Sunday, June 28, 2015

Choosing Your Ending

Forgive me if I age myself right now, but do you remember those books in which you were able to choose various outcomes with each chapter, ultimately choosing the destiny of your character? I loved those books. I loved them because if I didn't like the outcome, I could go back, reread a few chapters and alter the ending to one that I prefer. 

How often do you wish you could do that with your day? Your week? Your year? Your life?

The shortened version of my lengthy story is this: my husband and I met when we were sophomores in high school, and we got married only 3 years after we graduated. We promised to finish college, we didn't. We thought we'd wait a while to have children, we didn't. We thought we could handle life, we couldn't.  We endured many hardships, many disappointments in each other and many broken promises. To sum it up: we spent several years of our marriage wishing we weren't married to each other. There were many times I wanted to reread a couple chapters and reroute our destiny.

"If only I knew then what I know now..."

How many times have you said that? There are so many things I would've changed and there are so many things I admit to my preteen daughter (for example, "wait until you finish college before getting married, and get your career started before you have kids"). But when I give these little pearls of wisdom to my daughter, she meets me with, "but then you wouldn't have what you do now."

She's right. If I would've gone back and rerouted the characters in my own story, I wouldn't have what I do right now.  I wouldn't be where I am. Sure, it took me 13 years to complete my associates degree from the local junior college, and I haven't even moved towards a bachelor's degree, and I've had the same job for the last 19 years...but honestly, I wouldn't change a thing.

Here's why: I know my story was written by God.

What would you go back and change if you could? Would you go back to chapter 8 and choose a different path? God certainly hopes that you wouldn't choose a different path because He has been writing your story with the hopes that you won't alter the ending. Unlike the author of those choose your own ending books, God is hoping you won't try out different endings.

The books provided something we all wish we could do: go back. Regroup. Pick a different course. Be better satisfied. But, if you were like me, I reread every ending, even if I was totally satisfied with the first one. I needed to know what was at the end of each path to see if I really chose the better ending. The problem with having the choice of alternate endings meant that I wouldn't really be satisfied with just knowing there was another option, I needed to explore it. Otherwise I would dwell on it, I would think about it. I would wonder, and I would assume that my ending wasn't the better one.

Let me give you an example: during that time that my husband and I didn't want to be married to each other, we separated. The kids and I moved in with my parents while he stayed at our house. I began seeing another man who was completely opposite of my husband. I swore I was in love, I was convinced that I was going to divorce my husband and spend my life with this other man. And then, God happened. And now, years later, my husband and I are going to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. 

But guess what I do when we hit a rough patch? My mind goes back to my book of alternate endings. "What if I would've chosen a different path? What if things would've worked out between me and that guy? What if I had gone away to college? What if, what if, what if...." I catch myself revisiting the past chapters of my story. I begin imagining new endings, alternate paths and new characters. What a dangerous place to be in the land of "what if's."

But when I stop to realize that God is the author of my story, it relieves me from wondering about the alternate endings. Because I know that His story for me is perfect. Even with the trials, the hard moments and the occasional loneliness, I know it's a part of my perfectly written story.

Think about your favorite book; doesn't have to be a lengthy novel, even a short story, but think about it. Why was it your favorite story? Did the underdog come out a winner? Did the hero find his strength during battle? Did the ending surprise you?

I'm willing to bet that the reason your favorite book or character came to mind is because you fell in love with the character. You were rooting for her when she was in the midst of a difficult time. You kept reading because her character was being developed along the way. Her trial is what built her. Her battle became her legacy. 

You are the hero in God's story.
He is in love with your character.
He is rooting for you in difficult times.
Together you are creating your legacy.

God is writing the most perfect story. There's no need for alternate endings because no other path will lead to his ending for you. Don't revisit past chapters. Don't try to go back and take a peek at a different ending. Your story is being written by the most perfect author. You are where you are supposed to be right now. If you're in the middle of a battle, if you're facing hardship, this is the climax of the story. This is the part where your character is further developed, and you're no longer just a character in a book, but the hero of the story. If you're in a good place you can look back on times of hardship and recognize your character strengths as a result. Like any good book the battle is what develops the character.

Don't look back. Keep reading.
God has the most outstanding ending for you -the hero of His story. 



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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Talking the Talk - part 2

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” Titus 2:7-8

I love Pinterest.  I once saw a post on Pinterest that read, “live in such a way that should anyone speak badly of you, nobody would believe it.”  Sounds like the modern day version of Paul’s words above.  

