The space between a promise and fulfillment

What do we do with the space between a promise and its fulfillment?


I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Sometimes, I feel stuck in the muck between a prayer and an answer. I've been praying for something for a long time. You know what I'm talking about? Like a loooooooong time. What happens in the space between the promise and its fulfillment? We have lots of options to choose from. Here's just a sample of some of the choices I've made:


Frustration. Being frustrated always makes me arrogant, and unpleasant (to put it mildly).


Hopeless. This is a scary and dark place, and quite frankly, I know better because Jesus is my hope, but I need to be reminded of that when the situation seems hopeless.


Weary. Feels like I'm covered in leeches draining me of any strength I have left (sorry that’s gross).


Needless to say, when I choose frustration, hopelessness, and weariness in the space between a prayer and a promise, it gets ugly. Truthfully, I get ugly. And I don't like me ugly.


God told Moses at the burning bush that He had come down to rescue His people from slavery (Exodus 3:8). Yet, before they would see that promise fulfilled, things would get worse, much, much worse. So bad in fact, that Moses said to God,


"Why Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all."


If you struggle in the space between a promise and its fulfillment, you are in good company. Moses did, too.


However, there is a big fat difference between Moses and us. We know how the story ends. We have the written word of God to remind us of God's faithfulness.


You and I have this promise –

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).


When we feel stuck in the muck between the promise and its fulfillment, we have an important choice to make. We can choose frustration, hopelessness, doubt, worry, fear, and weariness, OR, we can choose to fill the space with faith, trust, and praise. Listen, when we CHOOSE to keep our faith, when we CHOOSE to trust that God is faithful, and when we CHOOSE to praise….








Joy. Right there in the space between the promise and its fulfillment.


We get to choose.


What will you choose today?






Focus determines outcome

Happy Tuesday! I am finally getting over an annoying head cold and I’m so grateful! I am such a big baby when I get a cold. I can’t take regular cold medicine because it makes me high. Too much information? Sorry, but it’s so true. I’m such a light-weight I can’t even handle a single dose of Benadryl. But I digress.

Here’s what’s on my mind this morning and I want you to picture me practically hollering it ….

What we focus on will determine our outcome!


Let me use a very familiar passage in Luke 8:22-25 to illustrate this point. Quick recap: the disciples were in a boat, Jesus decided to take a nap, and a storm threatened to drown them.

So – 
The storm was bad = REALITY.
They were in great danger = REALITY.
They might drown = Possibility.

We can't blame the disciples for focusing on the storm. Drowning was a very real possibility and honestly, if we were in their sandals, it’s what we would focus on, too. Storms have a way of engulfing us and so often, we focus only on the possibility of drowning and forget there are other possibilities.

The disciples hollered at Jesus and woke Him up and recounted to Him the only possibility they could see in the moment - "We're going to drown!!" Yep. They very well could have. Drowning was a definitely a possibility. But it wasn't the only possibility.

Jesus sees ALL possibilities. Sure, Jesus saw the storm. It's not like Jesus woke up and said, "What storm? It's not that bad!" Actually, Jesus asked them, "Where is your faith?" In other words, "Did you forget who is in the boat with you? Drowning isn't the only possibility, guys" (my paraphrase, obviously).

I could talk about this for hours but I want to keep it short. Here’s all I want to remind you of today.

Jesus SEES the reality of your circumstance right now. You don’t have to deny your circumstances – the storm you are in may be very, very real and threatening to destroy everything and drown you in the process. Just remember this – Jesus doesn’t just see the reality of your storm - He sees more. There are always possibilities that we can’t see, but He can.

We have a choice. We can focus on the storm and the possibility of drowning OR we can shift our focus to Jesus.

What I’m saying is this: Sure, there may be a storm. That’s reality. But our God is able to create new realities.

Reminds me of the promise in Romans 8:28 – 
We know that in ALL things (all storms, all trials, all persecutions, all heartaches - all means ALL) God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Friend, I have a simple question for you. Do you love Jesus?

If your heart’s cry to that simple question is yes, then let me encourage you to open your mouth and call on Him in the middle of your storm. If you focus on Him, the possibilities are endless, and drowning won't be one of them.


Can YOU amaze Jesus?

Is it possible to amaze Jesus?


The Greek word for marvel or amaze (thaumazō) is used often in the New Testament and most often it's used in the context of how people responded to Jesus. That's probably not a surprise.

But that's not the only time the word is used.

