The desire for total surrender just doesn’t leave me. I can’t remember ever having this continual desire be so strong. Yes, I’ve always wanted to be someone who lived fully for Christ, but having selfish moments just seemed to be part of this life. And, as I’ve written many times, as long as these selfish moments didn’t look anything like my dad, I was fine. I know the flaws of that thinking now, and so this desire to live fully surrendered is here.

This morning as I was journaling to Jesus about this and I asked Him what He wanted me to know from Him for today? His response was immediate. That voice some call intuition said, “As you step into each activity of each day, invite me to be present and take part in it. If this action is without reservation, you know it is fine. If you instantly have a doubt or restraint, you know to step away.” I instantly thought that this was a very simple, yet thorough way to approach this. I also could easily see myself doing this. Thank you Jesus!


Recently I was given a devotional by my prayer warrior. She knows I give a devotional to my quartet members each Christmas so we can have a daily common focus with God. She wanted me to spend some time with this devotional to see if it would be a good choice for the coming year. I’ve been reading it along with the one chosen for this year. Today was startling as I read the two of them. The one I’m reading this year is written as though God is speaking the written message to you. I’ve written before that the author of it is also the key author to the Bible version I’m reading–The Passion. This new devotional’s style is written as a daily prayer from man to Jesus.

Today, while reading these two devotionals, I started with the one where God is speaking to me. Its message was asking me to hold nothing back from Him. A couple of quotes read, “Hold nothing back from me for I hold nothing back from you.” Two more are: “…for as you enter my world, all that contaminates and hinders love is removed from you.” And, “I have come into your world; now, come into mine.”

The second devotional which would be my prayer stated, “…I’ve been yearning for a problem-free life, but You’ve been showing me that trouble can highlight my awareness of Your Presence. In the darkness of adversity, the radiance of Your Face shines brightly–beaming out encouragement and comfort. Please enable me to view the problems in my life as beneficial, ‘…considering it pure joy whenever I face trials of many kinds. James 1:2′”

These two messages coming together today made me realize just how much I do hold back when God is asking me to hold nothing back for He has held nothing back for me (us). As I surrender all, it opens the door for receiving all God has to offer. Wow! What a rich message! Thank you Father God, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit!


There is a reality I’m beginning to fully see that I’ve never wanted to believe was true for me. This reality is the truth about the nature of man. Growing up in the home environment I had demonstrated a “nature of man” in my father which made man look much more like a beast. Then, there was the nature of my mom who was thoughtful and quiet, listened and spoke when asked (most of the time) and was extremely disciplined and structured. I grew into believing the nature of man had an evil side (dad) and a Christ-like side (mom). I wanted to mostly be like mom. She did have a few characteristics I didn’t want to model which were things like not confronting dad’s temper and beatings, not asking if one was ok after a beating, etc.

As I’ve grown in my believing I’m a “new creation” this year, I’ve realized the nature of man is simply selfish. Dad’s nature was so overt, one didn’t need to be with him very long to see his selfishness. Mom on the other hand had lots of kindness in her person, but mom’s nature still had its selfishness. (It’s hard to write this about her, yet I now see the truth in this.) Mom’s nature was much more covert rather than dad’s overt nature.

I lived a long time measuring my own sinfulness against dad’s behavior. If I weren’t like him I’d not be sinful even though my selfishness was very present. I’ve learned that my sin is measured against God’s definition of sin from His Word, never from man’s comparison of sins. I simply didn’t want to sin like dad–that was my goal. So, now I’ve needed to accept I sin like Earnie. Both are sinful. Keeping my eyes on Jesus has shown me what selfishness does look like in me–having my way. Letting Jesus have His Way with me is now my goal in all of my life. I have a lot of nature that opposes this, but now I see this for what it is: sinful selfishness. This is an assignment I’ll be working on the rest of my days on earth.


Well, Wanda is now in the arms of Jesus. I doubt that her body knew I was with her before her passing, but her spirit knew and I’m so grateful I was able to spend one of her last hours by her side.

As this journey of mine continues I find myself needing to adjust to a new way of living. The structure of consulting from the past 15 years had a definite boundary around it–going to the school or district for the length of the day and usually working with the staff before and after the students were gone. Now, I have days with several counseling appointments and those that only have one, two or none. That was no problem with lots of yard work to do. Now that gardening season is coming to an end I can see that there will be time for _________-what? I’ve never lived with empty time on my hands knowing this will stay the same throughout the rest of my life. I know that God has a plan for it and I guess I will try to wait patiently to see what He wants me to do with it. There will be more counseling appointments I know. Almost every day I am contacted for help.

Even as I write this I recall that there is a training for new counselors that I can begin to put together. Well, that helps. I’m glad I’m writing this for the struggle in my mind is given new light. God is never not working and I don’t want to be in a category where I’m not working either. I enjoy having my mind and time occupied with purpose. OK, into this day I go!


I was 29 years old when I walked into the school where I had taught for 7 years and was now walking in as the new principal. The secretary was already there. It wasn’t very long before I asked her what a principal was suppose to do to start the school year? This was never part of any class I’d attended for administration. She had been the secretary all of my 7 years of teaching and I’d gotten to know her pretty well. She kindly gave me several steps to take which would follow the footsteps of my predecessor. She was my secretary from 1979 to 1992. I’ve kept in touch with this secretary throughout my life. She and her husband were very close friends even though they were old enough to be my parents. Yesterday afternoon I got a call from her younger son that she won’t be with us much longer. We were about to start a birthday party for two of our grandkids so I said I’d be there in the morning.

