To A Wild Rose: Straight from the Heart of Renee

As the series continues I would like you to meet my friend Renee. It’s truly a joy to work and walk beside Renee in this crazy life-journey and as we both serve at the East Texas Pregnancy Help Center.  Renee has the integral role as Administrator and amazes me daily with her multi-tasking, multi-hat abilities!  Renee holds a Bachelor of Science Business Administrative degree from College of the Ozarks and has traveled and worked in many different, beautiful, wonderful places, and we are so happy to have her now here with us.  She is a constant light to my life, and a faithful friend.  Here’s a little piece of her heart in words..

The “wild rose” theme fits when I think about how counterculture my story has turned out.  And I am thankful my story has unfolded the way it has.  It has molded and shaped me in the exact and unique “wild rose” that God intended.


My story may be considered “wild” to the world.  I remained single until almost 40 years old (pausing for the jaw-dropping gasps here.)  And an even “wilder” fact is that I chose to wait for my husband (…pausing again..)  How often does that happen anymore?  I give credit to the grace of God!  But admittedly, these facts about my life have been difficult to navigate emotionally far too often.  I have been very messy emotionally!

The world is full of messages that if you are not married early in life, there is something wrong with you.  Well-intentioned friends and family unceasingly ask questions such as, “Are you dating anyone?” “Are you going to stay single forever?” or make insensitive comments “Well, your standards may be too high.”  or  “It will happen when you stop looking.”  Without meaning to, they caused me to feel like they thought there was something wrong with me as a woman since I was unmarried and childless.

True story… one year I came home from college, probably about age 19 or 20.  My grandmother traditionally made full-sized afghans for her grandchildren as they each got engaged, however, she had already gotten it in her mind that I might never get married.  She actually called me an old maid and announced that she went ahead and made me a twin-sized afghan.  I am sure I turned all shades of red that day! Lol  Side note: she passed away almost ten years after that and I now treasure the twin-sized afghan.

There is an important truth that the world is not shouting to us as women.  The truth that we as women need to hear is that we are whole, we are beautiful, just the way we are.

Whether we are single, or divorced, or dating, or married, or widowed, or whatever our “label” happens to be…. and whatever the reason happens to be, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with us because our label is not something else. 


Getting married does not make you mature or complete. Nor does singleness.  God made each of us in his image and He directs our steps.  One truth that help me reconcile my time of singleness in contrast with the messages the world sends is that God himself is the chooser and giver of my blessings (and the blessings of others).  As I embrace my own gifts, I can celebrate joys with others without a jealousy/pity party because I am truly glad God has blessed them.  And I can trust a God who gives every good and perfect gift.  We do not know how long we get to enjoy the gifts either, so if your gift is singleness, savor it.  If your gift is marriage, savor it.  If your gift is mom, step-mom, grandmother, savor it. Savor every gift while you have it.  One of my gifts was an extended time of singleness and I do not regret it.  I followed the Lord and had exciting adventures during those years.  I will be married 2 years in about 6 weeks.  I am the same whole, beautiful woman I was before I was married.  And I am savoring this new adventure as an equal but different gift.

I want to shout this message to the youth of our day.   In the era of social media, they are bombarded with even more false messages about relationships and what is and is not appropriate in them.  I want them to know that they are whole, they are beautiful JUST THE WAY THEY ARE!  No relationship can give them value or add to their value.  The value is already there. Embrace your value and celebrate who you are.  And I challenge all of us to be mindful of our words as we inquire of others.  We may not fully realize the messages we are sending, even the unintended ones.



Respect: “to value and regard highly; treating someone with importance.”

I’ll let you in on my secret blogging/writing style of world.  I write a ton.  I post a little.  I keep certain posts ruminating for awhile, and sometimes they sit in my draft box for months awaiting my decision to hit the final delete or post.  It’s all a gamble for the words that pound out on this keyboard. Ha.  This is my last post for this series on our emotional needs, and ironically today I saw that I began this particular series a year ago.  I began this one on respect, and it has sat in my draft box since May.  With all the tragedy, sadness, and turmoil of late, I have been thinking often about this emotional need of respect that God placed in our souls.  That He placed deep, deep, set in our core this need for respect.  The need to give, and the need to receive respect.

