Happy 2017 everyone! I cannot believe that 2016 is finally over. Whew! This has been a great beginning. Today we went to church and my husband sat by me. That may not seem odd to you but let me explain. We have gone to First Baptist Church of Lemon Grove for 38 years. Steve has been going for 23 of those years. He came back to faith in God and accepted Him as Savior 16 years into our marriage. My prayer to God all of those years was for him to come to know Christ as Savior. I also wanted just to sit by my husband and worship together. I would see all of these couples and families in church and there I sat, alone. I have to confess I did throw a few pity parties in my heart and head. Glad no one could see because it wasn’t pretty. A few years after Steve joined the church our church started using Power Point for sermon notes and song lyrics. Steve is a computer guy so that job was right up his alley which means I would not sit by my husband in church after all. I told the Lord I thought He had a pretty good sense of humor! Today, one of the teens learning Power Point told Steve he had it covered so Steve came downstairs and sat with me. There was a shift in the space/time continuum and Jesus was going to return were some of the comments we got! It was precious sitting by him on this first day of the New Year, a gift of favor from a loving Lord. 

After church we came home to rest for a while before we ventured out to a friend’s house for their annual New Year’s Day get together. The invitation says “bring all of your leftovers and we will have a feast”. Feast we did. There were collard greens and black eyed peas (a Southern staple for any January 1), corn bread, clam chowder, chips and dip, pasta salad, cranberry sauce, sliders and every manner of sweet treat. I ate too many of Phil’s ginger snaps. That man can bake a mean cookie! Lots of good conversation and munching went on while periodically checking in on the Charger game. They lost but I felt very proud of the quarterback for the opposing team. He is a local boy from the same high school my son attended and where my daughter-in-law currently teaches. 

It was off to the grocery store where he pushed the cart for me. Steve NEVER goes grocery shopping with me. This is a new thing for us, just like sitting next to me in church. What I found when he went was that I stuck to my list. I should take him every time. We came home and spontaneously decided to go to a movie. That is where I found them, my first two pennies for 2017. It was very fitting that one of the pennies was dated 2004 because that was the year I started on this penny journey of trust. Thirteen years later my journal has grown tremendously as has my faith and trust in God. In this season of our marriage we are really enjoying each other. There has been a new spark ignited, like we are dating for the first time. We flirt with each other a little more, spend more time in conversation, pray deeper and are happier to just be in the same room together. Last night in the theater, for the first time ever, he did not put the arm rest down between us. I nuzzled next to him and we held hands. It was a precious time. We both enjoyed the movie and talked about it all the way home. 

Loving my husband and this start to our 40th year together. Forty years ago tomorrow, January 3, I first laid eyes on that handsome, blonde haired guy across the room. Who knew? Thank you God for knowing. It is a sweet and lovely bonding. Trusting you Lord, as always. 

#InGodwetrust #LeavingaLegacy #ProjectPenny


When Steve and I got to our daughter’s home in Oregon, I piled the grandkids in the car and went to Super Wal Mart to stock up for Christmas dinner and shop for their mom and dad. It was very busy on this Christmas eve eve, but the store was huge the crowd seemed minimal in any given section. Shopping with a 12 year old girl and 3 boys ages 13, 14 and 16 is an interesting adventure. They ran into school friends, debated over what color shirt to buy mom, pondered if dad would like the yellow Oregon Ducks hat, made a unanimous decision on Pepsi as the drink of choice and voted for me to make chocolate chip cookies.

(Here they are on Christmas morning waiting for the “all clear” sign to come downstairs. Big brother was still sleeping!)

As we got to the check out counter the lines weren’t too bad. Panicking that we had a very full cart and I didn’t bring any bags with me, I noticed the cashier putting groceries in plastic, not paper. Relief flooded me as I was glad Oregon had not adopted the “you bring your own bags or we will sell you ours” law. Just then I noticed a commotion at the register beside me. The patron did not have enough money on her prepaid card to pay for her necessities. I saw orange juice, diapers, fruit, baby food and cereal coming back out of the plastic bags. She just had the basics.

