No Easy Jesus: A Tyndlae Blog Network Review

 I have a guest post review today! My husband was very excited to read and review No Easy Jesus by Jason Mitchell for Tyndale Blog Network. Here are his thoughts about this book.

As a pastor I am always looking for ways to help people in their walk with the Lord. I love to read books that will teach me something and encourage me in my pursuit of godliness. That is why I was excited about No Easy Jesus: How the Toughest Choices Lead to the Greatest Life.
Too often we are taught that when we begin a relationship with Jesus that our life will be better and that is true to some degree. But if by better we mean easy, then we are greatly mistaken. Life is full of tough choices and being a Christian can sometimes make those choices even harder.
Have you ever watched other Christians living fulfilled lives and think to yourself, “Why can’t I have what they have?” Sometimes we think that being fulfilled in the Christian life is only for a few elite Christians. The truth is Jesus wants you to live the greatest life possible.
One of the things I love about this book is the author’s openness and transparency. I felt I could relate to him. He talks about his struggles in life and how he has found that the secret to living the greatest life possible is a willingness to make the tough choices to follow Jesus each day. In the book, Jason Mitchell says, “It’s a clarion challenge to wake up each day and choose Jesus all over again; to make the tough, gritty choices that align your way with His and lead to true fullness of life. Because when you decided to follow Jesus, you didn’t sign up for what was easiest―you signed up for what was best.”
No Easy Jesus will challenge you to make the tough choices so that you can experience the best life possible. If you desire a deeper walk with Jesus than this book is a must read for you.
Disclaimer: I received this title in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review. 

How Cancer Touched our Family: Diego’s Journey (Part 1)

Many of you were praying for our dear friend and neighbor over the summer. His name is Diego and he is in 1st grade. The same week I had a portion of my thyroid removed, Diego had a kidney and 3 pound cancerous tumor removed. Since he lives next door and is a good friend our girls have spent as much time as possible with him. We have had some hard conversations about cancer and chemotherapy over the last few months.

I was concerned about how they would react and how it would affect them. They are sensitive little girls with tender hearts who hate to see anyone sick or hurting.

We explained as much as we could. They asked a lot of questions.

And then they prayed.

My girls pray for one of their closest friends every meal, every night, and sometimes throughout the day. They’ve stopped me mid-lesson and say, “Mommy, today is Diego’s treatment. We need to pray for him!” So we do. We pray fervently for healing, for comfort, and for peace. What they don’t understand is why it is taking so long for him to feel better.

But still they pray.

They do understand that because the treatments leave him feeling badly we don’t see him every day. We also take caution not to spend time with Diego if there is even a threat we might not be well. At the same time they know he needs lots of friends to encourage him and they invite him over as often as they can. He often doesn’t feel like doing a lot, but every once in a while he enjoys playing in the backyard.

More often than not this is what hanging out with Diego looks like. I’ve lifted my usually strict limit on screen time because Diego is more important. He usually doesn’t feel like doing much active and I completely understand. It doesn’t bother me one bit because I love when he can forget for a little while all that is going on with his small body.

The best times are the days when Diego invites the girls outside to play. We say yes as much as we can! On this day they enjoyed a walk around the neighborhood with their friend and they had a great time. It is so good to see him feeling well enough to be active.

Here are some of the details if you are interested…

1. The official diagnosis was a Wilms’ Tumor which had developed into stage 2 kidney cancer.
2. He is nearing the end of the chemo treatments which has taken a toll on him physically.
3. He is now able to go to school more regularly as the treatments are tapering.
4. He is very susceptible to illness, but has only been hospitalized once since the surgery.

Throughout everything Diego’s faith has remained strong. We try to be the tangible hands of Christ, but so often feel we fall short. He is blessed with a couple of sweet ladies who have never met him, but have been sending him thoughtful gifts throughout his treatment. Many have surrounded them to help financially and with meals. From the very start he talked to his mom about knowing God was with him. God’s blessings have been evident, but the road has still been hard for the family.

So I invite you to join my girls as they pray. Pray he will experience complete healing. Pray there would be no long-term side effects from the treatments. Pray he is able to catch up quickly from the school he has had to miss. Pray he and his mom are able to have restful nights. Pray for the entire family to continue to feel God’s presence.

Click here to keep up with Diego’s Fight on Facebook.


