Boxes

Wednesday Wisdom 😊


Inspiration this week comes from a smattering of scriptures that help to remind me what “box” I belong in: Philippians 4:13, Joshua 1:9, Psalms 37: 3-4 and 23-24, Jeremiah 29: 11-14 and John 13: 34-35


Karyn ran in her final cross country race last Friday at the Nebraska State Cross Country Championships, rocked her first half marathon Sunday morning in Lincoln, and then celebrated her 18th birthday on Monday! All of these things have me thinking of how much I love being a “mom”, and what I truly want my girls to understand as they step out into the world.

In the midst of the vast array of emotions that I have recently gone through, God has placed an important message on my heart to share. I’m going to put it in the form of a letter – from a veteran Mama – to her beautiful girls, the three that I was blessed to give birth to and also to the ones that God has brought into my life through church and athletics.


Dear Girls,

Years ago, I promised myself that I would help to teach you how to be strong and mighty young women. I felt in my heart the need to inspire you to be courageous, and to train you to persevere through Grace. I believe that your faith is like a muscle, the more you build it up – the stronger it is. As your Mama and your coach, I tried to teach you how to hope, how to sacrifice and serve, how to put in the work to build strength, and how to trust that the Lord loves you and has a plan for your life.

Although my mama’s heart sometimes wished that your path would be without potholes, deep down I knew that God used everything – both the smooth roads and the bumpy ones – to mold and shape you as His child. I also learned that I had no place trying to remove those obstacles, that wasn’t my job. My job was to trust God and to love you and support you as you navigated the hard things. Don’t worry! You will persevere ❀️

I know that you can do all things through Christ who brings you strength. That your courage is not only fueled by the love of Christ, but it is commanded by the heavenly Father who gave you life. I believe that when you trust in the Lord and let Him use you to do good works, that you will prosper. I also believe that as He moves in your heart, you will see the world through His eyes and want what He wants. Sometimes this hurts, but don’t lose heart as there is joy to be found even in the hardest of times. I hope that you truly understand how much God loves you, and recognize that He delights in the details of your life as He leads your steps. I pray that you live like you are forgiven, choosing to believe that you are beloved, and that you are enough.

Do you fully understand that God’s love is unconditional and He will never give up on you? God promises that if you wholeheartedly seek, you will find Him in every moment. You never walk alone.

Finally, please know that the world will try to put you in boxes as it attempts to define you by what you look like and the things that you do. This is a trap! Do not give into that temptation! Instead, remember that you are defined by the God who created you, the Redeemer who died for you, and the Spirit that lives in your heart as you go through each day. “Earthly boxes” limit the God who calls you His own, and place limits on what He can do through you. The only box that you are meant to fit in is labeled, BELOVED CHILD OF GOD.

The “box” labeled beloved child of God holds unconditional love, mercy, tenderhearted forgiveness and all of the fruits of the Spirit. It is a refuge, a stronghold, a safe place for you to rest. It is a place where you can trust that you are held in the arms of Jesus. It is a place where you are valued, treasured, and comforted. It is a place of fellowship with other beloved children of God where you can find encouragement, camaraderie, and acceptance.

Choose this box! And, let it fuel you and strengthen you for the journey. I love you. God loves you. And, I know that together we make this beautiful thing called “Team Jesus”. In it, we find our purpose for life 😊

Love,

Mama, Anne, Coach Anne, Miss Anne, Lieutenant Anne…

P.S. Look up the referenced scriptures!

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Trusting in and Responding to God’s Promises

Wednesday Wisdom 😊


Inspiration this week comes from 2 Peter 1: 3-7

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.”


Our church family has been studying in the New Testament, and in recent months in 1 Peter and 2 Peter. I haven’t been writing, but God has been talking to me. I received a note from a reader last week which really touched my heart, and likely is a nudge from God that it is time to write again. I really don’t have an explanation for my “hiatus”, except that I needed time and God told me it was okay to take a break.

Our family is doing well 😊 The girls are all good, and Matt and I continue to be blessed. Nebraska is dry and we’ve had challenging weather patterns since last I shared, but after 26 years on the farm we are used to that and have learned to roll with Mother Nature’s punches. If there is one theme that I feel like God has shown me since spring, it is my great need to trust in His promises and respond to them in my daily life. It’s hard to trust, but trust is the foundation of faith – the evidence of things that I cannot see – and the center of the purpose and the passion that God places in my heart. I believe in God’s Word, so it is impossible to not believe that He has and will give me everything that I need to fulfill His purpose in my life. I know that if I trust God first, He will never let me down.

