Recognizing Idols in Your Life

recognizing the idols in your life.jpg

This morning as I was reading in the book of Jonah something jumped off the page at me.

Verse 2:8 says; “Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy.”

I immediately stopped reading and thought to myself, “Do I regard any worthless idols?” Mercy, defined as compassion, or as God’s loving kindness and graciousness, is not something I want to forsake so I had to seriously consider this.  

Many think of idols as carved images but that is only part of the definition. The other part of the definition according to Websters is “a person or thing which is greatly loved, admired, or revered”. 

What floored me today as I read this verse is not so much what it says, but what it doesn’t say.

It doesn’t say ;

“Those who regard worthless idols BEFORE God…”  

It doesn’t say,

“Those who regard worthless idols INSTEAD of God….”

It simply says

“Those who regard worthless idols..”

Basically this means, those who regard them AT ALL.

And the more I thought about it I had to admit, yes, I do regard worthless idols. And I’m pretty sure we all do.

So, just what are the idols in our lives? I looked up some definitions for idols and found these;

“blind devotion to something”

“making a good thing an ultimate thing”

In a practical sense then, anything or anyone which takes place of God in our hearts, or takes our passion from God, is an idol.

We can make idols out of relationships when we think we need one to complete us. We can make idols out of things (material items, education, etc. etc.) when we believe having them would make us happy. We can make idols out of ourselves when we try to handle situations in our own strength. We can make idols out of bad habits when we lean on them in times of difficulty. We can make idols out of our families when we make them of more importance than God.

However, not all these things in and of themselves are bad. We were created as relational people. Healthy relationships and family are good for us. How then do we determine if something is an idol?

In Ezekiel 14:4 in addition to warning about idols, God adds “…what causes him to stumble into iniquity.” Looking at it in this sense, our family, our relationships, our desires, our stuff can all become idols if any of them cause us to sin. If there is anything in your life which is causing you to sin, it may very likely be an idol and it may be time for some soul searching and surrendering. What are the things you have blind devotion for?

God’s mercy is abundant. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out on any of it. He has been a loving and merciful God to me every single day, even when I have failed Him, just like He did for Jonah, just like He’ll do for you.

Jonah failed God. Jonah pursued his own agenda and yet God still saved him. The amazing thing about this statement from Jonah “Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy” is that it was spoken in prayer from inside the belly of a fish. Jonah could speak these words with confidence because Jonah knew exactly what it was like to forsake God’s mercy; he had done it. Jonah knew he had regarded the idol of following his own agenda instead of the Lord’s.

 Just like in your life, just like in Jonah’s, there are always going to be things which tempt me into idolatry. I will always be tempted to fix or handle things in my own strength. Seeking out and surrendering those things to the Lord requires daily diligence. It also requires daily time in the Word and daily time with the Him. God is a God of abundant mercy and compassion, don’t forsake that. Then we can say like Jonah “I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving.” Jonah 2:9.


I'm Ready to Talk

(This is a duplicate post also posted at

I’m ready to talk.

After 6 months of silence...I'm ready to talk.

August 18th, 2017 will forever be the day my life changed. It is the day my entire world crashed at my feet. As I stood at the side of a cruise ship ready to board I received news which would change my life...forever.  I never got on that ship. I paid for a cruise which I was not able to take.

Psalm 46.jpg

For a number of reasons, including the privacy and protection of my family, I can not discuss the details of what has happened in my life (and to be a bit transparent, there are times that the silence just about suffocates me) but I will say that in Psalm 46 where is says:

“…even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though it’s waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountain shake with it’s swelling”,

this fairly accurately describes my life this past 6 months. The most common phrase from people who know the situation is "I have no words for you". 

My life is forever changed. But my God is not.

Just before that above passage, Psalm 46 also reads

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear”. 

This too describes my past 6 months.

He has been faithful. He will continue to be faithful. And He will continue to be a place of refuge and a source of strength, both in this storm as well as through any other storms my life may bring.

One day at a time, with the Lord at my side and cheering me on, I take that day’s steps. They are steps on a journey unknown. Steps into a life placed entirely at the foot of the cross. Honestly, I can’t think of a place I’d rather be.

Due to circumstances in my life, I have been completely absent from my two websites ( and for the last 6 months. I have known in time I would return to writing, but I also knew it had to be in the Lord’s timing, and when I felt ready…

…today, with God at the helm, I'm ready. Today I take my first step in that direction.

I want to apologize to anyone who has emailed me through either website and received no response. There has been good reason. 

