Category Archives: peace for the journey

“Peace Be Still” ~ a BellaMella Canvas Give-away

**CONTEST IS CLOSED! Thanks to everyone who took the time to peruse Melanie’s work. Amelia just drew the winner – SKOOTS 1 MOM. Congratulations, Skoots. Please shoot me your mailing address so that I can pass it along to Melanie.

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.  -Mark 4:39

Jesus spoke these words to the tempestuous waters that raged around his disciples on a night some 2000 years ago. He continues to speak these same words over us in our nights of troublesome sailing. 

Peace. Be still.

Peace. How desperate we are for God’s daily allowance to be ours! I cry out for it in times of personal struggle. I cry for it in your times of great tribulation … for God’s peace to be our portion regardless of the strains that come against us.

The good Father has never forsaken my prayers along these lines. While I’ve not always received the desired outcome of my specific prayers, I’ve never been denied the peace of Christ. It is possible to bear the seemingly unbearable when God is in the boat. Wherever God is, so is his peace.

Not long ago, my friend Melanie Dorsey began to paint her heart-words onto canvas. Bravely, she allowed the world a window-peek into her giftings to see, first hand, how God is moving her faith forward. How blessed I’ve been to watch this unfold – a new dimension to further develop her words of witness. I couldn’t be more inspired. So …

I asked Melanie if she would be willing to apply her creativity and her paint to this verse from Mark. This portrait is the finished product. And this, friends, will be given to one of you.

“Peace be still” is a mixed media, 11 x 14 canvas. The sides are painted and suitable to hang “as is” or framed. The canvas has a sealer for a finished look, and the character is cut from an actual hymn page, Wonderful Peace (belt displays hymn title).

I love it. I hate to part with it, but it’s been in my heart to do this for a few weeks now with the idea of sending one of you a little peace for your journey.

If you are interested in winning this treasure, take a moment to peruse some of Melanie’s other work at her webpage. In the comment section below this post, please tell me which ones are your favorites. Your name will then be entered into a random drawing for a chance to win this “Peace be still” canvas. For additional chances to win, please share this particular post link on your facebook and/or twitter pages. Indicate in the comments below your additional participation. This contest will close at noon on Friday, October 25th. A winner will be announced on Friday afternoon, and Melanie will send the canvas directly from her studio.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with this beautiful hymn, Wonderful Peace, I’ve included a rendition of it sung by one of my favorites, Gary Chapman. Sing your way to worship, friends, and remember that our Jesus has not left the boat. He who superintends the waves is the Peace who superintends our hearts. Be not afraid. Peace … be still.

I love you dearly,

Letting Go

Letting go.

We talked about it last night after teeth were brushed and prayers were spoken. Two girls, one barely eleven and the other four times plus her senior. Her tears might as well have been mine. I know this struggle – this letting go kind of dilemma.

She’ll be taking a trip soon, one that requires her to leave behind a few items that have been her comfort for the past decade. She knows it’s time; she just doesn’t know how she’s going to do it without some pain.

“Maybe this is how God is going to grow you. Maybe this is his way of molding you into the woman he wants you to be – someone who trusts him in the night. You can hold onto someone real, baby girl, instead of something that’s not. You can hold onto Jesus. I sure would hate for you to miss out on a potentially, life-changing experience because of your fear of letting go. Maybe this is God’s way of leading you toward a deeper faith in him.”

These words were enough to momentarily quell her inner ache; I lingered a while longer while she let this truth absorb into her soul. After leaving her room, I let it absorb into mine as well. Long into the night I meditated on these words shared from my mother’s, well-trained heart to a daughter who is following closely behind.

Maybe this is how God is going to grow you, Elaine.

Letting go. I know it’s time; I just don’t know how I’m going to do it without some pain.

Of what, you might ask?

