Category Archives: Write 31 Days

Seeking God Day 30

haldenWe took the kids to Cedar Point this summer for a quick family get away. The first day we were there the humidity was a solid 80% and the temp was an oppressive 98 degrees. Even though we wanted to be having a great time, it was nearly impossible. There is just no way to love what you are doing when you are so uncomfortable.

When the sun finally went down so did the heat and humidity. It was such a welcome relief. Instead of focusing on how miserable I was, I could start enjoying the rides. I’m disappointed at how distracted I am when I’m uncomfortable.  It doesn’t take much change my focus or deter my progress.

The last ride of the night was a roller coaster. It was close to midnight and incredibly dark as we stood in line waiting for our turn. When we finally made it to the front of the line and loaded into the cars my heart was pounding. I made sure that the harness was securely locked; pulling on it two and three times. My feet dangled off the ground and I waited for the ride to begin. The attendant signaled, the coaster hissed and my stomach suddenly was stuck to the back of my seat…away we went. The darkness added to my excitement and my terror. There was no way to know when we would go right or left. I couldn’t see when the dips were coming and had no idea when we were headed upside down until we were already in a full blown twist.

Sometimes following God’s plan for my life feels much the same. Terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Not knowing where the next twist or turn is. Continuing to check the harness to make sure it’s secure.

We sang this song in church today, the lyrics of the chorus go like this:

Where you go I’ll go

Where you stay I’ll stay

When you move I’ll move

I will follow You.

Complete surrender, that is what this song is talking about. Riding a God’s roller coaster in the dark, checking the harness but surrendering to His will.

Do I trust Him? Can I lift my open hands to Him and say, “Your will Lord.”


Will I continue to hold back? Will I continue to try to wrestle for power?

The sentence, “Yes, Lord” can feel like we are abandoning control. It is really. But instead of being terrified, if we trust God, it can be freeing. Allowing us to close our eyes and enjoy the wild coaster ride He has planned.

Being surprised by God is breathtaking!

Do you dare?

And here is the most amazing thing…

Luke 12:7 says:

But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

As risky as trusting God seems, he values you. Every hair on your head is numbered, you may want to be afraid but you don’t have to be.

Do you dare believe that God loves you as much as he says he does?

It’s going to be a wild and holy ride.




Seeking God Day 29

haldenJesus, Jesus precious Jesus how I proved him more and more. Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus, O for grace to trust him more.

We live in a country that is just a few days away from a national election; I don’t have to tell you that. The candidates? Less than desirable from any angle. How does loving and trusting Jesus influence who you vote for?

My Facebook feed is filled with stories about one group of Christians judging another group of fellow Christians. They disagree. Each side believes they are right, each side believes the other is deplorable. How do you love and trust Jesus in this environment? How do you know when you are on the “right” side? Is there a “right” side? If you question it, does that make you less spiritual? Does that make you a heretic?

What happens when we disagree? Are we as the body of Christ allowed to disagree and still be followers of Christ? I ask this with all sincerity because when I read one side’s or the others literature and rhetoric I’m led to believe that there is no room for middle ground. There is no tolerance for confusion or questioning or dialog. There is simply right and wrong.

I don’t want this post to be about any issue in particular but rather I want all of us to wrestle with what it means to seek God in this world full of differing opinions, worldview and choices. Seeking God conveys that we don’t know God fully, that there is still more to discover, that we may only know or understand a small piece of what is happening around us. Seeking God means that we don’t know it all. It’s a belief that we fully expect that He can and will reveal more to us about Himself, His love, His mercy and His grace.

We must be people of conviction but I also think there is danger in being too convinced of our convictions. The danger with unwavering conviction is that it is a fertile soil for pride to grow. Unwavering conviction does not leave much room for humility or learning but it does pave a wide road for self-importance.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

This may certainly expose a flaw in my character but the above statement is one of the only things that I believe with unwavering conviction. God loves me. God loves you. He gave his life for both of us. We only need to believe.

This world is extremely confusing to me. I am positive that I don’t understand all of what God wants or demands or expects of me and my neighbors. There are days that everything seems black and white but honestly, the older I get the more I question if a black and white world is just too simple. As soon as I type that, I wonder if a world full of gray answers is also too easy.

I don’t have the answers. I only have a lot of questions. I would love to tell you how to live but honestly, I don’t know if you should listen to me, actually I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t. Together we are better off as explorers. Seekers doing our best to help each other understand God, His word and His love more.

