All Inclusive

Highlights and disappoints. Both were seen this past weekend during Mother’s day. For me, it was a full weekend with family events. Yet sitting now and reflecting on our time, it is not just the activity with family that stands out to me. It is also posts and videos. Stories shared by others which left an impact. Family at times is complicated. Messy. Joyous and heartbreaking. But it all becomes a blanket of fabric that has been woven together and wrapped around us.

One post this weekend was from someone I admire, Tracey Mitchell. Tracey and her husband have a ministry headquartered in Dallas. Not only is she a powerhouse speaker, but she also has a writing style that grabs your heart and pulls you into the story. This weekend she had a post that spoke volumes:

As Mother’s Day approaches and pictures of smiling families fill my timeline my mind and emotions drift in countless directions. My heart goes out to the seven-year-old girl who will put on a brave face and battle through feelings of abandonment and rejection. She hasn’t seen her mother in years; may never see her again. My stomach feels tied in knots when I think of the young woman whose husband was unexpectedly killed last month. This will mark her first holiday as a single parent. She now carries the weight of being mom and dad all rolled into one. Tears begin to form as I think of my dear friend who will be unable to hug her incarcerated son. I cannot tell you the number of sleepless nights she has lost to grief …


Life is messy. Special days aren’t always special. For many, Mother’s Day is a complex time of reflection. It is a mixture of heartfelt memories and pain filled moments. What matters most is not what we have experienced but what we are yet to encounter. Maybe you need to experience the freedom of forgiving someone who wounded you or was simply never there for you. Trust me, the joy that comes with forgiveness is far better than a tear stained past. Maybe you need to bridge the gap in a distant or strained relationship. The initial step is always the hardest. Be brave. Be bold. Be daring enough to make the first move. Motherhood is not limited to birthrights or DNA. A mother is anyone who helped birth a better you. As you take a trip down memory lane pause and thank the women who supported you, defended you, created space for you and loved you unconditionally. Celebrate them. Love them. Honor them.

Such powerful truth! This is a Mother’s day message I have spoken on before. I can still see the faces of moms in one church I was speaking at who had lost kids to death. And the woman who was barren due to her husband’s cancer. Too often on Mother’s day we forget those women and they sit in our services hurting or feeling ‘not enough.’ But God makes His acceptance all inclusive and loves to show us creative ways bring this balance to our ministry.

“Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Proverbs 31:31 NIV

Another post that grabbed my heart was from my own daughter, Lauren Nelson. Although she has a son almost three and another who is just eight months old, God told her to go to Haiti. Alone. He was calling her to ‘come away’ with Him. After much struggle and tears to leave her babies, she obeyed. While planning the trip, she decided to surprise the other eleven kids that she has mothered in Haiti. The video of those surprised kids was priceless!

There were other posts that spoke as well. A niece who is a stepmom. A friend rejoicing over reconciled relationships. And the silent posts – those empty spaces where many hid from ‘mom notes’ which would be a reminder of abuse or neglect.

Yes. May has become a month for moms. But let’s not forget to minister to ALL women and recognize the spiritual moms among us. May our churches and lives be all inclusive when showing gratitude to those who serve among us. Honor the women who have chosen to foster, adopt, or just be that mom chosen by our hearts. And if that is who you are, we honor you as well for taking the step to mom whoever comes in your path.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxVSXEvHsjH/?igshid=1hddi7089q86b

Dreamers

“Realists know where they are going. Dreamers have already been there. ” ~~ Robert Orben

I came across the above quote of Robert Orben and it stood out to me as being profound. To dream, to REALLY dream against all odds and not give up, takes faith. To believe that dreams can happen means you can already see it as if you have been there before. 

When someone has a dream, we have a choice to either speak life or death to their dream. Joseph had dreams and his brothers attempted to kill it. But God was the author of the dream so it couldn’t die. If God has birthed a dream within someone’s heart, let’s roll up our sleeves, look them in the face and ask, “Can I run along beside you to help build this dream?”

Disappointment. Hurt. Betrayal. Humiliation. Competition. Comparison. These are all able to kill dreams. 

Affirmation. Love. Acceptance. Believing in someone. These all breathe life into the dreams people carry within the heart. 