I know all of these things, and yet some days it is still a challenge to intentionally trust that God holds me. And, to act like I believe it. The kids that I coach are used to hearing me say “pack your faith” 😊 When I “pack my faith”, I rely on God’s mighty power and love as I trust that He will move through me. My job is to listen to His voice, to feel the power of His love, and to do my best to lean into His awesomeness. Last Sunday, our pastor shared words that have stuck with me, “God loves me so much that He doesn’t let me stay where I am.” If I trust that God will do “His part”, then I can respond by doing “my part” as I allow Him to move me to places where I can thrive and prosper while sharing and living in His love. As I travel that journey, I learn to be filled with moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love for others.

It’s not an easy journey. There is no where in God’s Word where we read of an “easy journey”. Instead, the journey is meant to be a meaningful one as we allow Jesus to move through us to love and share blessings. God never promises that we won’t have to do hard things. But, He does promise that we will never have to do hard things alone. He promises to always love us, hold us, and be our refuge and our strength. Each day, I can hold onto the knowledge that God is not only in my story, but he writes it. He is the author of my faith and together we allow it to become a thing of great beauty 🌞

I think that Katy Nicole says it well in her song, “God Is In This Story”

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How big is your “try”?

Wednesday Wisdom 😊


Inspiration this week comes from one of my favorite verses in the New Testament; 1 Corinthians 15: 58 “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”


Yesterday, Meg turned 20. It seems crazy to me that my girls are 22, 20 and 17 as some days I could easily believe that just yesterday they were 8, 6 and 3…The last 22 years have been amazing, and I can honestly say that being both a wife and a mom has been my life’s greatest gift ❀️

As I look back on the things that I wanted my girls to learn growing up, one thing rises easily toward the top of the list. I believe that my girls grew up in a home filled with love, honesty, and just a touch of goofiness (thanks to my favorite farmer). But, they also grew up in a home where effort was an expectation. Chores were not shirked, and a good attitude was always preferred πŸ˜‰ God loves a cheerful giver 😊 (2 Corinthians 9:7)

In our family, “try” matters.

On the farm, there is always work to do and the day just goes better when everyone contributes! Our family is truly blessed as we work well together. Some of my most precious memories are working alongside my girls. We weren’t perfect, but we packed our faith to find purpose and meaning as we sweated (or froze) together.


Scooping bunks at the cattle feedyard during a blizzard in 2016…

It’s been a few years since we all scooped bunks together in a snowstorm, but I think the lessons learned still remain fresh in our minds. The Holy Spirit periodically reminds me of how important it is to pack my effort in order to offer a big “try”. And, it warms my heart to watch all three of my girls live with hearts that are packed with steadfast effort. After all, isn’t that what God asks from us?

Six years later, she is still brings a tenacious “try” as she packs her faith to let Jesus help her to fly high.

I believe that God asks for our hearts every.single.day. And, when He asks for our hearts, He asks for our try. If we truly believe and live for Jesus, then our hearts can’t help but work enthusiastically. God’s grace covers us so that we do not have to work perfectly, but it is important to God that we work enthusiastically. Nothing that we ever do for the Lord is useless — He uses it all for the glory of the Kingdom. He asks us to be strong. He asks us to be immovable in our faith. He asks for us to trust our hearts and our lives to Him. In return for our try, He offers grace, strength, hope, peace, love, and purpose.

As God moves through our try, it blesses others generously. Love is a verb – an action verb. And, what a privilege it is to let God move through us to accomplish great things 😊 We don’t have to offer our effort in order to experience the grace of Jesus. However, when we withhold our effort, we lose the ability to help others to see the love of Jesus as He shines through us. I pray each day that my girls will hold Jesus’ hand and let Him hold their hearts. A Jesus inspired heart works enthusiastically to share love with others in order to bring honor to the God whose steadfast love endures forever.

How big is your “try”?

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Forgiveness…

Wednesday Wisdom 😊

Inspiration this week comes from the Gospels of Mark and Matthew:

Mark 11: 25 “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

Matthew 11: 28-30 “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'”


Can you think of a time when someone wronged you? And, how you felt after the interaction was over? Your mind just keeps replaying the scene over and over again, or maybe you create pretend scenarios where you get back at the other person with words or actions. Sometimes, your anger and hurt are so strong that your face turns red, your hands may shake, or tears may be running down your face.

