Just Keep Walking

My daughter and I sat in our travel chairs, watching the soccer game.  We cheered on her teammates and told them “good work” and “way to go” when they ran over for water breaks.

Our coach cheered them on also, and she pushed them to persevere.  At one point she called out, “I don’t want to see any more walking out  there!”

We’ve heard her  say those same words at soccer practices all season.  There’s not much reason to walk around on a soccer field.  Pretty much anywhere you need to be, you need to get there fast.

My daughter, though, sat through the whole game, her crutches leaned against her chair.  She had hobbled onto the side of the field just to watch and cheer since running  (and even walking) was impossible.

She sprained her ankle in gym about a week  ago and she’s thankfully on the mend.  Today, she finally stepped onto the school bus without any crutches.

These past few days, she has moved slowly and depended on others for constant help.  Sweet friends have carried her backpack down the hallway and toted her binders from class to class.  Her kind teacher has carried her lunch tray for her.  Friends at play rehearsal have given her piggyback rides and actually carried her around as we ran through choreography.

She needed help and others have so generously given that help.

This  week  as we’ve sat on the soccer sidelines while  my daughter heals up, I’ve been thinking  about walking, running and hobbling around, and how sometimes the best we can do is a slow, painful crawl while others help us along.

Then there are times when we need to be in top form, running and running and running .  God equips us for the running seasons.  He trains and disciplines us for the sprint and He calls us out for the occasional marathon.

But that doesn’t mean we de-value the simple, faithful, daily act of walking or the seasons when walking alone takes perseverance.

“Run your own race.”  That little bit  of encouragement tells us not to give up when we’re on crutches and our best friend is zooming across finish lines.

We also remember what Isaiah said:

but those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not become weary,
they will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 CSB). 

We will have times that we soar.

We will have times that we run.

We will  have times that we walk.

Our pace doesn’t need to match anyone else’s, as long as we’re traveling with the Lord.

This same thought encourages me in another way.  Not just to keep going and not give up.  Not just to avoid comparing my speed with anyone else’s, choosing instead to be content with my own journey.

But also this–don’t criticize someone else’s pace.

One of my daughter’s teammates took a moment after the game to tell her, “Thanks for the support.  I hope you feel better soon.”

He thanked her—even though she had spent the game in a chair on the side of the field.

Sometimes the people around us who are limping along on crutches need us to say, “Keep it up!  You can make it!”  Sometimes, they need us to carry a binder or bookbag because they cannot do  that alone.

When we’re sprinting, it can be easy to judge others who aren’t.  But Jesus calls us to  grace.  Jesus calls us to compassion and encouragement, gentleness and kindness with our brothers and sisters.

Today, I read:

The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
a patient spirit is better than a proud spirit.
Don’t let your spirit rush to be angry,
for anger abides in the heart of fools (Eccles. 7:8-9)

God cultivates the patient spirit within us. 

He doesn’t say that a patient spirit is better than a “hasty” spirit or an “impatient” spirit.  He says it’s better than being proud.

That’s because it’s pride that drives haste and impatience and a rush into anger when others don’t meet our expectations or pass our judgment.

Matthew Poole’s commentary says this verse is partly “to correct the vulgar error of proud men, who think highly of themselves, and trample all others, especially such as are meek and patient, under their feet.”

May that not describe me.

In my haste, eagerness, devotion, or passion, may I never trample over others, especially the meek and patient around me.

May this also be true:  May I value the walking seasons instead of envying when others run.  May I be a cheerleader for  those around me.  May I be a help instead of a hurt to  those who might be wounded or weary.


When you’re tempted to react instead of respond

psalm 103

I made a speech about it.

My oration covered the themes of procrastination, respect for others, taking things for granted, and gratitude.  I delivered my speech while I drove in my minivan, while I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror, and on the phone to my husband while he drove home from work.

It was a great speech and I delivered it really well.  My points were well-argued and well-reasoned.  By the time I finished, I had her accused, cross-examined and pronounced guilty on the stand.

This woman….

This woman had not only ignored my email messages, she had left the email group I was using to send out information about an upcoming event for her child.

So, how’s she going to know all the info that I’ll be sending out in the highly important emails she now had prevented me from sending her?

I mean, good gracious, what is wrong with people?

It wasn’t until the next day that I got hit in the face by the full impact of my foot flying into my mouth.

Turns out due to the odd spelling of her last name and some messy handwriting, I had mis-read her email address.

Turns out this woman had never gotten any of my messages I’d sent and I’d actually been blocked by some poor, random stranger who probably thought—this lady is out of her mind.


Good thing all those speeches I made were to myself, my mirror, my one-year-old and my husband.

Serves me right for jumping to conclusions, for being easily offended and for judging without contemplation, without grace, without time for facts and truth and gentleness.

I was wrong.  So, so very wrong.  And I had to take a long humbling look at myself and see what was ugly, infected and festering in my heart.

The Psalmist says:

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103:8 ESV).