A few things. In the grand scheme of your life, my few things probably don’t matter that much. I imagine you have your own releases that are fighting it out within your heart today. You know it’s time; God’s been poking at it for a while now. But you are scared of the night. Those creature comforts that have been temporarily comforting you no longer suffice. Their power is limited and will never lend you enough strength for the deeper faith that is required for the journey ahead.

And so you have a choice: Let go of what’s in your hand so that you might take hold of God’s hand, or hold on to what you have and never make it to your next, spiritual birthday. You can stay stuck at eleven or you can add another candle to the cake and move forward with your twelve. The choice is yours. The choice is mine.

Maybe this is how God is going to grow us all.

It begins in the night, when light is cloaked by darkness, a wrestling it out under the covers with our souls. The pain is real, the ache almost debilitating. Almost. But then truth arrives, bringing with it a fair exchange for the hurt. A God exchange. His real presence for your temporal fix. His real hand, his heart, and his love for your false idols.

Your life, changing because of your letting go.

I want that, friends. Life changing. Life amplified. Life maturing. Life living forward in the daytime because I wasn’t afraid to let go in the night. Life holding hands with the Savior instead of life holding hands with fear.

Accordingly, I make this choice today, even as my daughter will have to make hers in coming days. I know it’s time; I just don’t know how to do it without the pain. So I won’t even try. I’ll expect the pain, but I’ll also expect the hand of Jesus. His real presence makes all the difference. His real presence is all the strength I need to let go in order that I might walk on.

This is me letting go.

This is me walking on.

I’ll meet you on the road of faith. Traveling mercies, sweet friends, and may you always know God’s companioning …

Peace for the journey,

living the “get-to” life …

We sat on his front porch talking about this-and-that while relishing Saturday’s break in temperature. The wind kindly caressed our conversation. It was a beautiful gift—the weather and the fellowship.

I haven’t always been good at my relishing, especially when life is crowded. There are times in my day (many moments of prolonged dreaming), when I consider what it would be like to continually hold moments like Saturday’s pause. To slow life’s pace and live God’s grace as it arrives.

Have you ever wanted to just stop at that place, jump into a peace-scene and linger there without constraint? Strip away all the must-dos and, instead, tarry in the get-tos? Me too. And here is what I’m realizing about my life.

The get-tos are becoming more habitual; the must-dos less demanding. This is my time to pause. There are ample opportunities to do so.

I get to linger on front porches.

I get to take long walks and make new friends.

I get to study the feeding habits of our neighborhood herons.

I get to watch my children learn the stuff I don’t remember learning in the 6th and 7th grade.

I get to take my time at the grocery, searching out bargains and counting on familiar faces.

I get to read the newspaper.

I get to spend uninterrupted time in prayer.

I get to order my days rather than having my days order me.

The list is endless. It’s not that these get-tos haven’t been mine all along. It’s just that I’m more willing to entreat them. Make room for them. Insist on them.

This is my life. No more fantasizing about what I might do should life slow down. Life did slow down. Life is slowing down. And I am winding down. Not because I must-do, but rather because I get-to.

Oh how sweet the pace of a get-to life! I’m not sure we can rush this one, friends … force the get-to life. It’s been evolving in me over these past few years. I don’t have a clever plan for rushing you to your get-to. Perhaps just thinking about it today might create a little space in your heart for its arrival.


My heart is with you. You know that, right? You are one of my get-tos, and it is always my hope that these ramblings inside of my head might resonate with one inside of yours. That God would continue to use my inconsistent and unscheduled pen to bring a little peace to your day. A must-do or a get-to. I don’t know how I rank on your list, but either way, I am exceedingly grateful that you’re here.

Thank you for stopping by and sitting on my front porch for a while. May God’s goodness and grace be evident to you as you marshal through your must dos, all the while reminding you of the privilege of your get-tos. As always …

Peace for the journey,

Porch Photo Credit: Susan Hood Photography

what is?

A few words latch tightly onto my spirit this morning.

Not “what if”, Elaine, but rather “what is”.

