–Romans 8: 1

God does not condemn you. Don’t condemn yourself.

What Hollywood Got Right With “Noah”

hollywoodI was really excited to see a movie in which I had read the story countless times. Added bonus, I knew the ending.

As I watched the movie Noah I started to question if I indeed knew the ending. Yes, the movie was definitely “Hollywoodized.” But isn’t that why we go to the movies? And isn’t that why millions return over and over?

Before you bash Hollywood for doing what they do, may I remind you that it is your ticket purchases and my ticket purchases that bring in the revenue to enable them to continue on making movies year after year? If we stopped going to the movies and read a book for instance (remember those?) the movie industry would come to a halt.

I don’t know about you, but I love going to the movies. I love being taken somewhere else for a few hours! I love the smell of popcorn. I love to hear a laughing audience. Even better, I love to laugh myself.

Yes, I love going to the movies, but what I would like to focus on are three points that Hollywood got right with the movie Noah. Yes, even Hollywood can glorify God.

  1. God is powerful (Matthew 6:13). God can do whatever He wants. We are not the Creator. He is. And it is our job to worship Him, not question Him. The movie Noah did exemplify God’s mighty and wondrous power.
  2. God extends mercy and grace (James 5:11). God’s love, mercy, and grace cover us completely, all the time, and it never ends. It covers anything you’ve ever done or will do. I love walking in grace and freedom even more than I love going to the movies.
  3. God is just (1 Peter 3:18). Make no mistake about it, God is NOT mocked (Galatians 6:7). He loves us and wants us to love Him, but if we choose to bypass His love, He will be just.

Was the movie Noah “Hollywoodized?” Of course it was! However, I am thankful that someone had the guts to use the Bible to entertain people and magnify God. If the scenes in the movie depicting how powerful God is, don’t point you to the God of the Bible, I don’t know what will.

God is powerful and He does extend his grace, love, and mercy. One day we will all stand before Him. I am ready! Are you?

Raising a Daughter

motherdaughterI have raised a daughter. She is 26 now and she is amazing.

Was I ever fearful she wouldn’t be a sweet, well-adjusted adult? Was I ever tempted to give up and throw in the proverbial parent towel? Yes and YES.

Many days I wanted to give up. I wanted to give up on the tug-of-war, the defiance, and the “I dare you to correct me” attitude.

I longed for the smallest bit of reprieve. Couldn’t I just have five minutes, FIVE MINUTES, of no arguing or talking back?

Many days I was exhausted from fighting with an impossible little girl who seemed to be stronger than me. And yet, something inside of me chanted, “Don’t give up.”

Even on the worst of days, as the battle settled and the night rolled in, I’d crawled into her bed and we’d share life. I’d listen. I’d praise. I’d teach. I’d be Mom.

Every little girl needs Mom—even the little girls that are pushing Mom away. Those are the ones who need Mom the most.

Growing up is hard. Don’t ever forget that as a parent. Growing up is hard. Very hard.

Listen to your kids. Listen with an understanding heart—a heart that loves beyond and before anything else. The more you understand your child and their world, the better parent you can be.

When you understand them, only then can you be a loving and compassionate parent. If all you do is correct and assert orders, you will breed distrust and dissention.

Many days they will need you, but they will only go to you if you have developed a relationship of trust and honor.

Fight for every inch of your relationship. Every inch will be worth miles of blessings and gratitude in the future.

Now that I have a daughter who has surpassed any expectation I ever dreamed of, I am thankful for every talk, every shared cup of hot chocolate, every game, every late night hangout, every day I allowed her to ditch school.

She will always be my little girl. But now she teaches me, and in the end I am the one who received riches worth more than any worldly possession.

Yes, I have raised a daughter. And she is wonderful. And I am full of gratitude and awe.

Behind Every Good Man is a Great Woman

coupleMany have heard the expression, “Behind every good man is a great woman.” But I began to think about all the exceptions to this statement.

What about some single men who have accomplished great things and are great men? I can name quite a few.

What about the husband with a nagging, overbearing wife, but still is an accomplished doctor, pastor, or businessman? I’ve often thought of Abraham Lincoln when I’ve heard this expression.

I challenge this statement today to make an addendum to it.

Great women make good men even greater. Great women can help men feel loved. Great women can help men feel valued and respected.

Author and researcher Shaunti Feldhahn said, “Almost every guy we talked to said they would rather hear encouragement from a girl than a guy.”

You are the wife, sister, or mother of a guy. Your words hold tremendous power.

That power either enables the man in your life to become better, or your words of discouragement have become a hurdle in his life to overcome.

So, I ask you: Are the good men in your life great in spite of you or are they greater because of you?

I Would Lay In Bed and Think About Dying

in bedWhen I was a child I thought about death often. I spent many a night thinking about my own death and the idea of no longer existing forever and ever. I wrestled with the idea of it. I didn’t think about life. I only thought about dying.

