I had a conversation today with a man who lost his wife recently at only 46 years of age.

That is young in our day.

She often struggled with migraines but who could have known that there was an aneurism present that would take her life?

Many people have aches and pains of various kinds and migraines are fairly common, so because MRI’s are expensive and insurance hard to deal with, far too often, we just live with the issues.

One can imagine the second guessing this husband struggles with because we have all been there to one degree or another.

My concern in my prayers for him is the guilt that he will be tempted to heap upon himself over something that neither he nor his wife could have foreseen.

It is the “if only I had known” syndrome.

I have been there myself.

I can remember a time when we bought a fixer upper house that had pigeons roosting on it.

I loved the house, we prayed about it and lo and behold, if the seller didn’t accept our very low price!

We shooed pigeons away and began renovations.

We didn’t worry too much about one that was in a cage in the room that would become our daughters’. We just turned him loose and let him fly.

In less than a year of living there, our daughter contracted viral encephalitis and it almost took her life.

Did the pigeon issue cause this? Lead paint maybe, from the walls? Anything at all that we had stirred up in that over 100 year old home?

Oh the guilt that I heaped upon myself for wanting that house!

What a bad mother I was!

Then, if I couldn’t blame myself, I wondered about my sovereign God who knows all things?

Why didn’t He prevent us from this house rather than provide for it?

Of course, the doctors said there was no way of knowing how our daughter contracted the illness, but I went down the lane and back trying to figure it out.

Who is guilty here, Lord? Me or you?

Somebody, somewhere had to have screwed up!

If I had to wager on whether it was a perfect, loving God or imperfect me, guess who I landed on?

As time went on, I began to see the reality of my thinking.

I was treating myself as if I had sinned and was paying the price for it.

When I asked myself whether or not I would have bought that house if I knew it would possibly make my child seriously ill, I knew the answer was “no”. Of course not!

I would have lived in a shack for the rest of my life rather than sign on for that.

Did God answer our prayers and graciously give us that house?


Did He know that this trial would come our way?


Does He love us?


Did He get us through to the other side?


Did He answer all of my “why did this happen?” questions?


He just carried and led my family and I in the faithful way that He promised He would in so many, many scriptures.

There are deliberate choices that we make in life to do wrong, to sin and for those, we need to confess to our graciously forgiving God.

There are other circumstances in this life that are a result of our humanity, God’s sovereignty and a million unanswered questions that will remain this side of eternity.

May God give us the wisdom to own what is ours, let go of what is not and to find the ‘release’ button on the guilt trap.













You really should think twice before becoming a parent.

Trust me on this because I have had five children and I did so without a clue as to what I was signing on for.

First of all, they are expensive.

They need doctors, dentists, clothes, food and frequent trips to Walmart.

They get sick at all hours of the night and day, refusing to cooperate with your own schedule and needs.

As infants, they strategically plan to spit up on you right after you get ready for church, or better yet, orchestrate a serious diaper blowout in the middle of the service.

As soon as they can walk, they will stand by your bed declaring their stomach hurts and before the words “get to the toilet!!” can escape your lips, they throw up all over you, the bedding and the floor.

They do heartbreaking things like graduate from story hour or pre-school and cause their mothers to cry as they accept their certificates and march across the stage, ready to pass on to the next season of life.

So, see, you really should think twice before becoming a parent.

When they enter adolescence, the hormones kick in and moods swing with the unpredictability of a Midwestern thunder storm.

This adds more expense as you have to double your intake of caffeine and Ibuprofen, not to mention the very real possibility you may have to add an extra bathroom on to the back of the house!

Before the hormones are fully under control, they begin to notice the opposite sex and also the family car which adds an overwhelming amount of extra stress and sleepless nights to already exhausted parents.

You really should think twice before becoming a parent.

Finally, they reach high school age and you find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of activities that keep you wishing you lived in an R.V. instead of a house.

