Sometimes God speaks to me in unexpected ways. Today was one of those times. I was driving home after having breakfast with a friend. I enjoyed my time with her, but now the responsibilities of what lie ahead for the rest of the day was crowding in and threatening to steal my joy. My mind was flittering from one thought to the next, eventually swirling out of control. Somehow my to-do list had morphed into a list of my problems, my insecurities, and my failures.

Have you ever done that?

In the midst of my chaotic downward spiral of self-deprecation, there she was—all three feet of her—skipping across the Lowe’s parking lot while holding her daddy’s hand. Her dark unkempt, waist-length curls bounced with each kick of her dirty sneakers, raising her turquoise princess dress enough to see her jeans beneath. Was she wearing those jeans first then put on the princess dress when her daddy said they were going out? Or did she have on the princess dress and decide to wear the jeans too because you never know?

I continued watching her through my rear view mirror, mesmerized by her innocence That’s what joy actually looks like, I thought.

“That’s what YOU look like to me.”  

I gasped, knowing I would never say that to myself. This was none other than the voice of God. Not audible, of course. But so evident, it was almost a whisper.

Did He see me as a princess? A child?

“You are my beautiful daughter. I AM the King of Kings which makes you a  princess. I have clothed you in the royal garments of salvation.”

I scoffed at the thought of being called a princess. But then remembered one of my favorite chapters: Isaiah 61. 

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Isaiah 61:10

I need to stop right here and share something personal with you.

There was a time when I used to look in the mirror with the eye of scrutiny, looking for what I considered imperfections. Here’s the thing, I didn’t even realize I was doing this to myself. It had become so normal

My struggle with body image started when I hit puberty. Like many girls, I compared myself to girls my age as well as what I saw on TV and in magazines. When I looked in a mirror, I knew I didn’t measure up. My distorted self-evaluation continued until it manifested into an eating disorder called Bulimia.

By the time I had moved out on my own and started college, Bulimia was a way of life for me, that is until I started going to church. I didn’t understand why at the time, but I was convicted to stop making myself throw up after I ate. For the first time in my life, I asked God to help me with my problem. And He did—immediately! 

Yes, the urges became less and less until I was no longer making myself throw up. I knew without a doubt, it was God. But what I didn’t realize was this: Bulimia was only a symptom of a much bigger problem that took years to uncover and find healing.

The problem was, I didn’t love myself and I didn’t think I was worthy of God’s love either.

When I looked into a mirror, it was still the same distorted image, until I began to get to know my heavenly Father. As I began to know God, it was like a veil of distortion was beginning to lift and I was able to see not only Him but myself differently. Please read the scripture below aloud.

“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:18

Did you notice I didn’t say, know ABOUT my heavenly Father? We can learn all about God through reading the Bible. That is not the same as engaging with Him personally through His Word. This happened for me when I began journaling scripture and writing down what I learned.

I remember reading about how the Word was in the beginning and the Word became flesh, and that the word was alive and powerful (John 1; Hebrews 4:12). This was a life-changing revelation.

When I read the Bible, it was God speaking directly and personally to me!

That’s when I fell in love with Psalm 139. Here is where I learned how valuable and precious every life is to God—including my own.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
Psalm 139:14-16

When we see ourselves through the eyes of judgment, we eventually turn that judgment outward to others.

As I began to learn how much God loved me, my self-image began to change. And the way I viewed others changed too! I also learned how reciting God’s word helped tear down strongholds of negative thought patterns.

It has been a long process and I’m still “under construction” but with the Lord’s help, I now recognize when my mind goes in a direction that is not godly thinking. And that is exactly what happened the other day when I saw the little princess girl.

My mind that was once firing out of control with negative thoughts prior to seeing the little princess, was now recalling bits and pieces of scripture telling me who I am to God. Who I really am.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made in My image. (Psalm 139:14)

You are loved. (John 3:16)

You are treasured. (Deuteronomy 7:6)

You are a masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

Maybe you’re like me, and you struggle with really loving yourself.

I’m not talking about selfish, narcissistic love that we often see displayed in our culture nowadays. What I’m referring to is a healthy, godly view of self that can only be found through the One who created you.

The one (and only) way I’ve been able to move from those negative thoughts to God’s positive ones is because I know Him and I’m familiar with His word, the Bible.