I am one who is greatly affected by words.  Whether it’s the spoken word or written word, one can either make my day or destroy my week simply by the words used.  Our words are powerful.  The NIV bible has an approximate 727, 969 words, which I like to think of as the longest love letter I have ever received.

God’s words are powerful and convicting.  Rarely do I read a scripture and think to myself, “eh, that didn’t do anything for me.”  And, if I do feel that way when reading scripture, it’s because of my own closed heart. But even during periods of my closed heartedness, God continues to speak love to me.  His word never changes. Even on my worst days, God still pours His love onto me. His talk doesn’t change depending on my behavior.  There will never be a day that I can say, “God didn’t love me today.” He loves me in such a way that I could never speak badly of Him or His love.

Why do you think Paul instructed us to act in the same manner? Because we are the living example of God’s love. Our words and our speech are descriptive of God’s love. And guess who hears us…everyone. 

Do you speak love with your words? If someone treats you badly, do continue to speak with the integrity and soundness of speech that Paul describes? Or does your speech change?  

I am forever having to catch my tongue. My husband, a non-believer, carefully listens to my words. Not because he’s keeping a tally of my wrongs, but because he knows that my character is representative of God.

There have been plenty of times when I have snapped, when I have been hurtful with words, and when I have been completely out of character. Know what hurts the most?  The truth.  When my husband says to me, “…and you call yourself a Christian…”  Nothing will humble me faster than hearing that truth.  Because he’s right.  I call myself a Christian. A disciple of Jesus Christ. But my actions and my claim are not matching up.

How about you?  Are your words matching your claim?

How do you respond when someone sins against you? How do you respond to someone else’s “bad day?”
How would God’s word look if He spoke without love on our bad days? 
Yikes. I know I wouldn’t be motivated to get to know Him or desire to serve Him.
But because He loves me unconditionally, because He speaks to me with love, it compels me to try harder for Him. It motivates me to get closer to Him.

Speak with love today. Especially to those who sin against you. Let your words motivate them; let your speech spark their curiosity about the God you serve.

You represent the living God. You are His voice. You are His deliverer.
He depends on you – His daughter, His joy, His Princess and his most prized possession.
Speak with His love being your motivation, and love with His crown being your own.


(This article was originally written by Jennifer Osler and featured as a guest blog post for
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Walking the walk (part 1)

I know you've heard it before:

“You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?”

In other words, “are you for real?”


When we claim to live differently, we have people watching, some waiting, to see if we fail.  To see if we are what we say we are.  To see if we’re the real thing.


This is especially true of Christians.  In a world where negativity and pessimism are the standard trains of thought, claiming to live in God’s light immediately makes you thetarget for a skeptical audience.  Suddenly, co-workers, neighbors, friends, relatives and immediate family members are watching you.


“Let’s see if she’s just talk.”


For some women, like myself, the most skeptical spectator lives in our home and shares our bed: our husband.


There is a unique group of women out there who are, what I like to call, “spiritually single.”  We are married women whose husbands have yet to know God on a profoundly personal level.


My situation is such:

My husband attends church only when our children are performing during the Easter and Christmas services, he questions God’s love and goodness, and he thinks the church is “after” his money.  Overall, my husband is very skeptical of God.


Neither of us were believers before we married.  We were smooth sailing doin’ our own thing.  Then, before we hit our one-year wedding anniversary, I pledged my heart, soul and life to God and I made the decision to get baptized (amen!).  


That was 14 years ago.    


For many years, I focused on what my husband was doing wrong as a non-believer. I focused on the loneliness I felt, particularly on Sunday mornings or other church events. I focused on my jealousy and envy of the women at church and their spiritually minded husbands. I focused on the lack of Godly leadership in my house.  I focused on my husband’s faults, his shortcomings and his sins.


I focused on everything but me.  I was so focused on what my husband wasn’t doing, that I neglected to see what I was doing.


I was ignoring my audience.  I wasn’t being righteous, only self-righteous.  I was only talking the talk.  My husband saw the “real” me, and the real me wasn’t the Godly woman I was claiming to be.  


Oh sure, at church, in public, around friends or strangers, my halo glistened as bright as the morning sun on a summer day.  But at home, my husband saw that I talked the talk, I didn’t walk the walk.  He saw my ugly jealously manifesting into anger and sharp words.  He saw my loneliness reveal itself in the denial of forgiveness.  He saw my envy present itself as an unloving wife.  


What was my example showing him?  Exactly what he assumed: I was a hypocrite.


