Sweet, Sweet Summertime


At the end of May, Brendan and I celebrated our twelfth anniversary with a lovely dinner at Trattoria Mangia in Naples, followed by an airboat ride the next day and a trip to Seed to Table where we enjoyed browsing their massive market/food court and eating a farm raised lunch. Call me crazy, but I thought my “raw lasagna,” which was completely plant based, would still be cooked. It was delicious, but hard to fully appreciate since it was cold. I couldn’t get past the mental expectation of a hot dish. But in spite of that surprise, we had a wonderful time.

With June arriving in Southwest Florida, we’ve seen flowers and produce take off and summer afternoon rains return. A baby mockingbird sat at our front door the other day, pecking at his reflection in the little window next to the door.

Hello, summer!

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22

We can be sure that our God is faithful in every season of physical and spiritual growth, whether circumstances are pleasant or challenging. His timing is perfect and steadfast. And it definitely has been a season of God growing us and preparing us for exciting things to come.

Summer also welcomes vacation days with time for book lovers to indulge!

My NEW RELEASE, Where Blows the Wind, is available! Starting JUNE 15th in time for your summer reading, and to celebrate summer, the e-book will be FREE through JUNE 19th! That alone is something to celebrate. The paperback version will soon follow.

In case you have yet to check it out, Where Blows the Wind is book 2 in the Winds of Redemption series and follows the story of Tyrina Louise Duval whose tragic, shameful past keeps her from searching for her siblings who were all separated in childhood. But, when author Dylan Davis shares his miraculous story of reconnecting with his missing daughter, Tyrina begins to hope for a similar miracle. She also learns to trust God and care for Dylan. But will his new book be the catalyst for betrayal or redemption?

A Season of Rest


Last week I posted about resting in the Lord. This week I’ve read other posts on the same subject. I’m sensing a theme here!

One post was by author Laura Thomas. Her post was so helpful and practical, I received permission from her to re-post it here. I hope you will find it encouraging as you seek ways to REST.


It happens every year. We ease ever so gently from the long winter season into the glory of spring, but then summer seems to land in our laps overnight. Hot, lacking schedule, and waiting like a panting puppy for all the fun to happen. While summer evokes dreamy visions of relaxation and rejuvenation, if we’re not intentional about scheduling SOUL REST into our plans, we could fall into fall exhausted and dried up. So, let’s contemplate the beauty and benefits of a “soul rest summer”…

“Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.” Charles Spurgeon

It’s true, REST revives the soul. Rest that reaches into our marrow and beyond, more than physical, mental, and emotional; that complete and utter rest for our battered, frazzled, hopelessly forgetful souls.

This summer, we may be caring for tiny tots or elderly loved ones or working a full-time job. We may be chomping at the bit to dive back into everything wonderful as pandemic restrictions loosen or we could be fearful to wade back out into the ocean of people and activities and unknowns. Anxious or antsy, here are SIX “S” words to help us savor summer soul rest:

  • SIMPLIFY: Let’s set hours, days, or even weeks aside this summer to unplug. Whether from work or social media or the bombardment of news or entertainment, summer is the perfect time to settle into the joy of being in the moment. Everything will still be happening as per usual when we return, refreshed and renewed. Avoiding constant phone notifications and social media posting pressure removes a whole layer of stress and makes life in the present so much sweeter and simpler.
  • SABBATH: Schedules might be skewed in this season but we can still set aside one special day each week to spend time with God, soak in His goodness, enjoy fellowship, eat amazing food, hang out with loved ones, get out into creation—less job and more joy, less hustle and more holy. Rich and rewarding nourishment for our souls.
  • SOCIALIZE: Even as an introvert, I know I need my people. We are made for connection, real connection with actual humans. We need laughter and deep meaningful conversations. We know our limits when it starts to be draining, but let’s fill our cups with life-giving relationships and allow it to be a true balm for our souls, especially after the year or so we’ve all just experienced!
  • SOLITUDE: Arrange some alone time. Pray with purpose. Go for a walk. Take a nap. Listen to music. Read a book. For my fellow booklovers, let’s make a list of books for summer reading that will stir our imaginations, challenge our intellects, make us swoon, grow our faith—whatever fills our souls.
  • SCRIBE: It doesn’t matter if you’re a “writer” or not, journaling our thoughts or prayers or devotions or dreams is a beautiful practice. It can help articulate or make sense of what’s on our hearts and in our heads. Making a gratitude list enables us to literally count our blessings and see all the good things minute and magnificent on the page in black and white. It can change our perspective and posture immeasurably.
  • SATURATE: Immerse our minds and saturate our souls with Scripture. This is time well spent, always. For we not only learn more about the heart of God, but we also find comfort, encouragement, love, acceptance, guidance, and refreshment beyond compare. We have the privilege of having copious versions at our disposal to read or even listen to. With so much out there vying to saturate our minds, only God’s Word can satisfy and give us the truth and peace we crave.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30