Let’s take the dream journey with people today. Let’s speak life until we see their dreams take flight. Agree with the dream God paints for yourself and for others. Speak it forth for the sake of others. 

Setting the Stage

Team work. That’s what it takes to successfully pull off a theatrical performance. Each person, from stage crew, to lights, to costumes, needs to have a good understanding of their individual role. Each person has a different gift that will ultimately help the production team meet the desired effect by the end of each performance. It is the job of the director to clearly map out each detail of the performance for everyone involved. The director has to see the vision before even starting auditions. With each step forward, that vision has to be communicated clearly. And with the result of a successful performance, the name remembered most by others will probably be the most outstanding actor or vocalist of the night. Not the director.

For about six years I had the privilege of teaching music and drama at our church’s elementary school. When I had been away from that for a couple of years, someone asked me what I missed. It didn’t take long for me to answer. I missed helping the children discover gifts and talents that they may not have realized they had. I missed helping them become more confident in who they were. I missed loving on them and helping to set the stage of confidence that would build on a foundation for their future lives.

That’s what mentoring is about. It’s not a ‘help me build my kingdom’ mentality. Instead, it is a lifestyle of helping others grow personally and find their own voice. It’s being mindful of God’s kingdom and not our own. We search for the gifts and talents of each individual and help them follow their ‘part’ in this performance called life.

Parenting was such a joy to me. And now, so is being a grandparent. I adore my grandchildren with all my heart. But they are not mine to hold on to. They are not mine to control. They belong to their parents and God. Not me. Talking on the phone to a friend, I listened as she shared the possibility of her daughter and son-in-law moving across country. And that would mean her grandson would move as well. Her words were, “How can they take that little boy from me?”

As much as the statement shows her strong love for the child and her disappointment over the possibility of missing him, it made me think more about being kingdom minded. For years I have known the possibility of having my family eventually scattered, not just across the nation, but across the world. I don’t always like the thought. After all, shouldn’t they stay and help build our ministry with us? Isn’t that the norm? Kids growing up and taking over the family business/ministry is normal life, right? But to even allow my thoughts to drift in that direction, then that still small voice decides to whisper, “They are doing what you taught them to do. Following Me.”

Such true words. They have been taught not to follow my calling, but to find out who they are in Christ and follow His calling for them. Paul taught about the fact that each of us has a different calling. Some pastors. Some teachers. Some plant. Some water. Each is to seek direction from the Master Director and fulfill their role in order to have His vision successfully come to pass.

Years ago, there was a song by Joni Erickson Tada that became one of my own focuses. It spoke to me because of my passion for theater as well as my heart to follow His path for my life. One part of the song stood out to me the most:

‘You’ve given me the lines You showed the right reflection. You gave me a reflection of what I need to say. So many want to lead. And so many times I follow. Lord, let me not be hollow like men in those other plays. O Lord, dear Lord, great author of the play, may I in wisdom learn the only part I need to play is the part that You wrote for me. The part that You wrote for me.

As a mentor, it is not my place to decide the path those under me should follow. Just because I spend time pouring into them doesn’t mean they will stay by my side the rest of their lives. As I wanted to find MY part, I should want that for others as well. If I can grasp the concept of being kingdom minded, I can start to think on a larger scale. One from God’s view point. How did He put it?

Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

And He sent them out. That’s how we can reach a larger group. Send them out. And rejoice with them when they find the place He has called THEM to. When we are mentoring, we are teaching them tools for them to use in their place of ministry. We are setting the stage for their success story wherever God takes them.

Listen to that voice today and set the stage for someone else. Your harvest may actually come as you are backstage during lights on. But trust the Heavenly director who holds the details. And be prepared for the ultimate life performance to be completed right on schedule!

I Raised Millennials

The Silent Generation. Baby Boomers. Generation X. Millennials. Generation Z. Each name represents a group of people born during a specific time frame. And each group has become known by certain characteristic traits. But none have been tagged or labeled more openly than perhaps the most recent two groups as social media is used to spread opinions at whim.

