Dear Readers . . .

If you receive my posts via email, I apologize for all the unorganized chaotic emails that came into your box this week and ask you to forgive me.

I am still learning how this WordPress/blogging process works and I messed up! I learned that when a post is published, emails are automatically sent. I am able to reschedule the post, but I am unable to retract emails.

Because of the mess I created, I put a new system in place. Drafts will remain in the draft folder until all parts of series are created. Then, they all will be reviewed again and scheduled for posting. This should keep your inbox less cluttered.

Again, I apologize. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to email me at I would be sad if you felt it would be better to unsubscribe and come back in a couple of years, when I know more about how to handle all this technology – but I understand completely.


Lessons 25-30

I’m grateful that blaming others doesn’t work on God. He’s dealt with that coping mechanism since the first man and woman stood in front of Him. Even in the midst of explaining consequences, His love is ever-present.

Lessons Learned (1-6)

My last Lessons Learned post was right before Christmas . . . I’ve been quietly stashing away the lessons.

Mom taught me “Learn the lesson. Forget how you learned it.” Her words have helped me so much over the last 50 years and I don’t want to forget these lessons and have to relearn them. Maybe one or two will speak to you.

One lesson reads: I must first do what I ask of others. It’s easier to give grace when I see how much I need it.

In my journal it was written like this: Before asking someone else to be introspective, examine yourself. All the questions you ask others, ask yourself first. You will find that it is easier to give grace when you recognize you need grace.

I ask a lot of questions. (I see my friends nodding their heads.) And there were questions at the end of each post in the “Her Legacy in HIStory” series in March. Before I wrote those for you, I had to sit with them myself. At times, I was disappointed with the answers I had to give myself. Other times, I realized my thinking or feeling was unbalanced or selfish. And there were times when I was surprised by growth I saw since the last time I looked at that area of my life. My own answers pointed out that I constantly need grace and mercy. I am still learning lessons – and I will be until the day I die.

Please know my questions are not meant to create anxiety or uneasiness in you. My hope is they would give you a little glimpse into your own heart, your own mind, your own life, your own circumstances so you can take a tiny inventory to see if anything could be a little different, a little better. My Lessons Learned are not to brag. Some of these lessons come at a great cost. They are recorded to help me remember the grace and mercy God has extended to me and the important things He has taught me. (I don’t want to have to repeat some of these lessons!)

The good news is that if you find yourself in a place where you need grace and mercy, God is always willing to help. All we have to do is ask. We all need God’s grace because we will misstep and we need His mercy and comfort when the lessons feel too hard to complete. He’s promised never to leave us. He loves us that much!!

Heavenly Father, Thank You for grace and mercy that covers our failures. Thank You for never saying, “That’s it! You’ve had enough!” Your patience, kindness, goodness, and lovingkindness is overwhelming!

Lead, don’t lag.

We can wait for problems to happen and then have an opinion about what went wrong.

But, why wait for trouble to happen when you can do some things to reduce it?

What if . . . we consider what might need to be learned and what might go wrong first and then help create a clear and better path?

The most effective, best loved teachers teach and train before they assess. They are proactive in their work.

The best assessing always comes after the teaching.

And the best response to failures is to first determine what went right and reinforce those things. Then, go back again and determine what went wrong and proactively address those concerns with compassionate reteaching.

For wise people, these things often happen internally, so be honest and kind to yourself. Give yourself mercy and grace as you learn.

After all, life is a series of learning opportunities!

Simon, Alexander and Rufus

On this Good Friday, over 2000 years ago, Simon, Alexander and Rufus were in Jerusalem. They had traveled from the continent of Africa to Jerusalem and we know very little else about them from Scripture. Simon was the man the Roman soldiers forced to carry Jesus’ cross when he could not carry it any more. Matthew, Mark, and Luke record his story in their gospels. Mark gives us additional information.

The Gospel of Mark records all their names. . . this man and sons from a far-off place who happened to be on the road to Golgotha when Jesus passed by.

Simon’s name is of Hebrew origin and comes from the word meaning “to hear, to listen, to obey.” This type of listening involves hearing with understanding and with a heart set on following through, obeying. It has a secondary meaning we would translate to “pay attention.”