Do you know what the Bible says about you?

The Bible says when we ask Jesus into our hearts as Lord and savior, we have become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The trouble is, our brains are hardwired to remember our old self-image prior to learning who God says we are. Here’s the good news: the more time you spend with the Lord and learning His word, the more your old thoughts are transformed into His thoughts.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

If you struggle with loving yourself, it’s time to wash your brain clean with God’s word.

  • Learn who God says He is by getting to know Him.
  • Learn what God says about you.
  • Write down a verse that speaks to your heart.
  • Meditate on the verse and memorize it.
  • When you recognize negative self-talk, say your verse aloud.
  • Repeat often.


CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSES: who-i-am-in-christ: WHO I AM IN CHRIST (from Priscilla Shrier’s Armor of God study)

Watch the video below to learn more about who God is. It’s powerful and worth the watch!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or pray for you! Let’s start a conversation in the comments section below.

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When I was in Washington, D.C. the day after the Presidential election last November, there was a group of protesters shouting, “Love Trumps Hate!”

I agree. Love indeed, trumps hate. The only problem was, these protesters were also angry, pushy, rude, and using profanity. Their actions obliterated their message. How were they representing love?

But their actions made me think.

How am I representing love during these tumultuous times?

I asked God how He wants me to represent love. His answer: The way my Son loves is the way you are to love.

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, an expert of the law asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus asks the man what is written in the law. The man recites this scripture,“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”

He also asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”

This is how Jesus responds, “’A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:25-37 paraphrased)

What if this story took place in the 21st century? It might look a little different. What if the story went something like this…

A group of angry protesters saw a person who had been badly beaten on the side of the road. But he didn’t share their beliefs. Maybe he’s gay. Maybe he’s a Christian. Maybe he’s black. Maybe he was actually born she. Maybe he’s a police officer. Or maybe it’s a woman who is pro-choice. Fill in the blank however you choose. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is this: everyone mentioned are human beings. Everyone mentioned is a neighbor.

What did Jesus say again? Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

As human beings, neighbors and countrymen, do we not have more commonality than differences?

Think about that for a minute.

We all need love, acceptance, freedom, understanding, and protection.

Okay, about this time you might be thinking I’m just spouting some 1960’s style rhetoric spawned from lyrics like the popular Beatles song, “Love is All You Need. Love, love, love, love.” (blah, blah, blah!) As if we can take our complex issues and opinions, wrap us all up tight in a love quilt, and then Presto! Problems solved!

Nothing could be farther from the truth. I know it’s not that easy. In fact, it’s pretty darned tough. But that is what love is. Love is tough. Take a look at a portion of this familiar Bible passage known as The Love Chapter.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Let’s just start with the first one: Patient. Having patience is HARD! Ask any parent. What about this one: Love keeps no records of wrongs. Don’t we tend to remember more of how we were mistreated than when someone does or says something kind? It’s our sinful human nature.

My friends, I’m not proposing some warm and fuzzy or mystical ideology, here.

Let’s be practical. Love takes effort and self-discipline. And quite frankly, we are not capable of true love without tapping into the source of love, God Almighty, who IS love. And by the way, God is practical, relevant, and current with the times. He knows all about what we tweet and post.

From the start of the campaigning up to now, we’ve witnessed deplorable, unloving behavior. It didn’t matter which “side” you were on, we were all disgusted.

So, why then, are we continuing the same slanderous, cruel, and divisive behaviors?

Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:11 (The Love Chapter)

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

I ask you, no, I beg you—let’s stop acting like children! Spoiled, rotten children who have not gotten their way. And I’m not just referring to Millennials either.

I mean really, is this how we teach our children to handle conflict? To throw a fit, to throw a fist, to fire a weapon, to take a life, to bully, to use our words as weapons, name calling like crybaby snowflakes?

Our children are watching. The entire world is watching.

And why is the world watching? Because the United States of America is a world superpower. I say that not in pride, but in humility. For as quoted by Benjamin Parker,

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

All Americans have a responsibility to do this thing right. Whether or not your chosen candidate won, this is OUR country. We must come together in unity and love.

“…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” ~Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, The Gettysburg Address.

Perish from the earth? Perish the thought! Could it be possible that division could tear us apart, literally?

 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

~Jesus Christ 

Frightening! Our “united” states are not united. We are dangerously divided. It is said that all negative emotions are rooted in fear. Negative emotions are on display—broadcasted across media every single day.

