Encouraging Words Blog 


The Problem with Expectations


Jesus did not commit Himself unto them for He knew what was in man. — John 2:24-25

The longer I live and the more I talk to others, the more I come to realize how much trouble unrealistic expectations can cause.

I know that I set myself up for disappointment when I start expecting things to turn out the way I want them to and when I expect a certain behavior of others.

Expectations also cause problems when others put their expectations on me.

Even in Darkness


Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.  Psalm 112:4

I love promises from God that are able to push me out of the current place I am in and give me hope for the future.

God is so honest with us.  He knows that there will be darkness in our lives.  He doesn't pretend that this will be a perfect life. The will be problems.  Tucked within another promise are some of the things that this world, fractured by sin, might hold for us.  

But Shouldn't Everyone Else Come First?


and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this, ‘ You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-32

Something that I often hear repeated is that Christians are supposed to be completely and utterly self-sacrificing.  We are to come dead last in who is important in our lives: That it is simply selfish to truly take care of ourselves when we need it.  …

Revisiting: Everything is All Right

As I sit here waiting the results of some spinal x-rays and a call from a spine specialist, a lot of fears and uncertainly want to take control of my thoughts.  The possibilities offered by the referring doc include a compression fracture or increased pressure on the nerves in my spine from disks sliding forward.  The morning has been full of visiting doctors, x-rays, getting meds and more than a few tears.  This is proving to be a good "archive" day.  …

No "Pass" on Learning Patience


The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

I've often heard that the worst prayer to pray is one asking for patience.  Seems the general consensus is that if you pray for patience, God puts you in situations where you need to learn patience.  It is not something that you somehow get bestowed upon you, but rather something you develop through difficult circumstances.

In Hope


Encouraging Word for the Day:  Hope

I did a BibleGateway search for the word hope.  There were 180 verses that showed up.  Here are just a few.

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.Psalm 119:114

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.Psalm 62:5

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? …

In the Morning


In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.  Psalm 5:3

What are your mornings like?

If they are anything like mine, possibly not the best part of your day.  Maybe, even the worst.

There is something about having slept for the night that seems to "reset" my body  - and not in a good way.

I can be stiff and achey.  My joints can hurt. My heart might not be behaving well.  …

Devotional: Just For Today

12 step bookmark

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

My roots are in 12-Step programs.  As I began my journey to understand my dual addicted daughter, I found myself learning the basic traditions for all of the 12-step programs.  Some folks don't care for the programs.  Some swear by them.  I just know they helped me then just as they help me now.  …

Until Then

nesting bird

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in You I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed.  Psalm 57:1

It never ceases to amaze me how simple phrases in Scripture can jump out at me as if I've never read them before.  This morning it was, "until the disaster has passed."

It gave me pause.  Not that I always consider my life and its events to be "a disaster," but I know there are times I utter those words.

Looking Back and Frogs


 "Remember Lot’s wife." Luke 17:32

I'd like to say I've gotten to the place of accepting 100% of what happens in my life. I guess about the best I can say honestly is that I'm ok with it most of the time. I know it's a far cry from Paul's statements of contentment.

 Some days it is more like walking along the edge of contentment. And some days, I fall off rather ungracefully.

Recently, an old friend contacted me about visiting for an evening as they’d be in town for the first time in several years.  …

The Porcupine Days


My publishing process seems to have glitched yesterday.  This devotional was not sent out as it should have been, so I'm attempting to get it sent out today.  

Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  Isaiah 46:4

I've learned that the best way to describe one of my days is to say I am having a porcupine day.

But I Should Be ...

<Insert your own image of messy house here!>

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God. Or am I trying to please people?  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

It seems that one of the major problems of living this life of chronic illness is dealing with all of the things that either we - or others - feel we "should" be doing.

I know I have often tried to live up to the expectations of others.  …

Simply a Psalm

Psalm 86

A prayer of David.

Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; 

 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long.
 Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.

 You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who   call to you.
 Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.

