Hey Judas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The other night my husband looked over at me and said "You know, I believe that Judas would have been saved if he hadn't killed himself. Not that I believe that he went to hell for committing suicide."

You know that got the ol' hamster wheel turning.

In our lives we tend to be like Judas. On a daily basis we turn our backs on Jesus.

Judas did not wait to see the fulfillment of Christ's plan.

He checked out.

Gave up.

Traded his ticket for what a quick get away from the guilt and shame.

Instead of waiting on the Lord, we tend to give up because we try to carry the guilt and shame of our lives and we CAN'T make it through.

Jesus never intended for Judas to go to hell. He didn't create hell for Judas, Judas choose to go there not by betraying Jesus but by not accepting the forgiveness that Jesus had offered for EVERYONE.

Yes as Jesus was on that cross, Judas was on his mind. You were, too.

So was everything that would ever happen to you or every sin you would ever commit.

Today, you need to accept the forgiveness that is being offered to you.

Jesus won't die on the cross again, He doesn't need too.

It's you who needs to die; to yourself, everyday.

It rids you of guilt and shame.

Now, the enemy will remind you of your guilt and shame but you can believe in confidence that it is no more.

He was, is and always will be perfect. His LOVE is perfect and will make you whole again.

All you have to do is accept the forgivness that is being offered to you.

And trust and obey.


What is Christmas to you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jesus- wrapped up in cloth and in hay with smiling parents. Isn't that sweet?

No wonder so many people believe that Christ's birth was a fairytale. I mean sure you have those that believe in science and have done "research" and will argue that there is no savior...no heaven or more than one way to get there if such a place exists.

I get it. I do. We want to feel OK in our lives, we MUST understand every aspect of our lives and it sure is a lot easier to just not even think about it.

I should say I did get it. Until I got it.

Jesus didn't come walking in to my life on a rainbow with flowers in His hand and we walked off into oblivion together smiling and skipping.

The truth is He jumped into the water with me where I was drowning...offered His hand and WAITED on me to take it...constantly offering His hand. There was no rainbow and I didn't emerge out of the dark water like you see in the movies glorious and all. It was ugly. Anyone who knows anything about healing knows that the healing is NOT GLORIOUS. 

To be FULLY healed IS glorious and I look forward to that day when I am no longer broken. 


Jesus was born in a cave, A NASTY dung filled goat cave (some believe it was a stable) Either way..it was filled with animals and filth. The lowest place possible. 

I know you've heard it. The highest born the lowest..yada yada. It means nothing to you until it means something.

So let's take the story of Christ's birth and make it real today. If Christ were to be born today...He would be born in the middle of Ferguson, or maybe with the starving in Africa...or how about in a crack house. It would be UGLY.

Jesus pursues the ugliness. The dark. The Widow. The Orphan.

The least. The forgotten. The addicted.

Having a relationship with Christ is about clinging onto the never changing Love of Christ. It's knowing that He pursues us in our darkness. He did not come to condemn but to be condemned. 

Some days it is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Totally dependant on the fact that He has already taken the step and is there behind me, beside me and waiting on me all at the same time.

Last week I had condemned myself as the worst parent. I lost my cool and said some hurtful things out of anger. I felt far from God. FAR FROM GOD. I mean aren't Godly parents supposed to have low voices and sing praises to their children every 22 seconds?  Teenagers will suck the wind out of your lungs. How in the world are you supposed to even breathe? Much less sing. It doesn't seem like a big deal...you know losing your cool until you look at the fact that my child is now almost 18. Which in my mind means I'm still making mistakes. I still feel defeated. That's where Jesus comes. In the desperation and in the defeat.

I think about Mary at the feet of the Son of God and her son at the same time. I think about how it must have been easier to say "yes" when she was staring at an angel. But it had been 33 years since she had seen the angel...it wasn't a fresh memory. How horrible to witness your child being ripped apart.

I can sum it up in a few words but the one I choose today will be HOPE.

