I’ve finally emerged from the “hole” I’ve been in. I’m not talking about the claustrophobia-inducing crawl space I recently descended into to kill mold where I had to belly crawl and turn my head around backward (it felt like it!) to paint over those menacing monsters that were invading our helpless floorboards.

I’m talking about the hole of distraction. Actually, distractions are more like a swamp with all the slow-me-down squishes underfoot.

I know I’m not alone, hanging out in the quagmire of distraction. We’ve certainly got a lot of things tugging on us for our attention:  Covid-19, politics, masks vs. no masks, violence, shut-downs/cancellations, quarantining, fear, rioting, and wildfires. Just to name a few.

Throw in your own “stay-cation,” unusual family get-togethers (if any), summer DIY attempts, financial woes (lack of employment or decreased pay), and school worries (back in session or maybe it’s not or maybe it is but only online or partly online), and it’s enough to make your eyes jump around in your head wondering what to look at next.

It’s easy to get sidetracked or pulled in different directions with so much going on. It’s like you’re the only piece of candy left sitting in the street during the parade and a swarm of kids has spotted you.

But what about God? What happens to your relationship with Him when you’re so distracted by all that’s going on around you?

God speaks to you, to all of us, through His Word and His Holy Spirit. But when we’re distracted, we’re like a bunch of rubber-necking drivers so busy gawking out the window that we miss what He’s saying, and we wind up missing our turn.

We lose our way and before long, we run out of gas and start walking.

Hello, swamp.

It doesn’t take long for this murky place to zap us of our strength, peace, and joy—no one laughs when they’re knee-deep in the muck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. And there is no peace when you feel far away from God.

But one of the great things about God is that it’s never too late to call out to Him and ask Him to help you get back on track. You don’t even have to belly crawl to get there. 🙂  If you humble yourself and ask Him for help, He will lift you up.

And you don’t have to have all of the answers, logically mapping out how to get from here to there. You don’t have to be “perfect” either. You don’t even need to have hiking boots to get out of the swamp and back to your relationship with Him. God will give you exactly what you need, and He will meet you right where you are.

You simply need to pull your life back from the greedy, candy-sticky fingers of Distraction, and give God your focus.

And while you’re at it, give Him all of you and watch and see what He does.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV.)

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matthew 6:6a emphasis my own, NIV.)

“Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” (James 4:10 MSG.)

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6 NIV.)





Dear Student

dear student

I’m writing this while I’m in my pajamas. Maybe you’re reading this while you’re wearing yours. You don’t know me, and I’m not going to pretend like I know you and what you’re going through today.  But I want to tell you something:

I want to love you.

Well that sounds weird, huh? A little goofy like I’m going to send you a Valentine ’s Day card in the mail or a creepy text. Maybe you’re rolling your eyes or maybe you’re wondering what in the world I’m talking about.

How can a woman in her forties (sheesh I’m old!) who lives in the country with shaky internet service, plays Wipeout on the Wii with her teenage daughter, and doesn’t even have a Twitter account love you?

Because I know Someone who can. I know Someone who really knows you.  He knows what hurts your feelings, what you’re dreaming about, who you like, what annoys you, and everything in between.  He sees you struggling in that class and how hard it is when the other kids “get it.” He loves hearing you crack up laughing.  And He hurts with you when you break down and cry.

Maybe you know Him too. Or maybe you’ve only heard His name when someone is mad.

His name is Jesus Christ.

Do you know Him?  Well He knows you.  Jesus was there when you were born and He has loved you every single moment since.

Let me tell you, if your bedroom door is closed, He won’t just barge in. You see, He loves you enough to let you have a choice. He loves you enough to knock.

He’s hoping you’ll open the door and let Him into your life.

You want to know something pretty amazing about Him? When you get on the bus in the morning or hop in the car on your way to school, you can ask Him to come with you and He will. Maybe the school won’t let Him in, but you can. He will walk the halls with you, help you if you’re getting bullied, and calm you down if you forgot to study for that big test.

He will remind you that you are never alone no matter what and that you are SO important! There’s only one of you in this whole world, and there’s a reason you were born.  He wants to help you figure all that stuff out.  (Oh, and there really are great things coming your way, no matter what anyone else says.)

So this is how I’m going to love you: I’m going to pray for you that you take Jesus with you to school.  Because when you’ve got Jesus, love goes with you.

Love, your new yet “old” friend,

Joey 🙂

“Look! I stand at the door and knock.  If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Revelation 3:20 NLT.)

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7 NIV.)

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son [Jesus] into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:7,9 NIV.)

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 11-12 NIV.)