Get Your Praise On!!

Because of a reaction to the medication for my back pain, I had to miss church this week. We were able to set up a Skype link (a rather temperamental one) so I could still be a part of the morning worship service. What I experienced moved me to tears.

Normally, being moved to tears during a worship service is a good thing. There is nothing quite like the spine-tingling thrill of feeling  God move through a group of believers. But it wasn’t His movement that caused my tears. These tears were brought on by a broken heart.

The worship portion of the service consisted of four wonderful, upbeat songs about what God has done for us–Hello My Name Is, I Am Free, God’s Not Dead and Oh Happy Day . Despite my pain I was taping my feet and clapping, dancing as much as I was able, as I smiled and sang along.   Halfway through God’s Not Dead, I looked at the Skype window. No one else was dancing or swaying. I saw no evidence of clapping or foot tapping. Since my view was from the back, I don’t know if anyone was smiling. The only singing I could hear, though, came from the praise and the worship track and our worship team. It broke my heart to think my church didn’t care about the words they were singing. I wanted to shout at them through my computer, “God’s not dead- but you sure look like you are!”

That is a harsh thing to say about anyone, I know, especially my own church family. I know these people, and I know how they love Jesus. But would a visitor know that? What I witnessed on Sunday was not a warm, welcoming worship service. It was not the kind of thing that would make a person think, “These people know and worship a living God who set them free.”

If it had been my first service, if I didn’t know the people in those seats, I cannot honestly say I would be back.

The Bible tells us to sing praises to God. In Psalms, we are told to come together to sing praises. Psalm 149:1 says, “Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song. Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful.” Psalm 100:1 tells us to “Shout with joy to the Lord.” There are at least two places in Psalms where we are told to “Praise His name with dancing” (149:3 and 150:4.)

I know that worship, true worship, comes from the heart in a different way for each person. And it is God we should be striving to please as we worship. Yet we are also called to reach others for Him. What does it say to the unchurched traveler when our songs speak the joy of the freedom found in life with a God who is not dead while our body language suggests we are preparing for a funeral?

I can’t change the actions of everyone in the church. In fact, I can’t change the actions of anyone in the church– except me. When the music plays next Sunday morning, I plan to let it move me. I pray that the spirit of God washes over me in ways I can’t contain and the Pentecostal girl inside of me that has been silent for years comes out in full force!

I have prayed that my church would be set on fire for Jesus. If I can be the spark that starts that fire, I say “Bring it!”

Who Am I?

“(I)t annoyed me that someone else would decide for me whether I could or couldn’t handle following a dream while being a wife.  It was almost as if becoming a wife meant giving up any other part of me.  But I really begged to disagree.  And I was even more determined that it wouldn’t happen.”
My So-Called Life As A Proverbs 31 Wife
Sara Horn

This very accurately describes my life.  Between being a wife and a mother, I feel like I have lost track of who I am.  It’s not a decision anyone else made for me.  Honestly, it’s not even a decision that I made for myself.  Not consciously, anyway.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a Mom.  Kind of strange, actually, because I am really not a big fan of kids.  It’s not that I don’t like them.  I just don’t want to be constantly surrounded by them.  And a mom, unless she is able to afford nannies, is almost always “surrounded” by kids.  I am not sorry that I have kids; these boys are the greatest blessings I could have ever imagined.  Life without them is not something I even want to consider.  I have to share them with school teachers, and that is bad enough.  Last week, one of them asked when he can date—and he is only ten!  My time with them is growing short.  I’m not looking forward to the day when there is another girl who is more important to them than I am.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t know who I am outside of being their mom.  I went from Rob and Irma’s daughter, to John’s wife, to Andru, Robin, and Seth’s mom.  There is nothing wrong with any of these roles in my life.  My parents, my husband, my children, they are all very special people in my life, very special blessings that I would not want to live without.  It’s just that I have spent so much time filling those roles that I don’t really know who I am.

Who is Lynn?

I wonder if this is a normal thing.  Does every mom go through this?  Does every woman go through it?  What about men?  Do they have an identity crisis, a time when they just don’t know who they are?

I am in the process of trying to figure out just who I am.  The problem is, I feel selfish while doing it.  This process requires putting a lot of attention on myself.  It means thinking about my needs and my wants, my likes and my dislikes.   I am trying my hardest to balance out what is good for me with what is good for my guys, but it is hard.  Balancing is not something I’ve always been good at, but I am trying.

It’s important to me that I do figure it out.  I want to be the best wife and mom I can be.  My guys deserve that.  To be that, I need to figure out who Lynn is.  There has to be more to the woman I am than just wife and mother.