Little over a year ago, I saw a picture that was being shared on social media. It depicted a pickup truck loaded with bales of hay sitting in the middle of a beautiful open field. The tag line boasted how older generations knew what REAL work was. And the sad insight to me was that a pastor had shared the picture and was agreeing with the comparison of the hard work of farm life to the ‘lazy youth’ of today who know more about technology than doing chores. And the post most likely was shared from his own technical device.

As I sat looking at the post, so many thoughts went rushing through my mind. First, who’s duty is it to teach the next generation about chores and responsibilities? We cannot blame one generation for not achieving what the previous generation never taught or set as a goal.

Second, if we want to have younger generations visiting and joining our churches, then we need to make sure they feel welcomed and not judged. Christ said told us that others will know us by our love. If a visiting young adult walks into your church, enjoys the service, but wants to know more about the vision or the pastor, he probably will check out social media. If he sees a post that is talking down ‘this generation of youth’, he may feel all the judgement that he already experiences in the world. Chances are, he will not visit your church again.


It is easy for me to have grace on these three as I know what formed their thinking.

Third, I RAISED MILLENNIALS! When I read posts about millennials, I think of my own now grown kids. Looking at the pastor’s post that day, I wanted to add a comment that he just lumped my kids into that group. And my kids were following a weekly chore list at an early age. Each of them have visited third world countries spreading the gospel. I taught them to be real and authentic. In teaching them to be authentic, they came to realize how to recognize duplicity. Yes, they have a completely different mindset in many areas of life than I do even though they have held fast to the things we taught them. Why? Because their millennial world is vastly different than the world my generation remembers.


“We cannot blame one generation for not achieving what the previous generation never taught or set as a goal.”

Serving our community.

This generation needs us to be real. They need us to show them the love of Jesus. When the widow gave just a penny in the temple’s offering bucket, the leaders looked down on her. But Christ did not. Christ saw the reason behind the small amount. He realized she gave all she had. He understood what formed her thinking. What would it look like if we chose to see others through Christ’s perspective? What if our first response to someone’s actions was not judgmental but with the question of, “I wonder what happened to them in life to cause this?” Or how about asking our Father, “Is there a way I can help them discover more of their life in You?”

Amos 3:7 “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets.”

Serving orphans in Haiti.

I want to be known for seeking God’s perspective first before I ever judge in my heart or speak judgement from my lips. If God chooses to reveal secrets to His prophets, won’t He also reveal hurting hearts to those who want to help them heal? After all, He knows all and sees all. Let’s ask Him today for His vision!


Love their fun personalities!


1 Corinthians 4:5 “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.”

On more than one occasion, God has given my husband flash visions to reveal to him an incident that happened in someone’s life. Often it has been for strangers, such as a waiter or waitress serving at our table. The vision gave my husband an open door to share the love of Christ to a hurting soul.

Serving others in Africa.

Ask Him today to reveal what is hidden and to give you His vision. Let’s reach the world around us!

Care for the Heart

Jesus is the key to broken hearts.

Sitting across the table from a young mom, I listened to as she shared her story of shock, pain and grief. A twenty-four-hour whirlwind that forever changed her life. I recognized that no words spoken by me would ‘fix’ her situation. While my nearly untouched coffee became cold, my heart was beating with a desire to turn back the clock and rewrite her story with a different outcome. But life doesn’t work that way no matter how much we may desire it.

After pouring out in detail the events she walked through less than a year prior, she shared the journey she has been on since. Disillusionment. Grasping for understanding. She keeps life turning for her family while balancing her own emotions – and still grasping the reality of what happened. Listening to this young woman as a friend, my heart ached for her with each detail. Listening to her as a pastor, it brought so much more depth of understanding to the need I see for the body of Christ to create ‘safe places’ for the broken hearts around us.

Safe haven. That should be a great definition of the body of Christ. Yet reality often reminds us that the body of Christ is made up of humans that sometimes miss the mark.

Like when tragic events happen.

Too often we have a heart that just wants to see the other person healed. To see their situation turn around and make sense. In our true concern and desire to help, we go into autopilot with our words and actions. We grasp at the first thought that comes to mind as we desperately want to bring comfort. After all, we know all the Christian idioms, right?

“God has a plan.”

