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What is your mindset for 2018?

Choosing a mindset is a personal decision.  Can I share something personal with you?

I have always been an emotionally expressive person.  I experience highs and lows with the best of you!

As a mom I get to watch my kids take big, bold steps toward pursuing their dreams, and my emotions skyrocket with extreme joy!  But then I think about our quiet house and daily life without them around, and my emotions plummet.

I’ve been a full-time mom for nearly 20 years, and as my kids start to need me less,  I often feel like an absolute mess!

One minute I’m wildly cheering them on about the days ahead, and the next minute I’m holding on to the past as if I could hold back the future.



This is why I chose Steadfast as my mindset – hoping it would bring some stability to my emotional ups and downs.

Steadfast: “fixed in direction; firm in purpose, resolution, faith

But what I’ve learned so far is that setting my mind on being steadfast doesn’t mean that my emotions won’t fluctuate.  Or that I won’t be passionate.   I’m super passionate about parenting.  I love my kids a lot.  I’ll probably never be as passionate about anything or anyone as I am about my family.

I get pretty passionate about the friendships of women and how we can choose to celebrate each other or get caught up in comparing and criticizing.

My heart gets all fired up studying the Bible and helping beginners make sense of it all.

I love making people feel welcome, giving them a place to belong.

Dreamers intrigue me.  My brain doesn’t work that way, but I’m an encourager and a listener, and I am passionate about supporting others who have big dreams.

I’m having fun dreaming about what the future looks like as my kids become adults – how our relationship is transitioning into more of a friendship.  Of course I’ll always be their mom, and they will always be my babies, but I’m excited to dream with them and be their biggest encourager.

And that doesn’t have to make me sad.  It’s not like only one person can experience the joy.  Even the person cheering is enjoying the fulfillment of the dream.

  • Just because someone has found their way doesn’t mean that I am lost.
  • Just because someone has their life together doesn’t mean that my life is a mess.

Setting my mind on being steadfast is like an anchor for my soul.

Isaiah 26:3 – “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”


  • Wearing this steadfast necklace helps me remember that my sweet friend is praying for me and cheering me on as I take bold steps into the future.
  • Living my LifePlan* helps me remember that every season of my life has purpose.
  • Reading scripture helps me remember that I can trust God no matter how I feel.
  • Trusting God helps me remember that He brings peace when my mindset is steadfast.


*My LifePlan helped me put my passions on paper and understand my purpose.  To learn more about your own LifePlan, check out or send me an email at – I’d love to connect with you!




Hard & Holy Things

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When everything in me wants to give in, give up, and give way to fear… I remember where I belong: I am not alone. I belong to a sisterhood of called and committed women who do hard & holy things.

If I put pen to paper, my list of brave sisters could fill up the page. God has called some of them to teach, others to a season of learning, and others to stand strong against the forces of evil.

So why don’t I? Why don’t I put pen to paper? Why don’t I reach out to girlfriends when I’m fearful?

Sometimes it’s because I feel alone, and I just want to wallow in that feeling for a bit.
Sometimes it’s because when I try to reach out, I fear rejection.
Sometimes it’s because I just don’t feel like I belong.

Feeling isolated can keep me in a holding pattern for way longer than I’d like to admit.
But I fight that feeling of loneliness when I choose to engage, to try again.

I love what Brené Brown writes about belonging in her new book, Braving the Wilderness:  “Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission.
Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal.
True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world.
The truth about who we are lives in our hearts.
Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own.”

You belong to a sisterhood of women who do hard and holy things.

God isn’t calling you to constantly be evaluating yourself.
– Girlfriends remind you that you are enough.
God isn’t calling you to give up.
– Your soul sisters encourage you to keep going.
God isn’t calling you to give in to fear.
– Fear fades when you remember you’re not the only one.

What is the hard & holy thing God is calling you to right now?


What are You Doing Today?


My husband likes to ask me this question, “What are you doing today?”

  • Harmless question, right?

His exact words are: “What are you doing today?”

But what I hear is: “What are you doing with your one and only life?”

  • A daunting question about what I’m doing to make my life count!

I try to respond with a calm tone, and I start listing off the day’s agenda:  “First I have School Drop-off, then I have to go to the Grocery Store.  I have to Connect with Clients, and I have to Clean the Toilets, Fold Underwear, Make Dinner… “

I got so frustrated with his daily question that I borrowed a line from the movie, Napoleon Dynamite.