As you race from one event to another, snapping pictures, cheering their successes and standing beside them through many a teary failure, you suddenly see it is all coming to an end.

This brutal blow should definitely cause you to think twice before becoming a parent.

Somewhere in the midst of all the craziness you realize that there was laughter, joy, love and family.

There were friends, memories, milestones and growth that didn’t take place in just your kids but yourself as well.

You look back over the years, reflecting on each season and the epiphany comes:


Just remember, I warned you.

You really should think twice before becoming a parent.








When my son, Seth was little, he loved the song, “He is Alive” by Don Francisco.

He often heard it played at Easter time, enjoying the ballad that told of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

Fast forward to a day when Seth had the opportunity to actually hear Francisco perform that evening at his college campus!

He went through his day attending classes and at one point got on an elevator with an older guy, enjoying a short visit before they went their separate ways.

Much to Seth’s surprise, when he arrived at the concert that evening, the same man from the elevator was on stage.

As he began to strum and sing, reality slowly sank in that this was Don Francisco himself!

Oh, those missed moments when we are clueless as to what or ‘who’ is right in front of us!

As I have been studying in the gospel of John, this is what keeps going through my mind:

How did the people miss Jesus?!

He kept telling them who he was, that God had sent him, that He was the Christ and they didn’t get it.

He performed sign after sign, even raising people from the dead and they continued to badger and harass him about who he was.

Just as Seth had a picture in his mind of what he thought Don Francisco would look like, so did the people in Jesus day have a picture of him.

They imagined the messiah to be a prominent and powerful political leader.

This Jesus surely could not be him because he didn’t follow their rules.

As the deliverer of Israel, he was to rescue them from their oppressors not from their sins.

The Messiah was to come for the Jews, yet he spent time with Gentiles as well.

He taught in the synagogue without their esteemed credentials.

He healed the down and outcast, doing so even on the Sabbath.

No, this son of Mary and Joseph could not be God.

He must be out of his mind.

Had they taken the time to revisit the writings of their own prophets they would have seen that indeed, he was who he said he was.

Some people don’t have to tell us their name but we know who they are the minute they start to sing.

Others lay down their very lives and sadly, we still miss who they are.







There is a question that counselors often ask a person who continues to struggle with the same issues and nothing ever changes: “So what does this circumstance do for you that keeps you staying in it?” In other words, “how is this working for you?”

Now, I am not speaking to those who are in circumstances beyond their control. If you are being abused as a prisoner in a cell you can’t get out of, that is one thing, but why would a person stay in a marriage where they get beat up? What about a person complaining about a terrible job but never applying for another one?

It is understandable when someone is trying to leave bad habits, patterns or sins that keep them stuck, that they will need time to work  through the issues in order to break free of them. They need community and support as they pick up new and healthy tools to help them move forward.

People need to be patient with them, come alongside them and offer tangible and emotional help.

However, when the support is there, the tools have been offered, advice given and one still continues to run back to that which is harmful, or stay stuck in circumstances they refuse to change, we have to realize that maybe the pain of exchanging the familiar for the work it takes to do a different “dance” is just too high.

Sometimes, we return to what we hate or hang on to that which we know because our pain level with the circumstances isn’t high enough.

Some women stay in an abusive marriage because they feel they deserve to be abused or being married to an abuser at least doesn’t make her own flaws look so bad.

Other people stay in an addiction because to work through their struggles on their own without medicating it, is just too painful.

It is said that people will only change their life when the pain level is high enough to cause them to say “enough”.

For many in this world, they have no hope and nowhere to turn to find answers so that leaves them stuck. They feel that life is only a once around and then it is over forever. Despair and hopelessness leaves them in the same place.

For Christ followers, however, we can get stuck as well, even when we have a new spirit within us.

Yet, because we are freed by Christ from the power of sin and called to a hope of a new resurrected life in Christ, we can move beyond this if we really want to.

How can we say we have faith in a Savior who has the power over sin and death and then live as if he is powerless?