“It was their time.”

“He would not give you more than you can handle.”

“It must have been in His will.”

Sound familiar? Words that have meaning as they stand alone. Yet these words can also sound empty even as we speak them. Why? When words are spoken in autopilot mode and not Spirit breathed, they become as ‘sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.’ Each of these statements have truth. But unless they are ‘God breathed‘ for that time, place and person, they will fall to the floor empty. Those empty words can even pierce a heart with pain.

We are admonished to be ‘quick to listen and slow to speak.’ What would the body of Christ look like if we listened to each other completely? All the way. Allowing the story to flow freely and having our minds completely engaged with the conversation. Undistracted by our cellular devices or even our own running thoughts.

Although it was over twenty years ago, I can still hear the ‘comforting’ words of a dear friend after my miscarriage. “You are not the first person to have lost a child.” And as she walked away, I picked up my bleeding heart. That was an obvious statement. Yet I was grasping with more than the grief of losing my baby. Our church had been in the middle of a revival. Miracles had been happening. And we had chosen to delay the DNC in order to stand and believe for God’s healing touch. Now, I was not only grieving but facing the disappointment of not having my prayer answered. Not having the miracle others were seeing. What action gave me the most comfort? The friend who just came. The one who just was. No words needed. Just their presence. That action showed me their love for me was bigger than their need to help me.

Sometimes we are not ready to answer questions. Instead, we sneak in a church service late and sit in the back in hopes to hide. We are not ready for the questions or comments. The group of loved ones surrounding us for prayer can be smothering if we are not ready. So how do others that really love you know when to run to you and when to just sit and pray for you? When they take time to pause and listen to the Spirit’s whispered voice.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

In this month where our society celebrates love, let’s examine our hearts. Do we love each other enough to stop, breath in the Spirit, listen to His counsel, and speak slowly? When reading the stories of Jesus, He doesn’t seem to be in a rush when He is giving answers. He didn’t even rush to Mary and Martha when their brother died. But He always did what His Father showed Him to do in a situation. Remember the the accusing crowd that brought an adulterous woman to Christ for judgement? He didn’t rush to answer but breathed in His Father’s thoughts, starting writing in the dirt, and made one comment. The crowd turned away. The situation diffused. All because He operated WITH His Father and the Spirit.

May we continue to grow in being Jesus with skin on!

Never Alone

Many times in life we feel alone. Whether we are just dealing with our own emotions or if the truth is we are in a desert place in life, it has left us needing a voice of encouragement. When we find ourselves in need of that person in the flesh to help us think things through clearly but we have no one at our side, we still have One constant in life. Our Father. 

Moses was on the backside of a desert when God called him. He gave his reasons why it was impossible to obey. But God reassured him.

Ex 4:12 “Now go! I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.”

Mentoring is about being there for each other. It’s teaching life lessons one on one and walking the visions out together. But when life’s road takes a different path than what out thoughts had painted in our minds, there is still that Mentor of our souls who is with us. He will teach us. Sometimes His teaching will come from our time spent with Him. Other times He will place in front of us tools for us to learn from. There have been many times in life where I was unsure how to accomplish a task before me. But then I saw someone else doing the same thing and I watched from a distance, took notes, and asked my heavenly Mentor how to adapt those tools for my personal task at hand.

We are to be walking in this life together. We should be actively involved in mentoring. But more importantly, we should always remember Who is to be our most important mentor of our hearts and souls. Our Father. Abba. God with us! Always our constant voice of encouragement. Take time to listen for Him today.

Destiny’s Voice










Each of us has different giftings. And each has a different calling. That is why Paul taught about the various roles within the body of Christ. Some are pastors. Some teachers. Prophets. Apostles. Some are given to hospitality. Each are valuable.

While raising our kids, we had to realize that how we disciplined each individually did not always look the same. They each had a different personality and responded to our means of correction in a different way. God created us individually

When speaking into the lives of those around us, we need to be able to recognize THEIR individual calling. It might not look like our own. When that happens, it is important to affirm THEIR gift and who they are. Don’t try to fit others into our specific God designed box. Pause and ask God to show you how special they are to Him. Celebrate who they are called to be.