Whenever Todd fired at me with, “What are you doing today?”

I fired back playfully with, “Whatever I want, GOSH!”

But one day my husband gave me a gift that changed the tone of both his question and my answer.  It’s really more of an attitude shift than it is an actual gift, but it has changed my perspective on the way I approach life – the way I approach my daily routine.

Todd challenged me to stop saying, “I have to…” and to start saying, “I get to…”

I don’t HAVE to take the kids to school, I GET to take the kids to school.
(My time with them is limited and precious. What if I changed my attitude and made the most of it?)

I don’t HAVE to buy groceries, I GET to buy groceries.
(We have money to buy groceries, to choose healthy options and to splurge on fun treats like chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches. I GET to do this!)

I don’t HAVE to clean the toilets, I GET TO! (Picture me with the toilet wand raised high in victory!)

Can anyone relate? Or am I the only one?

It’s not just chores we HAVE to do; that one word has invaded everything we do!
“I HAVE to get to the airport by 6:00am!”
“Wow! That’s early, where are you going?”
Really? You HAVE to go to the airport? You HAVE to travel? To Hawaii?  (Picture me rolling my eyes.)

What if today we change our mindset and choose to see that WE GET TO DO THIS!

It’s such a small shift, one word. I don’t HAVE to, I GET to.

It has been one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. And it gives me courage to face each day, no matter how exciting or tedious my to-do list, to face each day with greater purpose and meaning. It actually adds value to the least meaningful thing I do all day – I GET to fold underwear, and I GET to fluff the couch cushions, and I GET to return emails because I GET to live this one and only life!

Whatever you are doing today is a gift.



***If you would like to learn more about how to live your life with greater meaning and purpose, please send me an email at and visit for a free online Thinking Wavelength tool.


Want to Make the Most of that Summertime Feeling?

Summertime VW Bus

Summertime just feels different than the rest of the year.
The sun stays in the sky a little longer.
Sitting by the pool sounds like a productive way to spend the day.
The morning rush to get to school on time is replaced with the emotional rush of hearing the ice cream truck pull into the neighborhood.

Summertime feels like cannonballs, popsicles and fireworks.

It just feels like there’s more time in the day.

More time to sit around the campfire and let your marshmallow turn brown.
More time to be intentional with your family and your neighbors.
More time to get the grill going.
More time to finish the projects you put off all winter.

The extra sunshine offers a little extra space to think and dream about life.

If your family runs according to the school calendar, then summertime is a great opportunity to change things up.


What if you decided to make the most of the long days of summer?

What if you dedicated just a few summer days to gaining some perspective and clarity on what really matters in your life?

The two-day LifePlan process is so empowering; it allows time to evaluate where you are today, what got you there, and how to move into your future with a strong purpose and passion.

I’d love to talk with you about how my LifePlan equipped me to be more intentional with my time.  If you’d like to connect, please send me an email at



What Have We Done?


We have embarked on a new adventure of helping people find peace with who they are and courage to do what God has called them to do.

We got a LifePlan!

As we’ve been adjusting to our current season of change (move, job change, daughter off to college, son off to a new high school), a friend suggested we get a LifePlan done. We had heard a little about the LifePlan process, but we didn’t see how it would apply to us since we felt pretty secure in the plans we had made for this season of our life. But our friend kept pressing, so we investigated a little and decided to give it a try.

Turns out, a LifePlan is exactly what we needed to find clarity and affirmation for this next season of our lives.

Todd and I entered the LifePlan process with Doug Slaybaugh in San Clemente, California.  Our desire was to discover how to live out God’s purpose for our lives in this new season. We both came out of the LifePlan process with a clear objective on how to do that.

We are feeling at peace with who we are and how God made us.

One of the things a LifePlan does is bring great clarity to a person’s life purpose.  

For instance, I discovered that one of my life’s purposes is to empower women to take steps toward God.  Todd discovered that he has a passion for helping high achievers be healthy.

These are things that are true to our very core. They have always been true, but we needed a little guidance in excavating these truths, and our facilitator took us through a strategic process to dig it out, name it, and get it on paper.