Observing her, I could see she was a  very slight young woman with blonde pink striped hair and a piercing in her lip. Her jeans were torn but they were meant to look that way. She wore a modest white tank top with a long sleeved open tee. Not exactly the clothing for the 35 degree weather outside. Sitting in the passenger seat of the cart was an adorable “Gerber” baby. The child looked to be about 13 months old, well fed and clean wearing sweat pants and a long sleeved shirt. Summoning the manager, the clerk asked the young lady what she wanted to put back. Swipping the card again she was very surprised there wasn’t more money on the card. She stated she was sure there was. The manager arrived and I asked him how much was left to pay on her bill. He told me, I paid it. I had the money in my hand already and just handed it to the cashier. The young lady looked at me and tears rolled down both cheeks. I asked her name, she said “Jamie”. Then looking at her baby she said, “Leo” and mouthed “thank you”. I  smiled and said, “you’re welcome, pay it forward.” She nodded yes and went her way. My grandkids stood there stunned. I honestly had not thought about them being there at that moment.

Loading our groceries on to the conveyor belt I prayed for Jamie and Leo and for my grandkids that this would leave an impression on their hearts. One of the boys asked me if I knew her. I told him I did not. He asked why I did that. I told him it was the right thing to do. My prayer is that those around us who witnessed that simple spontaneous gesture would be touched by it. Helping others should come naturally to us. Sadly it is not that way for many.

As we left, I found a very shiny penny on the floor right by the door. I knew God had me at this place at this time for so many reasons. When the Holy Spirit prompts you, go with it. Let Him lead the way. Receive the blessing. Trust God. Let 2017 be the year of trust and blessing ❤

#InGodwetrust #ProjectPenny #Leavingalegacy #Whenyouwalkwiththewise

Proverbs 22:1 – A good name is to be more desired than great riches, favor better than silver or gold.

This morning I am missing my Grandpa. William S. “Sid” Smith was a dapper man. He was always dressed in a suit and his signature hat. Boy, was he a smart dresser. He would say that you should always be dressed in your best because you just never know who you might meet. He was in the real estate business so his personal presentation was very important.
Last week as I was doing some sorting and cleaning I came across a VHS tape titled “Thanks For The Memories”. Curious, I put it in the VHS player that my husband insisted we keep. I was very glad we did when I saw what was on that tape. 

In 1988 my sister Pam and her husband John drove  1 hour east to Grandma & Grandpa Smith’s home in Campo. They went to take a video of Grandma and Grandpa narrating their 16mm and 8mm movies. The narration would tell us who our relatives were and give color to the celluloid treasures. That is exactly what was delivered, treasure. There was my dear Grandpa and Grandma looking fit and healthy. As Grandma played the piano and Grandpa described anniversaries, birthdays, sporting events, holiday celebrations and family shenanigans he caught on film, tears welled up in my eyes. Beautiful memories including Grandma in a hula hoop contest with us, my mom and dad in happier times and my Aunt Pam’s wedding where I sang Happy Birthday at the top of my lungs as I got to the end of the isle after performing my flower girl duties. You see Grandma grabbing me away and putting her white gloved hand over my mouth. There were even shots of Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra at a golf tournament in Palm Springs. That was a kick! If you don’t know who those men are, Google them. They were very famous in their time. 

Each time I would come on the screen he would say, “well there’s ole Terrie Ince”, with a smile in his voice. I most definitely was Grandpa’s girl. He called me Terrie Ince because my cousin Tod could not say Terrie Lynn. It would always come out “Terrie Ince”. That name stuck and my 3 cousins still call me Ince. All of the grandkids had a nick name. They were Grandpa’s terms of endearment. I am pretty sure I told the story of going into Solomini’s cocktail lounge as a 6th grader selling Girl Scout cookies in an earlier blog post. Because I was Sid Smith’s granddaughter George Solomini bought all of the cookies in the trunk of my mom’s 57 Ford. If you know 57 Fords they have a huge trunk so there were a lot of cookies. Grandpa had done business with George with just a handshake. Grandpa said that a man is only as good as his word. He also taught me how to really shake hands like I mean business. Sid Smith always made the first gesture to shake hands. Around town he was know for his suit, hat and honesty. He was a man of his word. If he said he would do something he would. He also said to my mischievous brother a time or two, “there’s gonna be a hind end kicking and you’re gonna furnish it!” 