Or maybe you can think of a time where you made a mistake, and the resulting guilt just threatens to take over. Days, weeks, even months or years may go by and your mind still shifts back to the mistake that you made. And, the shame and regret creeps in. It ruins your self-esteem and eats away at any attempt to find peace. “I should have….” becomes your mantra as your mind replays your mistake over and over again.


I believe that God hard-wired us to be in relationship; both in a vertical relationship with Him, and a horizontal relationship with others. Last time, we talked about love and the two foundational commandments that we are given in the Bible: love God, love others as Jesus loves us. If love is the basis for all that is important, and we are asked to love as Jesus loves, the only way that we can be successful is to have a heart that is open to both receiving and giving forgiveness.

We all make mistakes, and those mistakes invariably hurt God and hurt others. Those mistakes separate us and drive us apart, thereby going directly against how God designed usso they ultimately also hurt us. God’s mercies are new each day, and the gift of Jesus allows each of us access to the forgiveness that enables us to reconnect in relationship and ultimately find healing. We have to decide to accept and share this Grace, and let God heal us from our pain.

It is almost like we stand at a crossroads, and are able to decide which direction we’d like to take:

  • We can remain in denial or self-blame
  • We can choose bitterness and stubbornly hold onto the anger and pain
  • We can intentionally move down the path of forgiveness in order to grieve, empathize, find peace, learn to trust again and reconnect in relationship

The third option seems so right and so easy, and yet it is often so very hard.


I could share a lot of stories from my life where my stubbornness kept me from seeking the peace found in forgiveness, but I think the most recent example is when I broke my leg. I remember getting so angry at my doctor because what he told me was going to happen at my first appointment was not at all my healing experience. I also remember getting very angry at myself – my own body – when it refused to heal. Finally, there was a piece of my heart that just hurt. I was haunted by the thought that either God didn’t love me or I wasn’t important enough for Him to heal.

Every day that I hurt, I got just a little bit angrier. One day, about 9 months post accident, I went to the doctor for a check up. When I asked him why my leg wasn’t healing, he looked at me and said “you have skinny ankles and high expectations”. That day was a turning point for me. My anger boiled over and later than night I beat my crutch so hard on the floor that I bent it. Bending my crutch didn’t fix my problems, but it did show me that I was in a very unhealthy mental place. It forced me to recognize that I was at a crossroads, and helped me to make the intentional choice to get “unstuck” and move into forgiveness.


It’s been more than three years since I made that choice. My leg still hurts, and it likely will never be the same, but my heart has moved through the grieving process. Somewhere along the way, I figured out that forgiveness was not about finding answers, rather it was about accepting my circumstances and knowing that God loves me and walks with me through it all. God doesn’t always choose to take away our pain, but I also don’t think that He wastes it either. When we open our hearts to forgive, our pain becomes a tool for personal growth as we allow Jesus to move through us and rebuild us. The healing process then holds the power of hope as we find strength and purpose in it 😊

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Love…

Wednesday Wisdom πŸ™‚

Inspiration this week comes from a variety of scriptures that draw on each other as we ponder how love is a mark of a Disciple of Jesus!


Deuteronomy 6: 5 “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.”

Leviticus 19:18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself…”

Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses? Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'”

John 13:34-35 Jesus says, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”


We have a new head pastor at our church! Pastor Keith Strasburger and his wife Kristine joined our church family a little over a week ago. Keith and Kristine are known for their hearts for Jesus and a deep devotion to building relationships as they work to mentor disciples. They hale from Real Life Ministries in Idaho and, in a time span of less than two weeks, Nebraska has welcomed them with zero degrees, 70 and sunny, and most recently snow and ice. Perhaps it’s March on the prairie??!!

On his first Sunday preaching, Keith shared with us that we are not called to go to church, we are called to be the church. God created each one of us with a desire to be loved, valued, listened to, and to live with meaningful purpose. In order for this to happen, we must be the church as we live in love as described in the above scripture verses. I think it is very powerful to see how the Old Testament provides the foundation for what we are able to live out through Jesus’ teaching, discipleship, and sacrifice for us. The two commandments that create the basis for how we are asked to live as Christians can be traced back to the five books of Moses. God asked us to love Him, and to love each other.

