When Little Is Big Enough

Today I am honored to share a Guest Post by Debbie Wilson who will be releasing her new book March 8 entitled, Little Women Big God, which looks at the women in the genealogy of Christ. Please enjoy this brief glimpse into her work. From those who leave comments, one person will be chosen to receive a free copy of her book.



When Little Is Big Enough

Have you ever thought, When I have more spiritual knowledge and experience, then I’ll boldly live my faith? The biblical story of Rahab challenges that notion.

Sometimes, those of us blessed with Bible knowledge are tempted to assess our faith by how much we know rather than by what we do with what we know. Rahab had little personal knowledge of the one true living God, but at the risk of her own life, she put every bit of what she knew into practice. God rewarded her bold faith with a place in his Son’s genealogy.

While the Bible commends Rahab for her faith, it demonstrates it was not the size of her faith but the size of her God that saved her. Faith is only as reliable as its object. Let me illustrate.

Thick Versus Thin Ice

One year, our family lived on a small lake in northern Indiana right below the Snowbelt. Coming from southern California, my jaw dropped the first time I saw heavy trucks travel across frozen water. When we moved to Raleigh, my kindergarten-aged son remembered the trucks on the lake. He tried to scoot across a North Carolina pond after only a few days of freezing weather. Thankfully, he fell through at the shallow edge. Great faith in thin ice won’t hold up a child.

The thickness of the ice, not the driver’s faith, held up the truck in Indiana. Rahab’s faith worked because of a great God, not because of the size of her faith, the depth of her knowledge, or the breadth of her experience.

Experience Versus Action

Thirty-eight years before Rahab’s heroic act of hiding Israel’s spies, ten other Hebrew spies personally witnessed God’s miracles in Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea. Despite their impressive personal experiences, these men focused on the size of their enemy instead of the faithfulness of their God and shrank back in fear.

Physical senses are unreliable indicators of spiritual realities. These men measured their chances for success by comparing themselves with their enemies. They should have measured their enemies against their God. Their misplaced faith harmed the loved ones they’d hoped to protect. God closed the Promised Land to that rebellious generation. More knowledge, more experiences, and more time won’t grow passive faith.

Paul wrote: “I know whom I have believed,” not what (2 Tim. 1:12; emphasis mine). Does your faith rely on your experience, feelings of self-confidence, or knowledge? Rahab reminds us, life-changing faith doesn’t depend on the breadth of our experience or the depth of our knowledge, but on the size of our God.

Question: How might applying what you already know enhance the quality of your life and faith?

(excerpted from Little Women, Big God: It’s not the size of your problems, but the the size of your God.)



Debbie Wilson wants to celebrate the release of her new book with you. Little Women, Big God: It’s not the size of your problems, but the size of your God comes out March 8th. Please leave a comment to enter to win a free copy. If you’re in a hurry, simply say, “I’m trusting a big God!”



About Debbie:

Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks and writes to help women discover relevant faith. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. They, along with their two grown children and two standard poodles, enjoy calling North Carolina home. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.




My Favorite Day of the Week



Here I am at another Friday with the weekend ahead of me. For most of my life I looked forward to Friday because it meant the weekend would finally arrive. (I am sure I was not alone in that anticipation.)


Weekends beckoned me because I didn’t need to go to work. I could sleep late or get up early. I felt like I was free to do what I wanted to do, but that thinking ended up being somewhat flawed.


While I was working, I often had a great deal to do on the weekends. The house needed my attention and laundry really needed to get totally caught up. Sports and other activities did not cease while our children were still living at home. Lawn work during nearly any season was waiting as well and for one eight year period of my life, I worked on Saturdays until early afternoon. Simply put: there were plenty of chores and tasks waiting for me on weekends.


Even with all that, I looked forward to weekends. I think it felt like I had more choices of how my time flowed even if there were things for me to do. I could skip makeup, not worry about my hair, wear whatever I felt like wearing, and not be a prisoner to the rhythm of my workday.


I am not sure when I started valuing weekend days above other days, but it probably started when I went to school and could escape the classroom on weekends. There it is again…a feeling of freedom with no imperative hanging over my head.

