Trimmings & Trappings

‘Tis the season for too much to do, too much shopping, spending, dashing, decorating and holiday noshing.  All the trimmings and trappings associated with our Christmas traditions can set a high bar for making yuletide celebrations bright.  It can be exhausting.  Maybe that’s why lots of people, including me, enjoy the simple comfort of snuggling up on the couch to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie.  Watching the characters on TV with their beautiful, immaculately clean homes, perfect wreaths and trees, having fun singing, skating and baking is relaxing compared to trying to do all that ourselves.  The formula for a Hallmark story stays the same—spend time together, have some fun, have a problem, problem is resolved, love wins, all in under 2 hours.  That’s not typically how real life goes.  The solutions to problems don’t come quite so easy or so quickly.  Nonetheless, maybe there is something to be said for sticking to a simple formula—spend time with God, place the focus on what matters most, when facing problems give them over to God, let love win.

  • Our relationship with God creates a foundation to strengthen our connections with others, to spread light.
  • Trimming back to that which is most important allows us to enjoy the moments, the memories and people around us without feeling overwhelmed.  It is okay to say ‘no’ so you can say ‘yes’ to those things that mean the most. 
  • God’s solutions are so much better than what we can bring about when we try to fix things on our own.
  • Always remember that at the heart of Christmas is Love.  Live to love.  Give it away freely and see how it flows and grows.  Love that is pure and true doesn’t need a bunch of trimmings and trappings.  Love itself is simply perfect, the best thing to have too much of.  That great love is what God gives us – unconditionally, uncomplicated, unending.  Amen for that.

God Bless, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year,

Kerri LeVanseler

Wake Up!

Do you, like me, go through your days,
In a little bit of a drowsy haze?
Nothing much seems fresh and new,
We follow routines, doing the jobs that are ours to do.
Sleep, eat, repeat.
We see each day just rolling past,
Often thinking they pass too fast,
And whine that those weekends just don’t last.
Too sleepy, yet too much to do.
It is quite hard to feel enthused.
Maybe in these winter months,
We tend to hibernate a bit too much.
But our days are numbered, are they not?
Don’t we want the most from the ones we’ve got?

Let’s all wake up!
Each day is a new opportunity,
To listen, act, learn and see.
Can’t you feel it, that God is on the move?
It is up to us to get into the groove.
If in his plan, we play a part,
We must be alert to know where to start.
To God’s voice, let’s tune an ear,
There are daily messages we need to hear.
Words of comfort, caution and inspiration,
Giving us strength to avoid temptation.
Lessons to be taught.
Righteous battles to be fought.
Help to be giving.
A life that’s worth living.
These are the kind of moments we’d chose,
Knowing with God, we can never lose.
Stay awake to see the miracles God might do.
He can even make a miracle of you.
We will learn something new each day,
If we are open to be transformed God’s way.

Let’s all wake up!
Each day we have is a God-given gift,
Let’s rise and see who could use a lift.
By doing something big or small, imagine the difference we can make,
When we give God our time and act in His name’s sake.

Be excited! Be amazed!
God is great!  He is praised!

Dear God-Thank you for waking us up to do Your will,
And for our empty spaces, with Your goodness, You fill.
Thank you for fresh mercies each day,
And that Your love for us is here to stay.

Heroes of the Heart

When troubles come, when people fail one another, when there is pain and suffering, there are those that respond with love. They put their own hearts on the line to give of themselves, to sacrifice for the benefit of another. When hurtful things are said, only love can forgive and forget. When someone is falling apart and coming undone, only love can reach out, provide support and hold them together. When evil forces attack, only love can shield our hearts from the devastation and provide protection. When challenges drag someone into a deep, dark pit, it is love that can bring hope and help so they can rise out of it. Those Love Warriors mend the broken, heal the hurting, give encouragement to the downtrodden, comfort the lonely, save those ready to give up. The world is a better place because of the Heroes of the Heart that see a problem and do things to make it right. Love in action builds hospitals, schools, orphanages in poor countries. Love in action is talking and listening to someone to draw them away from the edge. Love in action is visiting with someone who is alone, finding ways to feed the hungry, sharing the Promises of God with those that feel life has no meaning. The greatest way to live is to love God with all your heart and to love others as you love yourself. That is what Love Warriors do. They are Heroes of the Heart. They love when it is hard, they love when they are sad, they love through it all. Their being makes it better.