When I began to think about what all respect is, and what it looks like in our lives, I decided to poll a couple of my guys and I asked them, “When do you feel respected”… and this is the results:

9 year old: “When someone treats me like they treat all the other people that they like.”

11 year old:  “When they include me with what they’re doing, and give me the chance to be like everyone else to them.”

Amazing how well they summarized and brought to life the definition for me.  I thought, that’s so right-on!  I just want to be treated as valuable as the next guy.  The more I thought about these definitions the more I thought about those who feel the entire world has disrespected them at times, and the days that I have in this life felt disrespected.

The abused.

The broken.

The oppressed.

The neglected.

In the face of the injustice and unfairness we get angry.  We feel the disrespect and we hurt.  Especially when we build up the courage to speak up, and we aren’t heard in our pain, or even worse when others who don’t understand what we’ve been through, make statements of how we need our “thinking fixed” in this way, or that.  And we cry out, you don’t even know what my pain is like!  You don’t even know what my pathway looks like, and you don’t even begin to listen before you try to fix me.  Or judge me.  Or criticize me.

And the disrespect is felt all the heavier.

I’ve seen time after time the hurting finally speak up… and then they are made to feel like the “bad guy.”  How sad.  Why can’t we listen?  Why can’t we empathize?  Why can’t we give respect and know that if we haven’t been in their shoes, all we can do is listen and express that what you say is important!   We might not always agree, or understand, but we can listen and seek to find some common ground.  We can desire to have a new perspective from another set of eyes.  Disagreeing is not disrespect!  Not fully understanding is not disrespect.  Refusing to listen, and choosing not to value what another has to say is disrespect.  Refusing to think about and work to help protect another from injustice is disrespect.  

As Atticus said in one of my favorite books, To Kill A Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view- until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

We really don’t take time to do that, do we?  Instead, we see through our own filters, cultures, life experiences and allow our mentalities to see through only our own point of view…

We say that we want to hear our loved ones thoughts, but then balk when it concerns something we’ve done wrong, or might need to think through a change. “How dare you suggest I need to change!  It’s you!”  We read the newspaper and question why the date rape victim did not fight back more, “Well, that wouldn’t have happened to me.  I have more fight in me, than her.”  We don’t get why the young lady who has had years of abuse is so quiet and to herself, “She’s just outright stuck up.  Must be because she thinks she’s better than me.”  We downplay people’s cries for equality, “Well, don’t they realize they’ve already got it?!  Why can’t walking-alonethey just move on?” We see the homeless man wandering the streets, and think, “Get a job, man.”

Really, have we been in their skin?  Have we walked in their shoes?

We truly can have respect.  But, we must be intentional, and prayerful, and looking through God’s eyes of value for you, and for me, and for the us, and for the we.  For the little, and the big, and for the hurting, and the happy, for those hidden, and those exposed, for the them, and for the they.  For His all.


Some basic ways to show respect….

May look like:

  • Listening without interrupting
  • Appropriate tone of voice and body language.
  • Asking before taking or borrowing something that doesn’t belong to you.
  • Not encroaching on another’s personal space without permission.
  • Appreciating other’s efforts.
  • Sincerity.
  • Checking before making plans that affect others.
  • Confessing wrong.
  • Keeping your commitments.
  • Making effort to learn about their perspective.

May sound like:  “I’d like to hear your ideas.”  “Which do you prefer?”  “I was wrong… will you forgive me?”


I’m weary of my heart disrespected others. I’m weary of disrespect and slander that I see others imposing on each other.  I’m purposing to value and regard all life as equally valuable and equally important.  Let’s purpose that together?  Because, the truth is… We are.

All precious in His sight.