Are our individual fears worth the collective loss?

My friends, we can show love and respect to a person without having to agree with them. I’m not in any way saying as Christ followers we should bend, twist or change the Word of God in order to condone sinful behaviors and lifestyles. But isn’t being hateful toward another person sin too? Unloving behavior towards others that don’t agree with us has led our country to division. We are grieved, angry, and vulnerable to failure.

The way forward is for each of us to look inward and then upward.

Look inward and face our anger, biases, assumptions, and prejudices. Look upward to God Almighty for forgiveness, grace, wisdom, unity, peace and LOVE.

Reconciliation is more important than legislation. Americans must learn how to communicate respectfully and nonviolently. We must look to see what we have in common. Every idea from the right is not wrong. Nor is every ideology from the left wrong. We must look for the things each can teach us and find common ground. We must love our neighbors, our countrymen, as ourselves.

Loving our neighbor, despite our differences is the only way to make America great again because…


“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one. Please use the comments below to share respectfully what’s on your mind.

Because of the internet, I have many readers in other parts of the world. First of all, I’d like to say thank you for reading. Secondly, I ask if you would please join me in prayer for The United States of America.

This post is linked to#LMMLinkup at,



It’s February and love is in the air. Hallmark, Hershey’s, and Zales have made a fortune reminding us of our need for love (and their products to express it!).

I don’t mean to be a wet blanket here, but love is, well...tough.

Most of us have heard the term tough love. But what does it really mean? And can a Christian be both tough and loving at the same time?

Before we dive in, let’s tackle the word tough or we will miss the idea of the term entirely.

Tough can be construed as a positive or negative term. It’s positive when we view it through the lens of one being able to handle whatever life throws at them because they are tough, able to withstand. Strong.

Or tough can have a negative connotation when we view it as a trial or a hardship.
He is going through a tough season right now. We shy away from that kind of tough.

The tough I’m referring to doesn’t swing on either side of the proverbial pendulum. We tend to get caught up in our human perception of what tough love might be. Perhaps we see a Drill Sergeant in the Army who shouts obscenities, breaking a person down in order to make them strong. That’s not God!

The kind of tough love I’m talking about is not human. It cannot be understood by the flesh. It is completely spiritual and completely complete. Love is of God. God is love (1 John 4:7-8). Everything God does is impelled and influenced by His love.

The Bible uses different words for love. Some of these words mean “affectionate love”; others indicate “friendship”; and still others, “sexual love.” There is a distinct word for the type of love that God displays. The Greek for it is agape, and it refers to a benevolent love that seeks the best for the loved one. Agape is selfless. It seeks only to benefit the other. This kind of love is what Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 13, also known as The Love Chapter.

Loving someone with God’s love doesn’t mean being a doormat like we might think when we remember Jesus’ words of “turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:39). Nor does it mean turning a blind eye or turning away from relationships altogether.

God’s kind of love says each one of us is worth it. Each one of us is worth loving no matter what. And the “no matter what”includes sacrifice—enduring, even unto death. God’s love for sinners is why Christ died on the cross (we are all sinners). That kind of love is radical. That kind of love is tough. And that is the kind of love God wants us to grasp personally so that we can express it relationally. The question is: how? How do I love the way God does—especially when others disappoint and hurt?

The best way to observe tough love in action is to observe how God dealt with people in scripture. God is our ultimate role model and example. Once we have a biblical view of God’s tough love, then we can understand how to apply His principles to our relationships.

How God Uses Tough Love And So Should We

God Communicates Verbally

Whenever God’s people rebelled against Him in scripture, He always spoke to them first. Take a look at one example:

When King Manasseh led the entire nation of Israel into idolatry, “the Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen” (2 Chron. 33:10). God’s love reached out with words in order to spare the nation from the trouble ahead.

Words are God’s gentle but tough way to draw His people back to Himself. The Lord said of His people, “I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love” (Hos. 11:4). God’s gentle way is why He tells us, “By long forbearance, a ruler is persuaded, and a gentle tongue breaks a bone” (Prov. 25:15).