Alexander is a name with compounded meaning, “man” and “defender” – man defender. One who defends men.

Rufus has a Latin origin and has a simple name meaning, “red.”

Jesus, man’s defender, was standing right there covered in red, His blood shed for us.

Put together these names could mean several things:

God says to us, “I have heard. Man, your defender is red.” (“I have heard your cry for deliverance. Your defender, a victorious warrior, is here.)

“Hear, pay attention to the red man-defender.” (Listen and remember all you have heard from this man covered in blood who goes to the cross to defend you.)

Our response? Let me be an intentional listener for Your voice, the voice of the One who defended and won the battle for me, the One who took my punishment, the One who made a relationship with His Father possible, and the One who awaits my arrival.

-Mark 15:21

My name is . . .

During Women’s History Month 2023, we looked at more than 30 women mentioned in the Bible. Most of them were ordinary women during their lifetimes, but in retrospect they left amazing legacies from which we can learn how to have richer, deeper relationships – with God and with others. What would your profile look like?

Take some time and talk to your Heavenly Father about that question. The Creator of the Universe, the One who handmade you, the God who never changes, knows all there is to know about you and loves you more than you can image. Jesus Christ came from heaven to rescue you and bring you home with Him. And, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth and your Comforter, walks with you to give you everything you need to live a life pleasing to God. Lean into the faithfulness of your Heavenly Father, the love of Jesus Christ, and the hope provided by the Holy Spirit. Now, write your profile.

My name is . . .   

My life reflects my name when . . .

My story: Currently being written

God has worked in my life this way and these times . . .  Your story may never be recorded for posterity, but a record is being made. (Malachi 3:16; Psalm 40:8; Psalm 56:9; Psalm 139:16; Luke 10:20B) Because your story is still being written, it can be edited and revised.

My legacy: I want others to learn these important lessons He taught me . . .  

Whether or not you are intentional about leaving a legacy, you will leave one. What do you want to leave? Your Heavenly Father has a wonderful plan for life grander than you could ever hope or imagine. He wants to make it a reality with you. He loves questions from a loving, humble heart. Talk to Him daily and always listen to what He has to say.

My response to Him today: Talk to Him daily and always listen to what He has to say.

Ask Him: As Your beloved child, how well am I moving closer to You each day? When others see me, do they see You more than me? In all I say and do, am I encouraging others to move closer to You?

Her name was Nymphas

Her name in Hebrew means “bride”, coming from an ancient root that means “to marry”.  She lived out her prophetic name/union with Christ and led, ministered, and served the bride of Christ out of that union.

Her story:  Colossians 4:15-16

Nymphas is one of sixteen women who Paul mentions by name in his letters.  Unfortunately, her gender was hidden when her name was masculinized in some Greek manuscripts.  Perhaps a few scribes had difficulty with the idea that Paul was greeting a woman holding church meetings in her house, yet it was not uncommon for relatively wealthy women in the first century to host congregations for worship and fellowship, and care for them.  Now modern English translations have unanimously correctly identified her as female.  Looking at other passages that describe house churches and their leadership, we deduce that they gathered only around persons of some mark and leadership… described as beloved, fellow-laborer, one in whom “the saints are refreshed”, and minister.  From the beginning of the early church, wealthy women were attracted to Christianity, and they were among the church’s patrons and protectors.  Nymphas appears to be one such woman.  Leaders of local churches did what was necessary, what they were capable of, and what they were gifted for.  Due to her wealth, she was most likely literate, so she would have read and reread sermons, letters, and Scriptures.  Since Paul addressed her specifically, even though there were other house churches in the area, suggests she was a well-known church leader.

Her legacy for us:  Gender did not keep Nymphas from serving Jesus and His bride.  She used her wealth, position, abilities, and influence to honor God.

Our response to Him:  Do I allow my womanhood to disqualify or diminish my ability or influence?  How can I minister more fully from the identity You gave me?

This guest post was written by Shawn Martin, my creative, courageous, godly friend. I love hearing what God shows her and learning artsy things from her. She always invites me into conversations that encourage and challenge me to deepen my relationship with the Master Creator. Find Shawn’s artwork and journals at her Etsy shop at this link, CrownofBeautybySM.