God asked us to do it, and then Jesus came to show us how to get it done.


It’s hard to love genuinely. Genuine love requires a risk, a vulnerability, and an openness to others that takes courage. When we love as Jesus loves, we give others the power to hurt us. But, we also give them the power of Jesus. Spend a few minutes looking at how God defines love in 1 Corinthians 13. Then ask yourself some questions:

  • Am I truly kind?
  • Do I have an unending supply of patience with those that God brings into my life?
  • Do I think of others more than I think of myself?
  • Do I hold grudges?
  • Do I celebrate others?
  • Do I love the values that God loves?
  • Do I love regardless of circumstance?
  • Do I love with a hope that inspires belief?

I’d like to think that I do these things well, but the truth is that sometimes they are simply a goal that I fall short of. The better I walk with Jesus, the more that I find the courage and freedom to live this way. But, it challenges me daily. Proverbs 4:23 tells me to “Guard my heart above all else, for it determines the course of my life.” I don’t think that this means to guard my heart against others, rather, I think that God is asking me to do something very different.

God is asking me to anchor my heart to Him and to allow it to be broken, so that His love — the love that is described in 1 Corinthians — can determine the course of my life.

A few years ago, I started to pray asking God to allow me to see the world through the eyes of Jesus. I’m not sure that when I started praying this prayer that I really understood what I was asking. But, God kept putting it on my heart so I kept praying it. As God answered this prayer, he has allowed me to see parts and pieces of this world through a very different lens. Seeing these things breaks my heart, and it changes my life. It makes me cry, but more importantly it gives me the freedom to find a deep and meaningful purpose as I try to love as Christ loves.

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The Delivery…and the Message

Wednesday Wisdom 😊

Inspiration this week comes from the book of Proverbs 15:2

“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.”


One of the professors in my online classes with the AACC pointed out the above Proverb last week and it has stuck in my mind for several days now. Wise words only become wisdom if the delivery of the knowledge is appealing and effective. The very same words can be foolishness if they are given in such a way that they fall on deaf ears.

That is such a critically important message for us as communicators! A Natural Horsemanship teacher once told me that “a horse doesn’t care how much you know until he knows how much you care”. I think that same mantra applies to humans as well. If knowledge is the what (the information), wisdom is the how (the delivery). How much you care is communicated by how you deliver the message! When we speak in love, our delivery is wise and our knowledge is effectively shared. When love is not the basis with which we speak, then our delivery is unproductive and we are simply “belching foolishness”.


I cannot even count the number of times that I have come home after coaching or teaching thinking to myself, “Why won’t they just listen to me??!!” I am starting to see that when my frustration inspires me to ask that question, then I need to look at how I am delivering my message 😊 I think sometimes I forget that love comes in many different forms. Grace provides the basis for all of them, and there is a relatively exhaustive list of types of love which allows for the critical element of truth to blend or balance with the grace.

Grace allows for effective delivery. It intrigues, attracts, compels, comforts, and demonstrates the value of the person with whom we are speaking. When people feel that they matter, then they become open to hearing our message. This allows space to communicate truth. Truth inspires and influences. It is more than just facts. It is not just something that we act upon, it is something that acts upon us. We are unable to change truth — truth comes from God, and we find it in His Word and in our hearts as the Spirit moves within us. However, truth can change us! When we learn how to communicate the “guardrails” of Biblical truth in a message that is created in grace, it ensures that our words become wise and appealing.

Randy Alcorn shares much wisdom on this topic in his book, “The Grace and Truth Paradox”. If you have not ever read it, I strongly encourage you to! Christ is 100% grace, and 100% truth. As humans, we have elements of both but struggle with what that really looks like. It helps me to picture it this way. When I ride my horse, the goal is to stay in the saddle. I need to ride with one foot in the stirrup of truth and the other in the stirrup of grace. When I do that, I am able to ride with harmony as my seat solidly remains in the saddle all while moving with the horse.

Our effectiveness to disciple others in our Christian journey hinges on not just the message that we impart, but the delivery with which we impart it. When we speak truth with grace, it changes lives. We are able to communicate both our love and our knowledge in order to build each other up in Christ. It allows our tongues to become wise, our message to matter, and our hearts to value with the unconditional and sacrificial love of Jesus 😊 This is my prayer for each of us this week!

