Freedom Friday: The God of the 4 Cent Monkey

If you struggle with believing that God cares about the little things, I have a story for you.

A friend gave me a gift card to Babies R Us, so I wanted to buy a couple of things I’m concerned about not having at this point (a month away from my due date), as well as possibly update the baby registry.

We went to the registry desk at Babies R Us to get our free gift for registering since we registered online and had not been in the store yet. While we were sitting there, having the sales woman explain things to us, JJ (my younger son at 4 1/2) spied the stuffed animals. He couldn’t resist picking one out for his baby sister on the way, so we added a monkey to the baby registry (one of his nicknames is Monkey).


We only registered for 4-5 things because I had trouble finding stuff, and they didn’t have the shirts in stock that we had traveled to the store to buy. So we were planning on leaving without buying anything.

JJ was very sad we weren’t buying the monkey, so I figured I would look at the registry list to see what the cost for the monkey was. It said 0.04. I thought that couldn’t be right, so we went to grab the monkey to price check it at one of those scanners they have around the store.

4 cents.

We brought it up to the register to check one more time. Yep, 4 cents! We paid 4 cents for JJ’s gift to his baby sister.


JJ, setting up his sister’s bed with the 4 Cent Monkey

Sometimes it’s easy to believe in the God who can hurl mountains into the sea, but not so easy to believe in the God who cares about the small stuff, too.

Sometimes it’s easy to believe that God will provide for your most basic needs (food, shelter, clothing), but it’s more difficult to grasp the abundance of His rich blessings to those who call Him Father.

Maybe there’s an area of your life in which you need to be reminded that God lavishes His love on His children. He is quick to rescue, quick to open His arms, and even quick to give a 4 year old a glimpse of His provision – not because we really needed another stuffed animal, but simply because it was important to JJ.

God gave us a 4 cent monkey so that JJ could give his sister a 4 cent monkey.

Just because He loves us.

Is there something you have been hesitated to ask God for, because it doesn’t seem important enough?

It’s important to God.


35 weeks pregnant

Merry Christmas! Download “Learning to Walk in Freedom” For Free on Christmas Day!

Tomorrow, for Christmas Day only, I am offering Learning to Walk in Freedom for free!

LTWIFreedom Christmas

If you or a friend receive a Kindle for Christmas, download away! If you have an iPhone or iPad, there is an app that lets you read books for Kindle. That’s what I use.

If you already downloaded Learning to Walk in Freedom, why not grab some other resources to help you start the year strong? Here are some of the resources I reference in Learning to Walk in Freedom.

 Relational Masks by friend and mentor Russell Willingham talks about more about the concept of core beliefs and how these false beliefs impact our relationship with God and with each other. He wrote another great book entitled Breaking Free: Understanding Sexual Addiction & the Healing Power of Jesus.

 Think Differently, Live Differently by friend Bob Hamp addresses how the way we think impacts our choices and the truth we live out of.

The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by John Ortberg is an easy but challenging read with a new take on spiritual disciplines. Learn how to work spiritual disciplines into your everyday life.

And then some personal favorites, also referenced in Learning to Walk in Freedom:
Healing Is a Choice: 10 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life and 10 Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them by Steve Arterburn. There is an accompanying workbook.

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives with Bonus Content by Richard Swenson.

Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God by Gary Thomas – finding your spiritual temperament with its traits, strengths, and pitfalls.

Enjoy! And spread the word 🙂

Freedom Friday: Will I Choose to Love?

I first heard the song “Legacy” at a mom’s group I attended.  A member had lost her battle with cancer, and her friends put together a slide show to celebrate her life with all of us.

I wanna leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?

It hit close to home.

I’ve mentioned here in passing that I have a dear loved one battling terminal illness.  A week ago today, he lost his 12-year battle with cancer, but won the race of life and was received into Jesus’ arms.

My dad.

His joyous smile

When my parents divorced, my father was awarded primary custody of me and my older sister.  I was already living with him and continued to do so throughout high school and into college.

Prepping to walk me down the aisle

My father was such a role model to me. What I’ve learned since his death is the impact his life had on so many others.