Pat Answers


I hate pat answers.  Trite responses.  I'm sure you know the type - the type that, when the person walks away from you, you are left feeling patronized, empty, and perhaps a bit angry.

I remember hearing those so often after the death of my daughter.  

"Time heals all wounds."

<Newsflash - you never get over the death of a child.  You learn to live with it by the grace of God.>

"It was God's will."

<Don't get me started on that one.…

Do You Want to Know a Secret?


The LORD confides in those who fear Him; He makes HIs covenant known to them.  Psalm 25:14

One of the most important thing I learned about reading the Bible is that words don't always translate well between the original language it was written in and our own language.  Take the word "love" for example.  The Bible has three different words with different meanings for love.

The same is for the word "fear."  I used to think it meant we were to be afraid of God.  …

Devotional: The Bridge

bridge-to-fall 19-133131

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28 NASB

Do you know folks that have found a place of contentment with their illnesses?  Someone who tells you they would not be where they are now spiritually if not for the challenges they face?  A person who has found God in their illnesses - and is grateful?

I remember a story from a devotional book by Melody Beatty that I used to read.  …

Each and Every Blessing

Pearls and Hearts

The last few weeks have been consumed with the health issues of my husband.  Severe allergic reactions to poison ivy, cellulitis, and a foot swelling to where it looked like it would pop.  When it started to turn purplish black - I out and out panicked.

He made a return trip to the ER.  The doc sent him home, explaining he must have had a misdiagnosis somewhere along the line.  He saw no cellulitis, and the swelling and intense bruising was the result of a fall several weeks ago that caused some slow bleeding that pooled in his feet.

The Little Things


Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

Sometimes it is easy to forget how much little things matter.

I became painfully reminded of that today.

I stretched.

Just a simple stretch from a yawn.

No problem - right?

Who Are You Today?

For whatever reason, my body is behaving as if the weather has turned cold and it is challenging to type.  Good day to visit the archives, I think.  Be blessed!

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:5 

Christ said to his disciples, “Who do you say I am?”  This statement got me to thinking in a different direction.  …

Storm Tossed?


"O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, Behold, I will set your stones in antimony, And your foundations I will lay in sapphires." Isaiah 54:11 

I find that when I have a tendency to worry about something it helps me to listen to music or a story as I fall asleep.  It keeps my mind quiet as I listen.

The past few nights have been the kind of nights where I don't want to be thinking.

Music wasn't quite doing it for me, so I found my audio version of "Hind's Feet on High Places."  …

When We Face Uncertain Times

Today we face new challenges.  My husband somehow contracted poison ivy from our yard.  It has since turned into cellulitis and he is having deep tissues bruising in his feet and legs.  At this moment, he is heading to the hospital for tests.  All we know is that it is continually getting worse.  I searched to find a devotional that would fit for today:  A day, I do not seem to be able to write amidst everything else that is happening. …

The Dark Ugly Places

Dark and Uglies

I hate it when God convicts me.  

I like to think I am doing pretty darn good.  I get ... well, complacent with where I am.  

I mean, I'm sick.  Why should I have to keep stretching and growing in God?  Isn't it time for a spiritual hiatus?



I love the devotionals of Oswald Chambers.  I have had them sent to me for many years. 

There is one particular devotional that I remember year after year. Yet, it never truly hit home. …

Beyond Human Reason

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ (Romans 4:18)

“Human reason for hope being gone.” (Romans 4:18, Amplified Bible) 

How I resonate with these words!

If one were to look at my health situation through the eyes of the world, it would look pretty grim. Daily pain, loss of ability to care completely for myself, and being homebound for the most part paints a dark picture.

Keeping It Simple

Jesus and Children008

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

There are times when I realize that what works for me is something simple.  I often seem to make things more difficult than they really need be.  The other day I heard someone talking about a song most learn early in childhood.  I found myself quietly singing the words to the song.  …

I Didn't Plan for That!

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."  James 4: 13-15

When I was finishing up my education, one of the classes was about career planning.  …

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