I think this prompt is one of my favorites. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of the writers’ conference I just attended last weekend. To say the conference was motivating and inspiring would be an understatement.

In the final address, keynote speaker Stephen James retold the parable of the talents. He encouraged us, as Christian writers, to use the talents, ideas, gifts, and words that God has given us — not to bury them.

The last quote I have scribbled in my notebook is this: “Take the ideas God gives to you, offer them up to Him, and tell Him you’re not going to bury them anymore.”




Stephen encouraged us, that “whatever words we write, take them and offer them to the world — but keep your priorities straight, so that one day the Master will say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.'”

What about you?

What ideas have you buried? What opportunities have you turned down because you thought someone else could do it better? What have you forfeited because you thought you didn’t have enough time?

Take hold of those ideas — those God-given ideas — and put them to good use. Invest them and allow them to bring back a return. Don’t bury what you’ve been given.

Offer them up as a living sacrifice to the One who has given every good thing.


“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” ~ Romans 12:1




31 Days logo - 2015

This is Day 17 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes. For more posts from this series, click here.




If you’re participating in Write 31 Days, congratulations! We made it to the halfway mark! #fistbump

If you’re following along with 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes, today’s prompt is: LAUGH




I come from a family of story tellers.

We all jump at every chance we can get to tell a story. If there’s a good one, we pretty much trip over each other to be able to tell it first.

The best stories are the funny ones. The ones that we can barely get through, we’re holding our stomachs from laughing so hard.

One such story came at a time I never expected.

My sister and I were gathered in our mom’s church, surrounded by uncles, aunts and cousins. Our whole immediate family was together — everyone except Mom.

She was the reason we were there.

It was the day of her funeral.

We waited in a side room as friends filed into the sanctuary for the service.

It was an awkward waiting. None of us wanted to be there, and nobody knew what to say.

Then one of my uncles reminisced about the last time we’d all been together in this church — on my wedding day.

He and my other uncle had been designated as the drivers who would chauffeur me and my newlywed husband to the reception venue.

My uncle proceeded to share a story about that day I’d never heard before.

“And then,” he went on, “right before we were supposed to get in the car, I spilled mustard on my tie!”

We all howled with laughter, imagining his angst.

“So of course, I went outside and washed it off with some brake fluid.”

The laughter escalated.

“The worst part was the smell!”

By this time, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. It felt so wrong — to be crying from laughter just minutes before my own mother’s funeral.

But the Lord knew that was exactly what I needed in that moment. Right then, the laughter was a gift.


Several years ago, my husband, kids and I were making the 10-hour trek from Cape Town to Kimberley, South Africa. We were somewhere in the vast expanse of the Karoo when fast-moving, dark clouds threatened from behind.

As providence would have it, we needed to stop for petrol. We pulled into the Engen garage and the petrol attendant filled up our car. Of course, then the kids needed the bathroom. We made our way into the convenience store in search of the toilets.

While we stood in the queue for our turn, the clouds caught up with us. They burst open, and pellets of hard rain pummeled down.

The people sitting at the Wimpy restaurant in the convenience store shot out of their seats and ran for their cars.

Determined to beat the storm.

They were going to make a run for it.

“What should we do?” I asked my husband.

He was a veteran in these parts. He’d made this road trip countless times.

“We’re going to wait it out,” he stated, matter-of-factly. “It will pass soon. It always does.”

I decided to trust him. Even though my instincts told me to dash for the car like everyone else, I believed his experience, and hunkered down to wait.

We sat at the Wimpy and had milkshakes. The kids were ecstatic. I was impatient. I wanted to keep moving.

But sure enough, within half an hour, the clouds had lifted, and the storm had passed.


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If we had fled in a panic like everyone else, we likely would’ve been stuck driving in hard rain for quite some time. Instead, we calmly waited in the shelter provided for us as rain pounded on the roof.

I’ve kept this lesson with me for subsequent life storms. When I can see the clouds darkening, I remember that sometimes it’s better to wait it out. Sometimes it’s better to tuck myself in the shelter of the Almighty, and trust that even this storm shall pass soon.


BONUS: This song by Casting Crowns came to mind as I prepared this post. I hope it blesses you.


This is Day 12 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes. Check out the other posts in this series by clicking here.

Hey there!

Welcome to our weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!

31 Days logo - 2015We’re on Day 9 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes in the month of October!

Click here to visit the blogs of other people who are participating in the challenge.

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:






Trust is hard.

It’s as simple as that.

It’s a hard, hard thing to trust in the Lord.

But why?

It’s not a question of whether or not He is trustworthy. As believers, we know that He is.

Then why is it so hard to trust?

For me, it’s a daily fight.

Even when we long to lean with full confidence into the Lord’s goodness and provision, we’re assaulted every hour with an onslaught of enemies — outward and inward.

We hear the song of the snake, like Kaa in The Jungle Book, and we’re mesmerized by his hypnotic eyes as he wraps his lies around us and sings, “Trust in me, trust in me …”

We fight the internal voices of fear and doubt when the rubber hits the road.

The solution?

We need to saturate ourselves with the Word.

Let the Word win.

When it’s a battle of voices, we need to make sure God’s is the loudest and strongest in our minds.

Let’s commit ourselves to memorizing key passages of Scripture that will help us when we feel ourselves getting pulled away from trust:





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FMF - embrace


We were living in the home of some missionary friends for the year, housesitting while they were overseas on furlough. I had put my firstborn down in her crib, all curled up after her last feed of the day.

I tiptoed through the hallway toward the master bedroom, when the phone rang.

It was one of those dreaded phone calls you wish never existed.

A friend of ours had been killed in a car crash. She was only in her twenties — spunky and full of life.

My chest heaved in disbelief as the news sunk in.

I thought of our friend’s parents — how their worst nightmare had become reality.

And all I wanted to do was to hold my little girl.

Even though I’d already put her down for the night, I went back into her room, gingerly scooped her sleeping body out of the crib, and held her close to my chest. I let the tears stream down unwiped, and just held on in a tight embrace.

And she slept on, unaware that life can be snuffed out in a moment, without warning.


31 Days logo - 2015This is Day 4 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes. For more prompts and posts in this series, click here.