What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Looking Ahead

This week’s study in 2 Samuel 23 caused me to imagine what it will be like when Christ rules the earth. Verse 4 is part of the oracle of God channeled through David near the end of David’s life. This oracle is a prophecy and is different from David’s other songs and psalms in that verses 1-2 identifies it as the utterance or oracle directly from God (and not from David’s own thoughts). When we get to verse 4 it talks about what it will be like when there is a ruler over the people ruling in the fear of God (verse 3).
2 Samuel 23:4: “like the morning light at sunrise on a cloudless day that makes the grass on the earth sparkle after a rain” (CJB). Picture in your mind the most glorious cloudless day and the total sparkling of the greenest grass after a nice rain. This brought to mind some of the images various Scriptures (old and new testaments) gives us about the earth when Jesus is ruling over it in the end times. One commentary put it this way:
“Imagine a world where the curse is removed, where the environment is restored to the pristine purity of the Garden of Eden” (See Summary of Millennial Kingdom by clicking here.)
It is hard for me to imagine such a world, but it does cause me to look forward with great anticipation to such a beautiful time and place (the commentary listed several other wonderful characteristics of those times).
In contrast, for those who are not a part of God’s kingdom, 2 Samuel 23:6-7 tell us of what the ungodly are like and what they can expect in those times.
But the ungodly are like thorn bushes to be pushed aside, every one of them. They cannot be taken in one’s hand; To touch them one uses pitchfork or spear-shaft, and then only to burn them where they lie. (CJB)
The aforementioned commentary also explains more about that. It is a contrast that is not missed by me: beautiful Eden-like creation vs. useless thorns thrown into a fire.
As part of God’s kingdom, I’m rejoicing and, as I said, looking forward to such a glorious time.

Thursday, August 22, 2019


There’s a Psalm of David neatly tucked away in 2 Samuel 22. In studying the chapter, I found out Psalm 18 duplicates 2 Samuel 22 almost word for word. However, some of the common words used in verse 33 of 2 Samuel (and verse 32 in Psalm 18) meant something different than I have thought in the past. I’m going to look at the 2 Samuel verse (and compare it to a familiar verse in Proverbs (3:6).
“God is my strength and protection; he makes my way go straight” (2 Samuel 22:33 CJB). The question I had was what does “my way go straight” mean. Does it mean that He will never let me take the wrong path? Does it mean that everything in my life will go smoothly? After looking the words “way” and “straight” up in a Hebrew concordance and dictionary (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible), the definitions gave me new insight into the passage (and Proverbs 3:6).
“Way” does not mean a path or direction. The Hebrew sense of the word means a course of life or mode of action. Another description of it said, “manner and behavior.” This is not a physical pathway to be followed, but a moral and spiritual manner of living.
Straight (or in the King James Version, perfect), means having integrity, truth, and being without blemish, and undefiled. More simply it means “true, without deception or fault.” Again, this is not a physical, easy, not difficult pathway, but a set of character qualities that He desires to develop in us.
So I rewrote 2 Samuel 22:33 and Proverbs 3:6 to use these explanations of these words that we have taken for granted that we understood:
2 Samuel 22:33: “God is my strength and protection; He makes my manners and behaviors go true and without deception.”
Proverbs 3:6: “In all your behaviors and manner acknowledge Him, And He will make your spiritual journey on this earth true and without deception.”
Both imply an ongoing process of growth and change in those committed to following His teachings. It’s not a “get out of jail free” card. There’s a cost for us to live the way He desires. Kris, my Bible study partner, put it this way: “If you honor Him, He will help you to honor Him more.” This happens as He teaches us exactly what character traits He wants to develop in us.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Exciting News