I’m so glad I learned to trust thee, 
precious Jesus, Savior, friend; 
and I know that thou art with me, 
wilt be with me to the end. 

Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus by Trinity Worship

Seeking God Day 27

haldenI sat talking with a young mom today and even though I was a complete stranger she left no detail out as she shared her story. She and her husband had 3 kids under 4. He was in school. She was working part time at a job where she started at 3am so that she could spend the rest of the day taking care of the kids. He was gone, a lot. This was their plan but it was so hard. When he finally came home she wasn’t sure if she should run to the bathroom to spend some time alone, flee with her girlfriends for some adult time or say yes to her husband’s request to spend some time together. Nothing was easy. Marriage, parenting, budgeting, surviving, it all seemed impossible.

As I listened, I realized that I had forgotten. I forgot how it was when we were newly married and the kids were small. I like to call those days the “pressure cooker” days. Doug and I were both physically exhausted. We were trying hard to fill the roles of mom and dad, husband and wife. It was all new.

I can’t believe I forgot. I look around now at our family and everyone has grown so much. There aren’t any primary colored toys on the ground. There are no sippy cups growing mold in my van. No one sleeps in a crib and I’m the first one up now days. Life is still hard but it’s different. Way more busy and yet a lot less harried at the same time. I have the luxury of sitting here at my computer, to think and write and contemplate life. 10 years ago that never happened.

As I saw the exhaustion and longing in her eyes, I realized a truth that I don’t want to forget. Nothing stays the same. Whatever you are dealing with right now it will pass. Now, I realize this isn’t new or ground breaking Solomon wrote about this in Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2


For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest. 

Everything that we go through, the pain, the struggle, the joy, the confusion it’s all a season. Being single, being married, raising young children, caring for aging parents, tight budgets, cold weather…you name it. Wherever you are, you will not stay there. You are not stuck there forever. Things will change, seasons always do. God promises that they will.

Being knee deep in today often blinds our ability to see the bigger picture. God always has a bigger picture. Sometimes we are allowed to see it, other times He asks us to just trust Him.

It’s not easy.

Today will pass, tomorrow will come.

In the end God is always in control and He promises to give us what we need to move forward. He will never leave, no matter what season you are in. He is there.


Seeking God Day 26

haldenI sit in the front row of the balcony, the lights in the house go down and the lights on the stage come up. My son, walks out on stage with his saxophone and the world around me fades away. I only have eyes for him and nothing else matters. I can’t decide if I want to close my eyes and listen to the music he is playing or keep them open so I can watch. I’m in love.

Each one of my children can command my undivided attention like that. It doesn’t matter if they are on the ball field, in a pool, on a stage or simply playing with their friends. I love to watch them. I love to see them being them. It is a joy to see how they grow and become more of who they were created to be. They have no idea how I feel. How could they?

There is a verse in the book of Zephaniah that speaks of God’s love for us this way:

Zephaniah 3:17


The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.

The song that is playing in my head on repeat is call Amazed. The lyrics are taken from this verse in Zephaniah,

You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound

Have you ever imagined God dancing over you? Could you ever believe that He takes great delight in you? In You!

Even when we don’t know, don’t see, don’t hear Him, He is still there watching. I’m sure that he watches you the way I watch my own children, except more. God is more. His love is more for you and for me than mine could ever be for my own children.

He has gifted you. He has plans for you. He has a purpose for your life.

Philippians 1:6

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. 

He is faithful.

Today as you seek God, examine how big you believe His love for you to be. And when you think you understand, think again. Ask God to awe you with the depth of His love for you.

Be amazed.

And then smile because You are His!


Seeking God Day 24

haldenRaising teenagers is like playing a continual game of red light/green light. You know the game right? The person who is the “caller” gets to stand a ways away from the other runners and intermittently turn around and face them and yell out “Red light” or “Green light.” The other players get to move or have to stay still based on the command of the caller. Eventually the person who advances the furthest and reaches the caller first is crowned the winner.

The thing about this game is that everyone is at the mercy of the caller. Your advancement depends on when and if the caller yells, “green light.” As a young mom I was the “caller” and my children were the runners. I’d tell them when to get up, when to eat, when to play and when to go to bed. I had absolute power. With teenagers, not so much. I can’t even figure out if I’m the caller or the runner some days! Say something or don’t say something. Offer help or be illusive. It’s a constant, ever changing landscape and one wrong move and your are “red lighted.”