As I was growing up, my mother did not work outside the home and yet I recall well how she had very strictly structured her weekdays. She always did laundry on Monday. It would take more of her day than it takes me because she was using a ringer washer and two washtubs for rinsing, not to mention lugging clothes baskets full of heavy wet clothes to be clipped to the clothesline outdoors. By later in the afternoon if the weather was cooperating, she would make trips back and forth to the clotheslines collecting and folding the clothes.



Tuesdays would be the day she would focus on ironing. Ironing? Yes, and a lot of it! This was before permanent press. My mother would iron everything, sheets and pillowcases included. (Those nice straight cloth items were the things I got to try as I was trained to iron by about the sixth grade.)


Regretfully, I can’t recall the schedule for Wednesday, but I know it included working on music for the children’s choir that she directed for nearly 25 years and met on Wednesday evenings. Thursdays are in a fog for me as well, but Friday would be her grocery day that meant a trip to the A & P in the beginning. Additionally, she would be doing some of the housecleaning that was not the normal routine things.


Saturdays were busy. They included vacuuming and dusting and baking (always pies and cookies). My mother would be counting on the baking to help out with lunches and desserts for the weekend and into the week ahead. The kitchen smelled fabulous! She was training me through those times as well.    IMG_0870


My first household task was dusting all the furniture. I started before I started school using a tissue to follow along after my mother as she went from room to room. In the kitchen I was starting to learn to stir up cookies and make sure they came out of the oven with just the right color of brown.


Sundays focused on church both in the morning and evening with an afternoon nap between the two services.


So, why did I enjoy weekends back then when they also would include working on homework and piano or saxophone practice during different childhood seasons?


I enjoyed the weekends even back then when no free time seemed to be included because I was spending time with the most significant people in my life.


I was also learning to feel like I could contribute to our family life. I was learning that being a part of a family was not only a privilege, but it also brought with it responsibility. I was learning skills I would need and use throughout my lifetime. What I gained in a sense of being a contributor to our family while still a child was invaluable.

Fun time with a granddaughter!

I have never operated with the rhythm of my mother’s stricter weekly schedule. (Did I also tell you she got up at 5AM each day to help my dad milk our dairy cattle? She did so in the evening as well.)


Once that time in my life had ended, I still had a certain rhythm to my week, but as I grew older I discovered my favorite day of the week.


My favorite day of the week was and is any day of the week that I am spending time with those I most love, cherishing the time no matter what I am doing, no matter what season of life.


Not everyone gets that privilege and the time with some will not always be there.


What’s my favorite day?


Any day I am loving or being loved.



What Do Our Choices Say?



I can still recall the first Christmas tree my husband and I ever picked out after we were married. There were so many to choose from on the lot. My husband was looking at how straight the trunk was as a good criterion for our selection. He was so smart about that kind of thing!


I, on the other hand, was looking at the kind of needles, their shape, softness, and color. I was looking at the fullness of the tree and imagining it standing in our little one bedroom duplex back at our military base housing.


In the end, my sweet husband yielded to my romantic idea of a tree versus practical realities. The tree appeared lovely, but he pointed out that the one side was not well shaped and the trunk curved in two places, in the middle and at the base that would need to fit in the tree stand.


Clearly, it was not the best tree to choose, but by then I had determined that with all those problems no one would likely choose the tree and I didn’t want it to be left alone on the lot. Certainly we could make it work! Of course, I was counting on him to figure all that out.


The tree was difficult to get into the tree stand and sit in such a way that the curve of the trunk was not so evident. My sweetheart worked with it and we proudly set it up. But we have laughed about that first tree for all the years after that. While we were still using a real tree, I walked across many lots and fields of trees when we cut our own to select the perfect tree. My dear husband and our children would follow me in the cold and snow looking for just the right tree. (Think the Griswold Family Christmas tree from “Christmas Vacation”!)


It’s funny that all those carefully chosen more perfect trees are not what we remember.



Choices come in all shapes and sizes.


Choices are about all kinds of things and people.