References:  Center for Relational Care, MacMillan Dictionary (2015); Abraham Maslow; Robert McGee; The Bible (Genesis 1:27, Romans 10:12, 1 Samuel 16:7, Ephesians 4:32, 1 Peter 3:18-22, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, (1960).


the fruit — post 3


This is an excerpt from a sermon by Christian Cheong, from the Kim Tian Christian Church based on John14:25-27. It resonated with this heart, and I hope it does for you too, my friend.

“We all need peace, but what give us peace really?
Is peace just an absence of any trouble or problem?
Is peace just an atmosphere of quietness or serenity?
The world defines it this way. It has to do with the surroundings.
If you are strolling along the path in Botanic Gardens and not downtown Orchard road, you would probably say it’s peaceful.

If peace is the absence of any noise, problem or trouble, then peace is a product of the surrounding.
–Yet when we look at what Jesus said here, this is not what true peace is all about.

WHY DO WE NEED TO PRAY? – because only in Jesus can we find true peace.
If Jesus says, “peace I leave with you…” – it means He is the SOURCE of peace.
If He says, “my peace I give you…” – it means He is the GIVER of peace.
If He says, “I do not give to you as the world gives…” – it means only in Jesus can we find true peace – something that the world do not have.

In order words, it has nothing to do with you. It has nothing to do with the surrounding or to what is happening in our world today.

• His peace is different from the world, and something you can’t find in the world.
• No wonder Paul says it is a peace that surpasses understanding!

What is the practical implication of all these:
• If you’re worried over some things, anxious or disturb, and you needed peace in your heart – you have to turn to Christ. That’s the only way.
• You may find some sense of comfort by hiding in a quiet, serene place, but you’ll never find true peace. Emotionally you may feel good, but only Christ can give us true comfort and peace.

No wonder Jesus needed to say this – the disciples really need it.
• They were about to face the greatest shock of their lives – Jesus would soon be arrested and crucified.
• Their Master for 3 years will be taken away from them forcefully.
• They would be left on their own, for the first time… without a teacher, a guide, someone whom they have depended upon for 3 years.

The disciples need to know that NOTHING has gone out of control.
• You see, everything will look like a defeat to them. They are defeated.
• Judas managed to betray Jesus, he won. The soldiers arrested Jesus without a fight. The people succeeded in killing Jesus.
• Circumstances tell them it’s a FAILURE.

They need to understand – and we need to understand that today – that nothing has really gone wrong in the eyes of God.
• Everything was in God’s plan. Everything is still in God’s control.


What Jesus says is very true. Only He can give us peace.
• Why – because only God is in control of all things.
• If God can handle this whole universe, He can handle your problems.
• If He cannot, He is no God. Then we’ll have no guarantee of peace.

If we believe that God is Sovereign, then we have nothing to fear.
• Man cannot find peace because he is not in control.
• We cannot control the circumstances, we cannot control the future.

• It would be so nice if we can plan our future and everything works exactly as we have planned it. We love to feel that we’re in control but the truth is we are not, and we’ll never be.

So we need to look to the One who is in control.
• We need to learn to LET GO and LET GOD.”

the gift of eyes to see

FullSizeRender (33) The past few weeks in southeast Texas it has been rainy (to say the very least..).  Foggy, drizzly, blustery, blurry, wet, showery, stormy…. Need I go on?

Lightning struck so loudly one early morning, it shook me to my core.

The colorful clouds are traded for gray.  Gray skies. Gray skies that trade the sounds of the singing birds for the fearful clashing of thunder.

One of my favorite things in this life are the clouds.  Poufy cushions of all my favorite hues. Soft, billowy floating pieces of peace to me.  Since I was a kid, I’ve watched them… imagining what it must be like to float on a cloud.  Excited to see the growing light peek above the cloud’s rim… gradually overtaking the cloud and beaming out.  A big smile of light!

We live through different seasons of life.. Mine has been a bit stormy and gray.  Some events surprise you like the spring thunderstorm that suddenly appears from no-where. Catching you off-guard out at the ball-park, you fuss at yourself for not being prepared.  Everyone scrambling for cover.  Then there are the storms you feel coming, long before they arrive… the clouds churning, rolling side to side.  You set your galoshes by the door, and buy a new polka-dot umbrella.