In addition to plans for me and my children (mostly young adults), I also have plans for both Faithful Bloggers and for Because Liada. There are many exciting things in the works which will be unfolding slowly over the next number of months. I am working in the Lord’s timing but also in the timing I can personally handle. I have healing to do, my children and I have healing to do and I have had tremendous responsibility placed suddenly and solely in my lap with my primary business. All of the work ahead will be of the Lord, not of me and not in my it should be. 

I do not know why things have happened in my life as they have. I do not know why myself and my children have had to endure the overwhelming heartbreak and unimaginable devastation we have endured. But I do know this, I serve a faithful God and to His promises I will cling. It is from His promises I daily find my hope and my strength. It is through His promises I am each day able to take the next step to climb the enormous, overwhelming mountain ahead of me. I would appreciate your prayers as my family and I step forward in faith. We look forward with hope and anticipation. Please keep your eyes out for exciting new things with and

In closing, here are some of His promises which have carried me on this journey. These precious promises from His word are for you too.

He promises:

  • To renew my strength, and to make me soar: (No matter how weak I feel currently, He will strengthen me and although I may not be able to see it at the moment, He is going to make me soar!)

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31"
  • To strengthen me when I am weak

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Isaiah 40:29
  • To walk with me through storms.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” Deuteronomy 31:8
  • To fight my battles. (At times the battle can seem scary and so overwhelming that I want to run and hide. But not only do I not have to hide, I don’t even have to fight it, He is going to fight the battle for me).  

"The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still."  Exodus 14:14
  • He has a future in store for me. (Despite what my current situation looks like He has a plan and future in mind for me and they are to prosper me and not for my harm)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11
  • That He will bless me.  (Even in the midst of these storms I have tried to be a blessing to others. The returned blessings of Him sending people into my life and other situations I have experienced have been truly a cup running over.)

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38
  • That I am not alone and He will be with me on this journey (At times the loneliness of this journey has just about taken my breath away, but He has promised, I am NOT alone)

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9
  • That He hears me when I cry out to Him…and He delivers me from trouble.

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles."  Psalm 34:17
  • That He will keep me in perfect peace if I keep Him my focus. 

"You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3
  • That He will make even this (the most difficult of paths) straight. But that I should trust not my own understanding (In the midst of the storm, when things are at their most scary and I can’t see a solution, that is the most important time to NOT trust my own understanding).

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."Proverbs 3:5-6

Crossing Your Jordan - What To Do When You Feel Hopeless

Do you ever feel like there must be more to life? Do you ever feel like God has a bigger plan? I know I have felt that way. This morning as I was reading in Deuteronomy 31: 7-8 I found this:

 "Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, "Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it.  And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. he will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed."

When you feel hopeless

The Israelites had been wandering in the wilderness for a very long time and the Lord had told them he was giving them the Promised Land. God had something exciting in store for the Israelites and that something could only be found across the Jordan River. I'm sure you can relate.

Have there been times in your life when you knew God had something more in store for your life? Have you ever felt hopeless and like that elusive something was waiting just across your very own Jordan River? So close, and yet so out of reach.

And so we wait. We wait for the Promised Land to come to us. We remain stuck. At a standstill, on one side of our Jordan. Human nature is like that, motionless, given to fear. What is your Jordan? Is it a fear of what others will think? Is it lack of something; talents, money, time? What is causing you to remain on one side of your Jordan? 

There are two things to notice in the above passage. The first is the part where it says "Be strong and of good courage".  Wow, certainly appropriate words for when we are stuck immobile. It's always wise to get on our knees and pray to the Lord for strength and courage which can only come from Him in order to fight those feelings of hopelessness.

But here is the other part, the part the Lord brought to my attention this morning. It says "and you shall cause them to inherit it".  What?  God had already promised them the Land, that was God's part. But it clearly says Joshua had to do something in order for them to receive it. "...And you shall cause them to inherit it", not God causing it, Joshua causing it. Joshua, a human full of doubt, fear, failings and regrets just like you and me, was going to be used by the Lord to "cause" them to inherit the Promised Land.  God wanted to do something through Joshua but it was going to take action. That was to be his part.  

Just like with Joshua, this little phrase from Deuteronomy sits at the crossroads of our lives. What is your part?  What is your action? Maybe the Lord is wanting to use you to bring something about through you.

Have you been prompted or felt led in a new direction and yet fear holds you back? Maybe you are held stuck, being defined by your past. If God wants to do something through you, don't sit waiting, thinking, "I wish the Promised Land would come to me."