I think it can be easy for me to look at someone’s choice of me or his or her lack of choosing me. It gets very personal and pulls me into comparing myself with others and letting their choice somehow determine my value. It is powerful and too often I can be tempted to give someone power that should only be reserved for the Lord.


What about my choices?


My choices say something about me even as yours do about you.


You see, if I turn the mirror around and determine to be brutally honest, I need to consider the criteria I use when making the choices that are mine to make.


My daughter and I love to shop together because we can make short work of a store. We either like things we see or we don’t and if we don’t, there is no need to spend an hour pouring over the racks of clothing the store buyer has selected for choosing. Some choices come easily.


I like some designs more than others and prefer certain colors. I turn away from shoddy workmanship whether it is in furniture or clothing. Clearly, I like excellence (at a good price).


But what about my choice of people?


We each choose people we enjoy and want to spend time with. What criteria do we choose then? How deeply do we look at our choices?


Do we see beyond the outward design and our preferences?


 Do I choose the popular, most gifted, and fun person? Or do I look a bit deeper to see the workmanship hidden within the person’s character and the quality of his or her heart and spirit?


The choice of who I spend time with reveals my preferences and my character as well.


Too often my choices and yours reveal how unlike Christ we really are.


The Lord doesn’t choose me, you, or anyone else because of skills, standing in the community or church, or even our gifts.


The Lord doesn’t choose me (or you) because I AM special, but when He chooses me I BECOME special.


Sometimes we can be tempted to try to become somebody (whatever that means) in the hope we will be chosen by some person, some board, or some organization.



Such faulty thinking can cause us to believe that we will then be more useful or worthy or valuable. We can be tempted to think because we have this degree, this position, this title, this reputation, and a long list of other things that we will be able to be used by the Lord.


We get it backwards!



God chooses us not because we are somebody, but because we are a nobody.


That is when He can use us. That is when His power can be perfected and His glory shine more brightly. He did not come as a King. He did not wear royal robes. He came to reveal God, His Father, that everyone was missing.


The Lord chooses us and we become a walking presentation of the gospel in the lives of everyone we touch.


What will our choices say in that presentation?



Who Defines You?



I still remember the first time I overheard my mother telling someone at church that I wanted to be a special education teacher so I could help children like my younger brother. I was probably not beyond third grade. I was surprised to hear her say it because I had never said those words to her. I was not even in the zone yet of thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up.


My mother’s statement came from her own hope and desire as she watched me try to patiently help my brother learn small things by playing school or to manage his temper which could explode far too easily it seemed. She often could feel overwhelmed as I gave her some small amount of help.


Those words spoken, along with other things, began to define me within my family. As a result, I began to define myself that way. It happens easily when the authority figures in our life speak things about what we will be or do, who we are.


Statements such as this begin to shape our thinking about ourselves. Those things are not necessarily negative, but they can tend to narrow our scope of vision and perspective.


It can take so long to figure out who we are. At the beginning, we are profoundly impacted by who and what our family says we are. Some of the ingredients in that mix includes the culture we are a part of, the neighborhood, state, or country we live in as well as our socioeconomic status and the level of our parents’ education.


If we are blessed to have families that speak life and hope into us, the things we hear about what defines us give us a positive sense of who we are and hope for what we can do. If those things are negative or hopeless, we have difficulty believing in ourselves.


Teachers and peers begin to put more data into the data bank adding to the information that influences our thinking. Initially, all this information goes in unsorted and unevaluated.


Little by little we begin to believe we can or we can’t be or do something.


One of the things that makes all this such a big challenge is that we do not have enough lived experience to be able to determine the accuracy of the data that is put into the hard drive within us


We don’t yet have the benefit of knowing our unique original design. Somewhere in a biology class we might begin to learn about how genetics works so that each person, plant, tree, and animal (every created thing) is an original even though we have characteristics of the family in which we were born.


The most exciting discoveries about who we are come when our hearts recognize Jesus and accept Him to live within us. It is then we begin to learn the truth about who we are, whose we are, and what we can be.


It can take a bit to allow those truths to take root and begin to grow. We need to learn what the Lord says about us. We need to sort through what does not fit on the hard drive where we have been accumulating data for the whole of our lives.