Thank God for the Heroes of the Heart, the Love Warriors, of the past, present and future. They bring the light when it is dark. They bring warmth when it is cold. They reflect the great love that God has for each and every one of us. Thank you & Amen

Bring Yourself Broken

When you look at yourself and reflect on your life, do you see parts that are broken? Are there bad habits, past mistakes, wrecked relationships, flaws, faults, fears, failures and weaknesses? We all have stuff that we wish we could wave a magic wand at and make right. If only we could snap our fingers and make our troubles disappear. Or if we could just be more disciplined so that we make the best choices and work hard to correct what is wrong. We may make self-improvement plans, resolutions and read self-help books and think about how everything would be better if we could fix the parts of us that need fixing. People would like us more, we’d be more attractive, we’d have more confidence, we could really live our lives to the fullest. Maybe if we finally get our acts together, we’d be good enough to present ourselves in a way that makes God proud.

But this way of thinking is all wrong. God wants to hear our calls when we are broken. God wants to join us in the pit, befriend us when we are imprisoned, bring us strength when we are at our weakest. Don’t wait for a time when you get better or become the new-improved-you to seek and make a commitment to give yourself away to God. Never do we need a Higher Power more than when we are struggling. Never is God’s Radical Grace more life-giving, life-saving, and life-fulfilling than when we are falling apart and realize we cannot go it alone.

Never do you need God’s Love more than when you cannot love yourself. Never do you need God’s peace more than when your thoughts are filled with anxiety and hopelessness. Fixing yourself isn’t about what you do, how you can work harder and make things better and make yourself happier with the life you create. It can instead be all about what God can do in you and through you. He sees the dreams He has for you. God sees the best that you can be and He longs to be right at your side bringing you to that place. So bring yourself broken, give God the messed up, ugly, disappointing pieces of your life. Ask God to put you back together, to give you strength to follow the right path, to restore peace, to reflect the love He has for you, to build your hope for a bright future.

God is reaching out to you. Please take His Hand and His Help to make you whole.

With Prayers for the broken

Who Cares?

The girl cannot understand why the kid at school made fun of her and told lies about her.  Why are some people so mean and hateful?  Now she doesn’t know who to trust.  She wonders if it is really worth it to risk getting hurt again.  Who cares?  Jesus does!

Jesus sees what has happened.  He knows the truth.  He has our back.  With Jesus, what is right and just will ultimately prevail.


The man is sick. He has seen a couple doctors.  They are scheduling tests to find out what might be wrong.  He knows many people are going through worse trouble with their health, but he cannot help but be anxious and worried about himself.  Who cares?  Jesus does!

​Jesus, miracle worker, He can bring peace in our storms. He can bring about healing by connecting us with the right professionals, medicines and procedures.  Or Jesus can restore health even when modern science says it isn’t possible.


The boy is so lonely.  With hundreds of other kids in his school and billions of people living on earth, why is it so hard for him to find friends?  He would love to have someone to talk to.  Instead, he spends too much time isolated, questioning his own self-worth.  Who cares?  Jesus does!

​Jesus is a friend that will always be there.  In the dark of night or in the light of day, Jesus is there listening.  He is longing to talk to us and to be our very best friend forever.


The woman knows that it was mostly her fault that her life has become such a mess.  She is ashamed of the bad decisions and actions that created all the trouble and chaos.  Was it too late for her to change things?  It would be hard to make the right choices to make her life better.  Could she even do it if she tried?  Was her life even worth fixing?  Who cares?  Jesus does!

​Jesus forgives our past mistakes.  Through His actions, He has washed us clean.  He can give us a new life, where He lights the way to our bright future.


No matter who we are and what situations we find ourselves in, Jesus cares.  He loves each of us more than we can fathom.  He comforts us and never leaves our side.  He has saved us and fills the voids in our soul, bringing us forward toward everlasting life with Him.