Y'all. There are TWO times that we are told Jesus was amazed.


One is found Mark 6:7 - Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. #ouch

The other time is in Luke 7:8-9. A centurion sent his friends to ask Jesus to heal his servant. The centurion said, "I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed."
When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following Him, He said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel."

Jesus was amazed at the centurion. Why? Because he demonstrated great faith. How? By displaying humility and belief.

Humility + Belief = a beautiful display of faith that amazes Jesus.

Honestly, I find it amazing that it's possible for me to amaze the One who continually amazes me! I can either amaze Him by my faith, or amaze Him by my lack of faith. And I get to choose which it will be, and so do you.

Want some JOY in your life? Humble yourself and choose belief. Go ahead, amaze Jesus today.


Just thinking about Spring and greater things yet to come...

Maggie, our *perfect* Goldendoodle, was born in October 2017 and we brought her home in December. It was soooooo cold her first week with us and it snowed a lot. If you know me at all, you know I am NOT a cold-weather kinda gal. (Every single year I tell myself that I'm going to have a better attitude about winter and look for God's beauty in it. I willingly admit to you, not counting the two times I said while it was snowing, "Oh that's pretty", I have failed at it yet again. My attitude is terrible. Sorry. But I digress.) 

snow maggie.jpg

I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to get a new puppy in the dead of winter. Puppies need to go outside - A LOT - and every single time I froze to death. It takes me longer to put on my sweater, scarf, coat, gloves, snow boots, and multiple hats, and any other random piece of warm clothing I can manage to get on under my coat than it does for her to do her business outside. I have tried to explain something to her as I'm putting all my layers on - "Maggie - I promise you - it won't always be this way! Someday soon it won't take me 10 minutes to get ready to take you outside. All I will have to do is slip on my Wonder Woman flip flops and we can go outside! Someday soon you will see green leaves and green grass and beautiful colorful flowers! Birds will chirp, the sky will be blue, and it will be WARM! I know you don't believe me. It's hard for you to even imagine it because you've never experienced it...but just because you haven't experienced it doesn't mean it's not real! You'll see! It WILL happen, I promise!! 


As I was saying this to Maggie for the 100th time, I felt God nudge me and say pretty much the same thing I'd been saying to my puppy. "It won't always be like this. I know that now all you see sometimes is the pain, suffering, heartache and frustrations of this life. You yearn for something more but it's hard for you to imagine it because you've never experienced it. But just because you haven't experienced it doesn't mean it's any less real." 

There WILL be a day when eternity is not something we only talk about - it will be our reality. It's so hard to imagine it, because just like my dog who has never experienced anything but the cold, will someday experience a beauty and warmth she doesn't even know exists yet. 

I try to remind myself of this truth as often as I can. It won't always be like this. For those of us who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our eternal summer is coming. Our eyes have not yet seen and our ears have not yet heard all that God has prepared for those who love Him. So we wait. But we wait with hope. And that makes all the difference. 


What makes home, home?

So let’s chat. Got your coffee? Good. I’ve already had my 2nd cup and will be going back for my 3rd here in a bit. Coffee. It’s just one way that Jesus reminds me of His love for me in the mornings.


I want to ask you a question. It may sound like a weird question, but hear me out. Sticking with this Home theme I’ve got going on, I’d like to know, what are the feelings you associate with your home? I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and I think I’ve narrowed it down to the top 3 feelings that I want to be associated with my home.


The first is comfort. I'm not talking about just physical comfort, which I do believe is extremely important as well (I’m a huge fan of decluttering and keeping things in place and may or may not be slightly OCD) but I’m talking mostly about emotional and relational ease. “What does that look like?” you ask. Glad you asked. I strive to make my home a place where everyone feels comfortable and I do that in very practical ways. One way is by telling people that come over, “Make yourself at home” and I mean it. I point them to the kitchen and tell them to not be shy. Not too long ago one of the kids (I call them kids but they are in their 20’s, but whatever, they are kids to me now because I’m old enough to be their mom) went to the kitchen and decided to make himself a peanut butter, jelly and whipped cream sandwich. Okay, I don’t get the whipped cream part but whatever, I’m just glad he felt comfortable enough to do it. And apparently 22 year old boys eat weird things.


The second one is safe. Creating an environment where everyone feels safe takes deliberate time and effort. Jake and I strive to make our home a place where our friends know they can be themselves and are safe to express their thoughts and emotions and ask questions. Nurturing a safe home means no judging, just listening. Open ears and hearts are necessities in a safe home.