What is. What if I could just live there instead of living in the interminable list of maybes? I’m going to try. With God’s help I’m going to endeavor to live in the reality of today and not take on the unseen possibilities of tomorrow.

What is?

Family relocation in less than a month. Four of us heading south. Two of us heading north.

What is?

Exhaustion. I must take time to rest my body, mind, soul, and spirit, even in the midst of chaos.

What is?

Fear of the unknown. Today, I give it over to God and allow the Faith that has carried my Elaine in these last forty-seven years to be enough to see me through till nightfall.

What is?

Food in my cupboards and a little money in my pocket. Daily manna for daily needs.

What is?

No startling news on the health front. Thanking God for still waters.

What is?

A family’s love. I am accepted and celebrated for who I am.

What is?

The truth of God and his Word tightly tethered to my heart. Oh the sweet, inescapable grace of the Creator! Wherever I am, God IS as well.

What is?

Friendship. Kinship. The fellowship of the beloved. The family of God is long and wide and high and deep. I am not alone on this pilgrim road.

What is?

Good books. Good authors. Words that sustain me, challenge me, and lead me toward truth.

What is?

A day filled with sunshine. A good day for a walk in God’s garden. Eden doesn’t seem so far out of reach.

What is?

Motherhood. They are mine for a season. Today I’ll give them my time, my patience, my love, and my faith. It’s the best I can do.

What is?

Kingdom influence. An undeserved grace. A weighty privilege. A sacred participation with the Almighty. It might sneak quietly into my day, but I pray for eyes to see, a heart to believe, and hands wide-open to receive it as it arrives.

What is?

Right now. This moment.

What is?

Jesus Christ near me, with me, in me.

What is?

Enough peace for the journey I’m traveling.

How about you? What is? I’m praying that God will keep us focused here, on the “is” that really is and not on the “what ifs” that crowd our agenda. In keeping it this small, in breaking down the grand chaos into bite-sized, reality chunks, I think we’re better able to live our moments as they arrive. Not that we deny the truth of “what is”; the starkness of the life in front of us can be a challenge. But even when our “what is” is difficult, as a people of faith we can be certain that God’s “what is” is coupled alongside us as we progressively step through the struggle.

Would you be willing to think it through today – all the way through? Write down your “what is” and receive it as truth? “What ifs” are time wasters; I don’t know about you, but I’ve got enough on my agenda without squandering a single speck of emotional and mental energy on living a scenario that has yet to breathe.

What is? Well, I better get busy with it – two kids running down the hallway and asking the lunch lady regarding today’s menu. I’ll see you on the other side of my Monday, friends. Keep me posted on what your “what is”. I am praying for you.

Christmas Special 2012


For those of you who are interested in purchasing copies of my books, Peace for the Journey and Beyond Cancer’s Scars, I’m offering FREE SHIPPING on all U.S.A. orders now through December 2012.

In addition, if you order three copies of any combination of books, you’ll receive a fourth one FREE! When ordering with Paypal, order your choice of three books via the Paypal shopping cart. To receive a fourth book free, indicate your selection in the “instructions to merchant” box or send me a private message. DO NOT add your free book to the shopping cart; in doing so, you’ll be paying for the 4th book, and I won’t be able to refund your money. If you’d like to order using a check for payment, please send me a private message by clicking here.

Please keep in mind that all merchandise will be shipped at media-mail rates and may take up to two weeks to receive, although books usually arrive within a week. Therefore, plan accordingly if you’d like your books before Christmas!

Thank you so very much for supporting my work and for allowing me the opportunity to bring God’s peace and comfort into the hearts and homes of those who are searching for the light and witness of Jesus. These are good days to be walking alongside you, friends, as we, once again, make our Bethlehem pilgrimage. I pray for many manger moments to fill your days as you move forward to behold the Christ-child. These are his revelation days. Would you open up your heart so that you might receive his?

I’ll meet you on the road. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

This special is no longer available. To see our 2013 special, click here.

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