I have this laminated piece in my bible. Each time I run across it I thank God for the lasting legacy of Sid Smith. There are so many life lessons I learned from him. Because of his example I work hard, keep my word, love loyaly, read my Bible daily, refined my cooking skills, have Hershey bars and kisses in my freezer (he had his in a drawer in the kitchen and he said we always needed just a little sweet after dinner) and never let my children or grandchildren pay for a meal if I am with them.  I should probably write a book about him someday. There is so much more to say about his huge personality and steadfast love for his family. It is Grandpa Smith’s legacy that really got me going on leaving one of my own. Yes, a good name is worth far more than gold or silver for what good are gold and silver if you have no integrity? 

One day I will write about this beauty. Until then I will say, be a person of your word, treat others with kindness, make your yes be yes and your no be no, help others without obligation, work hard, be the example you want remembered, be wise. If you find a penny today write about how you will trust God to help you leave a lasting legacy.

#whenyouwalkwiththewise #InGodwetrust

Tell The Ugly Dragon To Leave

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which trancends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.(NIV)

As I was reading in the Bible this morning and asking God to inspire me to write more pages in the daily devotional I am writing, He took me directly to Philippians. Oh how we worry, don’t we? Am I making right decisions? What am I doing with my life? How will we afford health insurance? Can we find a good doctor if we do? Am I a good mom, aunt, sister, grandmother, etc.? How can I protect my kids? Am I feeding them a healthy enough diet? Do I measure up? Should I change jobs? Should I quit work? My mom is sick, will she die? Do I give my kids enough attention? Sitting them in front of the computer is easy, am I doing it too much? Are they provided for? What will they grow up to be? What is my husband doing when he is not with me? Am I pretty enough, skinny enough, desirable? I am sure you have many more questions that would fit here. My goodness, it never ends!

When I was a preschool director I used to stay up nights being anxious about what parents were thinking, how the staff was working, if the children would be safe, if our school was up to date, if licensing came (as they do, and unexpected) would we be written up, how I could make this better and more aesthetically pleasing. Goodness, I ran myself into the ground with worry! Then I started studying Philippians in earnest. I finally came to Philippians 4:6. When I got to that verse it smacked me right to the floor. I was missing out on peace. That is what I was craving because being in turmoil all of the time was killing me. Falling on my knees, I gave it all to God, thanking Him for the opportunity to lead and nurture those precious children for Him. That was what really mattered anyway. He gave me such a peace that it overwhelmed me. On occasion, worry would  rear it’s ugly dragon head out of nowhere and I would let it stay for a while. Mercifully, the Holy Spirit would gently and sometimes not so gently remind me that I had turned it over to God. Why was I letting the dragon stay?

Paul is telling the Philippian church here not to be anxious about anything. They were under persecution as new Christians. The church was being scattered and many put to death. He is telling them not to be anxious! That sounds to me like something to really be anxious about. What Paul is doing here is giving them and us a roadmap about praying and asking. First, he tells us that in every situation to pray. I know that seems unrealistic, but think about it. You do not have to close your eyes and bow your head to pray. God can read your thoughts. Then Paul instructs us to be thankful when we ask; thankful for the outcome whatever it will be. God would bring the precious Philippians to a place of peace regardless of the outcome.

Once your request is made, peace will stand guard over your heart and mind. When someone is standing guard they are making sure that no intruder enters. The peace that God gives will stand watch as you go through your day. Can you just see Peace marching back and forth across your heart and brain? I can’t think of any better guard than Christ Jesus Himself, can you?

Breaking it down – we present the request to God, being thankful for who He is and what He will do no matter the outcome. We know that He wants the best for us. We leave the request with God and allow His peace to keep us calm. Spinning our wheels in worry only makes us more miserable and pretty useless. Trusting God in any given situation will bring us peace. Stand firm and tell that ugly dragon to leave! 

If you find a penny today tell God how you are trusting in Him.