***Thank You Jesus! ***

Remembering Christmas

With the upcoming holiday season, I am thinking about what was and will never be again.  The loved ones that created many of my memories of Christmas have passed away.  I miss their voices, their smiles, their hugs. Traditions that marked this special time of year have had to change.  There are holes that make my heart ache, those spots once filled by vibrant, loving lives.  I feel an emptiness, a longing to have back what has been lost.  But things don’t stay the same. Life is not static and it is not behind me.  

Then I remember Christmas, the REAL Christmas. The reason Jesus came into the world was to give a path to eternal life.  Through His birth, life, death and resurrection, Jesus acted on His love for mankind.  He made a way for us to be reborn in Him, to believe and to live even after dying.  My loved ones knew this and I can be assured that they are alive and well in God’s Kingdom of Heaven.  Those empty places I had are refilled with love and gratefulness.  The magic of Christmas is so much bigger than traditions, presents, lights, food and celebrations.  The magic of Christmas is in Christ Jesus.  By fixing my thoughts on Him at Christmastime and always, I have joy, peace and love everlasting.  There is nothing better to remember than this.

Amen 🙏 

God-sized Dreams

Do you have big dreams, something you wish for or fantasize about? It might be a practical dream like finding a new house that is within your budget and in a school system that will be good for your kids. Or going to college or through a training program to prepare for a rewarding career. Maybe your dream is more fanciful, like winning the lottery or becoming a famous movie star. Perhaps your dream is to fall in love with the right person, someone you can share your life with. Or maybe you dream about becoming a parent and all that comes with it. Your dream might not even be for you, rather for your child or for a friend.

Some dreams are really more like goals. You determine the tasks that need to be done to move you from where you are today, to where you want to be. The dream is in your control. You have all it takes to make it into a reality. You go for it!

Other dreams are left in your head, a fun thought to consider. You have no control over the outcome and you don’t expect the circumstances to take shape for these dreams to come true. It’s nothing but a pipe dream, a daydream that will never come to fruition.

There might be a dream that is deep in your heart. Something that is so big it requires the fates to align, for you to get a big break or for you to make the perfect connection. It needs the right timing, a golden opportunity with the proper support, resources and passion to move it forward. You don’t see how it could happen, but seeing this dream come true would be phenomenal. That is a God-sized dream! You cannot do it on your own, yet if this dream is what God has in mind for you, God can make things happen—amazing things! God put that dream into you. Have faith that God can make that big hope into reality.

God can open doors for you. God can propel you ahead, quickly. God can give provisions. There may be obstacles that block you, but God can make a way where there is no way. God-sized dreams are God-given, He put that dream in your heart. Now have faith, thankfulness and confidence that God will see you through, making those big dreams come true.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Sometimes in life we end up in a situation and we just don’t know what we should do.

Our human nature may cause us to want to react with a flight, fight or freeze response.

Flight:  Should you run away from what you are facing as fast as you can?  Hopefully, the problems you are running from won’t chase you down.  Is getting away the best option?

Fight:  Do you stand up to the opposition?  Get in your battle stance and come out against the foe, fists up, determined to win at all costs.  Is the win within reach as you tackle the problem head on, using your artillery to suppress the forces coming against you?

Freeze:  Do you plant yourself firm, no motion to flee and no effort to attack or resist?  You may became frozen due to fear or uncertainty or you may be steadfast, standing still knowing that you are right where you are meant to be.  At this moment, is not moving going to help you or could it put you in harm’s way?

Should I stay or should I go?

If I go there will be trouble,

And if I stay it will be double.

Song lyrics from The Clash

I recently read that the best thing you can do, when you don’t know what to do, is to stand still.  The context was to wait on God to be your guide and advisor.  It went on to say that standing still is not inactivity or doing nothing.  It is anchoring yourself in hope, having an expectant trust in God to bring about good.  Our minds hate waiting and we can’t stand uncertainty.  Sometimes we act rashly or make snap decisions just so that we are doing something, anything.  The actions associated with fight or flight close off options as you throw yourself fully into the choice you have made.  Remember that there is power in the waiting.  The act of waiting opens you up to many of the opportunities that can present themselves. 