Our actions speak loudly.  While we may think we are tame with our tongues, our behaviors speak for us.  And not just at home; everywhere we travel, the example we set is what translates God’s love to those who don’t know Him yet.


It took me a while (and a lot of prayer) to realize that I don’t need to envy anyone. I am not alone.  I have a powerful God who loves me more than any man on earth could ever dare love me.  And He has surrounded me with a family of believers and a sisterhood of faith.


That’s when I realized: I can do this.  I can walk this walk.  


You can do this.  You can do more than talk the talk.  

You own this walk like Chanel models during fashion week.

Walk on, girl.  Set the example for others to watch and follow.


(This article was originally written by Jennifer Osler and featured as a guest blog post for










Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Cool Kids

So. We have new next door neighbors. I walked over to their front door to introduce myself.  And there in the doorway stood a young, pretty, fit mom with one kid grabbing at her leg and the other hanging off her hip as she flashed an effortless smile.

I could feel the insecurities pouring over me. I’m a short brunette, far from fit and if I had children dangling from my extremities I’d be in tears. We talked for a few minutes and she was sweet, funny and personable. Great. My new next door neighbor is the ideal woman.

A couple days later, both of our families happened to be outside enjoying a gorgeous evening. I happily said hello to my new neighbor and introduced her to my husband. They quickly find out that they have a common interest in a show that I don’t particularly like to watch. They start talking about characters and plot twists and “what’s going to happen now?” I mention that I’m reading a book based on another television series she’s watching, and she says she doesn’t like to read. She’s making my husband laugh. I feel myself shrinking back because I can’t join in on the conversation. Then her equally attractive husband strides over to the fence that separates our two yards. He’s tall, handsome and personable, and he quickly finds that he has much in common with my husband as they talk about repairing things around the house. I feel lost amongst this forest of legs that surrounds me as their laughter circles around things I know nothing about.

And just like that….I shut down. We head back into our house and I can feel myself curl into a corner of insecurity. My mind starts telling my heart that this woman is going to steal my husband; my husband is going to look forward to talking to her; she’s a stay at home mom and with my husband’s firefighter schedule, there will be days when he is home and I’m at work, they could hang out and I would never know. Before I knew it, I had imagined the kids and I living with my parents as my husband moved on with the blonde peach next door.

Then I find out something even more disheartening. She’s a blogger. A fashion blogger. With a gabillion followers (ok, not a gabillion, but hundreds of thousands). So she’s pretty, funny and has a following. She’s that cool, popular girl in high school. And she’s living next door to me.

I sent one of my closest friends a text, asking her to pray for me because I could feel deep insecurity seeping into my soul. 

This is what I received in return: 

“You are amazing and beautiful in your own right PLUS you have the light of God shining through you. Remember, things may look good from the outside but her heart may be hurting for God. You should share YOUR blog with her. Do you trust God? Because he put the perfect neighbor for you right next door so that you can impact each other’s lives and all draw closer to God.”

Amen for friends who are close to God!

One of the things that fuels my insecurity is not only the world’s perception of beautiful, fun and cool…but it’s also knowing that my husband is of the world. And believing that he won’t think I’m cool or fun because I am not of the world.

I hate to acknowledge it, but the world just doesn't think Christians are cool. Think about it: we're known as boring, prude rule followers. We don't get drunk, we don't cuss, and we don't prance around in bikini tops all day, so of course the world lumps us into the non-cool category. And, like me, you may first deny feeling insecure about this stereotype, but c'mon, there have been times when you've thought, "am I missing out? I don't want them to think I'm a dork."

It's high school all over again, except instead of the popular jock and cheerleader leading the pack, it's the enemy. And he loves to feed off of our insecurities.

Now maybe you're not like me, and that's awesome...I'm trying to be more like you. But for me, my insecurities have always played a major role in everything I've ever done, and everything I have not done. 

Insecurity is much deeper than just a feeling of inferiority or awkwardness. It becomes people-pleasing. It becomes fear. It becomes anger. Resentment. Jealousy. Nervousness. Anxiety.  Repression.

Going back to my blogging next door neighbor, when my close friend suggested I share my blog with my neighbor, my immediate thought was, "no way!" My succeeding thoughts were, "she'll think it's silly. It's nothing compared to her fashion blog. She's gonna think I'm one of those 'bible thumpers.' She's the Ren McCormack and I'm the Reverend Moore of Footloose." The thought of opening up my mouth to talk blog shop with her had my stomach in knots, all while I resented their move into the house next door.