In fact, I read this song of worship all over my Bible.  It is the hymn of God’s character:

“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6 ESV).

 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ Numbers 14:18 ESV

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15 ESV

Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
    and he relents over disaster. Joel 2:13 ESV

I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster (Jonah 4:2 ESV)

I read it and I’m so thankful. I’m moved to worship, moved to humble gratitude.

Because if there’s one thing I need, it’s a God who is slow to anger, who is gracious and full of abundant mercy for a messy, sin-covered girl like me.

Yes, our God is Slow To Anger.

Are we?

We could chalk this up to divinity.  That’s just who God is.

But no.

James writes:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19 ESV).


God wants to do this work in me also.

He wants me to listen first and listen well before making speeches in my car or shooting off a nasty email or calling up a friend to gossip or jumping into conflict.

I am to be quick to hear, slow to speak.

And yes, slow to anger also.

More willing to bestow grace than to deliver an oration.

More apt to overlook an offense than leap into an argument.

More inclined to believe the best about another person’s intentions or motivations than assuming the worst and jumping to unfair conclusions.

More prone to listen and love even when someone else hurts us, because maybe they just had a bad day, maybe it’s not how things appear, maybe they just didn’t know or didn’t mean it that way.

This world doesn’t respond to situations.  It reacts.

We can learn how to stop reacting in anger and start responding with the same grace and mercy that Christ shows us.

It starts by slowing down.  

Wait before answering.

Listen before speaking.

Think before acting.

Pray before we do anything.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Ask Me More: When Anger is Justified But Not ‘Right’

One of the hardest parts of writing a book isn’t always choosing what to put in; it’s choosing what to leave out.

So, when I wrote Ask Me Anything, Lord, I had to choose which questions God asked in Scripture that I would include in the book and which ones I couldn’t.

That was tough.  In the end, I trusted God to lead me and even had to cut out some of my very favorite questions in favor of others I felt He wanted me to cover.

But now, I’d like to share some of the other questions with you in a series on the blog: Ask Me More.

And, if these questions intrigue you, please check out my book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Lives to God’s Questions for a deeper study on how we can let God search our hearts with the very questions He asked others in the Bible.


She’s angry, that’s obvious.

Anger transforms my blond beauty into a furious mess.  Her face burns red hot and tears sting her eyes and cheeks.  Her long hair escapes hair clips and ponytail holders and frizzes out all wild and untamed.  She stomps around as if her feet alone weigh 50 pounds each and her whole body closes in—her fists clenched, her arms crossed, her chin buried into her chest.

It’s her sense of justice that typically sends her into a fit.

This is right.

That’s wrong.

And I’m going to fight to prove it.

She gets that from her dad.  It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with him.

And, normally it’s the beauty in her, too: this absolute willingness to defend justice and truth no matter what it takes or costs.  One day maybe she’ll advocate for orphans and for the oppressed and she’ll be a mighty force on their behalf.

But sometimes, she doesn’t see the whole picture.  She is, after all, only eight years old, and when you’re eight, you don’t know as much as you think you know.

That’s why she assumes a fighting stance when her four-year-old sister munches on an ice cream sandwich.  How come she gets a treat?  That’s not fair!  I talk my crusader down off the ledge and remind her that she hadn’t even asked.  Why get angry when my answer would be yes?

And why rage over whether or not I punish her younger sister often enough?  It must be that she doesn’t trust me as a mom to discipline well, to show grace when needed, and to teach my children what is right.

I understand.  Don’t I sometimes rage myself over my own causes?

Don’t you?

Lord, why are you blessing them and I’m struggling?  I’m the one trying to be obedient and live the righteous life and they aren’t following you at all.  That’s just not fair!

Lord, did you see what they did to me?  Did you see how cruel and unfair, how they slandered and lied and spread the muck to others? Can’t you strike them with lightning or something?

Anger isn’t wrong in itself. We can fight with that same righteous indignation of Jesus cleansing the temple grounds of con men and scam artists.

But sometimes what we claim is righteous indignation really is not trusting God to see truth, to defend us, to care for us, to show mercy when mercy is needed and justice in its time.

That was the prophet Jonah, sitting on the outskirts of Nineveh in a foul mood all because God showed mercy to an entire nation when they repented following Jonah’s hellfire and brimstone proclamation.

This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen’ (Jonah 4:1-3).

He raged about God’s character, spitting out the words that should be worship as angry accusations instead:  I knew it.  You’re merciful, compassionate, slowly angered, abounding in love.

God could have defended Himself.  He could have given Jonah his wish and killed the frustrated prophet on the spot.jonah4

Instead, he used a question to dig out the mess of unforgiveness in Jonah’s heart and reveal God’s own character of compassion for the lost.

God asked:

 “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”  Jonah 4:4

It did seem right and just.  Nineveh was the enemy of God’s people!  They had destroyed Jonah’s friends and family! Surely they deserved revenge, not grace!