Life-pain comes all at once. I’m home recovering from thyroid surgery to remove a rather large nodule and find out a dear friend’s little 6-year-old boy is in the ER awaiting a CT scan to diagnose the severity of a tumor on his kidney (update: It is cancerous). I find out my husband’s uncle was having a heart attack this morning that was thankfully stopped, but needs hospitalization. Four good friends have had surgery within the last two weeks.

And it is raining.

The sun hasn’t shown it’s light for more than a day at a time over the last several weeks. The sky is gray and dark and gloomy. The earth has been muddy slosh, not able to absorb all that wetting.

Even in the rain…

the birds sing
the vegetables grow
the flowers bud

….because of the rain.

Life-pain. Moments you never want to experience, but you do. Sickness, abandonment, depression…life-pain. Moment by moment we draw our breath and seek peace. We cling to hope, long for assurance. We wait for the words which will finally bring relief. 

Through it all we have Emmanuel…God with us. Never am I more keenly aware of Emmanuel than in the middle of pain. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” (The Problem of Pain). 

Pain and God. We don’t like to pair the two. We know God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life and that doesn’t match up with pain. In the midst of pain we must trust on the God who loves the world even when our world feels anything but loved.

God is love. The prince of this world is pain. We must never confuse the two. In our pain God is there, holding us, loving us. We don’t always feel it and so we must rely on others to be God’s hands and feet to hold us and love us. 

Be the love of God to those experiencing life-pain. Pray for them when they can’t pray. Cook for them when they are hungry. Hug them while they weep. 

God speaks during the pain, but we most often hear Him after the pain. After the rain. When the birds fly, vegetables ripen, and flowers blossom. Life-pain is inevitable…we are none immune. Stay close to God now before it arrives so you have hope when it does.

Stewardship and Pot Holders

Update: As of this week Rose has given $17.00 towards our Great Commission Women‘s missionary fund!

My sweet Rose, who will turn 8 next month, has always had an excitement for missions. We give money as a church to what we call the Great Commission Fund. This provides financially for missionaries so they are not burdened with raising their own support. We also give to a more targeted project through our women’s ministry. This year the targeted project was to help raise money to start an Awana program in Chile. This captured Rose’s heart and after she had already earned money around the house doing extra chores she asked if she could do more.

On her own my little entrepreneur asked to sell pot holders woven on a loom by her hand. After she first asked to sell them by the roadside, we quickly decided we should help guide her in this endeavor! Together we had to discussed how much to charge, how to advertise, and how she would get the pot holders to her customers. With only a little minimal guidance from us, Rose launched her first business with gusto!

Rose’s tithe and missionary jars

The first question I asked her was how much she wanted to give to missions from each pot holder. She sort of gave me a guilty look and said, “Is it okay if I don’t give everything to the missionaries?” I assured her that was okay and she chose to give 20% of her total earnings. We talked about tithing and how our family gives a tithe first then gives to missions in addition. Our family practices tithing. We use 10% as a guideline to represent our first fruits. We also give to missions as a family through faith-promise giving meaning that we choose an amount to give to missions based on the faith that God will provide, not as a calculation of how much we will have left over at the end of the year. This was an excellent opportunity to explain some of these things in more depth to our daughter.

Rose started this business at the beginning of May. So far she has made 27 pot holders in just 2 months! This little business of course taught her about financial responsibility and stewardship, but other lessons followed as well. The ones about responsibility and work ethic top the list. She took orders and kept track of who ordered what colors and how many. She was quick to make each one and would make sure to get the order complete within a week. She used some of her income to purchase a more sturdy loom when her original plastic one broke. She worked as we traveled, worked as she watched television, and worked during the girls’ afternoon quiet time. She worked diligently and happily, joyfully giving what she had earned each Sunday.

Rose sold each pot holder for $2.50

This small enterprise has earned  just over $13.00 to help start the Awana program in Chile. This is a modest sum, but I am reminded of the young boy who went out one day, many years ago, with just a small lunch. My never-changing Jesus can multiply money the same way He did the loves and fish those many years ago. Whether she knows the full impact of her efforts here on earth doesn’t matter. Her heart has learned a lesson beyond mere business sense and responsibility. She has been touched compassion and moved to make a difference. Please pray with me that her dollars will be multiplied just like unnamed boy in Scripture.