At My Wits’ End

Have you ever said, “you are on my last nerve”? Boy I sure have, especially to my kids. All of the bickering that an older brother and a younger sister will do on a road trip across the country is enough to make anyone want to leave them at the next rest stop! 

As I was reading in Psalm 107 verse 27, the Psalmist talks about sailors in a storm being tossed about thinking they will capsize and, at their wits’ end, they call on God Who rescues them and sets them in a quiet place. 

Why do we wait until we are at our very wits’ end before we call on God? We call our best friend or spouse or sibling to complain about our situation. Many nights we sleep fitfully because our mind is overrun with worry. Calling on God should be the first place we go. I remember being in a dire situation and trying to fix everything myself. I just went into that “I can ramrod this and make it go away” mode, to no avail. Everything fell apart. I sat down and just cried while the gentle Holy Spirit reminded me to pray. PRAY! I hadn’t occured to me back then. After lamenting my situation to my Heavenly Father I felt better. My mind and my spirit were calmed.

The situation did not get better for a long time but I was better. Knowing God had this probem in His capable hands, I actually got a good night’s sleep. He is the giver of all good things. 

This morning I am reading in Psalm 25. Verses 12-13 say, “Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.”(NASB). The word “fear” in this verse means respect. When we respect God He will prosper our soul. We will live a life that is pleasing to Him and when we are at that very wits’ end He will instruct us in the way we should choose. It is such a calming relief to my heart to KNOW that God has got this! 

As we walk this life’s road keep God as your life guide. If you go there, to your wits’ end, speak His name. Ask for help. Right your boat and He will lead you to that quiet place. 


With pages still fresh with ink I finished the study of 2 Timothy. What an experience. Any time I study a book of the bible I come away wealthy with riches for life! So many take-aways like, “I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience” and “for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind”. I got instructions on how to be His servant, found out that people will actually turn from the truth and accumulate for themselves teachers that tell them what they want to hear, how Paul fought the good fight and unattractive things about a certain coppersmith named Alexander. Then there was Becky who blessed my heart by memorizing and reciting the entire book of 2 Timothy. Such a job well done. I only bearly got through memorizing chapter 1! Sometimes I feel like my brain is full of holes and the words just fall through. 

One of my major take-aways happened last night on the final night. The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12 that he asked God 3 times to remove the thorn in his flesh given to him by God. He tells us “there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me – to keep me from exalting myself!”. God gave PAUL a thorn? But Paul was a SuperApostle! God saw fit to give him a humbling. Paul would boast about his weakness saying that in his weakness Christ was his strength. What dawned on me, like an anvil falling on Wylie Coyote, was the fact that Paul’s traveling companion through a huge part of his ministry was a doctor! Paul referred to Luke as the beloved physician. Certainly God had given Paul a thorn in his flesh but He also provided a doctor to travel with Paul, to minister to him! I almost jumped out of my seat when that revelation set in!

Often I wonder about what God did not let us know. I am very curious about the people in the Bible. I want to know everything I can about them before I meet them in heaven. I want to tell them I studied their lives and how much they influenced mine. What actually happened on the ark? Could they sleep with all of the noise? Was Esther about to vomit before she went to stand before the king? What was it like in the house of Obed-edom when the ark of the covenent was there for three months? Did Mrs. Obed-edom have to remind the children not to play around it? I’ll bet dust never fell on it. I can just see a 3 foot perimeter of very clean encirculing it’s majesty! What was it like for the 70 men having a picnic with Moses and God at the foot of the mountain? I would love to have seen the shocked look on the faces of the priests of Baal when Elijah’s altar fire was consumed. Did they think “uh oh”? What was it like to look in Jesus’ eyes as He forgave your sins or healed you. So many things I want to know! God saw fit for us to know just what He wanted us to know.

 I wonder about the rest. It is very fascinating to me. So much so that I have written a fictional story about Simon of Cyrene, the man who carried Jesus’ cross. When Simon got home he must have been covered with Jesus’ blood. Could he even wash it off? People from Cyrene were present in the upper room when the Holy Spirit descended among the people. Was one of those Simon? So many interesting questions. What was it like to be on that road to Emmaus walking with Jesus?

