Check Yes or No (Prayer Devotional for the week of June 7, 2015)

The year was 1986. His name was Danny. He was funny, cute, never once called me “four eyes” like some other mean boys who shall remain nameless, and I had it bad. I mustered up the courage to write Danny a “check yes or no” note to see if he LIKED me liked me, or if he just, you know, plain ol’ liked me. Days and eons passed with no reply, and my self-esteem plummeted. Finally, one day on the way to P.E., he passed me in the hallway, smiled and handed me a folded note. He’d drawn a heart on the front of it.


This story isn’t about a sappy, romantic outcome, because Danny moved away shortly thereafter, and we lost touch. (Back then, there was a per-minute, long-distance fee to phone another town, and we had to use these things called stamps to correspond in writing.) What it boils down to is a question that we all need to know the answer to: Do you LIKE me like me, or do you just like me? The question goes beyond tweenage crushes and cuts to the core of our hearts, because it’s something that Christ asks each of us.


Jesus once put Peter on the spot and asked him a similar question in John 21. You may remember Peter from the crucifixion story—he’s the one who denied knowing Jesus three times over the course of one night. Our story picks up after Jesus was raised from the dead, and he appeared on the shore where Peter and others were [unsuccessfully] fishing. They realized who he was and had a meal together—after Jesus helped them haul in a miraculous catch. During the course of their conversation, Jesus posed the question three times to Peter: “Do you love me?” It was his way of reinstating Peter for denying him.

Jesus isn’t going to force us to love him or drag us along as mindless followers, without a will of our own. He offers us a choice to love him passionately and to follow him wholeheartedly. The Bible is his love letter to us, filled with grace, mercy and an eternal promise. Will you check yes or no?

(Originally posted January 22, 2012)


Lord and Savior (Prayer Devotional for the week of September 28, 2014)

Two of my kids are rehearsing for a Shakespeare play this fall, and understanding the dialogue can be as tricky as reading the King James Version of the Bible. Oftentimes when a subordinate is addressing his superior in Old English, he uses the phrase, “My lord …” I started thinking about how many lords (with a lowercase L) we can have in our lives.

Other people can be our lord, when we defer to their influence. Money can certainly become our lord, if we let it. Likewise, ambition and greed can be lord of our lives. We can be lord over others when we wield authority in a way that makes people feel subservient to us.

But what of Jesus? He doesn’t want to be the lowercase-lord of our lives; he wants us to acknowledge him as Lord with a capital L. Jesus is the only one worthy of being called Lord, as his disciple cried out in John 21:7 and Peter reiterated in Acts 10:36. When we confess Jesus as Lord, we are offering him authority over our lives – not because he demands it of us like a feudal lord over his fiefdom, but because we willingly give up control out of loving submission to him.

Jesus also came to be our Savior – again, with a capital S. We can think of countless saviors (with a lowercase S) in our lives. When I was just a toddler, my mom was my savior when she dislodged a Maple Nut Goodie from the back of my throat as I was choking. I could have died, and she saved me. A parent’s love is sacrificial: she would lay down her life for her kids. A parent’s love is authoritative: there was a time when she could dictate my comings and goings. A parent’s love endures: her love for me is unconditional.

A parent’s love is safe: she would do everything in her power to protect me. And yet, even she can’t save me from myself. As deep and abiding as my mom’s love is toward me, she cannot be my Savior. Only Jesus can be my capital-S Savior because of his perfect sacrifice.

Who do you say Jesus is? Have you accepted him as Lord and Savior of your life?

A day away from the grid

This post on Momastery spoke to my heart like a friend who gives you a bear hug when you haven’t even told them what’s the matter. I was unofficially a single parent long before my divorce was finalized. Three military deployments nested among years of sharing a home with someone who methodically trudged through the motions of day-to-day life meant that the decision-making, crisis-dealing, boo-boo-kissing, parent-teacher-conferencing and discipline-implementing duties usually fell to me (along with just about anything else that needed cleaned, fixed, cooked or paid).

I’m not bitter about love. I’m actually quite a romantic at heart and would thoroughly enjoy being swept off my feet by someone who is as smitten about me as I am about him. Do you know the last time I went on a date when I didn’t have to decide when and where to go? Me neither, come to think of it. I’m not a control freak; I’m just the only freaking person willing to be in control, historically speaking. I would like the opportunity to hand over the reins to someone someday and make cooperative decisions instead of bearing the burden single-handedly. I am a leader, but that doesn’t mean I should always have to lead. I want a partner, a sounding board, a teammate. I want to be challenged — not in a confrontational way, but in a way that spurs me on to become more like Christ. I want the type of love that says non-verbally, “I enjoy your company, no matter where we are or what we’re doing.” Heck, I don’t even need flowers or chocolate*; a simple text or email out of the blue is enough to put a sloppy grin on my face for hours. (*However, a bottle of wine wouldn’t hurt now & then.)

All that said, I also think it is wise to guard my heart from unnecessary aches & pains. For that reason, I’m planning to go off the grid tomorrow and avoid looking at Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest because I don’t need to be bombarded with mushy-gushy Valentine’s Day posts about everyone’s picture-perfect relationships with their doting husbands and boyfriends. Gag me with a spoon and drown me in chocolate; the last thing a single parent needs is to have her situation rubbed in her face. Anticipating all of the lovey-doviness tomorrow helps me to understand a little better now what a childless friend once told me she felt like on Mother’s Day.