But God didn’t let the prophet linger there in hatred.  He caused a plant to grow overnight to shade Jonah’s hot head (in more ways than one!).  Then, when Jonah rejoiced over that plant, feeling somehow that he deserved God’s favor and blessing, God sent a worm to chomp that plant right down to nothing.

Jonah raged again.

And again God asked the question:

“Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”
“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”  (Jonah 4:9)

God pressed in, challenging how Jonah cared more for a plant than for a nation of 120,000 lost people.  He shifted Jonah’s perspective and He urged Jonah to trust Him.

That’s what’s at stake for us, as well.

When we’re angry, can we still trust?

When anger seems justified, can we still lay our right to rage down at God’s feet and leave it all in His hands?

And as we do, we worship: You are merciful, compassionate, slow-to-anger, full of unfailing love.

Yes, Amen, Lord.  Your will be done even in this.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is now available!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Mom Guilt, Part II

Mom Guilt had me hanging Christmas lights on the outside of our house for the first time ever.  You can read about that in Mom Guilt, Part I here.

But I’m a sucker for Mom Guilt in any variety.

“Mom, you haven’t been to school to have lunch with us in FOREVER.”  Hence, I was brown-bagging it in the school cafeteria the next day.

Something about the way they say “Mom” when they are about to pour on the Mom Guilt turns it into two syllables.

“Mawww—ahhhhm, our friends have such pretty rooms and ours is just plain old yucky white.”

A few weeks later, their room was a purple paradise complete with hanging glittery butterflies and flower decorations.

Much of my mom life is spent trying to keep my kids off of some psychiatrist’s couch in their adulthood, spilling out the horrors of their childhood.

“My mom didn’t pack my favorite foods in my lunch box.
My mom wouldn’t hang Christmas lights on our house.
My mom never painted our bedroom.
My mom didn’t buy me Go-Go the walking dog for Christmas.
We just never got over that disappointment in her.”


That’s the power that Mom Guilt has over us.  Fear of disappointing people.

Fear that we’ll fall short of perfection.  Fear that we’ll be caught with our capes off one day and everyone will realize we aren’t Super Woman after all.

But here’s the ugly truth.  I’m going to give it to you straight.

We’re bound to disappoint someone eventually.
We’re not perfect.
We’re not superheroes.

There now, don’t you feel better getting that out in the open?

My kids, my husband, my friends, my Bible study girls and my blog readers may all be disappointed in me at times.  They will all have reason upon reason to grow impatient with me.  They will sometimes need to pester me out of forgetfulness and distraction when I fail to deliver on a promise.

Mom Guilt works on me because I want to be something I’m not–perfect.

Oh, we might be able to hold together the facade of perfection for a while and we might even fool the occasional outsider who glances our way.

There’s Someone, though, who has known the truth all along.  God knows what we’re made of.

He knows we’re formed from dust.

So, pragmatic as He is, He doesn’t expect perfection out of imperfect beings.  When we mess up, He’s full of grace, not accusation.  When we forget, He reminds us with mercy and gentleness.  Because we’re dust after all.

He doesn’t give us what creatures of dust deserve either.  He rescues, forgives, restores, saves, leads, and blesses us because “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love . . . He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”


Because “as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him  . . .the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:8-14).

Don’t think for a moment that when “He remembers that we are dust,” it’s the gloating power-hungry pride that an all-powerful God could have for weak creatures like ourselves.

No, but He does show compassion to those “who fear Him” and we do that by being in awe of His greatness and humbled by our own weakness.

The Psalmist emphasizes God’s compassion, mercy, and love here.  Psalm 78 likewise declares that God “was merciful; He forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them . . . He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return” (Psalm 78:38-39).

God takes pity on us, mistake-prone as are.  He enacted a plan of salvation from the beginning of sin in this world just because He knew none of us could attain perfection in our own merit.

This also means that He doesn’t grow impatient with us when we once again ask for wisdom in a difficult situation.  James writes , “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

Did you feel the chains of condemnation flying off your ankles and wrists with that verse?  When you throw yourself down at His throne and confess that you just don’t know what to do or maybe when you cry out in desperation because of the mess you’ve gotten yourself into, God isn’t finding fault with you.

He’s not lecturing you on the five mis-steps that brought you to this place of confusion or failure.

He gives wisdom, generously pours it out, simply because we ask.  He forgives with abundant grace simply because we repent.  He renews and restores time and time again with compassion.  He’s slow to anger.  God doesn’t blow His top when you stumble.

Somehow the Kansas song, “Dust in the wind” makes it all sound so hopeless. “Dust in the wind.  All we are is dust in the wind . . . Just a drop of water in the endless sea.  All we do crumbles to the ground.”

Sure we’re dust.  Sure we’re not on this planet forever.  But we’re not hopeless dust.

Our hope is in Him.

It’s humbling to realize that we’re not the superhuman Moms, Wives, Sisters, Daughters and Friends that we’ve tried to be.

But, it’s also wondrously freeing to realize that God knew that all along and loved us anyway—dusty creatures that we are.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King