Christmas is about HOPE. Mary would one day see her child again. One day we will be made perfect by the perfect parent.

Being a believer in Christ is not always ugly, there are beautiful joyous moments. Mostly when we are following in the ways of our Lord and Savior. When we love the unlovable and do for the ones who can't do for themselves. 

That is Christmas to me. Hope in desperation.

Make us desperate, Lord.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

This afternoon, my children and I were carving pumpkins. I secretly compete against them. 

As the inside became more and more empty I began to have a feeling of sadness. It reminded me of how empty I was inside before I came to Christ. How I had made so many bad choices and this ol world had cut holes all through me and gutted me...leaving me completely barren. 

I have felt like that pumpkin looked, strong on the outside...nothing on the inside. 

But just as you and I look at the empty pumpkin and see a blank canvas with endless possibilities, God looks at us and desires to make us His masterpiece.

God can do a lot with empty.

God can create something from nothing.

 The more flesh that is carved out and done away with the brighter the light shines through in the dark. 

May our lights shine bright.

Slowing it down

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

On the news yesterday there was a 12 year old boy who has invented a "reminder" of sorts for parents of young children. It was to let them know to check in the back seat for their children as to not leave them there to perish in the heat of the car.

In his innocence, I'm sure he has no idea that some leave the child inside on purpose.

I can dwell on things. In this matter, it has caused lost sleep...nightmares, nausea.

Let's sit a spell and talk about this, do you have time?

We are too busy of a society. Too busy! We are always chasing the American dream. Whose dream was that exactly? Who told me I wanted a 200k plus house with a White picket fence and a BMW in the front yard? I've bought that lie before. Many times over in my life.

Know whose dream you're chasing.

A better word, well rounded. I want my (my child, my life) to be well rounded.

Isn't that why we post where we are all the time on social media, what we are wearing, where we are shopping? Look at my kid's trophy!  Oh, I'm preaching now (to myself,too!). Some of y'all done tip toed out the back door!

Matthew 16:26English Standard Version (ESV)

26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Nothing wrong with doing an extracurricular activity or nurturing a couple things that your children are good at but when you spend too much time running them around to this or that...and eating dinner in the car 4 nights a week? What bout working overtime to buy those $130 pair of shoes that your child "has" to have. Oh, I get it...he/she will get made fun of if they don't have them...

Or you'll feel bad because you as the parent are looked at as less because your child doesn't have what the others have.

Time with your children, your family...that can help your self centered busy lifestyle.

It's for the kids sake? No, children can be taught humility. Self confidence comes from knowing who they are in Christ not a brand name or activity.

Children who've been neglected in the time department desire worldly things much, much more.

We are so busy that we leave our children in a hot car. Our minds are too busy to even remember we have a living human being with us?

Oh, sound crazy? How many times have we been staring at a cell phone and one of our children have said our name 3 times before we hear and acknowledge them, not on purpose?

yoo hoo, over here! Yes, here...guilty.

Be selfish in a better way, selfish with your time with your children. Selfish in taking the time to teach them and spend as much time as possible with them.

 Practice saying NO to GOOD things to preserve for the BEST.

Read more about that here today (8 July)

One's best is never a thing.

Put down the phone, cancel the violin lessons because little Suzy will be OK she's already doing soccer, ballet, and basketball.

Realize and teach that your best friends share a roof with you!  And if they're not...let's work on our relationships with our spouses and children so that they become so.

Dinner at the table and a board game after is priceless.

Read a book that is made out of paper.

Need more ideas? Click here!

Sell the house, trade down the car. Whatever it takes to afford the time.

I can promise you that not one mature adult cares what you drive and how much you pay for your house. If you or someone you know is like that...it's time to grow up or get new friends. Or both?

If we could all just slow down.

Matthew 6:24English Standard Version (ESV)

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.


The Preacha's wife

Friday, June 13, 2014

When we told my Daddy that we felt like God was leading my husband to become a pastor, he laughed.

