Conntecting the Dots

I’m on the road again today and driving from one commitment to the next. Rather than try to write a blog, I’m sending a lovely pic and promise your way. On days like today, simple is good.

American Robin Bird

Know you are loved!

It’s Time to Remove the Mask: 3 Steps to Freedom

Store shelves have been stacked with Halloween candy and costumes for weeks. Masks of every description await buyers eager to hide their identity.

Cute funny clown child on white background

Sadly, some people wear masks every day. You know what I’m talking about—plastic smiles, mock humility or trumped-up confidence designed to hide character zits—real or perceived—and to convince everyone that all’s well even though it’s not. Why do we do this? Here are a few reasons…

  • We’re going through a tough situation and don’t want to talk about it. Maybe we don’t even know how to put it into words yet. Or maybe we’re in denial. We’re dying on the inside but trying hard to make it look like everything’s okay. We can handle it.
  • We compare ourselves to others and feel like we’re falling short. We struggle with feeling “not enough,” so we don a Super-Woman mask to prove our worth and abilities.
  • We hesitate to be transparent or real because the fear of rejection looms large. What will people think of me if they discover that all’s not what it appears to be?
  • We’re engaged in wrong behavior and either we don’t want to change, we’re afraid to change, or we don’t even know where to begin. We’re overwhelmed with shame and guilt.

No matter the reason for wearing masks, it’s time to remove them and experience the abundant life for which God created us. It’s time to align ourselves with Psalm 101:2—“I will be careful to live a blameless life—when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.”

People of integrity are the same in public and in private. They have no hidden motives, no secret sins. If a spotlight could shine into every corner of their lives, no surprises would be found. They have nothing to hide and no one to impress, so they wear no masks.

These folks have discovered true freedom. Isn’t that the way we all long to live? I mean, who really wants to carry the burden that comes with trying to be someone we’re not? No one. So, how then can we experience the same freedom? Here’s how:

  • Admit that we’re wearing a mask.

Being honest with ourselves, God, and others is the first step to freedom. If we’re wearing a mask, then it’s good to ask why. Of what are we afraid? What are we trying to hide? What’s hindering us from removing it?

  • Seek help as needed to remove the mask.

Being honest about our struggles is half the battle. A trusted godly friend or counselor with whom we can talk and pray (and with whom we can be accountable) is invaluable. We’re not meant to do life in a vacuum; we need relationships to help us do well.

  • Resolve to live without the mask from this time forward.

The more we live the surrendered life, the more the Holy Spirit fills and controls us. His ongoing work in us is the ultimate key to our spiritual maturity and living victorious Christian lives. Begin each day by inviting Him to control every aspect of who you are, and He’ll transform you so you’ll never feel the need to wear a mask again.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever worn a mask to hide something that needed to be addressed? Have you learned to live without it? If so, how did you do it?

#bgbg2 #RemoveTheMask #DailyDevotions

When God Does a New Thing: Wondering, Waiting, Working and Watching

Every so often in our lives, God does a new thing. It’s highly probable that we won’t understand at first, and we might find the process difficult. Here’s my story. I tell it in hopes that it will encourage anyone who’s either sensing a change coming or in the midst of change and not yet seeing things come into focus.

I’ll break my story into four parts. I suspect that your story will share the same components.


Nearly three years ago, I seriously wondered whether my speaking ministry had ended. When I looked at my upcoming itinerary with its empty dates, I felt a variety of emotions, but mostly I struggled with feelings of not being “enough.” I felt washed-up, too old, and overlooked.

But then the Holy Spirit spoke truth to me. He encouraged me to stop navel gazing and instead, cast my sights on God. After all, wasn’t He the One who designed the plans for my life even before I was born? Was He not aware of every detail concerning the speaking ministry He’d entrusted to me? And was it not His prerogative to do with it whatever He deemed best?

The answer to all three questions was a resounding, “Yes!”

I opened my clenched fist and released my speaking ministry as I’d known it. “Here it is, Lord,” I prayed. “Take it and do with it whatever You want. It’s Yours.”