And, ready or not, the storms come.  Rain can make every task a little more difficult.  Sometimes you get soaked.  Mud seems to creep everywhere…  The rivers rise, and flow across the road, keeping you at times from a destination.morning_dew

The lightning storms are scary, making you unsure of what to expect next.  The fog and rain make visibility oh-so-difficult.  I drive slowly, windshield wipers whisking back and forth, while the rain pounds on the roof.  I squint, and lean forward.  Maybe that will help.

Give me eyes to see, I pray.

I didn’t see that coming.  I did see that coming.  I wish that I didn’t have to walk through this pain. And, I wish I didn’t have to see those around me experiencing such turbulence.  The tears fall around me.  The storms beckon those tears.  I feel those tears deep in my heart..

Sometimes the storms are so bad, that the world seems to stop for a bit.  The hurry-scurry of life slows down, you watch out the window as the rain pours, the gutters flood, and the lightning strikes.

And maybe, we can hope to see the gifts in our storms.  A gift of slowing down, and taking in the sounds of the rain. Attentiveness to where our life is today, and where we are headed.  Sometimes its hard to be intentional, with all the busy running to ‘n fro… So, maybe a gift in the storms, is to stop, or at least slow down, and reflect.

It’s certain that after the rainy storms, everything grows, right? Just like the line from my favorite musical, “..rain will make the flowers grow…”  I guess it’s not as pretty to say, yet true, that rain also makes the weeds grow. What’s in my garden that I want to grow? Never fail, it’s funny to me how after a good rain our yard’s grass shoots up at rapid rate!  Kinda like that rate which I might see growth in my heart through life storms.  It could be sprouts of bitterness, negativity, detachment, or hopelessness that spring up at a faster pace after my storms….

Or, it could be gifts of patience, resourcefulness, new changes, meaning, wisdom, creativity, and maybe even new gifts to give others.. such as true empathy.

I have to be careful, in my life it seems, the weeds can choke out the beautiful gifts that can grow from my storms.  For me, it takes work. Intentional work.  I have to tend my little heart garden.  Digging out the little sprouts that will cause me more pain, and clearing the way for the good things to have loads of room to flourish.

Give me eyes to see.313-800

I’m so grateful for those eyes.  The eyes that take me to a place of gratitude, a place of understanding… and sometimes, simply to a peace in the midst of that I don’t understand, or that which I can’t be grateful about in my life right now.

Eyes to see beyond my fears.  Eyes to see beyond my pain.  Eyes to look into a glimpse of the future joys.  Eyes to see the strength for the future struggles.  Eyes to see deep within my spirit His perfect love, a love that chases away all fear.

Eyes that can see beauty in the storm, and the purpose in the rain.  Eyes that see the lightning will pass, and that Mr Sunny-shine will smile again. 🙂  My days of poufy clouds to ride on will come.  And, yes, there is certain to be days of more storms, too.

….and, eyes to see the gift that we are not alone.

“For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live;
If dark hours about me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

It is well, it is well with my soul.”

~Horatio Spafford

a promise

Remember when I told you about the promises He gave me?  Here’s a post from my journal…..


“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will GUARD your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

“My peace I give to you… let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

He is the serenity of my soul.  The calm of my mind, my will, and all my emotions.

“And their hearts stand fast in the faith.”  ~John Wesley

I can trust my Father will all that I have, all that is within me, and all that may be.  He has protected me, rescued me, and redeemed me by laying down His life.  What greater proof do I need to trust Him with all I have, especially my heart?

“You will keep in perfect peace, the mind that is dependant on You.  For it is trusting You.”  Isaiah 26:3

“For the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the spirit is LIFE and PEACE.”  Romans 6:8

Check you mindset!  Filter it through God’s word!

Instead of worry, anxiety and fear…. trade it for love, power and a sound mind.

My question for you… and me tonight is this:  Have we spent time with the One who is our only source of peace?