Like a deep gut laugh. Not because of my husbands inability to be obedient to God but because who he was married too. 

Did I ever tell you that I am JUST like my Daddy, except I have my (less than 5'2 foot tall) Mama's sass.

I wish I could tell you a story about how much my husband has struggled with the idea of being a Pastor. Sure, he has had his days...running from what the Lord has for his life. But not enough to blog about right now. I'll try to update when he starts Seminary (fun times) in the fall.

No, this one is about yours truly. Blah.

For YEARS I struggled with being a Pastor's wife. How in the world? I don't possess any qualities of your typical pastor's wife. I know...I know...so that's a good thing, you're not typical. But I couldn't help but feel like I was being hired as a chef and didn't even know how to crack an egg! 

I started seeking advice.

I keep getting similar answers from many pastor's wives that there is a way to do things, you have to play nice...that sometimes it can get political.

Once I worked with my sister over the summer at her office and before I left, I owned the title of being the sweetest girl in the world. (sweet?! PUH LEEEZZ)

I know how to play the game. 

Here's the problem...I gave up playing games when I met Jesus. 

I'm done praying for God to change who He created me to be. The one who laughs much (and loudly sometimes snorting), the one who tells it straight but hugs after and the one who desires for others to meet Jesus in a real way.

***This is not the same thing as praying God change me*** (blog post on that later. No, not next year...smarty pants! I thought we agreed for you to be patient with my belated blog posts?)

My husband and I have decided that it's ALL or nothing. If that means we will represent Christ in a church or if we do it working at Home Depot because "church" ain't having it...then that is what that means. 
Matthew 6:26
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 

Holding fast to that one, Lord ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑

We are ALL in. We are not perfect but we are willing.

And you know I have full confidence that God will use me in great ways even if I can't carry a tune in a bucket  or play the hand bells. ( Is there a break-dancing ministry?)

We are at a point in our lives that we have only two choices 1.Trust God 2. Don't trust God

We're picking door #1

And it is SO much more awesome than the terrible I thought it would be!

All we have is everything worldly to lose. Praise God.

I am fully aware that there may be a day that those words are the only ones I am able to udder. But I KNOW that my God will not leave me or forsake me. Or you. 

Deuteronomy 31:8 
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."



Worn out

Monday, March 17, 2014

I often find myself overwhelmed and when that happens everything around me begins to be a burden.

First thought...give up, wash my hands, walk away.

Life gets heavy sometimes. We can do only a little to lighten the load.

Say NO a little more often, care a little less about the perfect house,yard, outfit and even thoughts that others have about us.

But friends, as long as we walk in these bodies and breathe the air of this world, we will become

overwhelmed, weary and worn.

There is NO changing that.

No vacation, salon visit, hour away from the kids and for my healthy friends...not even yoga can change it.

Those things are nice and do help refresh you a bit but they aren't a cure all.

I posted on my FB blog page a week or so ago asking my friends to fill in the blank of this question...

" I am weary and worn because _____."

I did that because I was feeling really worn out. Best way to combat feeling sorry for yourself is to peek into the world of others. To pray over their burdens (and your own).

After reading and praying the answer was clear

 (Did I ever tell you I am hard headed. The answer is always, always Jesus).

I'm pretty sure Jesus made up the word "Duh". Just for me.

We simply need to put our hope in Him. We are created to turn to Jesus in our weakness. He is the cure all.

I want to give us some encouragement today.

Psalm 121:3–4
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  

God doesn't sleep!

“Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

He wants us to come to Him in our weakness.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 

He will give us what we need to sustain us. 

Hebrews 13: 5-6
God has said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’”

Be confident in His help. 

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

Enjoy the peace of the Lord. It's yours (ours) for the taking!


Living in the "if"

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

This morning my devotional was about Gideon. 

AKA me. You know, when one can identify oneself with so many different people of the Bible it isn't always a good thing. BUT it can always be a growth thing. 

