Resilience Spiritual Discernment

Five Mistakes I Pray You Don’t Make in 2017

Today I finally got to cleaning up a corner pile of crinkled brown leaves, found them basking in the sun, enjoying the gift of almost 60-degree weather.

Got to contemplating some things as we fall onto the cusp of a new year.

Swept those old and crinkled leaves off the porch; noticed ones whose tails got stuck between the wooden slats of my worn-out porch,

like stubborn memories needing to be relinquished or past mistakes which need to be forgotten and forgiven.


Ruminated through my mental file box of 2016 memories and mistakes…

Ones I thought would rip me in half, but beloved, I’m standing still, how about you?


Maybe you’ll find your own reflection in my own trespasses…

Mistake #Five: I Placed People on Pedestals
I read the advice of published women. Ones who’d inspired my writing journey, with wide avenues of reach and influence. The glossy-eyed people of fame peddling inspiration which seemed Godly…

I learned Christ-followers can fall victim to seductions of contemporary culture and pipe dreams.

Realized we’re all searching for the next kind of wonderful.


We’re all searching for meaning:

We rely on the meaningful words of others, instead of leaning into the God of meaning, Christ.

Realized we can all be wrongly influenced. Realized flights of fancy eventually crash and burn.

May you distinguish truth from worldly lies

Pray your spiritual hearts continue to…

move to the beat of God, the One who sustains our mere mortal heartbeats

Mistake #4: I Worshipped Aesthetics
I leaned on pretty songs with pretty, hip beats which lead to light-hearted twenty-minute worship.
Worshiped just enough to get God off my back.

“I gave you your Sunday hour God, back off, I’ve got goals to accomplish!”

But then I finally came ’round to visiting my husband’s old-fashioned church:

I rolled my eyes as I drove from the ‘burbs to the next-door city, found myself standing in an industrial-era parking lot, alongside dilapidated sidewalks and strewn trash.


Noticed unappealing fluorescent lighting, plastic flowers, and uncomfortable metal chairs.

God inhabited this place? Really?

I cringed at the squeaky-voiced woman accompanied by electronic percussion which blared from the small room’s speakers–a far cry from what my eyes and ears were accustomed to.

I learned God is not a respecter of persons, He’s come for those of less wages, he’s come for the un-degreed, the marginalized, the divorced mother of four annoyingly loud children–ten and under.

I learned pure and unadulterated worship, what it felt like to pray for two-hours straight without the sound of ANY music.

Just the raspy-voiced people of present-day saints crying out in spirit and in truth. My inner-critic finally stopped judging a Pentecostal church; I fell in love with the open and humble hearts of people unlike me.

Mistake #3: I Physically-Withheld My Love
I struggled to show affection towards my own flesh and blood, those who should’ve received the first-fruits of my love: my own daughters.

Sometimes I’m afraid of holding the very gifts of life God entrusted me with.

What-if’s vied for my peace and I’ve made the mistake of not trusting Christ with their safety.

I realized I must hug them more, look into their eyes now, because our tomorrows aren’t promised.

I’m learning that if I refrain physical love now, I’m failing to love them well.

If your sons and daughters aren’t being held by their earthly mothers or fathers or loved ones, they may meander to the wrong crowds and get twisted affirmations which come from corrupt companionship.

Promise yourselves you’ll hold them tight; promise to war on their behalf.

Mistake #2: I Chased The Wrong Words
By the middle of the year, I’d purchased fifteen or more books, faith-filled and secular.

      Beautiful indeed, but man-made words nonetheless.

I made the mistake of chasing the words of equally broken and searching people.

I highlighted sentences which promised me real guidance, motivation, true hope. I picked up how-to guides & journals promising to empower, but I came to the realization that…

Human Words are Mere Shadows to the Light of The Living Word

May you discern worldly influence: words which come packaged as sage “Christian” advice or “true freedom”

May we look to the ONLY BOOK which really matters: The Living and Holy Bible

Mistake #1 Despising One Made in the Image of God
I nagged the very man I vowed to love for better or worse. I complained about his side of the room. I seethed at his unwashed dishes. I hated his idolatry of social media, yet I made a constant of checking who’d commented on my recent blog posts.

What hypocrisy! I needed to relax, to not be so serious.

So, I let the dishes pile-up, I realized wrinkled clothes are eventually ironed and put away.

I was reminded that satan seeks to kill, steal, and destroy marriage. Too many of us are caught up in stupid offense, bitterness, and foul-mouthed gossip.


Wishing You Light, Love, and Joy
This afternoon, I yanked the ends of those stubborn-tailed leaves, finally swept them off my porch.

I’m hoping you’ll discard the stubborn tails of your own memories or mistakes and embrace the new.

I’m praying for your inextinguishable hope in 2017.

Wishing you moments of reflection and introspection as you embrace the coming year.



  • Jen Haugen
    2 years ago

    Beautiful words from a beautiful heart. Your mistakes are my mistakes. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, and your heart.

    • Jessica
      2 years ago

      So nice to see you here, Jen! Wishing you good cooking with your own loved ones. xo-jess

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