Coming this fall. The second edition of my memoir, The Tootsie Roll Lady: a memoir of mental illness, alcoholism & faith, will be released hopefully in time for Christmas presents.
For those of you who have read the first edition, I recommend purchasing the second edition as it updates my recovery starting after 2005 in an additional Epilogue at the end of the book. There is also a 2019 additional Prologue.
For those of you who have never read it, I think this is an important time to rerelease this book because mental illness is very much misunderstood in today’s cultural, political and health environment. The Tootsie Roll Lady takes the reader through the traumas, struggles, and effects of the mentally ill, from a very personal point of view. Much of society makes assumptions about those with mental illness, and those assumptions are based on the media’s views. The Tootsie Roll Lady addresses those assumptions as readers see mental illness from the inside out.
In coming blog articles, I will explain my reasons for updating and launching this new edition of the book. In the meantime, if you are in a big hurry to read the first edition, it can be purchased at Lulu.com in either paperback or an eBook. Right now there’s a 10% discount. The Tootsie Roll Lady is also available at Amazon.com but there’s no discount there and it’s only available in paperback.
Be looking for more information on the release of the second edition. I will be notifying you in my blog but also in Facebook (More Than Wishing is the business site).
Until next week, know I’m praying for each and every one of my readers and followers. May God bless you and encourage you to keep Him central in your life journey.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Unnoticed Progress

I often forget about a short verse in one of the letters that Paul wrote, but this week I had cause in a couple of ways to remember it and be thankful. I will explain.
Philippians 1:6 says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Sometimes it’s very hard to see the changes in our lives that God is orchestrating. This last week as I’m editing and reviewing the first edition of my book, The Tootsie Roll Lady: a memoir of mental illness, alcoholism and faith, I discovered that God has been keeping true to this promise in my life. I also saw it happening in the life of our daughter. She woke up on Sunday morning to discover that her relatively new moped was stolen. I heard a calm, organized voice on the phone explaining to me how angry she was. She was ready to buy a baseball bat and begin searching Kalamazoo for her precious possession. However, she didn’t do that. She called the police and filed a report.
Her voice dripped with tears and anger sputtered out from the sides. But she was able to manage. A few years ago, an event like this would have quite possibly caused a complete meltdown.
As for me, I was fast approaching the meltdown and a relapse into some self-destructive behaviors. Hopeless. Useless. Powerless. Angry. Devasted. Overwhelming sadness. I desperately and impulsively swung my thoughts towards self-harm. It was intense. Like I haven’t felt in several years. I gripped onto the one sane thought I had, and frantically texted my therapist. She just calmly asked me what I should do if I used my “wise mind” (a DBT Therapy strategy). I turned my thoughts away from the emotions I was feeling for a time and turned to being available for my daughter.
I saw the effects of God-caused (and willing participation on both my daughter’s and my parts) growth. Neither of us reacted impulsively as we would have in the past. Neither of us shut down our emotions until they came out sideways in some unhealthy manner. Neither of us cowered down in darkness and pretended it didn’t happen. All changes.
I look forward to seeing how God continues to accomplish good work in our lives. And I’m so very thankful for the progress we’ve been able to make. He is perfecting us. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
By the way . . . the moped was recovered Monday morning!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Repent and Share

In my daily Quiet Time yesterday, I read John 3:1-14. It was the first record of John the Baptist’s adult ministry messages. I saw 5 key components to the message that Luke recorded for us. 

1. Repent for forgiveness from God (vs. 3)
2. Birth families and religion can’t save you (vs. 7-8)
3. Act out your faith by giving to those in need (vs. 11)
4. Be honest when dealing with fellow man (vs. 12-13)
5. Don’t extort or take just because you have the power to do so (vs. 14)

I think verses 3 and 11 kind of sums it up for me:

Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven . . . John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.

Repent and share (care about other people’s needs) summed it up for me. The message of the Gospel needs to involve repentance in all areas of our lives. Repentance of sins means ALL sins. John just gives a few pertinent areas (as Luke tells it). However John preached for 1/2-1 year before Jesus started His ministry . . . John probably confronted many other people regarding their specific sins as well. All sin must be laid aside. We won’t be perfect or live like repentant children of God all the time, but we can always repent (turn around, change behaviors, determine to continue to move away from sin). It takes practice.

The other part of John’s message in the passage was all about sharing what we have with those who don’t have and treating our fellowman with honesty and respect. I have a ways to go as we all do, but I can work on it. And in so doing, I can be a witness as to what God’s love is all about. That’s John’s basic message and so it should also be mine.