Recently, as I was reading Ephesians in The Message version of the Bible, two verses leaped out to confirm this process:


“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Eph. 1: 11-12


 Wow!  How exciting that is!


And I love this version of that passage. (I often will read several different translations or versions of a passage I am reading and reflecting on.)


Now some of you may wonder if I really ended up becoming a special education teacher. The answer to that is “Yes, but…”


The influence of my parents and some natural teaching abilities led me to earn degrees in both elementary education and special education. I spent 15 years tutoring or teaching in the area of special education.


But, as the Lord opened my heart, mind, and spirit to hear more of His design of me, He led me on an adventure into multiple areas and several different careers. The adventure continues each day and in each new season.


Never discount His design of you and the possibilities in His heart for you.


In John Eldredge’s book, Sacred Romance, he sums it up this way:


Identity is not something that falls on us out of the sky. For better or worse, identity is bestowed.”


 What does He want you to discover today about what He placed inside you that makes you truly an original?

The Secret We Have Missed



Growing up is so full of challenges. It seems like we get compared from the very beginning of our lives to some standard that is considered “normal” or “good” or “the best”. It starts with the charts used to measure us at birth, but that is fairly benign compared to what happens later.


I think the first time I felt “it” was actually in a Sunday School class in the second or third grade. We were being divided into groups for an activity and each group had a team captain who was choosing those who would participate in his or her group. I was one of the last ones chosen. Yucky feeling, but this experience would not be the last of its kind.


School, Girl Scouts, church camp, and more soon gave me many opportunities to be selected or not selected to be on some team or in some group. I came to dread these times of being assessed for something.


The criteria changed from group to group. Sometimes I needed to be the fastest runner or be able to hit or kick the ball the best. Sometimes I needed to know the most information. Other times it seemed like there was no specific reason for being picked or overlooked. It seemed like I was either liked or not liked.


Little by little this normal part of school and daily life began to leave its imprint on my heart. I was never chosen first for anything and often I experienced being the last one picked. I recall so well standing in the church parking lot during a vacation Bible school week when we were playing the game Red Rover. Of course there were two teams and I waited and watched as one after another were picked for a team. Finally there were only two of us left. I remember so well standing there while the team captains debated on which one of us had to be picked. It was evident to both of us who were left that neither of us was really desired for a team.


Our growing up years keep giving us exposure to this process over and over again. It happens when sports teams are selected. It happens during try-outs for plays and musicals. The process of facing being selected or not gets repeated more times than we can recall.


If we are the “best”, we start to relax a bit more with the process until we realize there is always someone else out there wanting to dethrone us and take that spot.


There are also times we really may not want to be chosen such as when a teacher calls on us and we had not even raised our hand to answer.


We start trying to learn how to shrink and become nearly invisible to skip the whole process.


The process also gains steam because of the whispers in our hearts and heads that we think are from us, but really are tools of the enemy. The whispers tell us many things:

  • You’re not good enough
  • No one wants you
  • Why do you even try


There are other whispers as well, but these give you the idea. These whispers continue to succeed until we discover the secret, the truth.


The truth is this:

Long before our parents, teachers, friends, coaches, or anyone else loved or wounded us, we were intimately loved and chosen.


 The enemy of our souls never wants us to discover this secret, his truth, because he knows if we do that he cannot defeat us even when he succeeds in knocking us down.


I love these lines by Henri J.M. Nouwen:


“Every time you listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls you the Beloved, you will discover within yourself a desire to hear that voice longer and more deeply. It is like discovering a well in the desert. Once you have touched wet ground, you want to dig deeper.”


The secret we have often missed along the way is that the God who created the universe chose us and loved us and it had nothing to do with anything we could or could not accomplish. He chose us to be His own. It was just that simple and yet profoundly complex and beyond our imagining.



If we accept that and allow the depths of that truth to sink deeply within us so that we truly know it, we will run toward Him rather than away from Him. We will also long to sit in His presence and hear His reassuring love spoken into the deepest recesses of our hearts and spirits.


The result: An unshakeable belief we are loved and the needed tools to defeat every lie whispered to or about us.