God always provides for His children. He provided a beloved doctor to travel with a man who spread the gospel and fulfilled his ministry. He had His hand on me from birth and provided a way for me to get to church every week when He knew my parents were not interested in taking me. I stood in front of my house and each Sunday a bus picked me up and took me to Sunday School. God always makes a way, especially when there seems to be no way. 

What is written between the lines of your life? People see your living novel – the one you let them see. Have they seen God making that way for you? Are you even aware of God’s provision?  Are you leaving a legacy for your generations, one that will guide them when they really need it?  Fill in the blanks for them. Let them know the good and the bad and how God has sustained you through it all. God bless you as you write your own story. May your future generations see the very fingerprints of God all over the pages of your life.


Our air conditioner broke. Living in San Diego we need our AC! My husband, bless his heart, needs to be comfortable 24/7. That is just who he is. He runs hot, I run cold so I always have a blanket handy. Saturday our air conditioner gave up the ghost. He called our dear friend Bill who has been in the air conditioning and heating repair business for years. Bill came over Sunday afternoon, did some troubleshooting and gave us the news. With his friends and family discount and him doing the labor for free it would cost $800 to $1,000 to fix. The cost of comfort! Another piece of news was that he couldn’t fix it until the next weekend. That meant we needed to open our windows. Praise God we are not in a heat wave in San Diego right now! The mornings and evenings are mild and it is so nice having the fresh air flow through our home.

This morning I had the opportunity to serve one of the dear senior saints from our church. I have known this woman 38 years. Her mind is rich in bible knowledge and she can crochet like nobody’s business. Just about every baby ever born at our church has been blessed to have one of her lovingly stitched soft infant blankets. Now, advanced well into her 80’s, her body is worn out and she needs physical help. Out the door at 5:50AM I went. She just lives minutes from me. I went in to her home, helped as I could, prayed with her and got her back in bed. That dear woman’s mind is as sharp as a tack. She greeted me with hello as I had to wake her to accomplish my task. She thanked me in the sweetest voice as I tiptoed out of her room. What a blessing to serve her. As I was driving home the sky lit up with a light show. Lightning in the west burst in the sky. I pulled my car over to watch. In San Diego one has to do that because lightning shows are few and far between! 

It wasn’t as spectacular as the image above but it felt like it to this Southern California girl. As I got home I went to the dining room to open the shudders and then the window to let the cool morning air in. The window faces the east. I looked out and saw the tiniest shades of light orange poking through the scattered gray clouds. The sunrise! I was excited to see that. Quickly I made a cup of coffee, grabbed my phone to take pictures and went outside to sit and enjoy the beautiful display I knew was coming. The sunrise did not disappoint. Brilliant orange, pink and red shot through the sky. I sang choruses and hymns as I sat there and watched the display that God had created. 

Gently the sky continued to turn color. Slowly the hues changed. I was seeing the effects of the sun without actually seeing the sun. On overcast days at the beach, if you don’t put on sunscreen, you will definitely feel the effects of the sun on your skin later without actually seeing that hot sun. I came inside and just stood at my diningroom window taking it all in singing:

“Oh that will be glory for me, glory for me, glory for me. When by His grace I shall look on face, that will be glory, be glory for me.”

All around us every millisecond of the day we see the effects of the Son without seeing the Son. The bible tells us in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lords, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” (NASB)

Butterflies flit, oceans roar, babies laugh, flowers bloom, people are born, people die, we breathe air, we are free to love, people’s hearts, once hard from sin, are changed in an instant. There is power in the gospel. Jesus is power; He is love. We see God’s creation all around us yet we have not seen Him. One day we will see The Son. He will come for us in that same sky I marveled at this morning. Until then I am satisfied to see Him working all around me every day. I am honored to be serving Him as I serve others giving them the opportunity to see the Son. 

If our air conditioner had not broken I would not have experienced this beautiful painted sky that God created. There is always a blessing, even in broken appliances. We just have to open our eyes to the effects of the Son. 

Look around. He is right there.


