Thursday, March 30, 2023

Helpmates in life


This past week I have been reminiscing about Carl and myself and some of the stories we have experienced over the years.  I have posted some of these stories on social media.  I decided to take one and give a few more details here for your entertainment.  Or as we often say, “So you can see you are not alone, and we are all in this relationship/marriage thing together.” 😊 We just hang on for the ride with God on our side!

One year we (actually it was me) decided we should do a Tough Mudder.  (Look them up online and you will know that it was a large undertaking for someone who doesn't normally exercise… The goal is to start and finish as a team and you will then receive a headband, a shirt, a beer, and bragging rights.  Seriously, that is all. 

I have never taken a challenge like this in my life, so I decided we better get into shape for this one. My husband and I began a workout routine for the five months before the even to prepare for the task ahead.  We signed up with some family and team members from work.  We had our team set and were ready for the event when the day arrived, at least I thought we were.

When we arrived bright and early the nerves began to set in.  What was I thinking?  I couldn’t say it out loud though because I was the one who came up with this crazy idea.  One of our daughters friends joined us and forgot her inhaler.  That would slow us down a bit.  Another team member didn’t think he needed to work out because he judged he was ‘in shape’ enough.  That would catch up with him later. 

We were ready either way.  We were doing this!

One of the first obstacles was called the Artic Enema.  Basically, a fancy ice bath that you slide into (full submersion) and climb back out of.  I thought it would be easy peasy.  Carl jumped into the enormous tank of ice water, and I jumped in after him.  He started to walk through the ice water towards the other side and climb out with no problem. This is where the problem started.  When I jumped into the ice bath my mind was like, "Sure, just follow your husband" however my body was like, "What is this??" and I couldn't move.  I was frozen in place.  No matter how hard I WANTED to move, my body was like, "Nope, sorry, not today."

My husband was almost out of the frustrating freezing obstacle, when he looked back for me and realized I was still at the beginning... standing... not moving.  So my poor husband had to get back into the ice water and come and get me, and drag my lifeless body to the other side.  Now that is love...

The final obstacle in the course was called - Electroshock Therapy.  If the name didn’t deter you, the description of the obstacle would.  Here is a brief description from their website:

Perhaps Tough Mudder’s most controversial obstacle, this simple structure remains largely unchanged from its inception and earliest days on course. A field of wires dangling from a rectangular frame, clicking as 10,000 volts crackle through them. Over the years, mud, trenches, rows of hay and even a grandstand have been added to enhance the spectacle. A right of passage for most participants and favorite amongst spectators who enjoy watching the carnage.

When we signed up for this event, I expressly stated to my husband we can skip the last obstacle.  One of the benefits of doing a Tough Mudder is you are able do some, all, or none of the obstacles in the course.  It is up to you and your team.  Either way it is a team effort.  You start and end together.  The biggest part of this event is to work as a team. 

Throughout the day we worked as a team through the many obstacles until the final one was between us and that famous headband.  I am not sure if it was the heat, or pure adrenalin from running and capturing every obstacle, but one of us…it might have been me… said, “Hey, let’s finish strong by doing this one too.”  My husband looked back at me in shock, no pun intended, and said, “Seriously?”  Then he said, “Okay.”  And grabbed my hand and headed to the infamous target with hanging wires.

I stood for a moment in front of it and just soaked in the seriousness of the challenge.  In front of me was a large frame with wires hanging down and rows of hay laid perfectly in the way of my finish line.  My husband didn’t even hesitate and immediately interlocked his hands and put them in front of him to block the wires from his face and marched through as fast as he could.  He made it look so easy even though you could see the after affects of his body twitching with the wires touching his shoulders.

I decided to run right behind him and followed suit with my hands in front of me.  If he could do it, I could do it, right?  Almost halfway across I tripped on one of the hay bales as I got shocked and fell to the ground in a pathetic heap.  I decided that is where I would end it.  It was a good run.  They could turn off the wires when everyone left and then just come and get me.

My husband had completed the obstacle and turned around to find me in the middle of the hot wire mess.  What did he do?  Well, first he shook his head, then without hesitation he ran back into the “burning building of wires” to get me.  He grabbed my hand and half dragged/carried me out of the hot mess I got myself into. 

We made it, despite my unwilling body…

Yes, we made it through all of the obstacles, together.  And not once did my husband say, 'WHAT were you thinking when you wanted to do this?"  He just did it with me.  no complaints. 

He is my helpmate.  In spite of my crazy ideas.  Love this man ❤ Will I stop coming up with crazy ideas?  Nope, probably not.  But I can guarantee my husband will be by my side as we do them together.  That is love.  That is sacrifice.


Genesis 2:18

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

                                                      Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made… 

This is a profound statement from Psalm 139.  I write it in most birthday cards I send out every year.  It is a declaration to the recipient that they are important and have purpose in God’s eyes.  Their days were ordained before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139 is a great example of God’s intimate relationship with His creation.  It is also an opportunity to share with others that no matter what they did, God can fix it and put them back on the right path He has created for them.