We can do better than this because He has defeated all of it, provides a way of escape from the temptations that try to trap us and gives us everything we need for life and godliness.

The encouraging hope that we have if we are Christ followers is that His power is made perfect in our weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9: “ And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me”.

So, the question for us as Christ followers shouldn’t be, “how is this working for you?” but rather, “how are you letting the power of Christ work in and through this weakness of yours?”

Be encouraged that because of Christ, you don’t have to stay stuck or repeat the same patterns.

Today is the day to leave it behind. Today is the day to change.

He’s got this!



To My Single Friends: The Valentine You Missed

People are a gift. They may be packaged differently, but if we take the time to get to know the ones that aren’t so obvious, we may be surprised at what we discover! There are a lot of oysters in the sea and some of them might just have a pearl!

Simply Shelli

If you have found your true love in life (humanly speaking), then good for you.

If you haven’t, have you considered that you may have missed the one that is right under your nose?

Have you given any thought as to what exactly it is you are looking for and why?

I ask this mainly because being the mother of 5 young adults I have gotten to know many of their friends over the years and ponder why some of them are still single?

Now, don’t get me wrong here. They may choose to be single and not interested and that is fine. However, I would say most of them are hoping that they will find their life mate and go on to set up their own family but it hasn’t happened yet.

I see the articles they post about struggling with singleness, I have had conversations with some of…

View original post 1,108 more words


I was in love with Jimmy Scott and it was high time that he knew it!

Or so I felt and thought as much as any third grader could.

Of course, he knew that I “liked” him because my friend and I had called him on the phone one day and declared how cute he was and how much he was “liked”, all the while trying to contain our girlish giggles.

Somehow, Jimmy did NOT find this uncomfortable situation he was placed in to be very humorous.

I guess I didn’t take the hint from that experience that Jimmy was not interested in the least because when Valentines Day was approaching, my teacher gave me a fantastic opportunity to openly declare my deep affections in front of the whole third grade class!

Somewhere, the teacher had acquired a little ditty that asked:

“Do you love me or do you not, you told me once but I forgot?”

She thought it would be wonderful if each of us walked up to the object of our affections and quoted this sweet little phrase and waited for a “yes” or “no” reply.

Now, I don’t know where my teacher had gotten her degree from but if she had any knowledge of third grade boys at all, she would have known that this was not their idea of an enjoyable activity.

In fact, given the choice as to whether they would like to pummel each other purple on the playground or quote this happy ditty to a girl or hear it quoted to them, they would have most definitely chosen the former!

For both boys and girls, the fear of rejection from their one true love in front of the whole class was mixed in with the curiosity as to what the outcome for everyone was going to be.

So, we all sat in a circle and one by one were asked to go to whomever we would choose and ask this question.

A few of the boys came to me and asked the dreaded question, to which I, being loyal and faithful to Jimmy alone, responded with a “thank you, but ‘no’ “.

I waited when it was Jimmy’s turn to see if he would ask me but instead, I watched as he slowly walked across the room and asked someone else!

So, of course, thinking Jimmy must have misunderstood how this devotion and true love thing was supposed to work, when it was my turn, I went straight to him with the question myself.

Surely, if he knew of my love, he would be thrilled to reciprocate wouldn’t he?

Jimmy, already feeling stalked at this point and seeing that I clearly was not getting the hints he was sending, turned several shades of red and quickly but firmly declared his “no”.

Can anyone say, “ouch!?”

So the wonderful Valentine exercise ended with many of us wandering back to our seats, swallowing the lump in our throats and trying to overcome the deep sense of shame and humiliation we felt from being rejected by the one we “loved” the most.

Love is a messy thing when it is a one way street.

Isn’t this truth the very essence of the gospel though?

Jesus Christ loved those who did not love him back, to the point that he shed his very blood for sins that he did not commit in order to declare his love for mankind.

He took our guilt, our shame, our rejection upon himself when he hung on the cross.