The first step to getting unstuck is just that, take the first step. When you're feeling hopeless, put your foot in the water of your Jordan River and cross over. Step out in faith this day. God has mighty things to do through you as you "cause" them to happen. Ask Him to show you what your action is to be, then do it. That is your part.

What is the action God is prompting you to take?  What is holding you back? 

More Photos from the Current Ongoing Journaling Class

We're in the final stretch of the current journaling class and what a delight it has been getting to know these lovely ladies. We've laughed, we've created, we've eaten delicious goodies, made new friends and grown in the Lord. 

It has been wonderful to see the creativity poured out on the journal pages as these ladies think through the things which the Lord put in each of them to make them awesome and unique individuals. 

Every one of us has a unique story to tell. We all have things in our pasts, whether hurts, trials or victories which have added to the person we are. We all have unique gifts and talents which blossom when we are being the authentic person we were meant to be. In this class participants are able to think through all these things and more and get them onto a journal page in a creative fashion.

If you have interest in attending a class, learning more about upcoming classes, or having Shelley come to teach any of the classes to your ladies group, please contact us at 

Here are some more photos from the current class.

Delicious and beautiful fall cookies

And He saved them out of their distresses

Psalm 107:19-21

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Life can be hard....really hard. We've all been there. We've all had times when the entire world seemed to be crashing down around us. Maybe you're in the midst of one of those times right now. One thing I know for sure, life on this side of Heaven is never going to be pain free. But another thing I know for sure is...God heals. He really does. When we cry out to the Lord, He listens. He's there. He holds us, lifts us up, and loves us as no other can. I have been seeing evidence of this as I teach the Because Liada Art Journaling Adventure Class.

The Because Liada Journaling Adventure is a mixed media art journaling class. During this class participants create a personalized art journal as they work through the lessons. As I lead the current group of lovely ladies through the class, it has been wonderful to see how the Lord has worked in their lives to bring about healing. This group of ladies come from various backgrounds and just like most of us, they are backgrounds full of pain and regrets. During the class there have been times of both laughter and tears, and yes, both have been healing. We've talked about forgiveness of others and ourselves. We've explored our pasts and in an upcoming lesson we'll talk about our futures. But best of all, these ladies are learning to see how very much God loves them. They are learning they can live life with passion and purpose knowing God has a plan for their lives and that they too can live out their own daring adventure. 

If you are interested in having Shelley come teach this class or any of the other classes at your church or to a group of your friends, please send an email to



Go Have Fun! Scripture Says To!

Yesterday we took the day off to go to the Fryeburg fair. Yup, smack dab in the midst of a work and school week, we took the day off and went to the fair...and wow did we need it.


fair 2
fair 2

As a result of taking the day off, I woke this morning ready to face another work and school day head on (although my feet sure were tired last night). Do you ever go through times when all of a sudden you realize you just have to take a break from the routine of life or you're going to snap. I know I've taken breaks before, or a vacation and only in the midst of it do I then realize how badly I needed it.  Things can get overwhelming if we never take time to slow down and enjoy life.  No matter what your work is; whether a job, housework, or dare we say, even ministry, it is easy to get totally consumed with work. As I mentioned in another post (here), we can get so consumed with work we neglect quiet time with the Lord,


 but the other thing we can neglect is just slowing down enough to enjoy life and the people around us. Do you know scripture speaks on just this subject?

"So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under then sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 8:15

Who doesn't enjoy eating and drinking and being merry? In fact this verse says there is nothing better under the sun, but as I was reading this verse today one other part stood out to me; "for this will remain with him in his labor". I thought, "what does that mean?" Then I thought, I think I just experienced what that means. I worked hard, as scripture encourages, then we took time off and enjoyed life and enjoyed each other, as scripture encourages. Then when I got up the next morning, I was ready to face more work because the time of rest "remained with me in my labor" just  as this passage says. I think God knew how we would tend to work and work and work and then burn out, so He, in His wisdom put in scripture a reminder for us to take time to enjoy life; "a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink and be merry" then He added, a note telling us if we enjoy life, we would be able to face the next work week because we would be refreshed, "it would remain with us in our labor".


fair 1
fair 1

Do you know what being "merry"'s having fun, enjoying life, or as Merriam Webster says "being happy and cheerful".  So go take some time to do that. Go take time to have fun, play and be merry, and do it with those you love, those blessings the Lord has put in your life, and do it today. 