And lastly, joy. I’m learning a lot about the pursuit of joy. I’m discovering that a lot of the time, joy is a choice. It needs to be pursued. I desperately want my home to be a place where people come not only to feel comfortable and safe, but also to laugh a lot and feel a deep sense of joy. The world is crazy. We need homes that offer places of refuge and laughter. Sweet moments of delight are best when shared.


Please don’t think I’m batting 1,000 on these every single time. Some days I’m feeling super selfish and I don’t want to share my home. Some days the last thing I’m feeling is joyful and my grumpiness is contagious (I’ll be talking about the ways women control the emotional climate in their home in a future post) and some days I’m emotionally exhausted and feel I have nothing left to give (it’s really important for people to fend for themselves in the kitchen on those days, otherwise they’d starve). But, as I’m learning to keep comfort, safe, and joy in mind, it helps me to refocus when I get all funky.


Remember what I said in the last post? This house isn’t really my home. My home is found in my relationship with Jesus. He is the one that gives me comfort, makes me feel completely safe, and is the source of all my joy. He is the reason I want to offer my home to others in hopes they will know what home is too.


What about you? What’s most important to you about your home?  What makes your home home?

This is my home. But not really.

This is my home. But not really.


I’ve lived in Indianapolis for the past 16 years. I call Indy home.

I lived in Kentucky for 27 years. I still call Kentucky home. (You can take the girl out of Kentucky but never Kentucky out of the girl. Go Cats!)

I call the current house I've lived in for 8 years home.

I still call my mom and dad’s house home.


The word home evokes strong emotions in me. I love going home to mom and dad’s. I know what I’m getting when I get there. Comfort. Love. Homemade biscuits and gravy. My dad’s sweet prayers. The sound of my mom’s singing and sewing machine. My brother, sister-in-law, nephew and great niece coming over to eat. These are all a few of my favorite things.


I also love and look forward to coming home to where Jake and I (and a few others!) live. I know what to expect here, too. Comfort. Acceptance. Laughter. (Although sadly there’s not even a chance that the smell of homemade biscuits will ever come from my kitchen. More like the smell of spaghetti.)


I’m not going to lie. I’ve grown pretty comfortable here. We moved so much in our first few years of marriage that when we bought our current house I told Jake I wasn’t moving again until I was dead. I’m not a fan of moving. And I’m not a fan of change. If I had it my way, we’d stay here until the very end. (Unless God said move to the Caribbean, but so far He hasn’t, but I keep asking.)


A few years ago, it looked like there was a possibility that Jake might land a job overseas and we would have had to sell everything and move. This went over like a lead balloon with me.  I wrestled with the thought of leaving my home and everything I had grown to love. In fact, I was so upset over it, I was losing sleep and if you know me at all you know that Paulette doesn’t lose sleep. She takes her sleep very seriously.


One such morning when sleep alluded me, I finally gave up trying and came downstairs to spend some time in the Word. Although I tried, I just couldn’t focus on anything other than the fact that I might have to leave my home. The dam finally broke and I ended up on my knees with my face in the carpet. There may have even some wailing and gnashing of teeth.


Lord, this is the house we prayed for! We promised You when we moved here that we would use it for ministry!

Lord, I’m not finished with my degree yet!

Lord, I just started a great job at a great ministry!

Lord, I’m responsible for a thriving ministry at church!

Lord, I love it here!

Help me! I feel like I’m dying here, Lord!




That was the word I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me in the midst of my crying/snot fest.


“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25


Die to self.


Basically, my home had become more important to me that the One who made it a home.


Ouch. And thank you Father for the sweet conviction of your Holy Spirit.


Something shifted in me that morning. Did I get up off my knees jumping up and down at the thought of moving to a country where German was the official language and I can barely manage to speak English? No. Of course not. But I realized that I was clinging to something that could not offer me what I was truly seeking. Somewhere along the way I had started craving the gifts over the Gift-giver.


I resolved that morning that I would strive to hold all things loosely, with open hands, as best I could, including this house that I love. I want to cling to Jesus, not cling to the stuff He gives me.


So you may be wondering, why then would I choose to tattoo the word Home on my wall? Well, honestly, maybe this makes me a little morbid, but I chose it as a reminder. So every time I see this….