After experiencing the LifePlan process together in San Clemente, I was inspired.  I booked a trip to Boulder, Colorado, and completed my training with the Paterson Center to become a Certified LifePlan Facilitator. Now I have the tools and the training to come alongside women and guide them toward discovering God’s unique purpose for their lives.

What is a LifePlan?
A LifePlan is a two-day, intensive process of soul work. It’s a guided exploration of your life experiences, your passions and your talents, getting it all on paper, and discovering God’s unique plan for your life.

Whether you’re starting something, letting something go, or you’re somewhere in-between, you need perspective and purpose. A LifePlan will help you gain perspective on who God created you to be and find purpose in whatever God wants you to do next.

I would love to help you pursue your own story
so that you can give your best self
to the people in your life.

Are you ready for a LifePlan?
If you’re a woman in ministry, a LifePlan can help you clarify your passion.
If you’re married to a pastor, a LifePlan can give you confidence to boldly step into your calling.
If you’re a MomBoss, a LifePlan can help you find balance and purpose.

What’s in it for you?
You will get away from your daily routine for two full days in Huntington Beach, California, and discover the answer to the questions we are all asking: “Who am I?” and “What do I really want?”

As we explore your life story together, I will help you wrap words around the truth, giving you tangible evidence that God is writing a unique story on your heart. Together we will discover God’s plan to help you live a meaningful life of balance, purpose and fulfillment.

Let’s connect.
If you’d like to know more, you can connect with me at


Bible Lessons, Old Testament

Isaac – a Story of Love & Loss


Getting to know God and His Story will help you understand your own story.

This chapter of the story is about Isaac, the only son of Abraham and Sarah.

Abraham and Sarah were an Old Testament power couple for 127 years, but as Genesis chapter 23 opens, Sarah dies.  I wonder if they took time to look back on their life together before she passed.

They had been through so much together:  A road trip across the country without a GPS or an actual destination.  (see Genesis 12)  A difficult choice to separate from family, to live in the country while Abraham’s nephew got tangled up in the city life.  (see Genesis 13 & 14)  A challenging season of barrenness and the excruciating wait to become parents.

I wonder if they could look back and laugh about it.

37 years ago their lives were turned upside down when Isaac (his name means laughter) was born against all odds to this elderly couple; Abraham was 100, and Sarah was 90. (see Genesis 21)

37 years is all she got to spend with her son. I bet she cherished every diaper change, every late night feeding, every tumble as he learned to walk, every crack in his voice as he grew into a man, and every bit of stubble that grew on his precious chin.

37 years old, but Isaac wasn’t married. No mother-son conversation is captured on the pages of scripture, but I bet she had some sweet final words to say to her son about how to choose a bride. I bet she wanted him to find someone he could love deeply. I bet she wanted to be at his wedding.  I bet she was dreaming of holding her grand babies while she held onto the two men she loved most.


Abraham and Isaac stood together at home while their trusted friend, a life-long servant, left in search of a wife for Isaac.

 “Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. He said to the chief servant in his household…” keep reading (Genesis 24:2-23)

The trusted servant did exactly what Abraham and Sarah would have done if they’d been able to go themselves:  He prayed for wisdom and success, he expected God to answer his prayer, and he watched to be sure Rebekah was the one.

If you’re a parent, this chapter will someday become a part of your story.  Your child will probably choose his future mate on his own, but you can start teaching him now that there’s wisdom in watching someone’s character unfold.  You can start praying now for his success in choosing a godly wife, and you can wait expectantly for God to answer your prayers.

Scripture tells us that the servant took time to get to know the family and to ask Rebekah if she was willing and ready to go with him to marry Isaac. (Genesis 24:57-61)

Between verses 61 and 62, the days must have dragged on as Isaac waited for the servant to return. I bet he was out in the field star-gazing and meditating (dreaming!) about what his bride might be like.

“He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching.” Genesis 24:63

He looked up…..then she looked up.

Genesis 24:64 “Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac.”


Keep reading (Gen. 24:64-65)

Scripture doesn’t fill in all the details, but as I put myself in the story and consider the feelings of a young woman leaving home to marry a man she’s never met, I have to believe that she asked lots of questions on the journey to her new home:  What’s Isaac like?  How tall is he?  Is he attractive?  What does he do for work?  Does he want children?  Do you think he will love me?

Asking lots of questions is a good way to interact with scripture, to get to know God, to see yourself on the pages of scripture.