In these comforting and familiar verses, Jesus offers soul rest to all who are yoked to Him, who follow Him as believers. It results in much-needed rhythms of grace in our day-to-day lives. Breathing room for our souls. Peace in the depths of our hearts.

Friend, as I write these words I know I need to heed them myself. This summer is shaping up to be a busy yet beautiful season for us and I want to go into it carving out time for God, for others, and for my weary soul to find rest. I hope you will, too. Feel free in the comments below to share other ways we can encourage one another in this…

Have a glorious summer!

P.S. I’d love to hop into your inbox once a month with “Laura’s Letters”—my newsletter complete with a book giveaway, book reviews, recipe, and a little soul encouragement. Sign up HERE! 

Do You Need REST?


During these last six months of illness, I’ve found the need to rest is much greater. Partially because I don’t sleep well at night, but also due to the fact that my body isn’t well. Fatigue is ongoing.

But recently, I’ve heard God speaking the word REST to me at every turn. In his word, in his whispers to me, and in songs, he keeps impressing this idea of rest on me. I finally realized that it had much more to do with my spirit than my physical body.

There are so many places in the Bible that indicate rest.

  • The Lord leads us beside still waters and makes us lie down in green pastures. (Psalm 23)
  • In Genesis, God rested from creating the world. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t tired, but spoke from a place of completion.
  • The Bible refers to God’s people entering his rest. (Exodus and Hebrews)
  • David, the Psalmist, talks about sleeping in peace. (Psalm 4:8)
  • Jesus tells anyone who is weary and burdened to come to him and swap places. (Matthew 30)

Resting is actually about:

  • being in God’s presence
  • letting him hold us and everything in our lives
  • waiting on him
  • trusting that he’s “got this”
  • not stressing about the outcome of situations
  • believing that the God of the universe is holding onto me in love and he will not let go of me

It’s about being able to be still because we know that HE is God. (Psalm 46:10)

No matter what things look like. Despite the possible “what if’s.” In spite of the illness, or bank account, or silence from a loved one.

As I pondered this, I believe God gave me this acronym to encompass what he was trying to get me to embrace.

R – Refreshed. When I rest in Him, I will feel refreshed rather than weary.

E – Established. He is the one who establishes me and everything in my life.

S – Stay. If I want to find rest, I need to stay in his presence.

T – Trust. It all comes down to trusting him. When I know how much he loves me, I can trust that he has my back.

So if you find you are in need of REST, remember that while a nap might help our physical body, true rest comes from a spirit trusting in and leaning on God.

What We Can’t See


Here in Florida, we’re warming up! We’ve had some 90 degree days, but this past week, my son flew to California and had his flight changed because of cold weather in Dallas! Wow. I forget that snow flurries still happen in May in other parts of the country.

Still, for many of us, things are starting to bloom. In my little patio garden, my tomato plant is climbing places, and I can’t contain it. We have a number of plumeria plants growing and producing lovely, fragrant pink tinged blooms. Even a chrysanthemum that I thought was long dead has sprung to life. We just never know what roots are growing where we can’t see them. Maybe you’ve found, like I have that things are blooming in your life, your heart, and mind as well. That new thing that God’s doing?

Maybe you’re seeing evidence bursting forth like May flowers. After the trials of the past year, life is beginning again. Revival is in the air.

“The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.” Isaiah 35:1-2

I pray that the roots that were growing in the dormant, dark, lonely places of your life are giving way to blossoming beauty. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t despair – it will come! The length of every season is different and each zone has it’s own timing. You may be in snow flurries still while some are heading into summer weather, but God’s faithful and does not change.