As a child I could never understand why my parents acted so surprised when someone died. Even today, if I were to call my mother and tell her someone passed, I would hear a horrendous gasp on the other end as if the concept of death were foreign until I brought it up.

Death is a part of life. To truly live one needs to come to terms with death.

There is a widow who lives in my neighborhood. She has worked as a food server for the twenty plus years I have known her, supporting herself after her husband died.

She told me one day, “Do everything you want to do with your husband now. You never know when you will not be able to anymore. We had planned on doing many things in the future, like vacations and such, but we never got to. Don’t wait. Do it now.”

We can all think of someone who lost their spouse—too soon. From a human perspective it is always too soon.

If you knew you only had a year, a month, or a week left with your spouse would you treat him or her differently? Being faced with death, it generates the desire to live. When we come to terms with our own mortality then we can start living.

The only real reconciliation for death is through Jesus Christ and His death on the cross. Through His sacrifice we can have life. Life eternal. It is when we lay down our life in exchange for God’s greater purpose that true life begins (Matthew 10:39).

Live life with those you love as if time is short. Start with your spouse and work outward, and wait and see what God does.

Stop Being Married and Start Dating

“I want to make an appointment with you,” he said. After 32 years of marriage what could possibly be so important that he scheduled an appointment with me? Being a “good” wife I played along. “Okay, whatever you want.”

It was a long meeting. I didn’t say much. He was on his iPad most of the time while I sipped coffee wanting the “meeting” to be over.

calendarAnd what was he so engrossed with? He was working through his calendar, scheduling dates. Dates with me. He wanted to bring back date nights, like when our kids were little.

As the kids got older it became much easier to spend time together without going through the formal process of scheduling babysitters and restaurant reservations.

Oh we always made time for one another. Each one of his days off we spent together. We did go out to dinner or lunch alone weekly. We always start Sunday mornings with a Starbucks date. Doesn’t that count as dates? But suddenly, he wanted scheduled date nights that were on the calendar…until the end of the year.

It was okay with me, but truthfully I wondered if they would actually happen with his very busy and changing schedule. I decided not to get over enthusiastic about the proposed “dates.”

And then it happened. Our date night arrived and he picked a restaurant and we headed out. While driving to our destination I was flooded with first-date feelings. Suddenly, I felt like I was 20 again.

He chose a very romantic restaurant. We started with appetizers, then salad. I only ate a few bites of my main course. Ending dinner by sharing a chocolate soufflé. Sitting close and stealing kisses, it was a perfect evening.

After dinner we decided to park. Yes, park! Like when we were in high school. Arriving home reminded me of sneaking in after curfew hoping your parents were asleep. “Did you have fun?” our daughter asked. “Yes, we had a great time.”

After 32 years of marriage I’m dating again. AND I LOVE IT. Who needs marriage when you can date? Stop being married and date again.

And the best part about dating your spouse is the sleepover party, night after night.

Dumb Love

brokenheartCan we ever love too much? I often feel that I love so deeply that it is my biggest fault. When those I love hurt, I hurt. When those I love grieve, I grieve. When those I love suffer, I suffer. I don’t know how to turn it off.

When someone comes to me with sadness, I feel his or her pain. I take their sadness with me and then can’t shake it off.

Some days I wish I didn’t have to feel anymore. I long to be a zombie. I want to not feel others’ pain. When it is someone I love deeply, the depth of my sadness is as deep as my love for them.

Is there anyway to turn this off? I have struggled through this question. And my conclusion is turning it off would be to turn off love and love is our greatest gift.

Loving too much is the definition of being a mother. A good mother anyway. If you didn’t love too much you wouldn’t walk with your kids through struggles. You wouldn’t cry with your child when they cry. You wouldn’t fight for them when no one else will. You wouldn’t be there to help pick up the pieces when they make a huge mistake.

I’ve heard it said that a mom is only as happy as her least happy child. A bit codependent but I can completely relate to that statement. Can any other mothers relate to this? A good mom cannot be totally unaffected by her child’s sadness. It just isn’t possible.

When we love deeply we feel pain. At the same token there is no one more elated when our child hits a homerun, nails a speech, or comes home with straight A’s. Once when my son won a boxing tournament I jumped and screamed so loud that I almost passed out.

Pain and sadness come with being a mom. I’ll take it.

Strive for love.

Mean Girls

meangirlsI felt like I was stuck in the middle of the movie Mean Girls. Finding a place to sit down for meals resembled the lunch quad in high school—surveying the area looking for someone to eat with. Maybe they will talk to me today, maybe not. Desiring to be included but never feeling accepted.

Day 1 – Why did I sign up for this? Can I go home early?

Day 2 – Okay, you’re stuck here for the duration, better make the best of it.

Day 3 – There must be something wrong with me.

Day 4 – I’m really feeling bad about myself, and starting to doubt my self-worth.