The rules of the game seem to change as often as the weather and aren’t consistent among the 4 various teens living in my house. Just when one of them green lights me another is red lighting me for the same reason. I used to tell them when they were little, “It’s a good thing your cute!” I still think the same thing but now, I don’t say it outloud.

The game red light/green light has been on my mind a lot lately. I see similarities in my longing to understand how to live a Christian life with integrity and character. Do I say something or do I hold my tongue? Do I stay still or am I supposed to act? It’s frustrating. Unlike with my kids, I don’t think God keeps changing the rules but rather I just don’t understand the rules very well. Just like parenting, I’m still learning.

I love 1st and 2nd Timothy because these books are a “how to” manual for living a Christian life and how to be a good leader. My blog is entitled, “A trustworthy saying” in honor of these books. Paul says over and over again, “Here is a trustworthy saying.” When I read those words I pay special attention to what comes next because I know it will be important.

Here is what Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:22-26

2 Timothy 2:22-26


Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

It all seems pretty straight forward, right? And yet, if Paul, who is the author, felt the need to write these instructions out, that must mean that these lessons needed to be taught. I find it difficult to separate the foolish and stupid arguments from those that need to be argued. I have a hard time being kind to everyone and I’m certainly not teachable all the time. Earlier in the chapter he says:

2 Timothy 2: 14-17


Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. 

Much like red light/green light I hop, skip and jump through what sometimes seems like a land mine of conversations. Wondering where do I speak, when do I listen, when should I be walking away? Correctly handling the word of truth is a daunting and scary job at times.

Red Light

Green Light



Lord, please teach me to be one “who does not need to be ashamed.” I long to live this way for your glory.


Seeking God Day 23

haldenHave you ever dreamed of something happening and when it did you can hardly believe it? It happened yesterday and then again today for me.

After 5 months of watching my two middle kids sacrifice their lives to learn and perfect what it means to be a member of the marching band, I watched them perform at their highest level. Every step, every note, every bend and flag toss was executed with the best they had to offer. It felt almost sacred to watch them because I knew what it had cost them to be out there.

It would have been enough for me to just have the opportunity to watch them. But that wasn’t the end, they were awarded the top honor in their class, first place and they also scored 3rd among the 45 bands that competed.

My heart is full.

At the same time band after band was taking the field to compete, the Chicago Cubs were taking loading the bases. A moment that up until last night had only been dreamt about and talked about in the terms of “some day,” became reality as the Cubs won the National League Conference and a chance to go to the World Series, the first time since 1945. Honestly, I’m not much of a baseball fan. It sort of bores me. But growing up I can’t recall a summer day when the baseball game wasn’t front and center in my grandparent’s house. I can still hear the crackle of their kitchen radio and Harry Carry’s voice announcing the play by play of the game. If it wasn’t the radio,  then my grandparents were seated in their tiny living room watching the game on their tiny TV. My grandma would watch intently as she wiped the sweat from her forehead in the heat of a summer afternoon and talk to the TV as if Ryan Sandberg or Don Zimmer could hear her.

Cubs baseball is more than a professional sport to me it is part of my heritage, part of who I am and the people who loved me. My grandparent’s never got to see their beloved team go to the World Series but I’m proud to say my kids and I will. My heart is full remembering my grandparents and knowing how happy they would be if they were still here.

After yesterday, I didn’t think my heart could hold any more but this morning I felt it over flow with happiness and thanksgiving as I watched Lucy Jean’s head sprinkled with baptism water.


It was a day that I’ve prayed for and one that I was afraid I’d never see. At 27 weeks this little girl breathed her first breath and cried her first cry even though she was only 1lb and 11oz. She entered this world small and frail but proved to everyone watching that she was fierce and brave and had more fight in her tiny body and spirit than would even seem possible. I’ve watched this precious child grow and accomplish feats that seemed out of her reach. She has defied all the odds so far and continues to blaze her own trail, challenging everyone around her to keep up.

My heart is full.

The lyrics to the song, 10,000 Reasons, keep going through my mind right now.

“Bless the Lord oh my soul, oh my soul. Worship His holy name. Sing like never before, oh my soul, I’ll worship your holy name. The sun comes up its a new day dawning, it’s time to sing your songs again. Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing till the evening comes. Your rich in love and your slow to anger, your name is great and your heart is kind. For all your goodness I will keep on singing, 10,000 reasons for my hear to find!”