We Must Communicate Verbally First

We must not assume others know when they have hurt or wronged us. Neither is it healthy to avoid communication altogether or use passive aggressive behavior to get our point across. We should pray and examine ourselves first (Matthew 7:5), then proceed to speak the truth gently in love, giving the person an opportunity to respond. Confrontation is tough, but a necessary part of tough love.

God Asks For A Decision And Waits For A Response

Here is another example from scripture: The prophet, Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal. He first used tough love by verbally confronting the people and then asked them to make a decision. Elijah asked, “‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21). Then Elijah confronted the idolaters so that the people had sufficient time to make their decision. The Lord doesn’t say choose and then the moment someone refuses to choose He smashes them like a bug. No, He gives people “time to repent” (Rev. 2:21).

We Must Patiently Wait For A Response  

Waiting is not easy, but a necessary component of tough love. Real love waits and hopes that words of correction will take hold of the heart.

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:15-20). Notice that it was love that motivated Jesus to verbally rebuke His people and yet love also waited at the door for them to hear His voice and respond. We too must give our loved ones an opportunity to respond.

If there is no change after your conversation, it doesn’t mean to sweep the problem under the rug, implement passive aggressive punishments, or other unhealthy and ineffective ways to deal with a problem. It means you must revisit the same conversation. Psalm 106 is an example of God speaking over and over to His people.

God Takes Indirect And Direct Action

Some of God’s actions are hard to handle, but His sole purpose is to bring a wayward soul back to Him.

He might use the circumstances around a rebellious person such as when He withheld rain from the Israelite’s so their crops would die (Deut 11:17). The Lord is the one who blessed the people with the rain in the first place. Here, we see Him withholding the blessing of rain (indirect action) to get the attention of His people.

When God’s words, patience, and indirect action do not produce the necessary changes, the tough love increases.He will bring direct action and allow consequences of the person’s rebellion to come against them. Again, He does this because He desires the best for His people (Psalm 84:11).

Maybe your thinking, is this kind of correction really a sign of God’s love? YES!

Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,  and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Hebrews 12:6

We Must Take Indirect and Direct Action

When my sons were teenagers, I taught them to do their own laundry. The thing is, they really didn’t enjoy doing laundry so, they would just wear dirty shirts, jeans, and very, very smelly socks over and over. I tried speaking to them first. Still, they refused to keep up with cleaning their clothes. Rather than nag, (I should say after nagging didn’t work) I decided to let the consequences eventually catch up.

When my boys took an interest in girls, their desire for clean clothes shifted from unimportant to very important. But then another problem occurred. Often, when I needed to do my own laundry, I would find moldy wet clothes in the washer. I first spoke to the boys, warning them. When the behavior continued, I told the boys they would have to pay for the soap they were wasting. They didn’t like it, but they paid. Unfortunately, I was still finding wet clothes in my machine.

Finally, I took a very direct approach. I gave both boys a list of laundromats in our area. They were no longer allowed the privilege of using my machine even if they had bought the soap. Of course, I was not popular with my boys for quite some time. Yeah, they were quite angry with me. Today they understand completely.

Ask For Help

Sometimes we must call on others when implementing tough love. We should ask a trusted friend or an elder at church for help. Doing this is an indirect way of allowing others to encourage or admonish your loved one. The biblical example is found in Matthew 18:15-17. In this passage, Jesus taught His disciples that when a conflict would arise (when not if) between two people the first step was for the offended person to go to the other alone and explain the offense. If that didn’t bring repentance and change, he should take another person with him and try again. If this approach failed to bring any change then you should take the last step of asking your pastor to go with you to approach him or her. This could also mean getting some good Christian counseling. 

I am convinced many Christians have bought into the world’s misguided concept of love. Love doesn’t mean getting your way. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is give people a wake-up call. If we have fallen asleep while driving and are heading toward a cliff, would we prefer other drivers on the road to allow us to continue on our way? Of course not! We would thank the person who came alongside our car and rammed into it. If the result is saving our lives or relationships, then it is the most loving thing they could do. That is tough love.

Remember, tough love always begins with prayer then speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Tough love is never offensive or harsh when it speaks. Tough love is strong and yet kind and stands up for what is right (1 Corinthians 13:4) Tough love doesn’t play games or use passive aggression. It doesn’t force, manipulate or beg. Tough love is gracious and ready to forgive.

Yes, tough love is tough. But that is the kind of love that endures—just like our merciful God’s love.

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts below.
In Christ’s love,

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