Day 5 – Going home, can’t wait to see my family. There is something wrong with me.

As I limped back to my family they welcomed me home with open arms. My spirit was restored. They teased me. They listened to me. They were interested in my feelings. They loved me. Not only did they love me, they accepted me completely, flaws and all. I went from feeling like a beat up old car to feeling like a polished Rolls Royce. It was magnificent!

I felt like a new person. It did not take long for me to soar again—attacking life with my full potential.

Think about your home. If we don’t provide our children with a safe environment where they feel valued, loved, listened to, and accepted we are sending them off into the world limping. We expect them to always “do their best” but if we are not providing them a safe place to land, we have sabotaged their mission.

Day 6 – Home. My family loves me. Yeah, I’m pretty awesome!

“You Have Cancer”

bandaidCancer affected our family in a beautiful way this past year.

“You have cancer.” No one wants to hear those words. Although I did not hear those words I did hear, “Mom, Kyle has cancer.” Kyle is my daughter’s boyfriend.

The way my family works is if one of us is affected by something, all of us are going through it. It’s just the way we are. Although I did not have cancer, nor did one of my family members, it still affected us deeply…very deeply.

Kyle was only 26 when diagnosed. How could he have cancer? But he did and it changed us forever. It changed us in a beautiful way.

When most young ladies would have chanted, “Where’s the fun in this? I’m young. I want to go out and have fun. “ My daughter said, “I don’t want anything from you. I am not expecting anything. I just want to help you through this.”

As I watched her, the student became the teacher. She taught me how to love more deeply. She taught me how to love through action. She taught me how to love sacrificially.

Kyle’s cancer required surgery, 12 weeks of chemotherapy, and now another surgery. He’s never complained. Not even when he could hardly talk because of the sores in his mouth. Not even when he lost his hair. Not even when he vomited…another time. Not even when he could hardly walk up a flight of stairs. Not even when he couldn’t eat. (I am certain I would complain if I couldn’t eat!)

When I received the honor of taking him to his chemotherapy treatments, I got to see cancer up close in a way I had never seen it before. The waiting room was full of sullen faces. The chairs lined with those choosing to have chemo run through their bodies because the alternative was far worse, and even the empty chairs next to each patient who had no one with them. I told God, “I never want to come here again…ever.” And yet Kyle laughed and told stories and smiled. Visibly he was a favorite among the nurses and staff. Going there became fun because of him.

Watching him it didn’t seem that bad. I know that sounds horrific and immensely insensitive, but something I had feared most seemed doable now. A person can tackle cancer with class and hope. It can be done without it robbing you of life and joy. It can be done with love. How?

I think the answer comes from Kyle’s own words during a sermon he preached to our mega-church congregation shortly after he had been diagnosed with cancer. He said, “We are not a people of despair. We are a people of hope.” With God there is hope.

As Kyle prepares for another surgery he said, “I’d rather have surgery then go through another round of chemo.” So, after all I guess it was pretty rough. He just didn’t let on.

Why? How?

“Because we are not a people of despair. We are a people of hope.” –Kyle Welch

Why I Love My Husband – A Love Letter

I am honored and excited to be part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour. Fawn Weaver’s new book is a wonderful way to start off the New Year with all the secrets to a happy marriage.i love you

When I saw that one of the suggested titles was to write a blog post on “Why I Love My Husband,” I had to choose it.

I love my husband for so many reasons, and as I thought about what to write I remembered an old love letter I wrote him over 10 years ago. I never intended to publish due to its vulnerable nature, but I’ve decided this is the perfect post for the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour. It is very personal and private, but I’ve decided to pull it out and be ultra transparent for this tour.

There are many happy wives around the world and I am one of them. This is my love letter:


Before I met you I felt like a little girl who had been put out on the streets with no shoes on. Sometimes the ground would be really hot or really wet and cold. Many times I would get blisters on my feet and formed many calluses. Often I would have to climb mountains with many sharp edges or would walk over glass by accident, and my feet would get cut and bleed.

From time to time a person would come along and give me a bandage to put on my cut feet. It would feel better… for a little while.

Then I met you. You not only gave me bandages but you put the bandages on my feet. You stayed with me while the wounds healed. And if that wasn’t enough you did something that I could hardly believe. You gave me shoes to wear. Shoes that felt so good. Shoes that I was proud to wear.

More often than I would like, the people who put me out on the streets with no shoes come by and try to take my shoes away. I fight hard to keep them, and sometimes I am able to hang on to my beloved shoes, but sometimes—even though I fight with all my might—they are able to take my shoes away.

This leaves me barefooted again. My feet start to get cut up again.

I wait for you to come and bandage my feet and give me another pair of shoes. Promising myself that this time I will fight even harder to make sure that they don’t take the next pair of shoes away from me.

I appreciate that you do this for me. Over. And over.

I love you,



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