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Celebrate…

I’ve missed the last several Wednesday’s due to traveling and a bout with the stomach flu, but wanted to share some thoughts this weekend. I guess we can pretend that it’s Wednesday πŸ˜‰


Inspiration this week comes from Jesus’ words found in the Gospel of Mark 10: 6-9

“But God made them male and female from the beginning of creation. This explains why a man leaves his father and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”


I met my favorite farmer when I was 18. I’d been at Dartmouth College about six weeks when our paths crossed, and I knew when I saw him that he was the one that God intended for me to spend my life with. That was 29 years ago. We began our life together in New Hampshire, but moved to the farm in Nebraska about a year after we were married. The “city girl from Florida” didn’t really know what to expect from farm life, but God did and He placed me well 😊

I believe that Matt and I have tended to each other over the years. We’ve had our share of hard times and made mistakes that resulted in wrong turns. But, we’ve loved each other through all of those moments with the loyalty and perseverance that comes from our Heavenly Father. That has been the foundation of our family, our farm, and our ability to serve all those whom Jesus brings into our lives. For a long time, I simply lived. Today, I am better able to sit back and celebrate all of the Holy Moments that God has used us to create.

Celebrating isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Honestly, I’d rather put in the work than celebrate the results. I guess that’s just the way that God made me. But, Matt steadfastly continues to teach me that taking a moment to honor and commemorate is important. So, we started talking about taking a 25th anniversary trip. We were married in June of 1996, in the middle of hay season on the farm… So, like good farmers, we went back to work two days after our wedding and took our honeymoon over the coming winter 😊 It seemed fitting to place our trip 25 years after that instead of our actual wedding date.

I was raised on the beach, with sand in between my toes and the sound of the ocean waves calming my heart. I don’t get to experience that much on the farm in Nebraska, so we left the prairie to spend a view days in the tropics of the Virgin Islands. It was a wonderful trip and God blessed us as we celebrated ❀️


The sunrise off Point Udall, Caribbean Sea.

And, today I am thankful for the ability to celebrate and for the God that brings us together to do life.

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Holy Moments, take 2….

Inspiration this week comes from the Gospel of John 13: 34-35

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”


I first wrote about Holy Moments back in July of 2019. At that time, I was in the middle of coaching swim team for the summer and reading a book called The Biggest Lie In The History Of Christianity by Matthew Kelly. The kids and I spent some quality time that summer learning about and practicing “Holy Moments”! God has recently put the topic back on my heart through both the Experiencing God study that I completed last fall and an online course that I am currently taking through the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC). Since the Holy Spirit keeps placing it forefront in my thoughts, I am choosing to share it with you all this week 😊


Matthew Kelly describes a Holy Moment as a moment where you open yourself to God – make yourself available to him – and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit to reach out and share Jesus’ love with others. Another way to describe it is those times throughout the day when you let God move through you in order to share Him and His love with others. I believe that God is always reaching out to us. The Bible tells us that He steadfastly pursues us. Sometimes this occurs as God moves through obedient believers as they allow themselves to be a conduit for love to bless those in need.

Creating a legacy of Holy Moments 😊

I learned a new deeper concept for this type of action last week in my online course through AACC. The term is Ministry of Presence and the idea is that others (especially those who are hurting) are able to experience God as we become the channel through which God’s presence is manifested to them. In simpler terms, as I allow God’s love to move through me, His presence becomes real to the person that I am helping. In these moments, the individual no longer feels alone because I am able to share God’s presence and love with them. It reminds me quite a lot of the scripture verse above from the Gospel of John.

Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

We all have many, many different interactions with people as we go through the day. Do we take the presence of God with us in those moments? Do we participate in a daily ministry of presence to live out the above command from Jesus? Sometimes it is little things like complimenting someone and “building them up” or sharing a greeting and a smile as you open a door. Sometimes it is much larger as you sense a deep hurting in someone and are able to come alongside them to share a compassionate and gentle presence that comforts and reminds that God is always with us.

I am coming to realize what a gift it is to be able to be a conduit for God’s presence to others. What a blessing it is to know that God is using me to share Himself with someone else! What a beautiful responsibility that we can embrace together as we love, in the presence of God, in order to show the world that we are disciples of Christ and instruments of the Spirit. That is Koinonia – the sweet spot – that we talked about last week. God with us and in us, in order to be shared with the world — Holy Moments 😊

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