In Judges 6:12 The Bible tells us that the angel of the Lord appeared before Gideon. (Many scholars believe that this was pre incarnate Jesus)

So Jesus says to Gideon "The Lord is with YOU, mighty warrior" and Gideon's response is this...

"Pardon me, my lord," Gideon replied, "but if the LORD is with US, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian."

How often do we repsond to God with something different than what He is telling us. The Lord said I am with YOU, Gideon. Gideon replies with an "us". 

His reply did not match up with what God had said to Him.

Gideon was in the presence of God but Gideon wasn't in the present. He was too worried about the past. About how things were better in the past. 

How many times have you based God being present with you on how good your circumstance is presently?

Then Gideon continues a bit later with  "If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me."

If I get this job

If I get this car

If the test results come back clear

If my spouse changes 

Stop living in the "if" because it is truly exhausting.

Live in this present moment with God and know that He is with YOU

ALWAYS. (Matthew 28:20)


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sitting in my front room last week, I was overcome with fear. My reaction to fear is anger. I was fuming!

Two minutes before the phone rang, I told our children to go pray for their Daddy, and they did.

As I pace back and forth, I glance into the other room and there are five heads bowed, knees bent. 

The call came. 

I always miss the point. I am mis.er.a.ble at getting the point.

I took note, but it wasn't until later on that day that it hit me...hard.

I told my children to pray for the answer we wanted and when it wasn't, I panicked. I failed.

 Did I just teach my children that when we get a different answer to our prayers than desired, that God isn't in control? I think I did. 

Good thing I have children who follow Christ to remind that He is in control. In fact my seventeen year old man child told me that God has a plan and I need to trust in Him. 

Whoever raised that kid needs an award. Just kidding it's all Jesus. 

During the following week God kept reminding me of His love and provision over my family. I am so ashamed and grateful that God Almighty the creator of the world would remind me that


I should have been along side my kids with knees bent, and I should have rejoiced when the answer was different because

 God is always good.

 When the cancer doesn't go away, when the bank repossesses, when the call comes. He is still good. 

I didn't stay in the Word much the week before and my focus was off of God. If I truly love Him, then my focus needs to stay on Him. Love is an action not a word...I preach that here at the S house often. You should come listen sometime...bring your tithe. kidding, again.

Francis Chan writes that "Worry and stress reek of arrogance". 

God can handle it, and He intends to do just that as soon as we give our burdens to Him.

Be strong and courageous; don't be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 3:16


Kingdom woman

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When a kingdom woman begins her day, heaven, earth, and hell take notice. –KW

That is the first line in a book I am currently reading. I read it and closed the book. I did that because I wake up in the morning and drink coffee.  I’m pretty sure no one notices except my husband…and that is because he brings me the coffee. He is so brave (and smart).

I took that line from the book and thought about it for a few days (2 weeks) before opening the book.

It took 2 minutes for me to desire to want to be a kingdom woman. It took the rest of the days for God to help me understand what I needed to do to get there.

If I had actually just read on for a page or two I might have already figured it out.

I wonder if Jesus sometimes face-palms Himself when He is dealing with me. I do that to my kids sometimes when I am teaching Algebra.
Sometimes I do dances from the 90’s when my kids get the answer right.
 I’m pretty sure Jesus does that too. Maybe.

The basis of how a kingdom woman comes out of her fear of God. How she prioritizes her home and family, organizes her life, makes decisions, chooses investments, and develops her skills comes from her efforts to advance God’s kingdom. If her priorities are rooted in anything else, they will lead to weariness and busyness rather than fruitfulness and abundance.
The simplest way I know to define what it means to fear God is to take God seriously. It means to place what God says and what and what God requires as the highest priority in your life. Fearing God does not mean you are scared of Him. Fear is better understood as reverence or awe. It means to hold in the highest esteem. A kingdom woman fears the Lord in every area of her life.
The marketplace does not control a woman who fears God. The television, magazines, blog, and social media sites do not influence her away from Him. Her friends don’t dictate her emotions or decisions. The culture doesn’t define her. Even her own ambitions don’t dominate her. Rather, the primary influence in a kingdom woman’s life is God. His voice is the loudest. He is the One he seeks to please. Her reverence of Him determines her choices.-_KW

No one can see my that my cup overfloweth because my plate is piled so high with stuff!  