As I mentioned last month, something in bloom around here is Book 2 in the Winds of Redemption series, Where Blows the Wind. Edits are well underway and we’re heading for a mid-June release. I’m pretty excited about the way God redeems the life of the main character, Tyrina Duval.

If you haven’t read it and want to follow the series from the beginning, you can get When the Wind Blows Book 1, on Amazon.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll have advanced reader copies of Where Blows the Wind ready for anyone who would like to be the first to read and hopefully willing to write a review the day it hits the market. If that interests you or someone you know, email me and I’ll make sure to add you to the list.
Laura’s Reading List for this Month

Within This Circle by Deborah Raney – 
A young mother disappears after she has an emotional breakdown brought on by stress and lies she’s believed. *****
Romeo’s Hammer & Romeo’s Fight by James Scott Bell – I love this witty, philosophizing, ex-cage fighter protagonist who has a challenging past. His heart is all compassion even while he tries to (but doesn’t succeed) avoid the trouble that comes his way. *****
Shock and Awe by Christy Barritt – A favorite author whose suspense/mystery books never disappoint. Lantern Cove series. *****
The Cake List by Dianne J. Wilson – A new author for me. Just started reading, but I’m enjoying the witty humor of this story about a woman who has a list she wants to accomplish before she turns the big 30. So far *****

*Rated 3-5 stars – I won’t keep reading something less. 

Tomorrow we celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary. We’re looking forward to some restful, romantic, and fun time together. We believe that God has something growing in us as a couple, and we’re looking forward to seeing what that is. After the miracle of meeting online with Brendan and his children traveling across the world from Australia, we’ve had many challenges, joys, and miracles along the way. God keeps us on our toes as he refines us through the gift of marriage!

One thing I would leave you with is to remember that God is faithful even when we can’t see beneath the surface!

Facing Our Pain


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The pain in our world has escalated to crazy proportions. We need answers. Jesus is it. So today I’m re-posting a previous post because I know how not facing our pain can increase it in our future….

I’ll come straight to the point.

I’ve come to recognize other women like myself who have tried to protect themselves by denying the truth of trauma, abuse or sexual addiction in their lives or their spouses’ lives. But the protection we think we create actually prolongs our pain and hurts those we love as well. Yes, it is painful to deal with our experiences, both present and past, but the cost down the road is much greater if we don’t.

I wish I could shout it.

Look at the fruit of our denial in our children.  I understand the despair, but we can’t be afraid to look at the truth. When we struggle, lost in a hurting, hopeless world, our children also take on our pain. Even if we aren’t aware or think we will keep them from it.

I know. I’ve been there.

I put my kids through hell because I allowed myself to be blind to the abuse in which we were living. I am to blame for my choices that put us there and kept us trapped. Even years later, my heart aches for them. I failed miserably to give them a solid foundation of what healthy relationships look like. They went into their adulthood with tremendous pain and anger behind them and little training of how to navigate a future marriage.

I’ve watched them live my broken life in many ways.

I never intended for my kids to take that kind of past into their future. The pain inflicted upon them was far greater than I imagined. I didn’t realize how badly they were hurt because of the trauma of their parents’ lives.

But I was more afraid of facing my past pain…

…more afraid of being divorced than of an abusive marriage…

…more afraid of what people thought than what my children needed…

…more afraid of my shame than if my family functioned well…

We can’t even count the price for those choices, and the longer it goes on, the higher the cost, as if interest is added.

But there’s good news.

Surrender and repentance changes everything.

God waits for us to surrender to him so he can uncover our festering wounds, bind them with his loving touch, and lead us into a place of healing and wholeness.

We must be willing to open our eyes to the truth, repent of bad choices and turn around into a new way of thinking and living.

God promises us that when we come to him in broken repentance and surrender, he doesn’t condemn or shame us. His love for us, exhibited through Jesus’s death on the cross and resurrection, covers us, soothes our soul and protects us with true safety.

However, doing so requires a difficult choice for us.

We must let go of our pride, fear and self-reliance. We must step out in faith with even a tiny step, believing that God will meet us as he promises. We must allow ourselves to experience the pain of our past and present, grieve the losses and move into our future.

But the exchange for us and our families is worth it.

I think of it like this:

When one of my children was very young, they couldn’t grasp the concept of exchanging their pennies for a coin of equal value. Five pennies seemed much better to them than a nickel, two nickels trumped a dime and no way would they give up any combination of coins for a quarter!