Today is a day of remembrance in our family, a day of life going on. One year ago today I got the phone call from my niece Jessica that her 18 year old brother Colton was dead. My brother’s only son, his  youngest child, had been tragically killed in an accident. I was at work coming out of the bathroom, actually. I saw on my phone that the caller was Jessica and I thought it strange that she would call me at this odd time and at work. Hearing the words she said sent me into a tail spin. It’s like seeing someone walking on the freeway (or interstate), your brain can’t take it in, it just does not fit. In disbelief I asked what happened. My brother, where was my brother? I needed to see him, to make sure he was okay. I was no stranger to feeling the full weight of responsibility for him and his welfare. 

Standing there in the hallway in shock I couldn’t help but notice her extreme, almost forced calm. She said she was notifying the family because her mom and dad were not capable of even talking. God bless her for taking on that arduous task. Hurrying to the office I called my sister, husband, my other brother and my kids. Bless my son, he got my niece Brandie and me on a plane that next morning for Sacramento where we spent 10 days in the home of Colton’s aunt, Lesa Johnson. Lesa’s husband Dean had died suddenly 4 years previous. Dean is the younger brother of Elizabeth, Colton’s mom. Lesa, very aquainted with deep grief, opened her beautiful home to us, fed us, loved on us and we on her and her two precious grown boys. Auntie to Auntie Lesa and I formed a deep bond. I admire her steadfast faith in a holy God Who never lets us down. He has a plan and she is safe and secure in that knowledge. Those 10 days are branded on my mind and heart as I experienced a loss as never before. Those days were filled with meeting young adults, just starting to experience a taste of freedom, come together to mourn one of their own. Hearing story after precious story of Colton’s antics in the duck blind, on the deer hunt, in the rice field and on the shooting range was balm to my soul. He was deeply loved. By hearing those tall tales one would know a gaping hole  would be left in that group of bossom buddies.

 In my wildest dreams I never ever expected to see my little brother carrying the coffin of his young son. It was incongruous to say the least. Against one of the most beautiful blue skies I had ever seen wild turkeys came strolling on to the grass of the cemetary as if to pay their respects to once a sharp shooting hunter who gave them a run for their money. My heart was heavy as I watched the casket lowered into the ground. Knowing I would see Colton again brought a spark of joy. Someone asked my brother if he wished he could trade places with Colton. People, stumped for words in a situation like that, say strange things. My dear considerate little brother  thought for a moment then said “no”. That took the inquirer by surprise. He said no because he knew his beloved son was in heaven with Jesus and he would never want to take that away from him. 

In loving memory – collage by Brandie Ledford and Lesa Johnson

Today our family dedicates its newest member, my 17th great-nephew, to the Lord. Archer William was born last March. He made his appearance on earth early by the doctor’s prediction,  but right on time by God’s plan.

The bible tells us in Psalm 139:16, “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them”. (NASB)  Standing with my extended family in agreement to make sure this little boy is brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord will be an honor. We have come full circle on this October 23. Hold your loved ones a little tighter today. Make spending time with them a priority. Build memories that will last. Be there. Put your phones away. Be present. Go to all of the activities, games, Jr. High choir shows, high school awards assemblies, birthday parties, graduations, last minute pizza  parties. Be there. God knows our days but we don’t. It is not by chance that you were born into your family. Love them. They need you and you need them.

Dedication of Archer William at the Flood church, 10-23-16. Dad Matt Ward, mom Wendie Ward, big brothers Henry and Miles Ward.