I have made my fair share of mistakes over my fifty plus years I have lived on this earth.  It is easy for me to look back and see the mistakes in my life overshadow the positives.  Especially when it comes to parenting.  I was not a Christian when I had my children and sometimes wonder how things would have turned if I knew the Lord at a younger age.  Would I have done things differently?  Would I have carried the burdens I carried as a child so heavily?  Would things be the way they are today?

A song comes to mind.  Dear younger me… from Mercy Me.  What would I tell my younger self?  These words hit home…

Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you'll make 'cause they're choices that made me

My husband and I have this conversation occasionally.  We struggle with the choices we made before we knew the Lord.  We sometimes struggle with the outcomes of our choices today.  Then we both settle on, we wouldn’t be the people we are today if we didn’t go through what we did as kids and young adults.

We wouldn’t have met each other if our lives were different.  I am so grateful for God bringing this man into my life.  It has made the difficult road easier to navigate together.   We have had many ups and downs around us.  We have had each other to cling to and grow in our faith together.  There have been times where it was only us and God.  Even so, I was grateful because I had God and Carl to get through some of the most painful parts of my life. 

Little by little, over time, God has increased our family.  We are so grateful for Godly sisters and brothers in Christ who have stood in the gap with and for us.  These people accept us as we are and bless us daily with encouragement and prayer.  Broken people helping broken people. 

I think that is what God wanted to teach us.  It takes a broken person to understand a broken person.  It takes a person who has experienced God’s abundant Grace to share it with others.

The older you get, the more you reflect on your choices and actions.  I don’t excuse my mistakes.  God is gracious to give me grace and I have to not only accept His grace but give myself grace as well.  He has forgiven me.  I need to do the same.


Unmerited favor.

That is what God gave us.

The later verses in the song by MercyMe also hits home –

Dear younger me
It's not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger me
You are holy, you are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
Oh, you are free indeed
Every mountain, every valley
Through each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be

These words remind me that everything we go through is to bring us closer to Him and a realization of who Jesus is and what He did for us. 

I am thankful for my crazy broken path that brought me to Him.  I am thankful for a man to walk this path with me today as we are two imperfect people lifting each other up through this life.  Hopefully we are lifting others up along the way with our stories and examples…


Here is the song by MercyMe -


Ephesians 2:8  

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

Hebrews 4:16  

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Romans 11:6

And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.


Psalms 139:14-16

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  

                                              Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Running the race versus...


Are large projects harder to start… or finish? 

I once believed that starting a new project was harder than completing it.  I felt this way because I would get stuck in the weeds as I overthought the steps needed to start and run the project. For example, when I began the journey towards eating healthier and working out, I spent more time researching what to do than just taking the steps and doing the actual work.  Its like spending all your energy thinking about getting off the couch and finally just convincing yourself that tomorrow would be a better day to start the goal.

However, I also realized If I have a deadline set in stone, I am more apt to start and reach my intended goal.  Quite a few years ago I needed a certification to advance my career.  The test was a brutal four-hour exam.  I knew what needed to be done to prepare and scheduled the date for the exam. I had set time aside daily to study and pushed everything else away so I could pass the test.  Failure was not an option for me.  I was motivated to succeed because the alternative was going to cost me financially in my career.  Because I had the ‘end game’ in mind, which was passing the exam and getting a better job, I stuck to my studies until I took and passed the exam.  

The pain of remaining the same was greater than the pain of change.  Sound familiar?  Staying in the same position without a chance of advancement became a greater source of pain than pushing forward and advancing my career.

So, what about completing a project or goal you started?  Is completing the project easier once you have started it in motion? I have noticed it is sometimes easier to start a project than complete it.  Each project takes enthusiasm and effort to start.  But each project also takes commitment to finish.  You can be excited to begin a new adventure but when the glow and newness wears off, it is easy to set the project aside as other things in life take over.  The honeymoon phase wears thin and next thing you know the project is sitting in the corner, or worse, in the basement collecting dust until you feel the ‘inspiration’ once again, if ever.

Working out. 

Changing my eating habits.

Writing my next book.

Growing closer in my walk with Christ.

Now that last one hit home…  We were all on fire when we came to the Lord.  Remember the excitement?  Remember thinking we had the entire world ahead of us?  Everything was bright and new and shiny! We were so filled with Hope and Joy!

We RAN with confidence!

We RAN with so much energy!

Then things begin to get into the way.  Work, family, pets, sickness, death… 

Then the shiny glow dimmed a bit and our walk slowed down.

Things in life have distracted me from my goals.

Even as I write this, other things are distracting my thoughts…

I am writing this today to put a little umph in your step.  A little jump in your stride.  A proverbial shot of adrenaline into your soul.  We can’t do this race alone.  We need each other.  We need Christ.