Our perception of what we are giving up is skewed by our limited understanding.

And God gives us even more than an equal share! He offers us a massive sundae dripping with fudge and topped with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry if we will hand over our McDonald’s soft serve cone.

There’s really no comparison, is there?

Be brave. Take action. Step into your future and shed your past.

Make a way for generations after you to be healthier, happier, and living a hot fudge sundae life.

Waiting Well


Do you wait well?

Photo by Enric Cruz Lu00f3pez on Pexels.com

In line, in traffic, for good or bad news? What about for an answer, or promotion, or tax refund?

I confess, I can be impatient, irritated, or dismissive when I’m called on to wait for something. That may be part of why I’ve been entrusted with this season of waiting.

Since October, I’ve been waiting for God to heal me.

I have some mystery illness which my primary doctor has currently speculated might be seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. It has caused swelling all over my entire body (not just joints as is common), numbness in my hands and feet, rashes, dizziness, fatigue and constant pain – either aching, burning, or stabbing me randomly. Mostly at night. So I have a love/hate relationship with sleeping right now. Moving makes me blow up like a puffer fish. Resting causes me to not be able to move. And I’ve been waiting since December to see a rheumatologist. Apparently there aren’t many where I live, and even less that take my insurance.

Did you hear my snort of impatience right then?

Just to make it clear, I’m not complaining. I don’t really think doctors have answers. The few offered haven’t changed anything. (Diet, medicine, activity, etc.) My unique symptoms don’t really match any particular diagnosis. I believe God is my only answer. And I trust him completely. So I’m asking him to help me wait well while I wait for whatever good plan he has to be completed.

At some point, all of us might have to wait for many things – hasn’t this been a season of that? (Sorry to all you who are still waiting for your state or city to open up again!)

But do we know how to wait well?

Here are some of the things I do to wait well:

  • Every morning I choose to thank God for the day he made and rejoice and be glad in it.
  • I start each day with praising him, reading his word, and singing along with worship music.
  • I listen to prophetic words of encouragement.
  • I pray for others.
  • I proclaim what I know to be true about God.
  • I do whatever I am apply to accomplish and let go of the rest. Sometimes that means not washing my hair. (Yuck.)
  • I ask for help when I need it.
  • I let others know how to pray for me.
  • I keep writing books (even though it makes my hands and arms ache).

God is so faithful. He hasn’t allowed my healing to show itself yet (I believe I am healed and waiting for it to show up), but he has shown me so many things. I’m learning to be bolder in prayer. I’ve been alerted to some old resentments I didn’t realize I was harboring against someone who hurt my family. I’m learning to be slower to speak and better at listening. My compassion has increased.

And in the midst of it all, God has helped me write my next book. Yippee! As I write out the last pages, I’m sharing the beginning here with you. Where Blows the Wind is the sequel to When the Wind Blows and now part of a four book series that I never planned, but apparently God did.

So, I hope you enjoy this taste of Where Blows the Wind while you’re waiting for its release on June 15th in time for your summer reading pleasure.

Maybe it will help you wait well. 😉

Where Blows the Wind

The older man had no idea how Tyrina Louise Duval felt about family. How could he? And yet, here he was inviting her to join their gathering. His family of strangers. At least that was the way he put it. Although they all lived in the same building, the group had never met until Hurricane Harriet blew in less than a year ago. The connection between them was obvious. The longing in her heart nearly surpassed her hesitancy. But in the end, she thanked him kindly and turned to leave, flinging a yearning glance over her shoulder as she left.

Now she watched them from her third-floor balcony.

“Ralph Manning,” the man said when he introduced himself and offered to share their story. She imagined it was a remarkable one. No one would guess that the young couple with a baby and the man with the twenty-something girl—from the resemblance she assumed they were truly father and daughter—were not related to the elderly couple. He claimed they met there. Neighbors in this high-rise building of condos. Clearly, no matter how they met, they shared an uncommon love. Tyrina felt it when she walked by. Even from a distance.

Why hadn’t she stayed to listen?

She wanted to. Now she wished she had. To interact with a group that obviously cared so much for each other could only bring joy. Couldn’t it?

Observing them from the safety of her condominium evoked the old pain and longing while reaching an arm out to her with hope. A sad smile tugged at her mouth. Hope brought disappointment. She knew that feeling all too well.