And I know that whoever it is that I am, God created me to be and do something special.

I just need to be patient while He works out just what that “special” thing is.

You May Have Already Won

Life takes some funny twists and turns. At least mine did. In high school, I was completely focused on my future. I’d earn a track scholarship to the University of Michigan. While, there I planned to study hard. There were so many things I wanted to do- teach, be a judge, write bestselling novels. I didn’t know which one would be my career, but I knew I could do any of the three. My plan was to put off marriage, and I’d never had children, so I could focus on my career. At least I wasn’t being like some high school athletes, majoring in underwater basketball weaving while counting on my athletic ability to get me through the rest of my life.

Though I graduated with a liberal Arts degree, ten years after college I wasn’t really in any of those fields. No, instead I had done what I never thought I would. I got married and had three children. As if that wasn’t enough, my husband and I had adopted two others.

Oh, I love my husband and kids. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without any of them. Still, I wonder how different things would be if I had followed my high school dreams.

In the mail today was a letter, addressed to me. It didn’t say “Mommy.” It didn’t say “Mrs. Reed.” It had my name Elizabeth Anna Reed, printed in neat black letters. Typed on the envelope, in bright red letters, were the words, “You May Have Already Won.”

My heart skipped a beat. Really? I could have won? Could have won what? The possibilities were endless.

A million dollars would be nice. I could pay off my student loans (still paying for a degree I didn’t use annoyed both me and my husband). We could finally make updates to the house we had been dreaming about. Each of the kids could have a room alone, eliminating a lot of the daily fighting. My husband could have that brand new car he had always wanted. Oh, I could spend a relaxing day at the spa.

Maybe I had won a vacation. A week spent in Cancun or cruising the French Riviera. All that sun and the quiet. We could pack up the kids, send them to my parents of in-laws. Or we could divide them among our friends, if no one wanted to take all five at once. I’d come home with a tan and a smile. Best of all, my husband would stop nagging me about the amount of sex he was getting. Without fear of the kids interrupting a passionate moment, I’m sure we would be able to enjoy each other.

Of course, I would have won something much smaller. A new computer, perhaps, or a big screen TV. Maybe it would be new windows for the house of new carpeting.

A scream rang out; at the same time a foam dart sailed through the air and lodged in my hair. I looked around. The living room floor was littered with toys-building blocks, cars, Barbie’s. The dining room table was covered in crayons and papers, with left over Spaghetti-Os and spilled Kool-Aid mixed in. the kids themselves had tomato sauce in their hair and dirt smudged across their faces. It was a normal daily scene, something I’d like to call “summertime chaos”.

Glancing at the red lettered envelope, I sighed. No point in opening it. I hadn’t entered any contest, so the prize would be no good. With my luck, I’d won another child.

No, I’d be better off just leaving the envelope in the trash can.

What Love Is

I am not much of a poet, but I did write this one in college.  I suppose it’s not too bad.



Blue sky
Fluffy clouds
Sun smiles on the world
Humming, dancing, singing
And you are by my side
Is this what love is?


Grey sky
Gentle rain
Wind sighs over the world
Taping, patting, clicking
And you are walking with me
Is this what love is?


Black sky
Harsh wind
Thunder screams at the world
Pounding, flashing, booming
And you still holding my hand
This is what love is.

Ship Shape

The ship’s sail looked dingy and tattered. It, and the ship itself, had seen much better days. Yet it stood almost proudly in the marina, like a symbol to the other boats in the arena.

My sons were always more interested in the newer, shiner crafts when we visited. But me, I was drawn to the old ship. No matter how many times I’d seen it, it captivated me. The boys would probably say that was because the ship was one of the few things in our home town that was actually older than their father. I think my wife is the one that put that idea into their heads.

The ship was a piece of history. It had seen more than I ever would. Each hole on the sail said so much. Yet it had survived. It still lived.

Again, that was more than I could say for myself at times.

The plaques in front of the ship told a little of its story. It had been battle scared as it defended our country. On her last voyage, only three crew members had survived and brought her home. Each scratch on the hull, each tear in the sail was displayed as badges of honor. It had to be a lonely life, being the only one left.

It was a lonely life.

I had to tear my eyes away from the old ship and her torn sail. My boys needed my attention. If something happened to them….

They were laughing over the antics of the ducks playing among the boats. The oldest, my nine year old, had his mother’s laugh. My seven year old had her smile. And the baby, my four year old, had her red hair and blue eyes. For a moment, it was like she was still there. Smaller versions of her, a more boyish version, perhaps, but  still her. Spending time with them was the best was way I could have her alive.