The comments that have come have been truly astounding. His generosity, humor, fullness of life.  His magnetic presence, his joy, his clear love for his family (including my mom’s 9 brothers and sisters, as my dad was like an older brother to them).

My dad lived a life that impacted far more people than he likely ever realized. He was a role model to many.

I don’t remember hearing him say an unkind word about anyone. He was not one to complain. Even to the end, he alternated telling jokes with displaying his concern for his loved ones.

Did I choose to love?

He wasn’t perfect, of course.  Neither am I.  We certainly had bumps in our relationship.  But I can honestly say that my grief over his passing is not at all complicated by some of the questions that plague many who lose a parent.  I know he loved me and my sister deeply and was overflowing with pride at what our lives had become.

I just wish he didn’t have to leave so soon.

My father never failed to ask a store clerk, “How’s your day going?” with all sincerity.  He even would ask the nurses and doctors this during his long cancer battle, even when the situation was an emergency, or he was in a lot of pain (I witnessed this myself when I accompanied him to the emergency room).

He once shared with my stepmom that some people aspire to greatness in their lives; he aspired to goodness. This is what he instilled into me from a young age.

This is the legacy he chose to leave behind.

There were other things instilled in me from a young age, though not by my father. Venomous things that taught me to emphasize people’s flaws, to expect perfection of myself and others, that taught me not to trust.

Sometimes that venomous voice is so loud I cannot hear anything else. It’s also insidious. I’m only now starting to recognize the hold it still has on my thoughts.

What legacy will I leave?  Will I choose to love?


On the days when it’s hard to breathe, the days when I can’t imagine taking another step without my dad around to see, I remember his strength battling cancer, I remember his kindness and huge heart.  I remember his daily choice to love.

Oh, Lord, let that be my legacy…..

Dad, thank you for all you taught me, even if it was taught through silence (a skill I need to work on!). While I grieve that you were only here 64 years, I rejoice for the 37 1/2 (exactly to the day) years you spoke into my life. You had an amazing heart, and I can only pray that my life will be a light to many as yours was.  I miss you so much.  But since you are in heaven, give Bunny Boo and Grammy a hug for me, and could you please tell Keith Green I said, “hi”?

Freedom Friday: For The Kids

I need your help, readers.

We often talk about freedom in this blog in terms of being free from metaphorical chains of bondage.  Or the freedom to be who God created us to be.

There are other kinds of freedom and other kinds of bondage.

It is believed that there are currently 21 million people worldwide caught in slavery (forced labor). Approximately 50% of trafficking victims are children, most of whom are caught in sex slavery.

Tomorrow, I will run 26.2 miles for those who can’t speak for themselves.
You can help by praying.  I have pain in my right leg due to what is likely tendonitis.  I also have been having some shin pain this week.  I am just, in general, not a natural when it comes to running.
The kids need your prayers, too.
I am running for the kids.  For those still caught in sex trafficking and those trying to climb their way out.
I will share more on Monday.  But pray for us. And pray about giving.  Don’t just look at your finances or circumstances and decide you’re not able to give.  Pray.  
This is a general admonition, even if I weren’t fundraising.  So often we wait until we have extra in order to give, but don’t stop to pray as to how God would have us respond. I do it as well.  

And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44

This widow did not wait; she gave.
The God I love and serve didn’t wait until He had extra to give extravagantly.  
He gave His Only.
This is not to say we should enter into giving lightly.  We need to hear God speak to our hearts, but our hearts need to first ask and then be willing to respond.
I’ve responded to God’s call, to give of my time, money and physical resources to run for those who can’t.
Thank you for your prayers.
Lord, help me to give extravagantly this weekend, as You did when You sent Your Only Son to earth.  Help me to run the race You’ve set before.  Thank You that Your power is made perfect when I have nothing to give. Be the Sustainer that I know You are.  Move in the hearts of many, that the hearts of these little children would have the opportunity for You to heal them.  Jesus, Your Name is power. You are mighty.  In Your wonderful name I pray, Jesus, Amen.

For The Kids
My recent personal best at the Zooma Half Marathon