I am reminded that this not my home. Ironic? Weird? Yeah, I guess so. But I like being reminded that although I love what I’ve got going on here, it really is temporary. I have no idea what the future holds. I could be in this house until I’m 85 or God could call me somewhere else tomorrow. Who knows. And I’m okay with it. So for today, I’ll just be grateful that I can call this house home, all the while knowing that Jesus is my real home.


What about you? Where do you feel at home? What makes it home? 

Home is where....

A few months ago my husband and I finally did something we’ve been wanting to do for about 8 years. We finished our basement!  (And by we, I obviously mean we hired people who knew what they were doing.)


Here’s some before pics:


And here’s what it looks like now!

(BTW, Mulder and Scully look amazing on that gigantic TV. #XFiles)

(And if you think that's a huge whiteboard, you'd be right.)


I knew for a long time that I wanted to get a wall tattoo. It felt pretty permanent so I thought long and hard about what word I wanted to see every time I was in the basement – which is often because that’s where my new office is. 


My uber-talented and super cute brother agreed to paint/tattoo my wall. Here's some fun pics of the process:


Drum-roll please.....



The word home means so much to me. It evokes so many different feelings and emotions. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time y’all so I’ve decided to share all my deeeeeep thoughts with you. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on these topics with you:


This is not my permanent Home

Home is what we make it

How we (women) control the climate of our Home

Home is where real community happens

Martha Stewart does not live in my Home


And who knows. I may come up with more ideas before this whole Home thing runs its course.


I’m looking forward to sharing some virtual coffee with you as we talk about Home. See you soon! 

Thinking about leftovers

I know that not everyone is a big fan of leftovers. Me? I’m a big fan. Knowing that I can rummage through the fridge and find something to eat instead of having to make something, well that’s a huge bonus. I’m already looking forward to the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. I should be able to get away with not cooking for at least a few good days.


Have you ever considered the concept of spiritual leftovers? Honestly, I never had, until I read something in Scripture this week. It caused me to think in a whole new way.


In Matthew 14 we read the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. The disciples picked up 12 baskets of leftovers after everyone’s stomachs were full. In Matthew 15 we read a very similar story of Jesus feeding 4,000 with seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. This time the disciples picked up 7 basketfuls of leftovers. Pretty amazing stuff! You would think that these experiences would have been burned forever into the disciples’ minds, wouldn’t you? How could you ever possibly forget something like that? And yet, in Matthew 16:5-11 we read this:


When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”


They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”


Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread?”


I could write an entire lesson on the significance of why Jesus was warning the disciples about the teachings of the religious leaders in their day, but that’s not my purpose right now. (That was more for me than you because I was about to chase a different rabbit and needed to remind myself to stay on task.)


Don’t miss the significance of Jesus asking, “Don’t you remember?” Pay close attention to what He was asking the disciples to remember:


Their experience.


Think about it. Jesus could have easily said something like, “Why are you worried about not having any bread? Don’t you remember that God parted the Red Sea and rescued your ancestors from slavery? Don’t you remember that God rescued Daniel from the lion? Don’t you remember that God sent manna from heaven every morning?” Really, the list of examples that Jesus could have used are endless. And yet, Jesus purposefully directed their attention to something the disciples had experienced for themselves.


Now, I’m just speculating here, but why did the disciples not bring the leftovers with them in the boat? Where had they left all those baskets? And if they had brought the leftovers with them, would they have better understood Jesus’ statement to “guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees” because they wouldn’t have been distracted by their lack of bread? Maybe because they didn’t have the leftovers with them,


they forgot about Jesus’ miraculous ability to produce bread at will and


they missed the whole point of what He was trying to say because they were too distracted by what they didn’t have that they should have had in the first place. (did you get that?)




Now before you go and accuse the disciples of having short-term memory loss or just being dumb (come on, you know you’ve thought it) let’s ask ourselves, do we do the same thing?


Work with me here.


As a follower and believer in Jesus, has there been a time when you have experienced God richly blessing you with all that you needed? What about a time where He not only supplied your needs but blessed you with more than you even asked for? Has your heart ever felt like it could overflow with gratitude? When we hang on to those precious memories and experiences it’s like collecting basketfuls of leftovers. Big, beautiful baskets full of leftover blessings.


The next time you find yourself in a difficult season and wonder what you are going to do, lean in. You may hear Jesus sweetly asking,


“Don’t you remember?”


When we take time to pull out those basketfuls of leftovers and recount the many ways God has provided for us in the past, amazing things begin to happen. We are reminded that God was faithful to us then, and He will be faithful to us now.