It was not the way I wanted her, but it was the best I could have.

The Birthday

Jillian woke up early that Friday morning, earlier than she meant to. No matter what she tried, she couldn’t get back to sleep. Maybe that was for the best. The dream she was having were not exactly pleasant.

She climbed out of bed and headed for the kitchen. After starting a pot of coffee for her husband, she poured herself a glass of orange juice. Then Jillian made her way to the window in the dining room.

This was her favorite spot in the whole house. Rick had fallen in love with the basketball net and the patio with built in BBQ grill. But all Jillian needed was one look at the cushioned bench and the lakeside view beyond the window to know that she wanted to live here.

She spent countless moments at this spot. Jillian’s Bible and notebook were kept on the window ledge. Looking over the lake as the sun rose over the trees, she felt close to God. She couldn’t begin to count the times she’d come here to pray for her sons of thank God for his protection over her family.

Not this morning, though. The only thing on her mind was the date-October 14- and how she would ever get through it.

She didn’t know how long she had been sitting there. The sitars had slowly disappeared as the sky beyond the lake changed from midnight blue to indigo to varying shades of pink. Subtle noise from the kitchen told her that Rick was awake. Jillian sipped her juice. She figured she should see if he needed help with breakfast, but she couldn’t tear herself away from the view outside her window. More than ever before, she needed to feel God, needed to see that he was real.

Rick slipped quietly behind Jillian and kissed her cheek. “Good morning,” he said softly.

“Hmmmm,” Jillian said. Her gazed never moved from the sunrise.

“Beautiful morning.”


“You ok?” rick asked after a few silent moments.

Jillian turned to face her husband. “Am I ok?” she asked, hoping she heard the words wrong. How could she be ok this morning? For that matter, how could he?

“Mom, where’s my soccer short’s?”

“I can’t find my chemistry book.”

The voices were followed by two sets of footsteps pounding down the hall. With Cameron and Reese awake, Jillian’s quiet time was over for the day. With one final glare at her husband, who looked as if he didn’t know what he possibly could have done wrong, she headed for the kitchen. She picked up the chemistry book from beside the telephone book, and then headed to the laundry room to pull the shorts from the dryer. She handed them to the boys and headed back to her bedroom. In a way she was glad to get moving. The sooner the day started, the sooner it could end.

Jillian pulled on an old faded pair of jeans and a comfy old sweatshirt, and then rejoined her family in the kitchen. She picked a blueberry bran muffin, only half listening to the conversation around her. At that moment, she wasn’t concerned with soccer playoffs of chemistry exams. She didn’t feel like talking about her errands or adding items to the grocery list. All she wanted was to spend the day in bed, alone with her tears.

Or maybe sharing her tears with Rick, who still seemed to not know the significance of the date.

Curling up was not option. Jillian had too many responsibilities. She didn’t have the luxury of hiding. Not that she could hide from the pain.

There were reminders of that pain everywhere she went. A teller at the bank was celebrating a birthday. Baby week at the supermarket meant infant pictures in every aisle. She passed a mother and daughter walking hand-in-hand as she made her way to the dry cleaners. Jillian couldn’t help feeling that she should have been celebrating a special birthday. One of those infant faces should have belonged to her daughter. She could have been holding her little girls hand as she learned to walk.

Through it all, she wondered if Rick was having the same thoughts. Did he know what today was? Did he think about her at all?

Was he so wrapped up in the boys that he had forgotten about their daughter?

Jillian pulled into the driveway late that afternoon, mentally exhausted. She managed to keep the tears at bay, and now that she was home, she was ready to stop fighting them. Yet she couldn’t rest. She still needed to cook dinner, wash laundry, bake peanut butter brownies for Reese and head out to Cameron’s game.

As if on autopilot, she carried Rick’s suits to their closet, and picked up laundry from Cameron and Rees’s rooms. It wasn’t until she had filed and started the washing machine and began to look for brownie ingredients that she looked toward the dining room table.

In the center of the table was a crystal vase, filled with pink flowers.

They reminded Jillian of the wildflowers Reese used to pick for her when he was younger. She noticed a card on them, and reached for it. The name “Mackenzie” was printed across the front. Jillian’s hands trembled as she slipped the card out of the envelope. Tears blurred her vision, but she was able to make out the words.

“Happy first birthday, My Mackenzie. I will always love you. Love Daddy.”

Jillian felt a hand on her shoulder. She hadn’t heard anyone, but she knew it was Rick behind her. He gentle rested his chin on her shoulder. “I haven’t forgotten,” he whispered. With arms around her, Jillian couldn’t fight the tears any longer. She turned around and buried her face against his chest and let the tears come.