Turning away from the scene below her, she brushed back a stray curl that had escaped from her braid. On humid days like this, her tawny hair tormented her with frizzy strands that barely remained contained in tight braids like the one she wore today. Otherwise, she let her springy locks hang loose down her back and shoulders. She finally learned about ten years ago that fighting her natural born curls was not worth the long hours and money wasted on product. Besides, she believed in being free. And she was trying to be. That included her hair.

Tyrina shook her head at her thoughts. How had her hair determined so much of her identity? For nearly a lifetime, it seemed it was her one claim to real beauty. As a youngster, when her light brown skin brought some snide comments from those lighter or darker than her, confusion took up residence in her heart. Even her grandmother hated that her ebony-skinned son had married a white girl. Tyrina didn’t understand. How could the color of someone’s skin make a difference as to who they were inside?

Confusion ruled her life for as long as she could remember, and not belonging dictated it from the beginning.

Tyrina shook off the reverie.

It was a beautiful afternoon. Exactly the reason she had gone out in the first place. Until she observed the group with Ralph and his friends celebrating something, she’d planned on spending a few hours outside in the warm, but not too hot weather. In late August, cooler days were infrequent in Southwest Florida, so residents took advantage whenever a breezy day lowered the temperature to a reasonable setting. A walk around the grounds or at Fort Myers Beach after church on Sundays gave her time to reflect on the pastor’s message. Every week it seemed that he spoke to her directly. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. She knew it was the way God let her receive the words.

But the past few weeks, no matter what he said, or what she read in her Bible, nothing landed right. Restlessness stirred in her and wouldn’t be quelled.

Reverse the Order


We’ve been conditioned to believe that DOING rather than BEING is the key to our lives. But the truth is that doing doesn’t make us who we are. Who we are makes a place for what we do.

It’s all about identity.

God created everything in the world to be. Each of us is created uniquely special. Our identity is being his child. His son or daughter.

And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Cor. 6:18

That is our identity. It isn’t in what we do, it’s in who we are.

Ephesians 2:8-10 says:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works [what we do], so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork [his unique creation], created in Christ Jesus to do good works [as a result of who we are], which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Emphasis mine

Who we are leads to what we do. Not the other way around.

DOING equal WHO WE ARE

WHO WE ARE > WHAT WE DO (our purpose in God)

This should be good news for someone like it was for me. Even though I knew the truth, this reversal of the order allowed me to see that any striving to do more in my life is only that – striving to do more. But when I rest in who God made me to be and allow him to lead me, what I do comes as a result of who I am.

Do you feel the chains breaking? =)

*all photographs are belong to Laura Bennet

Are You in the Desert?


Recently while reading in Exodus chapter sixteen, I was struck by the name of the desert Moses led the Israelites through.

The Desert of Sin

But what struck me most was what happened there and how much it parallels our lives today. Five points stood out to me. Perhaps if we see ourselves in any of these situations, we’ll recognize that we’re wandering in the Desert of Sin and allow God to lead us out.

While the people of God were in the Desert of Sin they:

  • Grumbled against their leaders. We see that the whole community complained that Moses didn’t know what he was doing and surely must want them to suffer. Leaders aren’t perfect, but if they are humbly seeking God—we can tell by the fruit of their lives—let’s honor and pray for them rather than complain about them. There is a place for questions & discussion in humility, but not prideful arguments (vs.2)
  • Made dramatic declarations of doom and death. They proclaimed they would have been better off in their past (Egypt). Moses intended for them to starve and for everyone to die. How many times have we made declarations based on emotion that had no basis in truth? (vs.2-3)
  • Disobeyed. They decided to rely on their own plan to hoard manna, but that resulted in something putrid and inedible. Obedience provided for them. Leaning on themselves stunk. (vs.20)
  • Ignored God’s instructions. When they dismissed God and relied on themselves, they ended up disappointed. God did exactly what he said, but they didn’t trust him and tried to secure something more for themselves. We can never get more for ourselves than God’s best that he wants and plans to give us. (vs.27)
  • Forced God to keep them wandering. Forty years is a long time. Often we don’t realize that we keep ending up in the same place because we’ve grumbled, made false declarations, disobeyed and ignored God. God intends to lead us into good. The length of time that takes might depend on our response to him. (vs. 35)

Since the beginning of time, man has allowed the enemy to sow seeds of doubt in man’s mind about God. Does he really mean what he says? Can he truly be trusted? Did he actually say that?