When we are deciding what to do, God wants to help us.  He will speak to our souls and give us a sense of peace about what we should do if we will listen closely for God’s voice.  We cannot rush things and expect everything to be clear in a hurry.  Instead, allow things to come together with God’s timing.  We’ll have an urge, a leaning, a preference for one choice over another. We may not feel 100% sure but the way is forming.  We should wait until we get the urge to move, waiting actively, not passively.  Be patient, good things take time.  The Bible says our strength will be renewed if we wait upon the Lord (Isaiah 40:31).  We will mount on eagles wings, we will run and not grow weary, we will walk and not faint.  So if we wait, once God gives the sign it is time to go, we will have all that we need to do what God is asking of us.  If God prompts you to fight, God will weaken your enemies and strengthen you for the battle He has ordained or He will fight for you (Deuteronomy 3:22).  If God is leading you away, your flight plan is designed by the Almighty, the journey and the destination will be so much better than if you tried to build an escape plan on your own.

You cannot go wrong by following God’s will for whether to fight, take flight or freeze.  If it is not clear what you should do, pray and have faith that the right course will present itself at the perfect time.  God’s plans are better than our plans.  Wait with anticipation for what God is about to do.  Be open to God’s blessings in the waiting and in the moving.  He has your best interests in His heart.

God Bless You!

God Is Bringing Restoration

R: Revived and rejuvenated, we will no longer feel dormant

E: Energized and encouraged, excited to experience growth

S: Saved and sustained, God doesn’t let us stay in our withered state

T: Taken under God’s wings, touched with tender, loving care

O: Order and organization will replace the chaos and confusion

R: Risen spirits, resuming what was halted and recovering what was stolen

A: Amen, alleluia, our All-powerful God–with God all things are possible

T: Thriving, thankful for all we’ve been given, our hopes for today and tomorrow

I: Inspired—innovations and ideas instilled into us to propel us forward

O: Only One can restore us, only One fills the hole in our hearts to make us whole

N: Never hopeless, not broken, not dead, now we are made new by God

Let us be ready to allow God to bring about a restoration within us.  God has a grand design for our lives.  When God plans our extreme makeover, the result will be amazing. With God we will not just be returned to where we were in the past.  We will be made better.  God, moves us higher—bringing about a renewal, a rebirth, a resurrection that brings us closer to Him and to our best-self ever.

With Love,

Kerri LeVanseler

Dealt a Cruel Hand

Dear God,

Why does life have to be so cruel sometimes?  We love you.  We trust you.  We pray.  We have faith.  Then our circumstances change.  We are thrown into the pit.  Despair.  Anger.  Fear.  Sadness.  These emotions take over our thoughts.  How could this happen?  God, you promised to be my protector.  Where are you now?

Our hearts cry out…

  • I didn’t want my loved one to die.
  • I didn’t want to have this illness.
  • I didn’t want to lose my job.
  • I didn’t want that person to walk out on me, to let me down.
  • I didn’t want to be hurt and broken.

But here I am.  The worst has come to be.  What do I do now?  To whom do I turn?

God, is it possible for us to thank you for all the good and light in our lives and not hold you to blame for the darkness and the bad?  God, let our hearts know that you are not the dealer of this cruel hand.  The world is made up of individuals who are free to make choices.  We are physical beings with fallible physiologies.  We live in a natural environment with consequences and where bad things happen to good people.  There are a host of causes, some within our control, some not, that bring us to the place we find ourselves.

God, please let us remember that you are light, goodness and love, always, everlasting, unconditional, freely given, love.

Darkness comes, evil exists, people hurt one another and bad hands are dealt.  The hand is lost.  But, God, I will remember, you are not the dealer, you are the inventor and creator of the game.  You see beyond this round.  You see the big picture, how everything fits together.  You see this cruel hand and reach out to me with compassion.  You carry me through.  You mold me and shape me for a big win in the game of everlasting life.  I can know this hand is not the end.  God, you will keep me in the game. Next rounds will be played.  And, God, I know you will be at my side.  With you God, there will always be a victory!