Fears and Faith

Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  Colossians 4:4, NIV

When Paul wrote these words, he was in prison.  He’d been jailed for preaching about Christ.  Still, he was asking other Christians to pray for him, to pray not only that he would be released from prison, but that he would be released from prison in order to continue preaching the gospel.

Wow.  How many of us would do that?

In all honesty, I don’t know if I would.  I’d love to say yes.  I’d love to say that it doesn’t matter what satan throws my way, I will not be silent.  I will share the love of Christ in face of any and all adversity, even from a prison cell.

But does the life I have lived up to this point prove that?

For years, I kept silent when I knew that I was being called to write.  Even now, when my fingers itch to type out stories of God’s love—both true stories from my life and imagined stories from the lives of characters I’ve created—my mind shuts down.  I don’t know that “shuts down” is really the right way to describe it.  There are so many ideas floating around in my head that I don’t know how I will ever get them all down on paper.  Oh how I would love to spend a day doing nothing but getting these ideas out of my head!  Then I could start crafting them into something meaningful, something that just might be useful to someone.  But the fear….  That fear is always there, holding me back, keeping me from doing what I want to do, what I am convinced that Christ wants me to do.

I am not sure that it really a fear of failure.  That doesn’t seem to really capture it.  It’s a fear of being judged.  I am scared that I will write something only to hear, “What do you know about it?  You’ve never lived that life.”

I’m scared that people will see the words I’ve written and see the life I’ve lived and realize that the two do not always mesh.

I’m not perfect.  I know I am not.  There are a lot of things in my life that need help.  Luckily God is in my life to give me the help I need.  I know He loves me and that He is guiding me.  Still, though, I have the fear that I am not good enough.  It scares me to think that my faith in God may not be enough, not when someone looks at how I live my life.

Does that make any sense at all?  In my head it did, but once I see it on the screen in front of me, it seems a bit odd!!  I am so glad that God knows my heart.

This morning, I’d like to ask you to please pray for me.  Pray that I can stay focused on God and silence the fear within me.  Pray that I can use the words God has given me for His glory, to clearly proclaim His love of me and His love of others in every sentence I write.


You know who is reading this post today.  Each person is in a different position to serve You and show Your love today.  Please give each one the strength, courage, and faith to share You clearly—whether in words or in actions—with everyone they meet today.  Help us to claim a little piece of our world for You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Horses Do Play Baseball

I wrote this one a few years ago, for my middle son, Robin.  When he was about 3, he started to say that when he grew up, he was going to be a horsey who played baseball.  Now, I don’t like to squash a dream or silence an imagination.  At the same time, I wasn’t sure what I thought about a child having such an unrealistic goal.  So I told Robby, “Honey, that sounds like a lot of fun, but human children don’t normally grow up to become horses.”  Robby response?  A beautiful smile and the words, “But, Mommy.  Anything is possible with Jesus.”

Now how could I say anything against that?  Instead of trying, I wrote this little story for him.  He loved it.  Hope you do, too.


Ben Robins was a hoarse. He was a hoarse with a dream. A dream to play baseball.

Ben loved baseball. His favorite team was the Tazewell Tigers. He has a poster of his favorite player, Cubby Higgins, hanging in his bedroom.

“Someday I will play like Cubby,” Ben said.

His sister laughed at him. “You won’t be like Cubby,” she said. “You are a horse. Horses don’t play baseball.”

At school, a new baseball team was looking for players. Ben and his best friend, Beary Andrus, signed up to try out.

“Wouldn’t you like to play soccer instead?” coach asked him.

“No,” Ben said. “I want to play baseball.

“You don’t even have hands,” Coach said. “Horses don’t play baseball. You should go to the soccer field.

Ben went to the soccer field. His strong legs helped him to kick the ball far. He found that he was very good at the game. Still, he wanted to play baseball.

One day, Ben’s dad took him and Beary to a Tazewell Tigers game. Ben was very excited. They went early to watch batting practice. Ben looked on as Cubby Higgins hit a ball out of the park.

“Wow,” Beary said.

“Yeah,” Ben said. “I wish I could do that.”

“Someday you will,” Daddy said.

“No,” Ben said sadly. “I can’t play baseball.”

“Why not?” Beary asked.

“I’m a hoarse,” Ben said. “And horses don’t play baseball”

“They do if they want to,” Daddy said.

Daddy bought Ben a baseball glove. When they got home, Ben and Beary went outside to practice. Beary helped Ben put the glove on. Ben’s hooves did make it tricky, but they got it on. The first time Beary tossed the ball, Ben missed.