Seeking God sometimes mean soaking in God’s blessings. Looking around you and being amazed at how He has lavishly poured out his love on you and everyone you love. Lifting up your face like you do on an early summer day when the sun is shinning and feel the warmth on your skin.

Seeking God sometimes means that you raise your hands to the heavens and say, “Thank you!”

Oh what a beautiful day!

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Seeking God Day 13

haldenIt’s fall in Illinois. There is something that happens to the color of the sky and the sound of the wind at this time of year. Everything changes. One day it’s Summer, it’s hot, sticky, oppressive and it feels like nothing will ever change. Then in 12 hours Fall sneaks in under the cover of darkness and when the sun rises nothing is the same.

As soon as the seasons bow to each other they come. The geese fill the sky with their formations and noise. I hear them before I see them and every year I stop what I am doing to watch and be amazed. I’m amazed at how loud they are! I wonder who is leading them? Where are they going? How do they know the way?

Each day they circle my house, some days they are so low I can hear the flapping of their wings. At first they are unorganized but in about a week they will be flying with precision and formation, getting ready to leave this place and go to where God is leading them.

These geese are quite ordinary and frankly they are a nuisance during the summer. They take over small ponds, they leave their “droppings” all over and make a mess of walking trails and they aren’t very nice. A mother goose will chase you if you accidentally get too close to her nest. I’m not a goose lover! You will not find a well dressed cement goose on my front porch!

However, I smile like a small child when they fly over my house. Watching them gives me a glimpse of the glory and majesty of God, the creator. These ordinary creatures are transformed into something beautiful when God says, “Take flight.”

I have never come across a goose having a long discussion with God about his timing, their calling or their doubts and fears. When God says, “go” they listen and obey. And when they fly…they are filled with joy! When I watch them, I know that they are doing what they are created to do. It’s beautifully simple.

I don’t think geese have to seek God, they just know him. Creation all around us knows God and it shouts loudly for all who will listen about the glory of God about His presence in our lives, about His holiness. Creation shouts to all who have ears to hear that God is and was and will alway be.

Psalm 19 1-4


The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

Seek God today with your eyes lifted to the skies. Soak in the blue of the fall sky or the cleansing wetness of the cold fall rain. Open your eyes and watch as the trees explode with color, all for the glory of God. And if you see the geese today, stop. Stop and look with eyes that see…really see… the majesty and glory of God.

Here’s a song that will help you lift your eyes and hands to God.

Cannons by Phil Wickham


Seeking God Day 7

haldenLast night before I fell asleep, I laid in the dark with my eyes closed and listened to the recording my husband had sent me of my kid’s band concert. I listened with tears streaming down my face because I missed them and I wasn’t able to be at the concert. I’m 250 miles north of my hometown on a trip of a lifetime. A time that has been gifted to me to explore and test the gifts God has given me. It’s a good thing and yet, I have to sacrifice other really good things because I’m away.  It’s difficult to trust God with the things in my life that are so precious and give up the perceived control I think I have. I want to be in all places at all times, spinning every plate without dropping even one, to be all things to everybody, not disappointing even one person in my life.

Spinning plates is something that I excel at – until I don’t. It’s an all or nothing activity. There is no 99% in plate spinning. That last 1% will kill you. If one plate falls, something breaks.

I suppose it’s a matter of trust when your life is full of plate spinning, or rather it’s a matter of a lack of trust. Do I trust God with my plates to stop trying to spin them? Do I trust God with the people and places and things dear to my heart enough to give them over to Him?

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

I long for a spirit that is filled with green pastures and quiet waters and a refreshed soul; fully realizing that even though I may be in the darkest valley I’m not alone and there is nothing to fear.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I’m not entirely sure how all of my experiences this week fit together yet. I think it has something to do with listening for the shepherd’s voice and following Him. I wonder if in order to dine at the table of the Lord “in the presence of my enemies” I’m required to trust God even when the “plates” are demanding my attention?

I need a change in posture.

The verse says, “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

That is a posture of humility. Kneeling with my head up and my hands outstretched waiting with expectation for a blessing.

