God is so good! I am so excited that our fall Bible Study has started! It is truly a highlight of my week to study God’s Word alongside my Thistlebend sisters!

Our study this semester is Falling in Love Again with Your Lord. The study was written by Laurie to help women to desire and learn to love the Lord with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. She herself has persevered and learned the sweetest joy that comes from making the Lord her all in all.

The Scripture we are using through the study is Psalm 63. This week, our memory verse was literally the first sentence: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you” (Psa. 63:1a). As I meditated on these words this week, I felt my spirit stirring with conviction. You see, I have been asking the Lord to reveal my sin to me, to show me where I am falling short. And He did just that, this week, through this verse.

I was actually convicted after the first words, “O God, you are my God.” I believe that God is my God, that there is no other God. But I felt God asking me, “Am I really your God? Am I your all in all?” And I was forced to confess that He was not. The truth is God does not reign on the throne of my heart. I do. I stubbornly want to go my own way.

I sadly contemplated how I have allowed certain commitments to take priority over my commitment to the Lord. I thought about how I would never consider not picking up my children from school, yet I pass on or abbreviate my quiet time with the Lord. Now, I am not suggesting that anyone not pick up their children from school. We must honor our commitments. I am just confessing that my commitment to others takes priority over the Lord.

I then went on to the next part of the verse: “…earnestly I seek you.” And again, I had to admit this was not true for me either. There are times that perhaps I do earnestly seek the Lord. But I must be unhurried, unstressed, and undistracted, and these times of stillness do not occur with great frequency. Instead, I am more likely to be seeking after other things, such as:

  • My comfort
  • Rest
  • A clean home
  • Approval and/or acceptance from others
  • Distractions from life – by reading, being on the computer, Netflix, etc.
  • My way

Praise God that I do not have to try to “fix” myself. In fact, I know I am completely and utterly incapable of doing any good on my own. It is God’s Spirit within me that allows me to do any good. In my natural state, my flesh will always oppose God and seek to gratify itself. Only God can change my heart. But I must ask Him to grant me the desire to make Him my first and greatest priority, and to love Him with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength (Mark 12:30).

I know it will be hard. I will have to sacrifice what I want. No person is naturally wired that way! It requires being willing to deny our flesh what it wants; saying no to ourselves and YES to God. I want what David had – such a great longing for the Lord that he said his soul thirsted for God (Psa. 63:1)! I want to know what that feels like and to know the joy of that sort of close relationship with the Lord.

I am so grateful to God for bringing me to Thistlebend! I am so grateful for Laurie’s teaching, and for my Thistlebend sisters, who I know will pray for me, encourage me, and hold me accountable. We are not meant to walk the Christian life alone. I know that I will be studying alongside women who also wish to earnestly seek the Lord. What a gift and blessing that is from our great God!

Growing in Grace



I had thought that I lived with a beautiful family of five,
Until I realized there was another living inside.
He’s here, he’s real, and he’s rather large;
Taking up way too much space in my mind, my heart, and even my garage.
He was tricky, I have to say. I did not see him coming my way.
He masquerades as light and fun, but the reality is he steals my attention.

His name is Clutter. And he is not pretty.
I did not ask him to join our family.
When did he arrive? How did I let this happen?
Why did I not realize what was going on?
How could I have been so blind for so very long?

Well, it’s time for Clutter to leave.
It’s time to make room for Another.
Because He is the one who deserves my time, not Clutter.
How can I get rid of him? Do I ask him nicely?
“I never wanted you here, so now you’ve got to go,” I say politely.

Now I’ve tried to be nice, but it just isn’t working;
For this is a battle and I must do some fighting.
The good news is I am not alone;
My King is sitting on His throne.
And He is simply waiting for me
To ask for His help to set me free.

Can I let go of Clutter? Do I want to be free?
How badly do I want to live my life abundantly?
Clutter has been with us for so very long;
But now it’s time my heart sang a brand new song.

I am ready; it is time. My King has waited so patiently.
He knows where I’ve been and exactly what I’ve done
And yet, He still loves me and forgives me. He is the One.
He is the light and He wants my all in all.

He wants my strength, my heart, my mind and my soul.
You see, He’s my creator and He made me with a goal.
To give Him all the glory and to tell others of His story.

Goodbye Clutter, you’ve had your run.
For now it’s time to usher in the One,
The one true God, who is full of light and life.
He wants my best, my all in all.
He wants my life, for that is His call.

And so, here we are, and I can finally say,
Welcome home, Lord Jesus, please show me the way.
Please come and take your place as King of my heart
So that others may see your grace and receive a brand new start.

Learning to Live in the Garden of Grace


The Thistlebend study In the Garden is a prayer study. It is designed to help the reader journey to a deeper place of prayer. Each day of the four week study is different but based on a similar format. Each day, we read and meditate on one of the Ten Commandments.

Many people think the Ten Commandments are an old set of rules. Even Christians may overlook their importance. It is true that Jesus fulfilled the Law wholly and perfectly, that His sacrificial death and resurrection and our faith in Him as our Lord and Savior are what make us right with God. (Praise God!) However, the Ten Commandments served to govern God’s people in the Old Testament and protect them. They remain amazingly applicable to modern day life.

Yesterday in my quiet time, the commandment that Laurie included was the Fourth Commandment: “Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God” (Deut 5:12-14a). The commandment goes on to more specifically outline how the day is to be a day of rest.

Laurie then went on to say that God no longer requires His people to take a particular day of rest. We read in Colossians: “So don’t let anyone criticize you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating Jewish holidays and feasts or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these were only temporary rules that ended when Christ came. They were only shadows of the real thing—of Christ himself (Col 2:16-17, TLB).   Laurie wrote that the Sabbath is no longer about resting on a particular day, but resting IN a particular person – Jesus Christ. At that moment, God opened my eyes to a question I have long struggled with: what does it really mean to rest in Jesus?

I sat on my back porch, listening to the sweet song of the cardinals, and, with Laurie’s writing to guide me, I began to break down what rest really means. When I am at rest physically, I think my body is inactive, comfortable, and relaxed. When my mind is at rest, I am at ease; my thoughts are free from anxiety or worry or fear. If I take this a step further, when I am at rest spiritually, my trust is in the Lord and I am dependent upon Him. I am at peace.

I confess: all of these places of rest are hard for me to get to. It is hard for me to rest physically – I always think of something that needs to be done. It is harder to quiet my mind. I feel like I am easily distracted. My thoughts often wander to my “to do” list or my schedule, and I grow anxious or worried. Spiritual rest is even harder. I struggle with control and want to do things my way. I try to fix things myself instead of turning to the Lord.

Meditating on all of this and thinking through how hard rest is for me was very illuminating. Why can I not rest? Do I feel I need to work to earn God’s love, to justify myself? Do I really believe that God will provide — that He, not anything I do, is the sole Source of all that I have? Do I trust Jesus to care for me so completely that I can allow my mind and spirit to truly be still? After all, Jesus himself said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28, NIV).

The Lord showed me that I do not fully rest because I do not fully trust. I am so grateful for this revelation! I pray for the faith to let go of the things to which I cling. I will slow down. I will prioritize my time with the Lord by being in His Word and in prayer. I will unburden my cluttered mind and lay my worries and fears at His feet. I will envision my Good Shepherd leading me to a place where the water is still, the grass is soft and fragrant, and the air is refreshing but quiet. I will remember His promises. Rest will come.

Growing in Grace