One day last spring I discovered these two guests visiting my patio – young crows who rested from their flight lessons by perching on my air conditioner and outdoor loveseat. I studied the crows from my window and snapped a few photos while their parents squawked overhead, then I left the crows alone to complete their important work while I considered how we all learn to fly.

Leave the nest (or you will be pushed). To discover anything new, we have to move out of our comfort zones and explore dangerous, unknown areas. If we linger in one place too long, we outgrow our safe surroundings and find ourselves forced to change our perspective.

Let go. We can’t learn to fly while clinging to the past. We have to release those burdens that hold us back and make an effort to propel ourselves forward.

Expect to fall. Often we find ourselves moving downwards before we can rise. Sometimes we have to hit the ground before finding the way to lift ourselves up again.

Keep trying. Regular practice builds strength and power. We may have to make several attempts before we develop the stamina we need to succeed.

Encourage others. While baby birds struggle, their parents perch in the trees overhead, calling to their offspring on the ground. When we gain knowledge and understanding, it is important to offer encouragement to those who are still learning to pick themselves up.

These plaques hang on my office wall, reminders that to reach our dreams, we need courage to leave our safe spaces, commitment to do the hard work, and vision to reach heights we’ve only dreamed of before. This week I hope you take a leap and find yourself able to fly.

Where are your dreams leading you now? How can you step out and learn something new?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

For those who need some extra inspiration today, I offer a few of my favorite Bible verses.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Remember that God knows all you need, and he will always act on behalf of your highest good.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

Have faith that God is always with you, and let his presence give you peace.

“I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38-39).

Believe he cares for you and has a plan for your well-being.

“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13).

Trust the Lord holds you in his mighty right hand.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes . . . ; There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away . . . ‘Behold, I make all things new’” (Revelation 21:4-5).

Know that no matter what happens, God is always in control, and he always promises a new beginning.

Today I pray you know that a loving God cares for you. Be at peace and trust that God is aware, and he knows everything you need.

What is your prayer today? What verses remind you that God has you in his care?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

This Christmas I’m considering the journey of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and what her faith says to all women who follow God. While Mary walked the long and winding miles to Bethlehem, her faith didn’t waver, and she encourages all of us to believe and trust in the God who leads the way.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

God is aware of our worries. He knows all we need, and he promises to give us the courage and strength to continue on our travels.

God will answer our prayers. He wants us to pray, to express our uncertainties and fears, and he always addresses the concerns we bring to him.

God will be with us on our journey. He stays alongside our every step and guides us to the destinations we seek.

God gives shelter throughout the night. He promises to bring us to safe places, and he protects and provides for us when the road ahead seems unclear.

Today I encourage you to believe that God is watching over you. Trust that he loves you and always knows where you are.

How is God taking care of you today? How do you know God is aware of your needs?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

When my daughter was in kindergarten, I volunteered as classroom mom on a field trip to the pumpkin farm. Students rode trudging ponies around a muddy circle, patted bleating goats in a pen, and chased kittens and piglets around hay bales in the barn.

And I learned a few lessons from herding 40 kindergarteners around the barnyard that day.

Pack a lunch, wear good shoes, and always have an extra pair of glasses. Straw dust and grit invaded my contact lenses, and because I had no mirror or means to wash my hands, I had to make a staggering, half-blind hike to the farmhouse to find a bathroom. If we don’t plan ahead and take care of ourselves, we are not able to take care of anyone else. Anticipating circumstances and giving ourselves what we need frees us to be available and present for others.

Don’t be afraid of the dark. Inside the musty and cavernous barn lurked amazing discoveries: strange old tools, elusive farm cats, secreted hiding places. When we brave uncertainty and explore the unknown, prizes are captured and answers are revealed. Always be willing to step inside and investigate the mysterious, unseen places.

Help someone else carry their burden. Little people who chose a too-large pumpkin to take home, staggered under the weight, often dropping and shattering their prize. We are not meant to struggle with heavy burdens by ourselves. When we work together and help others, we find we can accomplish much more than we can carry on our own.

Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

Travel where the driver takes you. The day of the kindergarten field trip, we had planned to ride a hay truck into the meadow for a lunchtime picnic, but a sudden rainstorm sent us running for the bus and returning early to school. Instead of lunch in the meadow, we ate on the warm and dry classroom floor. Sometimes our plans change and we encounter circumstances we didn’t expect, but the best memories are made when we are grateful and appreciate every moment together. Sometimes we discover that the surprises of our lives are more fun and interesting than the events we had planned.

This fall I pray you explore the mysteries of the season. Know God is with you every day of the year.

What are you learning about life today? Where is God taking you?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

My daughter and I created our own “On the Edge” masterpieces at one of those “paint your own” places, where a young instructor in paint-spattered sneakers patiently prompted us through the steps. I dried the surface with a hairdryer, then carefully carried the canvas home and hung it on my office wall. It reminds me that when darkness looms and storm winds blow, God remains unmoved. It is by faith that we cling to him and his promises.

When tempests howl and threaten to throw us down from our foundations, there are a few things we can do to stand strong on our faith in God.

Pray. Sometimes it is difficult to praise God in the midst of our troubles, but the Bible says we should thank God for our challenges because hard times increase our strength. Trials produce patience and prepare us for greater work to come.

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).

Help others. When it seems hardest for us to move forward, it is time to reach out and lift up another person who is struggling. When we know we have people counting on our help, we are given new purpose and reason to forge ahead.

“Through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).

Trust God. When we feel burdened with worry and uncertainty, we can know that God holds every outcome in his hands. We can choose to believe that everything happens for a reason and every circumstance offers us a lesson to be learned.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Believe we are loved. Despite the concerns and struggles of our lives, God’s word declares his unending love and compassion for all people. No matter the depth of the problems we face, we know we cannot be separated from the love of God.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38-39).

Throughout the storms that batter our lives; through death, divorce, disaster, or crushing disappointment; through every time and season of tempest or turmoil, God is ever-present. His love is always promised, and his faithfulness never fails.

Today I pray you hold tightly to the faith that holds us in return.

What helps you hold onto your faith in God? How do you know you have a firm foundation in him?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail