Warrior Friends

The rain surrounding the storm Erica poured down as I pulled in a great big hug from my friend Sharon.  We did summer with barely a peep between us.  But as the school year rolled in, it was too unfamiliar to let another week pass.  Without sitting and talking about me & her & kids & school & parenting & our mothers & love & God & change & fear & forgiveness and then finally, when are we meeting next?

We sat together in rain, shine and Florida humidity every other Thursday for the whole 5th grade school year.  Our sacred Thursday meetings are supposed to be as real as the human soul can be.  When we began, we bobbed through months of testing the waters of real.  Can I cry?  Can I call you between Thursday meetings?  Can I tell you the truth about my struggle?  Can I ask you hard questions?  Can you help me decide what to do?  Do I quit or persevere?  We will continue to sit together and share real words among two real women.  Doing real life.  In a real attempt to mirror Jesus.

What I am learning as a person: Take in the beauty of a good friend’s words.  Let them pounce into your heart.  Let them strain out the doubt from your soul when you are doing good.  Let them point out the path of righteousness when you staggering.  Let her words be like honey in warm tea whether you are sipping to get better or sipping to stay well.

Verse:  The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction.  Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Proverbs 16:23-24

Deep Thought:  I have intentionally halted at chapters of two different books unexpectedly covering fear and anxiety.  My dear friend Sharon concludes that God won’t let me side step what He wants me to hear.  My dear heart stirs and senses that God has something to say about fear and anxiety.  So, yes, I will read and grow and change.  And, while I don’t yet know exactly what He plans to say, I promise to read and grow and change.

Quote: … “Before I was formed in my mother’s womb” – – and here I paused to add, unable to resist, “whose ever womb that was – – God knew me.  He knitted together my innermost parts and fashioned all of my days before there was even one of them.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Even though I only just found out that I was adopted, God has always known, and he has always loved me.  And since that has never changed, therefore nothing has essentially changed. I may not be who I thought I was, but I still am who he says I am.  And I am more.  I am loved.  I am his.”  Undaunted by Christine Caine

Book(s)/Blog(s)/People that Shape Me: I hesitate to root for what I haven’t yet read, but I suspect that Wild in the Hollow:Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home by Amber C Haines will be exactly what it says it will be.

My Prayer to You: My prayer is that you have a few warrior girlfriends.  The kind that make time to know you.  Grow you and take full pleasure in seeing God work in your life.  I pray that you keep an open ear to Wisdom in whatever form she comes, in whatever pain or joy you are experiencing.  I pray that you are a warrior-friend to one or two or three others.  May you choose gracious words for her that heal like honeycomb and are sweet to her soul.  May you remember that, no matter what, you are who He says you are.  You are what He says you are.  And, that is Loved.  Amen.

Written By Sasha Katz


I have a crack in my heart because forgiveness just made new sense to me.  I don’t mean to say that my heart is broken.  The hardness in our hearts, that we all have to one degree or another, just got a crack. The crack is in one of pillars that holds up the hardness.

It’s not easy to scan your heart for hardness.  We tend to be numb to our hard spots.  Especially when the love of Jesus resides in us.  In our efforts to be like Him, we move and we grow, sometimes right around the hard spots.  Because God is so good, He loves us as we mature and is pleased by the hope that expands in our hearts.  But somewhere in the growth of God in us, we run out of space.  The hard spots finally show themselves.  They have to go so that we can grow.

I’ve been thinking about this concept of forgiveness.  I’ve been thinking about what it means.  The thing that keeps coming to mind is treating the person you have forgiven as if the offense or pain never took place.  I’ve reached a quagmire at this point.  In my heart, I think about the sheer freedom of forgiveness and the idea of treating someone you love like the #$%#^#@& never happened.  I literally feel the wings take off in my heart when I think about what that would feel like in real life.

Oh, but real life#$%#^#@& did happen.  And, for some of us, #$%#^#@&  happened often or for a long time or maybe even right now.  My thoughts consist of 1) how do I make the habit of forgetting the past, 2) how do I transcend to the point that I can trust God whether or not I trust the other person, and 3) how do I, in the right pace, build my trust in the other person?  I have a few more what ifs swimming in mind, but I don’t want to give you anymore ideas to freak you out in your own relationships.  I am going to take a leap of faith and believe that some of you do a really good job with trust and forgiveness.  From friend to friend, ride this one out with me.