Did you have someone in your life who told you about Jesus before you met Him? Maybe you had questions, and they had answers.  Because of what your friend told you about Jesus, you were ready to meet Him and to give your life to Him just as Rebekah was ready to give her life to Isaac.

When you get to know God and understand His Story, you can better understand your own story.

The servant told Rebekah all about Isaac, so when they finally saw each other… “she took her veil and covered herself.” (vs. 65)

It was marriage at first sight.

Genesis 24:67 “Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” 

Loving others can fill up the empty places that loss leaves behind.  Loving Jesus, knowing just how much He loves you, can bring real comfort to your soul!

Isaac & Rebekah’s story continues in Genesis 25.

Keep reading.  Keep asking questions.


My New Best Friends

Beth Moore, Shauna Niequist, Christine Caine, Lysa Terkeurst, Maria Goff, Ann Voskamp…

Of course these accomplished authors are not really my best friends, but in seasons of transition, when friends are few or far away, I have claimed them as my new best friends.

I became fast friends with Shauna Niequist through the pages of her book Bittersweet when I was feeling out of sorts and lonely after a big move.  At the end of a chapter, I would close the book and say to myself, “She gets me.”

I like getting to know writers like her who are dedicated to building God’s Kingdom. Reading about their passion to live a meaningful life of purpose gets me going when I’m feeling alone and overwhelmed.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

I am thankful to have close friends all around the country, but I can’t just meet them for coffee or carry them around with me like I can Shauna and Beth. These girls can go wherever I go.

Don’t worry, they aren’t my only friends:

  • God promises to always be with me. He is my friend who will build me up and set me straight, so I make time to meet with Him every morning.
  • My sister is my lifetime bestie who will listen to me freak out and then tell me I’m normal, so we chat on the phone a few times a week.
  • My closest friends will tell me the truth, have my back, and help me laugh at myself, so we get together once a year, and it’s better than therapy!

Proverbs 11:25 Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

But life is hard, and there are seasons when I feel like I might be wearing out my family and friends.

That’s when I rely on my new friends; their writing inspires me to keep going, and they’re accessible any time of day or night to give me a pep talk.

Spending time with God is foundational; you won’t get anywhere without Him.  Cultivating authentic relationships with people who have your back is essential.  And in seasons when friends are few or far away, finding a friend on the pages of a book or blog post is life-giving.

I am thankful for the friendship, girls.  Please keep writing.


What does His Story have to do with Mine?


More than anything, I want to be part of God’s Great Story.  

This chapter of my story has included moving to a new state, changing jobs, sending off our daughter to college, guiding our son as he starts a new high school, reconnecting with family and old friends as well as making new friends. And I’m learning to trust God with all of it.

God’s been writing His Story for many years, and He is writing a unique story for you, too.

I want you to understand God’s Story so you can better understand your own story.

I am attending a new church, and it’s been a little uncomfortable for me.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable in church?

Maybe you’re new, and you wish you had an old friend by your side. Or maybe the sermon is about some guy named Abraham, and you look around to see everyone nodding their heads, like they know exactly who the preacher is talking about. But you’re sitting there, wondering if you’ve missed something.

What is Abraham’s story? And what does it have to do with your story?

This is why I started writing – to fill you in on some of the foundational stories from the Bible so that you can find your place in God’s Story.

If you’re new to Bible Basics, you may want to start at the beginning to see how the first story in the Bible relates to your story. Or you may want to stick around to see what’s up next.

Either way, welcome. I’m glad you’re here.

Bible Lessons, Old Testament

Abraham (Part 2)

Everything’s going to be okay.

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My daughter just graduated from high school, and I’ve been thinking back on her first day of kindergarten. She was super excited to go to school, and at the same time, she was pretty nervous. She had a tendency to worry about the “what ifs” of life, and she often searched for reassurance that everything was going to be okay.

She had been taught to trust God in everything, and she prayed regularly about every little thing. It was so cute. Her dad and I would stand outside her bedroom door and listen to her go over her list of worries with God.

We taught her at a young age that God’s Word says,

Don’t worry about anything, instead talk to God about everything.

And she did. She worried a lot, so she talked to God a lot. Some days in the middle of a meltdown, she would stop and say, “I need to go to my room so I can talk to God.”

Philippians 4:6 New Living Translation (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done.