With all those thoughts running through my head, I missed the most important one: "...her heart may be hurting for God." 

You know the funny thing about this? I prayed for my potential neighbors as soon as I learned that the house was being put up for sale. I prayed for neighbors that would be a good fit for my family. I prayed for them. And, boy, did God deliver.

Do you get trapped into overwhelming insecurities? Do you become a people-pleaser? Do you become angry? Jealous? Nervous?

Let's escape the burden of insecurity:

1. God thinks we're cool

Ok. I know that may sound conceited and self-righteous, but it's not. It's the truth. God thinks that you and I are downright fabulous. Jesus says,

"...I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:10

What exactly does "rejoice" mean? It means, "to feel or show great joy or delight." The synonyms for rejoice are: happiness, pleasure, joy, delight, elation, jubilation, celebration, exuberance and exultation.

When I hear the word "rejoice," it's usually tied into a Christmas song or I'm reminding myself to rejoice during times of trial as told to do in James 1:2.  Rarely do I ever think of the celebration God held for me when I turned from my sinful ways and chose to follow him. Rarely do I remind myself of the happiness, delight and joy God felt and continues to feel for me.

The day that you made the decision to repent and make Jesus the lord of your life, there was a party in heaven like you wouldn't believe. There was so much excitement over you. God was so excited that you chose him because He chose you long before you were a twinkle in your mother's eye. 

The creator of all things. The Alpha and the Omega. The King of Kings. The Lord. He thinks I'm spectacular. He thinks you're spectacular. He thinks we are the epitome of cool. And He rejoices over us

2. I have a purpose 

God thinks we're so cool that He gave us a job to do. He gave us a purpose. He says,

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth.  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:10-11

God had a clear purpose for his word. And He does not expect it to return to Him empty. Imagine writing a diary filled with every characteristic of your heart, and your detailed hopes and plans for the future of your children and loved ones. You want to make sure it goes into the hands and hearts of those you trust, and those whom you know will carry out your words. You wouldn't give it to just anybody. Why not? Because you have a purpose for it being shared.

God trusts you with his word. He looked at your heart and said, "I can trust her. I can rely on her. She will fulfill my purpose. She will deliver my message." Have you ever thought about that? God trusts you with His word. I think sometimes we forget the significance of the bible. It's not just some book to collect dust on a shelf. It's not just a family heirloom. It's not just something hotels throw in a nightstand drawer (do they still do that?). It's the word of God. It's the detailed telling of his heart, his hopes and his plans. And He made sure you were a recipient of it. 

We have a job to do. We have a purpose. And if we allow our insecurities to consume our hearts, how can we achieve the purpose for which He sent his word? 

3. There's no prom queen in heaven

Cliques don't end once we leave high school. They continue into college, the workplace, and even the mommy & me play dates at the local parks. But I know with confidence that when we enter heaven, the cliques stop. There are no cliques in heaven. There's no Prom Queen or Most Popular or Best Smile or Best Blogger of all Time. Because we are all the same. All of our sin is the same, and all of the forgiveness we receive is the same. 

The only thing God is concerned about is our hearts. He doesn't see the tall, fit blonde that I see. And He doesn't see the short, unfit brunette that I see in the mirror.  The only thing He sees are two hearts that both need Him. He looks at her and says, "she needs me."  And then he looks at me and says, "she needs me." There's no competition between us when God looks at our hearts. I am the only one who has placed each of us on a ballot for voting.  

"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

God doesn't see what I see next door to me. And God doesn't see what I see when I look in a mirror. In His mind, we are simply two women. One who knows Him, and one who might want to know Him. And guess which one He is depending on?

To me, my next door neighbor is the equivalent of the high school prom queen. But to God, she's just a heart that He's hoping his daughter will draw out and bring near to Him. 


My insecurities make me want to shut down and hide in a corner while I make a list of everything that is wrong with me. My insecurities cause me to think about altering my character so that I can fit in with the crowd. My insecurities hold me back from sharing the truth about our incredible God.

My insecurities rob me of my purpose. 

I have a purpose.
You have a purpose.

God made sure that you were a recipient of His word because he knows that you will deliver his message. Our God, the creator of all things, trusts you and relies on you. He thinks you're the cat's meow, the cream of the crop, the bees knees! So tell that little voice in your head (the enemy's whispers) to stop talking. You run with the only clique that is God approved. And you have a job to do.

Drown your insecurities with confidence from God. There's a reason He chose you. Now it's time to show the world why He did.