Over the next months, God changed my woe-is-me attitude to one of expectancy. I prayed for direction and committed to not making any major decisions about speaking opportunities and writing projects until He gave clear guidance. Meanwhile, I went about my life, busy with other ministry opportunities at home and overseas.

Eight months passed. One August morning during my devotions, I sensed the Lord direct me to Psalm 34:4,5—“I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.”


I read the verses, and one word popped off the page and into my heart. Radiant. Then I sensed the Lord say, “You will begin a one-day women’s conference. It will be called “RADIANT” and the theme verse will be Psalm 34:5. The purpose will be to draw Christian women into a deeper walk with Me so that they might experience transformation. This endeavor will be a team effort.”


Long story short, I invited Heidi McLaughlin and Kelita Haverland to join me. I’d traveled with Kelita doing World Vision Girls’ Night Out tours several years prior, and she’d recently moved from Toronto to a city only a half hour from my home. I knew her testimony of overcoming abuse, betrayal, and more would resonate with many women. Besides, she was a musician and comedienne, and her skills could lend themselves beautifully to a one-day conference.


Heidi lost her first husband suddenly many years ago. She’d successfully navigated widowhood, single parenting, remarriage, and the blending of two families. Again, many women would relate to her life experience. She’d also taught women’s Bible classes for years.

Both women agreed, and we formed the RADIANT team. We developed our byline to reflect our purpose: “Creating a Deeper Life.” We produced business materials, keynote sessions, breakout sessions, and a conference schedule. We also became an official ministry of International Messengers Canada with a goal to take a team of women on a two-week mission trip to Eastern Europe annually.


Preparing to launch RADIANT took me nearly a year and countless hours behind-the-scenes. As I worked, I thanked the Lord for clearing my itinerary so that I could focus my energies on this endeavor. I no longer felt like a “has been” because I now recognized God’s sovereignty over my calendar.


God left us in awe when two donors committed $25,000 to cover startup expenses and help pay for operating expenses. And He continues to leave us in awe as He opens doors for RADIANT to minister to women in Canada.

Last weekend we drove to Taber, Alberta where nearly 110 women joined us at the Evangelical Free Church for the fourth RADIANT event. What a joy to meet them, pray with them, worship and laugh with them, and to explore God’s Word together. We look forward to partnering with two other churches in March 2017, one in Alberta and the other in BC. We’re about to enter dialogue with a couple other churches as well.

When I recall those months of wondering what had happened to my speaking ministry and waiting on God for direction, I admit it was a painful time. And yet, it was a time when, as I opened my clenched fist, I learned to surrender and trust the Lord in a deeper way. Remembering that His designs for my life were drawn up before I was born helped me learn to rest. So did acknowledging His lordship over every detail of my days.

I have no idea what the long-term future holds for RADIANT, but I do know that God has it covered. That’s not to say there’s not a lot of hard work involved, but we needn’t strive. He’ll lead us one step at a time. Like the old chorus says, “All we have to do is follow.”

How about you? Have you ever experienced a time when God did something new in your life—when you wondered, waited, worked and then watched Him do something beyond your wildest expectations? If so, please share with the readership here. We’d love to hear!

#bgbg2 #TrustingGodWithOurFuture #ChristianWomensConferences #RadiantLiving

On the Lookout for Splashes of Beauty


While in Nepal recently, a friend and I had a spent several hours talking about life—our concerns, our joys, our lows and our highs. In the end, we reached a mutual decision to not focus on the hard stuff in our personal lives or in future conversations with each other. Instead, we committed to developing an attitude of thanksgiving and to holding each other to the highest in that regard.

We have a Skype call every second week, and during that call we share our “splashes of beauty.” That is, we recall simple things that brought a smile to our faces since we last spoke. These are more often than not just little happenings we’d otherwise overlook.

I’m really enjoying this practice. It’s opening my eyes to see how truly blessed I am, and it’s helping me walk in obedience to God’s command: “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. It seems appropriate to kick off a “Splashes of Beauty” campaign on my Facebook page. Every day until December 31, I’ll name one splash of beauty. Like my page and join me for this endeavor, if you wish. Share your splashes of beauty with the rest of us, and let’s hold each other to the highest.