We are here to do this thing called life together.  Our walk should focus on the end game.  Remember what I keep saying?  “We know how the Book ends.”  Wake up every day and remind yourself that we are running the race to win, not just to plod along until the end.  We want to gain the crown! (2 Tim 4:7-8) Even though we don’t see it in front of us, we do have a deadline set in stone.  None of us know how much time we have left.  Our days are numbered. 

What are we doing with the time we have while we are still here?

How do we stay focused on our goal to the end?

Tie your shoes and get back on track.  Today is the day to start again.  There is no shame in picking up and beginning again.  Failure only occurs when we give up.  Don’t give up.  Run the race to win!  We are to run to the last day.  To the last breath…  We need to keep pressing in like we have all the hours left and hold nothing back.

When we take on a new project, we must keep the end goal in mind each step of the way.  From the first step out of the gate till the last step over the finish line.  Keeping the end game in sight helps us stay focused on what is important.  Distractions are always going to be there.  Ignore the distractions and remember what Christ did for us.

Do you see a fellow believer struggling with his or her race?  Reach out and lift your brother or sister up today with a word of encouragement.  Run alongside them and give them hope.  We need each other.  When you lift someone up, you are lifted up as well.   Our cups are filled when we fill other’s.

Plant, water, and harvest as many seeds as possible while you are here.  Lets take as many as we can from the enemy’s hands before we leave this earth.  

Are you in...?


How are we doing in our race?

Are we letting the things of this world distract and get in our way?

Are we coasting till…?

Are we running to win in the end?

Are our sneakers laced and ready to go?


 2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.


Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,


Acts 20:24

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.


Philippians 3:12-14

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


Matthew 13:18-23

The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

                                                        Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Let your light shine!


Recently we exchanged all the of light bulbs in the kitchen.  We have used the same lightbulbs for years and heard bright-white bulbs might be more beneficial.  We loved our yellow lights, or what we called soft white lights.  The bulbs functioned and we did not see a need to change them.  

Cooking requires a certain amount of light to read the recipes and ascertain the right amount of ingredients.  The 60+ watts gave us the light needed to get the jobs done.  However, the ‘new’ white or daylight bulbs were on the market.  We thought we would give them a try.  Yes, they have been on the market for a while.  Yes, we are slow to change.  What really pushed us was the cost savings with the LED lights.

So, one afternoon my husband and I purchased all new bulbs and proceeded to replace the old ones throughout the kitchen.  The kitchen has a dimmer on the light switch to add ambiance when needed.  When we first turned the new lights on I stepped back in horror.  They were so bright that I had to push the dimmer switch all the way down. 

What did we do??  It looked like an operating room with the bright lights glaring back at me.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, any dust in any corner of my kitchen was glaring back at me as well.  Seriously? 

After immediately turning down the lights to the lowest setting I contemplated exchanging the lights back to the warm glow we originally had.  We decided to give it some time and see if we could get used to the ‘glaring’ difference.

You know what?  We did eventually get used to the bright lights.  After a week or so, the glaring difference didn’t seem so harsh and slowly I began to turn up the dimmer until one day I realized I had it completely on and the bright lights just seemed normal.

Imagine that?

Have you ever been around a Christian who seems to ‘shine’ brighter than you are used to?  It is almost blinding or overwhelming.  

However, it is also captivating like an insect is drawn to a light.  We are drawn to The Light.  We are also drawn to other’s lights around us.  Some people shine brightly for the Lord like a lighthouse beckoning others to come.  Others are a warm light welcoming people to sit and stay.  Each of us has a different light.  God made us each different.  That doesn’t mean one is better than another.  Both warm and bright lights work equally.  Both function as they should.  It is a matter of what we are used to.  As long as our light shines for Jesus.

Some people go to a church and there is quiet hymns playing and they feel comfortable.  However, if they walk into a more charismatic church and the music is louder, they may feel out of place.  Does that make the other church wrong?  No, it is just a different way to worship.  As long as the foundation is correct, the lighting doesn’t matter. 

The music doesn’t matter. 

The seating doesn’t matter. 

What people wear doesn’t matter. 

Remember that next time you meet someone who seems to shine brighter or less than you do.  They are shining for Jesus.  That is all that counts.

After our kitchen experiment, we also decided to change the bulbs outside next to the garage and the front door.  Yes, I went through the same shock again even though I knew this time it was going to be brighter.  The difference was the outdoor lights did not have a dimmer so we had to get used to the bright lights all at once.  It felt like someone was shining their headlights in our house for a bit.  But again, we did get used to them.  Change is hard.  But change can be good. 

If you are a warm light, try hanging with some bright lights this week and embrace the change!  If you are a bright light, sit quietly with a warm light and learn from their experiences.  Remember to have patience as others may shine brighter than you.  It doesn’t mean it is wrong, it is just different.  We each shine differently.  As long as we shine. That's all that counts! Praise God for that!

Matthew 5:14 NIV

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:15 NIV

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

Psalms 119:105 NIV

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Matthew 5:16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

                                             Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

God's Timing

  I am impatient .   I wait in grocery lines and pick up my phone and scroll through social media.   I stop at a red light and pick up ...