It’s time that I scrape it off a bit.

It will be a newly learned discipline for me to conquer my “stuff”…and discipline takes Jesus.

This is what must happen in my life in order for me to become a kingdom woman. OK, fine… this is the first thing that has to happen in my life to set me in the right direction in becoming a kingdom minded woman.

Less me, more Jesus.


Interested in the book?  Women click here   men click here 

Evans, Tony and Hurst, Chrystal. Kingdom Woman (Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. )p. 17, 19-20

Janice Ruth

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hey, you.

Yeah, you. The Mom that thinks she blew it today. And pretty much everyday, too.

I just wanted to tell you something...

Great Moms get overwhelmed.

We feel like we've failed a bit here and there don't we? Every single day.

Back up 25 years or so, OK 30. I remember watching my Mama lay in the kitchen floor and kick and scream. I just stood there with scissors in one hand and half of my hair in the other wondering why she was acting ,well, crazy.
I wanted to be like my beautician Mama, so badly. I wanted  to "cut" hair.

Funny, I could have never cut a single hair in my life and still be so much like her. I didn't know that then.

I spent so much of my "almost" adult life (you know when your between the age 20-30 years old) blaming my meltdowns on my Mama.  The good ol' "that's how I was raised" mentality.

The truth?

I was raised with a Mama who became overwhelmed because she loved me too much not too. She was at every event I ever participated in. She even spent more money (that we didn't have) on groceries at the nicer store because it was my first job. Just to see me.  I remember her being there for every single highlight of my life.

And EVERY single failure too.

You see it is not on you, Mom, what decisions your children make or how your children turn out. What IS up to you is to guide them to Jesus. Teach them to listen for His voice in all things.

You will always fail, every single day. But God never fails.

I believe this is what Peter meant when he told us to cast all of our cares on Him, for He cares for you
 (1 Peter 5:7).

Parenting is not a job you have to do alone. God understands, He is a parent.

I want my kids to know how much Jesus loves them and they can't see Him if I am in the way. This motivates me to be more patient, kind, and merciful; and to pray more.

Some days I only get time to pray one single word before the next bit of chaos ensues. God honors that one word.

God blessed me with Children, not so that they would be successful by this world's definition. He gave them to me so that they may know Him.

So, Mom.

 Less Mom, more Jesus! (that also may mean less stuff, more time *cough* *cough*)

Your doing GREAT!


P.S. My mama was saved some time after the hair cutting incident. They say in some cases you have to hit "rock bottom" before you come to know Christ. I'm pretty sure Julie, Michael and I were standing there holding shovels when she hit. I love you, Mama!

Clean hands, dirty heart

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I often say I want to go to Africa on a missions trip. My heart for orphans is a broken one.

I like to think of myself walking around hugging and holding precious children, feeding them and singing to them.


Tonight I sat in my Bible study party and stared over at a homeless girl that my friend had brought along; she picked her up from the shelter a little earlier that day.

By the evenings end I had watched her cry several times over her children being taken away. I know what desperation looks like. She was desperate.

It was 11 pm and there we sat opening up our hearts and sharing our testimony with her.

I finally get it. I love Jesus. I know that each day I grow closer to Him. But I never got it until tonight.

You see, I had several thoughts tonight as we sat sharing a meal.

One of them being... "what if she has some type of infection or communicable disease and we are eating after one another."

I am ashamed of that thought.

I sat there crying with her some time later and holding her hand. In those few moments, Jesus spoke right to my heart.

Beloved, do not fear what can kill the body...only the soul.