“Try again,” Beary said.

Ben tried.

And tried.

And tired.

And finally he yelled, “I caught it!!”

“Great,” Beary said. “Now try throwing the ball.”

Ben knew how to kick a soccer ball, but a baseball could not be kicked. His hooves made throwing hard.

But Ben tried.

And he tried.

And he tried.

And finally Beary yelled, “Great throw!”

Ben went back to the school baseball field. He showed coach how he could catch and throw.

Baseball is more than just catching and throwing,” Coach said. “You have to bat, too. Those hooves will never hold a bat. You are a hoarse, Ben, and horses can’t play baseball.”

“This hoarse can,” Ben said. “You’ll see.”

Beary brought his bat over to Bes’s house. “Swinging the bat is easy,” he said. He showed Ben the best way to hold a bat.

Ben picked up the bat and tried to hold it like Beary.

Ben tired.

And tried.

And tried.

And finally, he yelled, “I can’t do this!”

“Yes you can,” Beary said. “Don’t give up just because it is hard.”

“My hooves get in the way,” Ben said. “I can’t hold the bat like you can because I don’t have paws.”

“Then don’t use your hooves,” Beary said. “Use what you have.”

Ben smiled. Suddenly, he knew just what to do.

Ben went to the baseball field again.

“I told you,” coach said, “Horses don’t have hands to hold a bat. Horses can’t play baseball.”

“I don’t need hands,” Ben said. “But I can play baseball.

Ben picked up a bat. Beary pitched a ball to his friend. Ben held the bat with his teeth, while he swung it.

He hit the ball, and it flew up, up, up, and passed the fence.

“Wow,” Coach said. “What a hit! I guess horses can play baseball.”

Short Story Time!

I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning out of old files this summer.  Through it all, I have found a lot of old poems and short stories that I have written.  Some of them are cute, some are really good, and some–well, if you print them out and use them to line a gerbil, I totally understand!  Still, I wanted to do something more with them than have them locked in a file cabinet in the disaster area that I call an office.

So, I am going to start posting them here on my blog.  The first one will go up tomorrow morning.  Stayed turned to see them all.  My plan is to have one posted each week  until I completely run out of short stories and poems to share.  Let me know what you think of them, please!  I sure hope you enjoy them, at least a little bit.  If nothing else, it will be fun for me to see how my writing has changed and grown over the years.

Holy eBooks, Batman!

In early May, I thought I would celebrate 5 years of writing full time by giving away three of my novels free for the Kindle. My husband wasn’t sure what he thought about that. He was concerned that by giving them away, I was losing money. The ebooks weren’t selling before, though. It’s not always easy to get your books purchased when you are an “unknown” author. I thought that if I could give away a few copies and then sell copies of the other titles, it would be well worth it. I chose to only do three titles–FORSAKING THE CALL, SUMMERTIME, and MIRACLE PLAY–because they were the only ones I had formatted for Kindle. I put them up for free for 2 days each and worked on formatting the other two books. Yesterday, both SHATTERED and THE LADIES OF FAITH went up on Kindle for a 2-day free promotion.

This morning, I checked on sales numbers and was pleasantly shocked at what I saw.

A total of 300 free copies of FORSAKING THE CALL were downloaded. An additional 20 copies were purchased.

A total of 276 free copies of were downloaded. An additional 6 copies were purchased.

A total of 386 free copies of SUMMERTIME were downloaded. An additional 18 copies were purchased.

So far, 692 free copies of THE LADIES OF FAITH have been downloaded and a staggering 852 copies of SHATTERED have been downloaded. No paying sales on those two yet, as the free promo is still going on.

Did you add up those numbers?? I did. It is over 2500 copies of my books that have gotten into the hands of readers just this month. “Only” 44 of those were paid, so I only get royalties on those 44 books. My husband looks at the 2500 books that I don’t get paid and gets said. I look at the 44 that will earn me some money, and I am excited! Before this month, I had not sold any electronic copies of my books. If I hadn’t taken a chance and offered the giveaway, I likely would not have sold those 44 books.

I am not in the writing business to make money. Sure, I’d love to make a steady income at this. I would love to have a studio purchase movie rights for one or more of my books and earn enough that my husband doesn’t have to go spend his days in a hot factory. But the money isn’t my guiding force. My goal is to get my work into the hands of readers, to find people who have never heard the message of Christ’s love and use my work to plant a little seed in their lives. That is my goal. And the free Kindle promotion seems to be helping me to reach that goal.