Her first week of kindergarten, she walked up to her teacher and boldly asked, “Do you know God?” Ruby was at a public school, and her teacher wasn’t quite sure how to answer. But after a long pause, her teacher responded with, “Yes, I think I do.” And I saw Ruby’s shoulders relax. Ruby reasoned that if her teacher knew God, then she could trust her.

Knowing God is the reason for studying the Bible. The more you read, study and understand the Bible, the more you get to know God.

Proverbs 2:3-5 (NLT)

3 Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
4 Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.

Let’s look into the story of Abraham like we are searching for hidden treasure.

In Abraham (Part 1), you learned that Abraham waited a long time to have a son. He was 100 years old when Isaac was born to him and his wife, Sarah.

Abraham knew that Isaac belonged to God, but he and Sarah would have the honor of raising him and loving him as their own.

It is an honor and a privilege to care for a child God has entrusted to you.

I get to raise my daughter and love her as my own, but she’s not mine. She belongs to God.

When I look out for what’s best for my kids, I look through the filter of what’s best for me.

God’s not like that.

He looks out for the best for our kids. He created them, and He knows them better than we do. He loves them in a way that we aren’t capable of loving.

When God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, He wanted to be sure Abraham knew that Isaac didn’t really belong to him. God won’t likely ask you to hold a knife over your child. But He may ask you to cut away your control. He may ask you to let go and let Him lead her to what He knows is best.

If you’ve ever seen the story of Abraham and his son depicted in stained glass or an oil painting, you might picture an old man holding a knife over a baby on a stone altar. But you don’t want to let your preconceived ideas about scripture guide your treasure hunt; instead, look at the facts, explore the details and the specific words used in scripture.

If you’re with me on this treasure hunt, read the scripture below and look for clues that reveal Isaac’s age.

Genesis 22:1-8 (NIV)
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

As you look for the treasure in this scripture, some clues you may notice about Isaac’s age are:

“Some time later…” Isaac was no longer a newborn.
“We will worship..” Isaac was old enough to know how to worship God.
“Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac…” Isaac was old enough to carry wood up the mountain.
“Isaac spoke up and said…” Isaac was old enough to speak and to realize that they were heading up the mountain to worship God with a sacrifice, but they were missing the sacrificial lamb.

Even if you’re not an investigator by nature, you can see how these clues are valuable in understanding the bigger picture.

God had promised this son to Abraham and Sarah, and He allowed them to enjoy Isaac for “some time.” So why would God ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac?

There’s a clue in verse 1 –  “God tested Abraham.”

Abraham’s heart was ready to pass the test.

Genesis 22:9 (NIV)

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

This just got real. Young Isaac could have wrestled down his old dad. He could have fought. But Abraham bound him and put him on the altar.

Genesis 22:10-14New International Version (NIV)

10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

God wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in his heart so it would be clear that Abraham loved God more than he loved his promised and long-awaited son.

Obedience won’t always be easy.

Abraham learned the hard way how to be obedient to God even when it hurts.

God provides, but we don’t always see it happening.

Abraham was willing:

He walked in obedience up to the top of the mountain, willing to sacrifice his son. God provided a ram to go up the other side of the mountain.

God was ready to provide:

You can’t usually see what God is doing on the other side of the mountain when you’re in the middle of a test or trial. But you can trust Him as the God who Provides.

God has never asked me to sacrifice my daughter as a burnt offering. But He is asking me to let go of the control. He is asking me to trust Him. He is asking me to sacrifice her in my heart, to prove that my love for God is greater than my love for her.

I am trusting that God has prepared her for the journey ahead of her, and that He has enabled her to not only ask others, “Do you know God?” But to also ask, “Would you like me to tell you about Him?”

When you look for hidden treasure in the Bible, God will help you understand, and you will get to know Him better.  As you obey Him, He will equip you to tell others about Him, too.

If you are willing to obey Him, He is always ready to provide.  You can trust Him to make everything okay.


Abraham (Part 1)

The Bible doesn’t work like a Facebook highlight reel or a Greatest Hits album. When you read the Bible, you get to see the Truth – the good, the bad and the ugly.



Abraham accomplished a little of each while he was on earth.

He became the Father of Many Nations after God called him out of his homeland with the promise of a new land and many children. Abraham displayed great faith in his journey, but it wasn’t without some bumps in the road.