I had so many revelations in that.

Did I think that I could go to Africa and pick up a child from a place that wasn't infested with disease and maggots?

Can I show the love of Christ without getting my hands dirty?

Can I tell Ashley that Jesus loves her and lives in me without embracing every bit of her?

And then it came over me like a rush of wind. Jealousy.

I was jealous of her. Jesus came for her. The dirty, broken, suffering, and infected.

And if He came today I would just be a part of the crowd

 and He would pass me by.

It only takes a little pride to become a Pharisee.

After we prayed Ashley asked for a minute to thank the Lord for the blessing of us ladies there praying and leading her to Christ.

We were not the blessing in that room.

If you are in the Clarksville area and would like to help others like Ashley, click here.

Please keep Ashley in your prayers, and me too.


14 days

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A few years back my husband began a new tradition for us in our marriage by the name of "14 days".

I have to tell you that selfishly, I adore the "14 days" of Valentines. I look forward to it more than all holidays combined! (If you know me, and understand my love for Christmas then you understand how HUGE that last statement was).

OK, so let me explain how it works.

Each day from Feb 1 to Feb 14 a small token of appreciation/affection is given. It can't be an expensive gift...which makes it much more fun!

And Challenging.

I woke up dancing this morning folks, and saying YAY! repeatedly. It's almost enough to make you sick.


This year I've decided to play the game back.

So this morning's YAY! was two fold (helping with the nausea?)

Listen, you've got kids,pets,bills,housework...work. All those responsibilities can get in the way of  one of our most important tasks. To nurture our marriages.

This is why I get so excited. Because for two weeks we make a point to give small tokens of appreciation, adoration and even thanks. Because we all could use a little more "thanks", couldn't we?

I could tell you that everyday should be the 14 days, and yes you are right. They should be. But in all honesty...they're not. We're human. We get weary and we even forget. (we are too busy but that's another blog post)

Here's some good news...it actually lingers on into the relationship. It refreshes us and reminds our hearts.


SO the reason for this post is not so I can tell you this and that be the end.

I challenge YOU.

I challenge you twice if your marriage is failing. (click here) and here.

Please don't leave your laptop up so your spouse can see this...this is for YOU.


I hope you accept my challenge regardless of your emotions or circumstance.

I pray it brings you joy!

If I can be of any help to you, please feel free to inbox me privately.


And so it begins...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Busy day. Loud day. The kind of day when everything runs together into one BIG mess.

I didn't even realize how chaotic it really was until I stepped off the porch into complete silence. I don't even remember hearing a car passing by. (strange around here)

I took advantage of the quiet and began to pray softly as I walked towards the mailbox. I have learned that when you have a busy household it is best to take advantage of the little jewels of quiet. Placed here and there and sometimes hard to find, never-the-less they are there.

Many times in my life I have been an Abraham. Taking control of the situation and not waiting on God, because I didn't trust Him.

I'm hard headed. I chose to learn things the hard way. Eventually, I got tired and learned to just be still when I am told to do so.

As in don't try to figure this out Erica, just be still and know that I am God.

I've been anxiously waiting (hey, it counts as still) a prompting to let me know when it was time to begin to prepare for the next season of my life. And Friday afternoon, I got my answer.

I love that God is so gentle with us.He could have used anyone to relay the info to me. Though I truly believe because of the sensitivity of the matter, He chose to deliver the message straight to my heart. He flooded me with all of the wonderful everything that He has blessed us with. He reminded me of many treasured times and people that where given to our lives during this season and encouraged me towards what's to come.

I always get tickled when I recall those wise words of my Granny. "Jesus promised us heaven, He didn't say a word about the boat ride getting there being a cruise ship"

I know joy doesn't come without strife. Healing doesn't come without pain. But joy DOES come as does healing.

Please pray for us as our family begins our next chapter. For joy and healing, for strength and mercy.

We know who writes our story and we are faithfully trusting in Him.

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