For me, part of my ride stopped with the good kind of crack in my heart.  Philemon is a little tiny book of the bible.  I am not even sure if I could have told you Philemon was a book in the bible until God put the name in my head about a month ago.  The whole thing is probably less than 500 words, but the Lord just keeps showing me bits and pieces of it each time He leads me back to it.

I think this is God’s idea of forgiveness: If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me.  But if he has wronged you or owes you anything put that on my account.  Philemon 1:17. It’s Paul talking, but the Holy Spirit delivers it to me this way – – Sasha, if you count me as your partner, receive the him as you would Me.  But if he has wronged you and owes you, put that on My account.  I then think about the Savior of the world, who gladly took my sin, who knows that my heart doesn’t have the power or strength to forget the wrong against me or what is owed to me.  He just offers me to put it on His account.  That is power of a living God whose love travels down to the deepest parts of our souls and back to the heavens.

I am all about asking for favors lately.  Favors to friends for other friends.  Favors from you so we can learn from one another.  Today’s favor is that you ask God to find some hard spots in your life, in your heart of hearts.  Ask Him to make some cracks.


By Sasha Katz

I ran across an anonymous quote – – We all have chapters we would rather keep unpublished.  I love this quote.  The more I think about this quote, the more I love this quote.  In fact, I was listening to the Wally Show  this morning and the contest was to judge who had the best mind blowing quote.  I am going to go with this one.

My assumption is that, most of you reading this, are ladies.  We girls have so many moments that we would be happy to claim unpublished.  The view my mom and husband got when I was pushing my first baby out. Must stay unpublished!  How about the time my ex-step grandma proceeded to pull out everything she could find between the cushions on my couch, including coins, stale chips, popcorn, popped balloon pieces and other moldy junk. She piled all the stuff she found in front of her on the coffee table – during a family party. How about on my 20th birthday when everyone was going around the table telling their very best story of me . . . and my nine year old brother told about the time I walked down the hall and “let it rip!” Really. Should have been unpublished.

Don’t judge my life to be easy or simple by these goofy better off unpublished bits. The real stuff that we don’t want published is the stuff wrapped about pain and shame. The stuff we do retakes of in our mind 100 times over. But the retake in your mind doesn’t take away the real thing that went down in your her-story.

I have to tell you there are not many people out there who have retraced their steps as many times as I have. I hate to think that there are many of you out there who have asked God to forgive them for the same thing over and over again for a full decade. I hope to think that it’s mostly me. But, at the ripe old age of 39, I have let it all go. God has let me remember each and every wretched, sinful thing I have ever done. Everything that I am ashamed of. That blasphemed His name. That soiled His spirit in my temple. That was hypocritical, selfish and self-serving. That deeply hurt others. Everything that made a mess of the real me He knows me to be.

In His grace, there was a purpose to all of my laundry lists. I had a cross over point some time ago. I realized that, if I would let Him, He was intending to wash my mind, spirit and soul of the part of the girl that had gone all wrong. Instead of folding my laundry and putting it back in my closet for me to wear again and again, He was separating it as far as the east is from the west. For as often as I could bring a sin to mind, He was there to send it off to the bottom of the sea. I don’t know how He does these mysterious, miraculous works in us, but He does.

I once read an author who pondered the hours Jesus spent hanging on the cross. The author proposed that the time He hung represented the time it took to forgive in advance each and every sin committed by humanity. In addition to the physical pain, imagine what it was like for Jesus to bear all of our sins. You and I know a little about that because sometimes we bear our sins on our own. We know how bad that hurts. I don’t think we can imagine what bearing all of earth’s sins feels like – – coupled with the physical pain. It sobers you. It tugs at the part of you that has the capacity to feel gratitude; it tugs at the part of you that has the capacity to be merciful to others. It tugs at everything about you that you wish went unpublished. Because you know He had to suffer to make you clean and new. To make the unpublished you, Published.


This post was inspired by Connie Inman’s pin of the quote herein. Thanks Connie!

The Real Meaning of Love

By Bindu Adai Mathew

Love. The world defines love as an emotion…a feeling. From fairy tales to Hollywood love stories, we are taught from childhood through adulthood that love is this intense, electric emotion that consumes us and sends us to the stratosphere, robbing of us all sense and thought .