Happy Thanksgiving, my fellow Canucks!

Know you are loved,


5 Must-Haves For Every Spiritual Wardrobe

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothes yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Colossians 3:12 (NLT)

Yesterday I sifted through my dresser drawers and closet. Having lost 52 pounds in the past 17 months means jeans and tops now hang like sacks on me. So much for the wardrobe I’ve used for the past while. It’s time to get rid of the old and bring in the new.

Every so often it’s good to take inventory of our spiritual wardrobe too.

The more we grow to be like Christ, the less we hang on to attitudes and behaviors that are unbecoming. We’ll want to get rid of qualities such as fear, doubt, unforgiveness and prayerlessness. They have no place in our lives.

God wants to replace the old with the new. He wants us to model qualities that will reflect His beauty in us: tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.


As I ponder what God says is necessary for every spiritual wardrobe, I note that judgment, criticism, and worry aren’t on His list. Neither is self-centeredness. Obviously we’re not to clothe ourselves in those qualities. And for good reason—they simply don’t fit.

But mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience never go out of style. We can’t go wrong if we clothe ourselves in these spiritual garments. They’re must-haves for everyone who wants to reflect the beauty of Christ.

Question: What’s one spiritual garment you ought to dispose of? What’s one spiritual garment you’d like to add to your spiritual wardrobe?

#bgbg2 #devotions #SpiritualWardrobe

Why Our Physical Health Matters

An article I wrote for “Pastor Resources” has appeared online today. I’m posting it here because it chronicles my health journey and the lessons I’m learning through it.

I’ve literally experienced a metamorphosis health-wise in the past 18 months by losing 52 pounds (and counting). I feel better than I’ve felt in years and I have a new-found freedom in many areas of my life.

Take a moment to read it, okay? Our health is a gift to be cherished.

Please feel free to leave a comment too. I value your thoughts.

Why Our Physical Health Matters in Ministry

Living Examples of Contentment

One of the perks I enjoy as a speaker and global worker is visiting with people of all ages and from many different cultures. They always enrich my life.

On my recent trip to Nepal, I met a group of church leaders who live in the region where the earthquake’s epicenter happened seventeen months ago. These folks had precious little to begin with and they lost it all when the earthquake struck, and yet they danced for joy when we worshiped God together with music.

I watched them celebrate Jesus, and I knew immediately that they have much to teach me. One of the lessons is contentment.

Warren Wiersbe writes, “Real contentment must come from within. You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change and control the world within us.”

Autumn landscape with lake

My Nepalese friends model Wiersbe’s words. Despite their world literally falling out from beneath their feet, they’ve chosen to control the world within them. They’ve chosen to give thanks and praise God in the midst of dire circumstances that we North Americans seriously cannot fathom, and the result is contentment. That doesn’t mean they don’t try to improve their situation in whatever way possible, but it does mean they don’t complain and constantly wish their circumstances were different.

The apostle Paul is another example of someone who mastered the art of contentment.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything, I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13NLT).

And so my challenge today is this—in what area of our lives do we need to learn contentment? Maybe we’re unhappy with the weather—rain’s in the forecast but we’d much prefer sunshine. Maybe we’re worried about money matters or unhappy about our work schedule as the holiday season approaches. Perhaps we’re feeling cheated or sad because, as the holiday season approaches, it’s not turning out as we wish it would. Perhaps you’re not satisfied with your marriage or with your singleness. The list could go on and on.

Life gives us countless reasons to be discontent. But the Lord’s promises and His presence in our lives give us every reason to turn it around. Like my Nepalese friends, we, too, can become living examples of what it means to be content.

#bgbg2 #devotions #Contentment


In recent months God’s been impressing on me that we, as His followers, are undefeatable. Seriously—we have access to a lot more power than we realize. Here’s how I know this is true.

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, He indwells us through the person of the Holy Spirit. Imagine what this looks like! He moves in and takes up residence in our lives.