I’m headed to the assisted living place where Wanda has lived most of this year. She turned 91 earlier this past week. My emotions are happy and sad. Happy she gets to join Orville and Jesus and sad that I will no longer have her presence. She was one of the first people God had placed in my life who believed in me. I can’t begin to write here all of the things she told me I “could do”. It was always in a kind way that the message would be delivered. She called me her oldest son and in my heart she was a 2nd mother to me.

I praise God for His Loving Kindness given to me through this magnificent lady named Wanda!


James 1:2 says: “Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds.” I am forever forgetting to Praise God or to Count it all joy when trials come. I will thank God for the trial afterwards when the issues have been addressed and one has grown from the trial. But, the scripture tells us to count it all joy and to praise God in the midst of the storm–not afterwards.

Yesterday was one of those days where there were several little events to attend. A couple of them were men from our Celebrate Recovery needing to talk–one by a personal visit and the other by phone. In every case the events were not only enjoyable, but productive. This morning I thanked God for the day and for the way He is working in the lives of ones who have been struggling. It was then that I was reminded that I neglected to praise God while they and I were in the midst of storms this past week. It is a definite lesson I want to put in the forefront of my mind. I have done this many times, but I’m really not good at it. Somehow I know God is wanting me to grow into this behavior and I want to do so.

A new creation is never done growing and this is my next step.


I went yesterday morning to see my prayer warrior. She was wanting to be praying for the ones I’m counseling, but wanted pseudo names for them along with their counseling needs. I had created this list and took it to her. However, when I got there she was asking immediately how I was doing with my 3-R’s and what I was doing to replace any lies I was hearing? I thought, “How does she know to ask this, I haven’t talked to her about yesterday’s blog post?” God’s Holy Spirit is very much a part of her life and He knew.

There is nothing like a prayer warrior to clear your thinking and your believing. Some of what she was telling me is what I use in the sessions with others, but I had temporarily forgotten to put it into place for me. I love serving God and more than anything, I love being loved by God, His Son Jesus and The Holy Spirit. What would we do without this TEAM!


When I was young and in elementary school I never thought of myself as smart. Yes, I could read well, I understood math and learned the rules of math but my home environment kept me thinking I was less than adequate. It was in junior high that I was said to be capable. I remember thinking this was a compliment, but it was just words that made me feel good for the moment. In high school I was told I could be in honor society if I kept the grades I got the first semester of my freshman year. I’d never heard of such a thing, but it motivated me to be intentional about my grades and learning and I graduated being in honor society. As learning got tougher in college I simply felt like I was “lucky” that I graduated and God just wanted me in education because I wasn’t good enough to do anything else. In graduate school the “lucky” term got really loud in my head for I knew I couldn’t be good enough to earn this degree, lucky was the only reason I completed my masters degree. I never went for a doctorate for I knew the luck would run out here and the truth of my capability would finally be visible to “the world”. I completed more than enough graduate courses to have earned this degree, but I wouldn’t allow myself to enroll in the program.

I write all of this because these same thoughts of incapability are screaming at me each morning as I begin my time with God. In each case He reminds me that He wants me reliant on His Capabilities–not mine. In my devotional this morning a portion of it read: “Why are you reacting to your life circumstances as if they are the final word? They are only temporary. Though you feel them and are affected by them, they must not be allowed to rule you. I want you to live from a different perspective.” I want you to live from the perspective of heaven–to engage with truth that navigates you through the difficult times, to be more aware of what I’m doing in the midst of chaos and conflict than how grim the circumstances look.”

God is teaching me to live in TRUST and to keep my eyes looking up throughout the day and not just at the start of the day. This is the most important learning I’ve ever addressed and more than ever before I want to be a good student!


This morning as I was journaling I was telling Christ how insufficient I feel working with a couple of the new counseling cases. There was a new young man last night and I have a new one this morning. In both cases I have known their families for many years. The needs represented are ones I know, and also know how difficult and impossible they are to deal with in the flesh. With all of this in my mind, I was journaling this to God. I also wrote that when I was working with the issues in the educational world I had a confidence in what I did. I have none of that now. It is no surprise that Christ’s response was that this is exactly where He wanted me to be. HE is the Great Healer–not me. I know that but I still look to what I know to give assistance to what I do. In this case, I know God is the Great Healer and He wants me to put this into what I do by believing it and trusting it.

In talking to one of the two retired counselors last night, she told me that in all of her 40 years of counseling she has never seen so many men come forth seeking help. Even with the male counselors she worked with, most of their clients were women. She said this is a genuine indication of God working. As I put this together I know that if God is working bringing forth these men, I can fully trust Him to complete this work through His use of me. This is so humbling. I cannot thank Him enough for taking this man who kept himself in hiding, and using him for His Work. To God be all GLORY!


At the beginning of this year when I committed to living each day as a new creation, I was eager to do this. I had no idea what this commitment would develop into, but I knew I needed to be willing to address this and accept this challenge. One of my first big realities was accepting the truth that being a new creation doesn’t abolish our flesh and its influence on us. Being a new creation gives us the opportunity to use the gift of choice God has given to all of mankind. I’ve always wanted my flesh to be obliterated knowing that it was in flesh I was abused and I didn’t want to be an abuser who chose to use fleshly ways to hurt others. Life just doesn’t happen that way.

Growing into trusting what I don’t know and often can’t feel is a huge part of being a new creation. Walking into the unknown trusting all the while is a huge part of being the new creation. This is where I find myself these days.