_pennywiseIs anyone feeling me today?  I have been inundated with trying new things on my computer.  I am looking at apps, websites, building “stuff”.  This old dog is trying to learn new tricks! I keep saying to myself  “oh for heaven’s sake Terrie”!  Branding oneself takes time and knowledge.  The Lord has graciously given me time, now I just need to seek the knowledge.  I have stories to tell: stories of abuse, neglect, abandonment, rejection, divorce, raising a family at 14, having a very sick, special needs daughter with a rare syndrome, praying for my husband’s salvation for 15 years, estrangement from my mother for many years and her miraculous healing from alcoholism and our reconciliation just before she died, there are many more to tell.   There were times when I just had to laugh, it became so overwhelming!  With those stories come the stories of God’s sovereignty in my life and how He walked with me through all of it even though I didn’t realize that it was His mighty hands that held me.  Storms came and mighty storms went but I am still here.  God has allowed me to go through those storms to praise Him and to tell others that are going through the same things that there is hope.  There is a living hope.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. Proverbs 3:5 has become a theme song for me.  The Hebrew word for trust in that verse is “batach” which means to hide for refuge, be confident or sure, put confidence in. So, in other words “Hide for refuge, be confident or sure, put confidence in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”.  Abandon yourself to His care 100%.  I have a story to tell and a Savior to praise.  Some of you need to hear my story because you are living it right now! Trusting God takes guts.  It really does.  I am talking take no prisoners, full speed ahead guts.  Courage does not come easy to me or to most of us.  I constantly need a reminder that “God has got this”. I am convinced that is why He gave me #Project Penny in 2004.  There is hope, there is rescue, there is God.  If your women’s group is looking for a speaker, I am ready.  Call me, send me an email, find me on Facebook or Instagram.  Women need hope, they need sisterhood, they need Christ.   #InGodwetrust  #Pennywise  #whenyouwalkwiththewise


     “But wait, there’s more,” the expected voice says from the infomercial blaring from the television. Ever notice that commercials and infomercials are louder than regular television programs? I am sure in your lifetime you have watched an infomercial or six either while being bored on a Saturday afternoon when you forgot to renew Netflix or maybe in the wee hours of the morning when you ran out of sheep to count and gave in to the call of the flat screen on your dresser. Infomercials want your attention as they hawk their grills, exercise torture DVDs, diet plans, super mops, turbo ovens; the list is endless. You get the idea. But wait…there’s more. I have fallen for it from time to time only to find I could get the same deal at my local Target on the “As Seen On TV” shelf without paying the exorbitant shipping and handling charges!

     In Romans 5 the Apostle Paul uses two phrases to get our attention and assure those seeking Christ that there is “much more” or “more than that” to a glorious relationship with Jesus Christ. This “much more” and “more than that” came at a price that only He could pay. It is a gift worth receiving and does not come with shipping charges. In verses 1 and 2 Paul tells us what we have in God through Jesus Christ. In Christ we have been justified in our faith and have peace with God; we have obtained access by that faith into THIS grace in which we stand. This grace is a thing. It is a “this grace.” It is God’s grace that only He can give, and we stand in it because of Jesus. We also rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

     So here we go. In verse 3 we see our first “more than that.” You might ask, “more than what?” Wait for it…we rejoice in our sufferings! WHAT? Seriously, more than rejoicing in the hope of God we rejoice in our sufferings? This does not mean we say “yippee for suffering – bring it on.” It means that in our sufferings we can rejoice because a work is being done in those sufferings. As we go through the trial, the suffering produces endurance and that endurance produces character in us. The character we develop through enduring in the suffering then produces hope and that hope does not put us to shame. Why? Because as we were going through it all, God’s love was being poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. That is the “much more.” We are equipped to go through those tough times and come out hopeful that what we went through with Jesus’ help made our character a little more like His.

     Drop down to verse 9 and Paul reminds us that since we have been justified by the blood of Jesus, “much more” shall we be saved from the wrath of God (whew). We have peace with God, remember from verse 1? We are no longer enemies! In verse 10 he tells us that if for a while we were enemies of God, then we were reconciled by the death of Jesus. Now “much more” we are reconciled; we are saved by His life (He arose from the dead and sits at the right hand of God). Finally, in verse 11 we have our “but wait there’s much more than that.” We rejoice in God through Jesus Christ whom we have now received reconciliation. Because of what Jesus did, we are not enemies with God anymore; He has given us access through Jesus’ blood into His grace. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. We also rejoice in our suffering where we obtain endurance. That endurance produces character and in that character a hope is born that does not put us to shame. Suffering drives us to the place where we will find real hope.

     Have you experienced a “much more than that” moment with Jesus? Just knowing that His death and resurrection gave us access to grace, reconciliation with God, endurance and hope through suffering gives me a cause to rejoice! I can stand in “this grace” and know I am not an enemy of God who is subject to His wrath. I am praying for you dear one, that you will look to Jesus and experience that “ever so much more.”