Christianity, then, isn’t so much our needing to strive to be good or to be holy. No. It’s about Christ living His life in us Galatians 2:20. It’s about our surrendering to His purposes and plans rather than clinging to our own. And it’s about experiencing His victory over temptation and hopelessness rather than succumbing to them and falling into defeat.

Satan will shoot his fiery darts at us. He’ll do his level best to bring us down and destroy us, but he can never defeat us because Christ is in us and He is God.

“No, despite all these things [betrayal, disappointment, loneliness, terminal or chronic illness, accidents, financial setbacks, loss and grief, fear, etc] overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loves us” Romans 8:37.

We don’t win by a slim margin, folks. We experience overwhelming victory. We cream the enemy when he wages war against us. Do I hear an amen?

How does this truth make a difference for you today?

“Father God, words fail us when we think of the power You’ve given us to live well on this earth. Yes, we encounter difficulties. Yes, we experience suffering and pain in many forms. But we need never experience defeat thanks to Your equipping us with everything we need for power and victory as we live in Christ Jesus.”

“More Than Conquerors” – Rend Collective

Hearing God’s Voice — Pt. 3

Doesn’t it thrill you when someone whose friendship you enjoy invites you to spend time together?


Personally, I love it when my husband says, “Come, sit beside me for a bit, okay? Let’s talk.” I totally enjoy it when my kids ask to Facetime. Nothing beats being together with the special people in one’s life.

Every day I sense God asking me to sit with Him for a little while. Sometimes He speaks to me through a sermon or a song or someone else’s quotes, but the way He communicates with me early each morning is different. His voice comes as a craving in my soul, a yearning to connect with my Creator, the sense that I’ll be trying to function in a void unless I feed that desire with what it seeks.

My flawed humanity says I don’t have time. “Get real, Grace. Look at the length of your to-do list. You’d best get on with your day if you hope to tackle your tasks.”

But my heart says otherwise: “Time with Jesus matters more than anything. Keep first things first. Give Him priority and He’ll give you His perspective for anything that comes your way today.”

The psalmist penned it well when he wrote, “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘LORD, I am coming’” (Psalm 27:8 NLT).

God speaks to us by placing within our hearts a spiritual hunger only He can satisfy. Have you felt that craving? Have you sensed that yearning for soul satisfaction? That’s God speaking to you, my friend. How will you respond?

#bgbg2 #devotions #HearingGod

Hearing God’s Voice – Pt. 2

How can we discern God’s voice amidst so many others crying for our attention? Here’s a litmus test that never fails: God’s voice speaks truth and life. Makes sense, right? After all, Jesus Christ was God in flesh, and He declared Himself to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He will never speak words contrary to who He is.

Beautiful autumn maple leaves background

Here’s an example. I’ve met countless Christian women (of all ages) whose behavior tells me they lack a healthy understanding of their personal worth. Some are controllers—the fear of inadequacy prompts them to manipulate circumstances and other people.

Some are timid. Their fear of inadequacy and failure leaves them easily threatened by confident women and scared to make decisions.

Some are boisterous and loud, trying to mask insecurities with laughter and jokes. And some are painfully shy, scarcely making eye contact in conversation.

A heart-to-heart talk with each woman would reveal a common denominator: A voice in their head is telling them that they have nothing to offer. It’s whispering a lie—“You’re not good enough. Try harder.” It’s saying that they don’t matter, no one cares, and no one loves them.

Are these words true? Absolutely not. God’s Word reassures us that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). It says He delights in us (Zephaniah 3:17), and His presence in us gives reason to not be afraid (Joshua 1:9). When we compare the message they’re hearing with the Truth, we know the voice they hear doesn’t belong to God.

God speaks truth and life. When we hear inner whispers telling us anything otherwise, we need to put them through this filter: Is what I’m hearing true? Is what I’m hearing life-giving?

I’d like to hear from you. What do you think—was this helpful? Would you like me to write more about hearing the voice of God?

#bgbg2 #HearingGod #devotions