Let us not be deceived by the enemy of our souls. God’s plans for us are for good. Even in the most difficult places he will provide whatever we need. We don’t want to be stuck wandering around in the Desert of Sin.

The Joy Set Before Him


“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2-3

It was for us, you and me, that Jesus endured the cross and rose again to life. Because of his sacrifice, we can be in relationship with the living God now in these last days on earth and forever in heaven. Never underestimate the power of his love and grace for us. No matter where we’ve been, what we’ve done, or who we think we are or aren’t, God created us, has a plan for us, and redeemed us through Jesus.

All we have to do is say “Yes. I want that relationship. I’m sorry for going my own way. Thank you, Jesus.”

Four-Letter Words


My husband and I watched a Disney movie recently and noticed how often in this PG rated film four-letter words were spoken. I’m not surprised, just saddened by the way we’ve lowered our standards over the years and especially these past few months.

The Bible says,

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

Using swear words is unwholesome.

Let’s be real, the world doesn’t care. And all of us are human. I’m sure we’ve all gone through a season of “unwholesome” or let a few words fly from our mouths that don’t benefit anyone. I know I have.

But maybe we could replace our thinking of four-letter words. There are plenty that would be more uplifting and would build people up. Here’s a few I’m learning to embrace.

REST – In this crazy, faster than the speed of light teched-out world, we’ve forgotten how to rest and what rest is for. God created rest. He worked to create the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Rest gives us time to process everything in our lives. It creates space for us to dream. We are refreshed when we take time to rest. What if that time of rest was not only for recuperation but for preparation? Beginning each week from a place of rest instead of thinking we need to catch up makes the dreaded Monday, a fun day. Snatches of rest during a day makes us more productive. According to Alex Pang, PhD., something he calls “deliberate rest” is a practice of highly successful people. Maybe God knew what he was talking about when he told us to rest on the Sabbath day and let the land rest every seven years.

LOVE – As the old song says, it’s what the world needs now. Hatred, violence, and fear run rampant in the absence of love. The Bible tells us that God’s perfect love casts out fear, and as followers of Jesus, we’ll be known by our love for others. Being truthful, kind, compassionate, and considerate in how we talk about and to each other as well as how we treat people shows love and changes our world. God IS love. Let’s embrace Him and show love.

MEEK – I’ll bet that’s not one you expected. Meek has gotten a bad rap as meaning weak, pathetic, or a doormat. But it’s true meaning is humble or gentle. Jesus chose humility when he came to earth. He didn’t answer accusations or defend himself when he faced betrayal and a mock trial. His meekness was actually him choosing to control the power he had, lay down his rights for something far more important (relationship with us – let your mind and heart grasp that), and treating people with kindness and gentleness when he had every right to mock or destroy them. If we choose meekness, we will be humble and gentle in our dealings with people.

HOLY – Set apart. Hallowed. Special. Everything of God is holy. He also calls us holy, because he created us in his image, and he calls us to hold holiness as something sacred. That means we honor God. Set him apart as the only God. There is none like him. He is to be praised. And we are to set ourselves apart from anything that doesn’t bring him glory and honor. We also need to honor ourselves and others in the way we speak and act.

HOPE – If one thing the world needs is love, the other is hope. I write and post about Jesus being our hope. He is our only hope, a living hope. No person, situation, government, money, circumstance, etc. can truly offer us hope. When we place our hope in things, we may be temporarily relieved, but eventually disappointed. People fail, things fall apart, circumstances change. God is faithful no matter what. Only Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

WAIT – We might feel like this could be a swear word. We’re used to everything from food to text replies happening in seconds. If our computer takes more than a few seconds to load, we fuss. Stop lights in my town are three to five minutes long (NOT exaggerating!) and people don’t want to wait. I’ve seen more people speed through red lights here than any other place I’ve lived. But learning to wait is good for us. It keeps us from making rash decisions, or saying something in a moment of anger. Waiting means we can let God secure better things for us in his timing than we could ever get for ourselves. We gain more patience as we wait and that makes us more pleasant to be around.

Those are just a few of my new four-letter words. Are there others you’ve been exploring lately?

Let’s change the narrative, as we say these days, and start using some new four-letter words that build up and benefit others as well as ourselves.