Seeking God allows all of us to lay down our “plates.” It allows us to see green pastures and to enjoy quiet waters without guilt. To dine at the table w/o fear of the enemies all around us and to accept an overflowing cup of blessing when it’s given to us. The Shepherd knows where He is going, listen for His voice.\

Here is something to listen to today. Breathe-Jonny Diaz

*Gary and Beatrice who I wrote about a few days ago are safe. Thank you for your prayers.


Seeking God Day 3

haldenI clicked the home button on my phone the other day after having a nice breakfast with one of my friends and my lock screen looked like it had blown up while I was eating my pumpkin pancakes. 10 messages and 2 missed calls from my daughter in just less than 2 hours?! My throat instantly seized and my stomach became immediately upset. What could she possibly need me for this desperately? What had been happening while I was unaware?


Do you ever feel like that with God? “Um hello….?? Anyone up there? Do you hear me? Do you see me? Do you care?”

Jeremiah 29 has one of the most recognizable verses in the Bible. Do you know it?

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you.” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

But do you know what surrounds this verse from in front and behind? This isn’t jut a feel good verse that Lord gave us but rather, it is a promise that is tied to some specific instructions and in a specific situation.

Jeremiah 29:12-14 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you.” declares the Lord.

God does have plans for us but he also tells us what to do in order to experience those plans: we must seek Him with all of our heart. What does that even look like? And how could the Israelites be expected to find God while they were in captivity? If they were in captivity didn’t that mean that God had left them? This whole story is backwards.

Let’s back up even further in this chapter to

Jeremiah 29:4-7 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce…Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

The Lord had sent the Israelites into exile, that had been His plan. That is hard to accept. How could that be a plan to not to harm them and to prosper them? He had instructed them to settle down, make peace with their situation and to actually pray for those who held them in captivity. In these instructions He was already providing a picture of love for them. These instructions provided a guide for the Israelites to seek God and find peace in a place that seemed void of God and his plan.

I believe that God’s intent was to assure them that He was in control even when it looked as if He wasn’t. He knew everything. He knew where they were, He was going to provide for them in that place and then eventually He was going to move them out of captivity. That was his promise. Their situations were going to change but He never would! He never would! He was the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His promises would stand true no matter what situation they were in. Situations didn’t change God, nothing changes God. He is the “I AM.”

But how do you seek God when everything around you is wrong? When everything looks or feels or sounds wrong, how do you find Him? His Word says seek Him with all your heart. To me that means you have to sacrifice your will to His. You have to stay quiet when you want to talk. You have to get up when you want to stay in bed. You have to lay down your pride when you just want to prove yourself right. You have to let go when all you want to do is hold on.

“You will find me.” he says. What He is really assuring us of is that He has been with us all along. These days, these times, these situations, they are all of His design. His plan. His future. He is in control.

Are you willing to trust Him? Are you willing to seek him and find Him?

Read the whole passage…you might be surprised by the situation, but you find God stays the same.



Seeking God Day 2


There is an old worship song written by Matt Redman called, “Better is One Day.” The lyrics come straight from Psalm 84. It has an amazing drum beat that serves as the foundation for every line and stanza of truth that is sung.

The psalmist says,

Psalm 84:10 “Better is one day in our courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”

I want to live a life where I know God so well and I’ve been so overtaken by his grace and mercy that my heart overflows with the words, “Better is one day.” So often we can get consumed with the responsibilities of life that we lose sight of who we really are. Our egos can get so inflated that we see ourselves as more important, more brilliant, more deserving and may even be as bold as to put ourselves on the “throne” only Christ has the authority to sit on.

I build myself the “tent of the wicked” that the psalmist refers to. I furnish it and light candles and set out fine china but none of that makes the tent any less than what it is, a tent. A temporary dwelling that will eventually get blown over and has no foundation, no future. A place meant to bring glory to myself.

Our future is in Christ alone. According to the psalmist, there is no room for ego or pride. We are required to leave them at the door. It’s not a requirement that is burdensome though but rather one that is freeing. The psalmist says that keeping watch at the door is where life is given and where the warmth of God’s love and the protection of His shield resides. The verses go on to say,

“For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” verse 11

Who wouldn’t want to spend time at the door? And don’t have to worry about being blameless, Jesus has covered our sins, they are no more. We are welcome to loiter at the door of God’s love and protection because Christ has already paid the price, he has made it possible for us to experience the fullness of God’s mercy. Jesus stands at the door and says, “Don’t be afraid. Welcome!”

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:1


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