The Bible, however, defines love differently:  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.

We have all probably heard these verses multiple times in our life…and more often than not, they are read at weddings. However, it probably wasn’t until I was married myself that I truly understood what those verses meant.  The first time he squeezed the toothpaste from the middle instead of the end? (Sigh) The first time he left the toilet seat up?  (Head shake) The first time he stayed up late after I meticulously cleaned the kitchen and went to sleep,  only for me to wake up in the morning to find random dishes, glasses, frozen food and chips wrappings, crumbs, etc. strewn across the kitchen counter and living room table? (Steam coming out of my ears) During those early years, I found it very difficult to be loving at times. Loving=patience=forgiveness…neither of which I was good at. But thank God, even when I wasn’t acting very loving, my husband continued to love on me.

Love, I’ve come to realize over the years, is not just a feeling…it is an action. Forgive. Sacrifice. Protect. Trust. All actions that God has done for us: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.

As always, Jesus is our example. He loved us so much that he sacrificed his life so we can a chance at eternity in heaven. He loved us so much that even in the midst of intense suffering and pain at our hands, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34.

Wow. Sacrifice. Forgiveness. Love.

Getting from “Me Vs. Him” to “Us”

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

If you had asked me years ago the primary ingredients for a successful relationship/marriage, I would have immediately replied love and chemistry.

Fastforward a few months after I got married, and my response would have been forgiveness, kindness, and compromise.

Yesterday Jmathis challenged us to analyze some of our relationships to see how we responded during times of tension and conflict. My biggest challenge during times of tension is to check my ego and selfishness in at the door. When I’m angry or hurt, it’s all about what he did wrong. What he said to offend me or how he acted so selfishly. It’s all about my needs and how they are unmet.

 Often the way I respond to times of conflict has nothing to do with “us.” Because when I think of us, it’s no longer just about me…it’s about how we both need to change or improve. It’s not about me being right…it’s about what both of us need to do to make this partnership successful and meaningful.

There is a reason why God described marriage as “two becoming one.” But isn’t it ironic that while we vow to uphold that tenant in marriage, it’s often the first one we break when we are hurt or upset?

Challenge yourself to look at your conflict in terms of the partnership that it really is rather than a scene out of a spaghetti Western. Rather than addressing your conflict with guns blazing like you’re at the Okay Corral, look at it terms of the way God intended marriage to be:

The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:23-24


Rainbows That Follow Torrential Rain

By JMathis

I cannot stress enough how incredible it feels to be your child’s hero. In my daughter’s eyes, I am above reproach, always right, and a never-ending fount of wisdom and brilliant ideas. To her, I am the embodiment of Philippians 4:8.

That’s why I am not looking forward to the day when she discovers my true colors:   

Red (anger)…when am I going to show her that I am a complete phony when it comes to expressing anger, and that my weapon of choice is a flask of passive aggression?

Orange (pride)…when does she get to see that my pride and arrogance stubbornly get in the way of making sound, rational decisions?  

Yellow (deceit)…when does she step into the web of lies I have constructed for myself, as I self-righteously preach in hypocrisy: “Be your authentic self!”  

Green (jealousy)…when will she realize that my aspirations in life are often motivated by jealousy and envy, rather than inspiration and strength drawn from above?

Blue (sadness)…when does she discover that I still torture myself with sadness and remorse over missed opportunities that I just didn’t have the guts to seize?

Violet/Purple (judgment)…when does she become aware that judging a book by its cover comes oh-so-easily for me, despite my mantra of “peace, love and happiness”?

It seems unavoidable that one day my daughter will learn about my Not So Virtuous past (and my not-so-virtuous present), and how I constantly sabotage my potential by living life in the Rear View Mirror of what-ifs and regret.

Despite all of my personal failings, however, it is my hope and prayer that I teach her about rainbows. Rainbows that follow torrential rain.

Specifically, how the rainbow of Christ’s forgiveness erases the self-destructive memories that threaten to destroy my relationships and my self-worth–dispelling the hurricanes and tornadoes of anger, pride, deceit, jealousy, sadness and judgment. How the tumult of colors representing the storms of my life blend together and disappear in the white light of His redemption.

Yes, that’s what I’m going to do tonight.

Teach her about rainbows.