Free: 31 Days of Journaling Through Scripture

Are you looking for faith based journaling prompts? .

We have a new downloadable PDF available for free called: "31 Days of Journaling Through Scripture".  This download is perfect if you need something to help keep your journaling focused on the Word of God. Each day you will be given one key word and an accompanying scripture. In addition you will be given instructions on what to write about. Each day you will be guided in your journaling with prompts which will

  • build your faith
  • fill you with praise for the Lord
  • challenge you to confess things to the Lord
  • and more.

As an example this is day #7 journal prompt from the download:

 "Caring: Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Today make a list and write about all the people who come to mind for whom you could do a caring act. But remember, a list is no good without action following the creation of the list."

If you want to spend 1 month journaling through scripture,  "31 Days of Journaling Through Scripture" is just the thing, download and enjoy.

Also: As this is our original content, please feel free to post information regarding this on your own blog or website, however, please link back here for the download. Thanks so much.

You are Loved...Just as You Are

You are truly, deeply loved, really. Why do we all have this desire to be someone else or to have what someone else has? If we are to be honest, I think we all have a current "I wish..."?  I wish I was thinner? I wish I was prettier? I wish my skin was more flawless? I wish I wasn't divorced? I wish I was better at...? I wish...I wish...I wish.... The other day I was talking with a pastor friend of ours and in talking about another pastor he said "I wish I could preach like him.". I immediately stopped him and told him, that was the other pastors style, and God gave him his own style. I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about this desire so many of us have because it is the topic and one of the reasons behind the study we are currently putting together called "Because Liada".  So here's what I want you to know, you are loved for who you are right now today. And from the lyrics from an awesome song by JJ Heller "not for what you have done or for what you'll become". You are loved for you, just as you are at this very moment even if who you are right now is...fallen, sinful, overweight, divorced, depressed, lonely, etc. I'm not saying we need to settle in to where we're at and stay there because it is always good to work towards being the best we can be. But we need to learn to be the best of ourselves, not of someone else. We need to learn to love ourselves just where we are today because Christ is not waiting till you lose weight to love you. He did not wait to die on the cross for you till you accomplished something great.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39 NKJV

Isn't it incredible what we do to ourselves? We try to separate ourselves from the love of Christ by thinking we are unlovable when He has said nothing can separate us from that love. We think He would not want us and we are unforgiveable when He has said He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west.  So if you are doubting your worth, if you are feeling unloved, lonely, unbeautiful, etc. focus on Him who loves you without end, who's love fails not and who loves you today...just the way you are.

Are You Listening? God's Whispering.

As you know is busy, it really is, and the more 'advanced' we get as a society, the less time we seem to have. When we do have some time, we go and fill it with more busyness, work will expand to fill whatever time we give it. Amidst all that busyness, below the hubbub of our days, if we take the time to listen, there is God whispering to us. Whispering, why does He whisper?  I mean, if God would shout at us as we keep working, it would certainly save time and we could accomplish just as much for Him as when we slow down and take time listening for His whisperings, couldn't we?  Well, thats doubtful, and God knows it. I'm not saying God never shouts to get our attention because there are times He definitely does just that. And I'm not saying it's impossible to spend time with the Lord while we work, because I've definitely done that too. However, we all need to be spending quiet time listening for the whisperings of the Lord. Scripture reveals many ways in which God communicates with His people, whispering is just one of them, so what's so special about a whisper?  The depth of your relationship is often discovered in whisperings because the whisperings are the easiest to miss.

In 1Kings 19: 1-14 is the story of Elijah hiding in a cave from Jezebel who was seeking to kill him. God sends a very strong wind which broke the rocks, an earthquake, and a fire but the passage says "God was not in them". All these things were followed by a whisper from the Lord, and Elijah heard it. Again, as I read this I wondered, why a whisper? As I compare this passage to my life, I know in times of busyness if God sent an earthquake...I'd notice, if He sent a fire (which He did at one point in my life), I'd notice that too (and I did). But when He sends a whisper, if not attentive, if too busy filling my days, I could miss it, and that is exactly the point. It's an issue of faith, "Was that You Lord?" "Did I hear You correctly?" I think God wants to find out just how in tune we are to His voice. Just like in the 1 Kings passage, if we can only discern the earthquakes and fires from the Lord and not the sweet whisperings, we can miss out on so much the Lord has in store for us. Elijah was in tune to His voice and God had work for him to do. Elijah had a journey to take and a King and a prophet to annoint.