This Thanksgiving, let’s pull out those basketfuls of leftovers… and remember.

Straight-Up Crazy

The parting of the Red Sea.

The walls of Jericho falling.

Gideon changing from a big chicken into a mighty warrior.

David taking on a giant with just a few small stones.

Three men walking into a blazing furnace and believing God would not forsake them - no matter the outcome.

Peter getting out of the boat. 

These are just a few example of the stories I grew up hearing and believing. I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life where I doubted the stories in the Bible. I also grew up hearing stories of missionaries in other parts of the world, their great faith, and how God moved through them to do amazing things. I’ve always enjoyed praising God for what He was doing in and through others.

 Then I got irritated. 

I started looking at my own life. Boring. Mundane. Predictable. And to be honest, there was no need for me to have extraordinary faith because frankly, I was just hanging out in my comfortable and safe boat. I had been content my entire life just watching and hearing about everyone else who had enough faith to actually get out of the boat and walk on water with Jesus. I had been content merely hearing stories of other “water-walkers.”

 But then I started to wonder, “What if?”

 What if the stories in the bible were meant to fuel my faith?

What if God really hadn’t changed and He still delighted in doing the extraordinary through ordinary people, just like me?

What if the Jesus that told Peter to come to Him on the water was the same Jesus that would empower me to do the impossible if I would just step out of my boat? 

So. I tried it. 

Yep. That’s right. Boring, predictable, mundane me actually stepped out of my comfort boat and trusted God to be God. Guess what? I didn’t sink. 

Was I scared? You bet I was. Was I in over my head? Absolutely. Was it worth it? A thousand times YES. Has Jesus had to pull me back up when I let the waves overtake me? Many times. But He’s never let me sink.

 Once you get a feel for wet feet and windblown hair, you won’t want to climb back in your boat. You will begin to crave the intimacy that grows between you and your Savior as He walks next to you. You will begin to crave the exhilaration that comes from trusting Jesus to do the impossible both in you and through you.

 You will begin to crave a faith that is so radical it looks straight-up crazy. 

I believe God puts a desire within all of us to experience the Divine. All of us crave to see Him move in ways we could never, ever take credit for.

Many years ago I started praying that God would send a holy revival among His daughters.  I prayed He would raise up a generation of women who were willing to leave their comfort boats behind, throw off everything that hinders and every sin that entangles and run the race He has marked out for us (Hebrews 12:.1). By golly, I believe He’s doing it! More and more I am seeing a movement of women who are strong, courageous, sword-yielding, Jesus-loving water-walkers, and it fires me up! It’s an exciting and opportune time to be a woman on fire for God! 

So now what? 

God planted a dream deep in my heart a few years ago. I dreamed of a place where women of all ages, races, and denominations could come together in unity and be equipped by God’s Word, empowered to live out their faith in every area of life, and to work together to change the world. That’s right, you heard me -

A massive unleashing of believing women to CHANGE. THE. WORLD.

I know those words are often thrown around with nothing of substance to back them up. But what if we really could change the world?

I think we can. Together. 

And I have a crazy plan to do it. And I believe it will work. But I’m going to need your help. 

Imagine a place where you could be in community with other women who are willing to share the wisdom they have gained through life experiences such as divorce, step-parenting, trauma, anxiety, depression, and many more.

Imagine a place where you could participate in Bible studies with other women from across the world that will deepen your knowledge of Scripture. 

Imagine a place that offers tailored groups where you could find hope, healing and encouragement from other women who have been hurt by the church, whose husbands wrestle with a porn addiction, who are recovering from sexual abuse/trauma, and who are navigating the waters of addiction recovery.

Imagine meeting other women who can help lead you down the sometimes difficult and confusing path of the adoption process, both domestically and internationally.

Imagine learning from seasoned leaders that will empower and equip you to enhance your leadership skills.

You can experience all of that and much more as a member of Ignite Women. And as if all that wasn’t awesome enough, it gets even more awesome -

Ignite is strategically partnering with large Not For Profits that are doing amazing work across the world to help end poverty, help end abortion, help increase adoptions and help end human trafficking in our generation. We are not messing around! A portion of every membership dollar will go to empower them to do even more.

It IS possible.

Together, we really can change the world.   

I invite you to visit Ignite Women and check us out. I’m confident you will find a place where you can invest in your own spiritual growth and simultaneously join with other women to change the world!