Genesis 12:1-4 (NIV)
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.

God got Abraham’s attention when he was 75 years old and still living at home with his parents. God told Abraham to leave his father’s household and go to the land that He would give him, the land where all of his descendants would live.

The cool thing is that Abraham left home!

The crazy thing is that he was 75 years old and childless.

But Abraham decided to trust God and set out on the journey of a lifetime.

So far the story of Abraham and his wife, Sarah, had been about infertility, but they were willing to see what God was going to do with the next chapter of their story.

God made a promise to Abraham that he would be the father of many. He told him to go out and count the stars if he could, and that would be how many descendants Abraham would have.

Abraham was chosen to be the father of the Hebrew Nation, the Jewish people, who would come to also be known as the Israelites, but first he would endure some waiting and wondering.

Waiting and Wondering

On the journey away from home, Abraham wondered if maybe God’s promise about being the father of many didn’t include a natural born son. Maybe it meant he would leave his inheritance to a faithful servant who was like a son.

So God made the promise a little more clear.

Genesis 15:4-6 (NIV)
4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

God assured Abraham that he would have a son – his own flesh and blood, and God had already promised to give him land as well, land that his son would inherit. These were two valuable promises to a man providing for his wife and hoping for a son to carry on the family name.

Ten years later, and still not pregnant, Sarah wondered if maybe she could assist God in fulfilling His promise to Abraham. She came up with a desperate idea that would make Abraham a baby daddy.

Genesis 16:1-2 (NIV)
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”

Abram agreed to what Sarai said.

Sarah hoped that Hagar could produce a son for Abraham. It was a common practice at the time, but it wasn’t a God-honoring practice.

Abraham quickly and quietly married Hagar, and they conceived a child. This was Sarah’s plan, and it worked, but do you think it made her happy?

Genesis 16:3-5 (NIV)
3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”

Sarah quickly realized her mistake. But rather than repenting and dealing with the reality of the mess she made, she became jealous of Hagar. Her resentment and hatred built up, and she pointed the finger at Abraham and tightened her fist against Hagar.

Abraham and Sarah both took their eyes off God.

They took their eyes off the promise, and in the process they brought hostility to their home, divided their marriage, and forgot to value Hagar as a child of God.

Hagar decided to leave the whole mess. (Can you blame her?) She ran to the desert, pregnant and alone. But God saw her and heard her crying. He spoke a blessing over her baby boy, and Hagar found enough strength from Abraham and Sarah’s God to go back home and give birth to Ishmael. His name means “God hears.”

More Waiting

Thirteen years later, in the middle of this mess, God got Abraham’s attention again.

Genesis 17:1-5 (NIV)
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

God gave him a new name. (I’ve been calling him Abraham all along, but his name was originally Abram.) God changed his name from Abram, “exalted father” to Abraham, “father of many.”

God gave Sarah a new name, too. Up to this point, she may have been feeling a bit invisible, maybe even forgotten by God.

He kept speaking to Abraham, not to her.
She was still childless, although I’m sure she prayed for a child for over 50 years.
God allowed her servant to become pregnant and have a baby boy.
Her name, Sarai, means “quarrelsome,” which is exactly how she was feeling.

But God gave Sarai her new name, His blessing and His promise for her.

Genesis 17:15-16 (NIV)
15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

Her Name: Sarah means “princess of many”
Her Blessing: She will become a mother of kings
Her Promise: She will become pregnant and have Abraham’s baby – a baby boy!

God clarified the promise and breathed hope back into Abraham & Sarah’s story.

Genesis 17:17-19 (NIV)
17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

I’m sure Abraham wanted to trust God in this, but instead, he laughed, and so did Sarah.  God named their promised son Isaac which means “he laughs.”

Genesis 18:14 (NIV)
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

I love that God asked this question.

Throughout Bible Basics, I encourage you to ask yourself questions while reading the Bible.

– What do you learn about God?
– What do you learn about yourself and your relationship with God?

When you interact with the Bible, the questions go both ways. Sometimes God’s Word will ask a question of you like, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” or “Do you really trust me?”

Chapter 21 tells us how this chapter ends, and while it’s great, it’s not the end of the story.

Genesis 21:1-3 (NIV)
Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.

This will always be God’s response:

He will do what He has promised. Nothing is too hard for Him.