There is one other thing I notice about this passage, Elijah had distractions going on in his life. First, there was the distraction of running in fear from someone who wanted to kill him, then there was the distraction of natural disasters going on all around him (wind which sounds a lot like a hurricane, earthquake and fire). Unfortunately, it is often during extreme trials in our life, when we let ourselves get so consumed by the trials that we neglect taking time to listen for His voice and yet it is during those times we may need to hear the whisperings the most. God has great and mighty things planned for you, listen for His whisperings. What is He saying to you today?


I want to recognize every intonation of your voice.

Every inflection.

Every sigh.

Every whisper.

I want to know you so closely that I can tell by just your voice if you have a smile on your face over something I've done or even...disappointment.

I fail You

Am unworthy.

Yet You're always there-ready for me to come to you.

And yet You do chase after me...

You don't let me go so easily, do you?

That's You're voice isn't it?

If only I was listening.

I do recognize it and heard it over the busy hubbub of my days

But I could have missed it...and kept running.

But I heard, and I'm here, safe in You'r embrace.

Why? Why do you love me?

Why do you forgive me over and over?

You tell me...because I am yours.


Even when I feel like a wretch.

Even when I act like a wretch.

Sinner that I am.


But saved.

I Love You, Lover of my Soul.

And I do think I hear a smile in Your voice.

Whisper to me...sweet nothings.

Mixed Media Journal Art Page - I do not remember crayons being this much fun!

journal page3
journal page3
journal page 2
journal page 2

My daughter and I have been having a blast trying out different art techniques. The bible study I am in the process of writing has a different mixed media art journal page which you create to go along with each lesson. We've had fun experimenting with the art mediums and techniques to find which ones go best with which lessons in the study and well, you know, just playing with art supplies. But...Oh my goodness did we have fun with this new technique...and as I said before, this makes crayons even more fun as an adult! Then to top it off, I had these vintage ledger pages from a  tobacco manufacturers cigar ledger which I purchased and they have that oh so perfect vintagy discoloration which is just delightful. I am really excited about this study, it walks you through the process of learning about yourself, about learning who you are as a child of the King, finding out what your spiritual God given gifts are, embracing your life story and giving God victory over past hurts. In the process of working through the study, you create a mixed media art journal which is uniquely you, uniquely your life story. I can't really get into how this page was done right now, but all the directions will be in the study. I will also post directions on the blog for a couple of the techniques eventually.


 It has been fun to work on creating my own book, to lay out my life story in this manner and really think about who I am as a beloved child of Christ, but it's been especially fun to figure out the techniques for you all to use to create your own personal journal.

journal pic 1
journal pic 1

God does not want us living stuck in a rut being dragged down by our pasts, He wants us living a victorious life. He wants you to know about all the awesome, unique, hand selected gifts He has put inside you and He wants you using them. He wants you to believe you can do it, because you can through Him, and He wants you to be free to be you, to take flight and be all you can be. If you are interested in hearing when this bible study is finished, just email me and I can put you on the email list. In the life abundantly, and if you haven't been living that way, start today.

The things which are not seen are eternal


While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:18 Yesterday I went hiking with my husband and two of our kids, it was a beautiful day and the forest was lovely. We brought the puppies with us. When we arrived at the top of Great Hill, I could see through a small opening in the trees, a gorgeous view which included the awesome NH mountains and lakes, but when I turned back around to look at where we had come from...just woods, trees and trail. We sat at the base of the fire tower refreshing with a drink of water, then we moved about to get a better glimpse of the view through the openings in the trees. Then, after resting from our hike it was time to climb the tower. 

Guess what, at the top of the tower, there was a 360 degree view. Mountains and lakes as far as the eye could see. Little did we know when we were resting below that  just above our heads was a full perspective view of where we were.

360 view
360 view

This got me thinking about this passage from 2 Corinthians 4:18. It says "While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

How often do we focus on the things which are seen when God sees the whole picture? How often do we focus on the trials at hand when God has the whole situation in the palm of His hands? How often do we attempt to move about from side to side to get a better glimpse of the view instead of trusting Him, who has the 360 degree perspective?

God wants us focused on Him, not on the view ahead. The view ahead can sometimes look great, yet from our limited vantage point, we can't see the whole picture. If we could see the whole picture we'd see trials coming from each side and even the path which we have walked in the past which might pull us back and slow down our growth.

Focus on Him who knows you best, for only He has the 360 view. For "the things which are not seen are eternal."