His sacrificial love was brutal and it was messy.

There is no question as to whether he loves us, it has already been demonstrated.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

But his question for all of us is, “do you love me or do you not?”

End of ditty.

He asks it of me, of Jimmy, of a third grade class, in fact, the whole world.

How will we respond?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him”  John 3:16,17





“I’ll leave the light on”.

Those were some of the last words she spoke to me.

For a couple of years, Sunday Wesche and I had exchanged pictures of adorable cottages back and forth on facebook, declaring that these would be the ‘mansions’ on our heavenly streets and that we would want them right next door to each other.

Late summer, early fall, Sunday was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor.

Surgery removed some of the tumor but resulted in a stroke that left her going home to work on recovery, as her family rallied to help and so many stormed the gates of heaven for healing on her behalf.

Her healing came peacefully this morning with her family at her side, gently releasing her into the everlasting arms of the one she loved more than life itself.

Sunday learned about Jesus at a young age and when she decided to give her life to Him, she was “all in”.

She held nothing back when it came to the one who had died for her sins.

She went on to become a youth director while being a single young woman in her twenties at Central Christian Church in Wichita, Kansas.

She started the youth group with about 5 kids or so and asked them to pray that God would bring others.

He did. I was one of them who came and so were many more.

Young people came from all over Wichita and at one point, the group reached somewhere close to 500 youth.

She taught us to sing for Jesus with all of our hearts and to share our stories about how He had brought us from darkness to light.

We began to see firsthand what it meant to be “born again” because lives were truly being changed.

Parents began observing that their ‘rebellious’ teen was no longer mouthing off but offering instead, to help around the house or even asking forgiveness for his/her bad attitude.

Our group was named “All God’s Children” and we began to believe God to do the impossible and prayed that Wichita, Ks would see people turning right and left to give their lives to Jesus Christ.

We gave concerts and sang songs, sharing our life stories and what Jesus had done for us and even began seeing parents giving their lives to Christ as well.

Sunday would teach us that if we were going to sing for Jesus we better act like we meant it. If we were going to say we followed Him, we better live a life that looked like His. She detested hypocrisy yet was full of grace for those who struggled to find their footing.

Before every concert, we would pray for God to move in the hearts of those in the audience.

Sunday would tell us not to go out on the stage and sing if we held a grudge against a brother or sister. We were to go to them, clear it up and pray with them, making things right so that nothing would stand in the way of our proclaiming the love of Christ.

After all, if we couldn’t love each other, then how could we sing about His life changing love to anyone else?

So many young people and others have been touched by Sundays powerful faith and deep love for her Savior and I am one of them.

I can remember her coming to me one day and asking me to sing a solo for one of the concerts. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my singing abilities and certainly not enough to sing in front of an audience of a couple of thousand people!

But Sunday reminded me that it wasn’t about the vocal ability as much as it was about shining for Him and being a light proclaiming his love.

The first time I went out on the stage to sing “Jesus I Love Thee”, the spotlight shone on me and all I could think about was Jesus. There was no audience, just me and Him and I knew that Sunday was praying.

She prayed for all of us and believed that we could do anything if we had the power of Christ working within us.

Her signature song was “The God of Miracles” and we all loved to hear her sing it because no one believed that as much as she did.

After several years in Wichita, she married a good man in Idaho and moved there.

She left a legacy of young men and women who themselves either went into full time ministry or lived out their faith in their homes or work places.

Those of us whose lives she invested in will never be the same for having known her because what she invested in us was something beyond what this world has to offer.

“I’ll leave the light on” is more than Sunday knowing her time here would be coming to an end.

It meant her hope of heaven but also her desire that what she has left in the lives she has touched will continue to shine for the glory of the one who loves us most.

Someday, we will knock on her door and we will all thank her for caring enough to ‘leave the light on’.

Until that day,  may we keep ours burning brighter than the day before.

I close with these words of comfort to all who believe in the giver of life who is the light of the world:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4