My notes on The Best Yes

The Best Yes:  Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa Terkeurst.


Summary from Google Books:

Are you living with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule and aching with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul?

Lysa TerKeurst is learning that there is a big difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God. In The Best Yes she will help you:

  • Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love.
  • Escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no.
  • Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process.
  • Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your best yes today.



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Does a “YES” make sense in each of these areas?

  • Spiritually?
  • Financially?
  • Physically?


Because whatever (stressed out) attitude you bring to the decision and the situation that follows will be multiplied!


The Word of God addresses my approach.

The Ways of God address my attitude.

The Wonder of God provides my assurance.

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There is no such thing as a PERFECT DECISION!!

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Five parts to making a decision:

  • Trusting in God – place your desire under His authority.
  • Analyze the decision.
  • Make the decision.
  • Own the decision.
  • Trusting in God – to work good even from not so good parts.


The space between our expectations and our reality is a fertile field, and it’s the perfect place to grow a bumper crop of disappointment.


Every “YES” answer comes with a list of expectations.  If you do not know what those expectations are, you can not possibly meet them.  It’s crucial to identify the expectations before giving a “YES”.


Determine if the expectations we are agreeing to with this “YES” are really realistic:

  • Will it feel thrilling two weeks, two months and/or six months from now?
  • Do any of the expectations that come from this yes feel forced or frantic?
  • Could any part of this yes be tied to people pleasing?
  • Which wise people in my life would think this is a good idea?
  • Are there any facts I try to avoid or hide discussing this with my wise advisors?


What makes an expectation unrealistic?

  • My time.
  • My ability.
  • My money.
  • My passion.
  • My season.


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Proverbs 21:1

Proverbs 21:1

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
Like the rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes.”

This verse has always confounded me.  I can understand the words as they are constructed in a sentence.  But if you take a look at a map or think of a substantial river you have ever traveled down, and imagine that God’s by will and by God’s hand, He could turns it wherever He wills.  The power it would take to make a river be redirected from left to right or to flow between the mountains when before it flowed at the foot of the mountains.  It is hard to wrap my mind around that possibility.

And if you have ever come against a strong person or an unmovable situation, and felt utterly hopeless to affect either one, you might remember seeing the same challenge.  It can be hard to wrap your mind around the possibility that with the power of Lord’s hand, He can turn it all around at His command.

Most of my experiences have been good/bad or black/white or something that takes a long time to transition.  But in the last month, the world around each of us has changed.  It changed suddenly and drastically.  I am not going to suggest that God caused any of this.  I can only discuss what is happening in my life and how our current circumstance is affecting me.

I do know that for the last few years (at least!) I have said that I wanted a smaller world and slower pace.  I have voiced my desire to be in a position to focus on taking better care of our home, to be away from home less and to utilize other rooms in our home besides the office I feel chained to.  I have committed over and over to reduce my stress, walk outside, take a break and not push myself to be ultra-productive every waking minute.

I have been trying to “reduce my stress” for one thousand years and news flash:  has. not. happened.  I am super good at saying “YES” but not so much saying “NO”.  Besides, to who and to what do you say “NO” to anyway?  I struggle to let things go and not just the things that I believe in or think should happen.  I struggle with not stepping up when something needs to be done, said, gotten or whatever, so to let them just go…..undone….ACK!  What’s one more hour, one more task, one more call, or one more chore?

Because my husband and I already worked from home, our job-life did not change.  Because our daughter was already homeschooled, our school-life did not change.  The first change I noticed was the quiet.  The world was a little quieter.  Then a lot more quiet.  I was outside, sitting in a chair and closed my eyes and I could hear the evidence of a light breeze blowing over the leaves on the ground.  It was glorious.

After the first week of putting up groceries enough for a hurricane and setting up for quarantine life, we had a free night.  And then another.  And then another.  When worked concluded, I walked through back yard garden with husband and putzed around but when we came inside the house, it was only 6:30 p.m.  It was weird.  A free weekend followed and there was nothing scheduled.  It was weird.  It was glorious.

I told my mother recently that 3 or so week later, I finally feel a little stressed and a little less anxious.  I fantasize that with 3 or so months, I could be relaxed!  If you told me that God woke up one day and said, “I give up, that girl is never going to reduce her stress and learn to do less.  Shut down the world.  Just shut it down.”, I would believe you.  And I accept.

I accept this gift of a cleared schedule.  I accept the quiet.  I accept the opportunity to access where I put my efforts and where I spend my energy.  I accept the found time in form of additional minutes to rest because that gives me extra minutes to do that chore later.  I accept the extra moments I get to spend with God.  I accept that God may use this period to reveal His next assignment for me.

My heart is in the Lord’s hand.  And if He can turn the heart of a king, what can he do with mine?


It’s quiet.

Have you noticed the quiet?  I have.  I have noticed that the world outside is quieter.  Please, find a moment this week and close your eyes and listen, beyond the screaming in your own head or the hollering of the kids stuck in the house….listen to the quieter world.

God has allowed a halting of the grinding gears in our world, of our society, of our homes, of our work lives, of our schedules.  In a very short period of time, He has given us the blessing of a quiet moment in time if we will only hear it.

This situation is not pleasant for all and there are sick and hurting people, tired and discouraged fighters on the front line, and there are those who are dying.  And the truth is, every day before and every day after, these unpleasant realities will still be true.

But my prayer is that in the middle of this mess, you learn or gain a new appreciation of the JOY of the Lord.  Not the fear, not the anxiety and not the stress, but His holy JOY.  I hope you an see the good and remind yourself of God’s promises to His people.

Here are a few things I have reminded myself of these last few weeks:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”  James 1:17

When Joseph was dying, he spoke to his brothers, and with a hand on one hip and my finger pointing, I speak this to our Enemy –

“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”  Genesis 50:20

And again, to the Enemy I say –

“What then shall we say to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?”  Romans 8:31

Why would I think that? Because –

“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”  Romans 8:28


And that is you and me.  You and me, we are called, for right here and for right now.  And when you are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, get out of your head and speak the scriptures above directly to the enemy.

And if you need help to getting riled up in a new direction, turn up your volume and learn this song:

When I only see in part, I will prophesy your promise.  I believe you GOD.

Because you finish what you start.  I will trust you in the process.  I believe you God.

And fear can go to hell.  Shame can go there too.

‘Cuz I know whose I am.  I belong to YOU!


It is in the quiet that we hear God’s voice.  And never has our world been quieter.  When has so much of our lives come to a standstill?

The world around us will begin again.  See this time as a sweet gift that God has given us.  Use these found and quiet moments to seek the Lord.  What does He want to say to you?  What does He have for you moving forward?

Embrace the quiet and allow God to do a work in you and your family.  Get prepared for what is to come next in the Kingdom

Right now is not normal.

Things are not normal.  They are NOT normal.  And there is talk of there being a new normal.

But before this virus and quarantine hit, weren’t we stressed?  And tired?  I know I was.  Do you miss driving ‘cuz I remember us being irritated that no one could drive or use their blinker but me and you.  Some of this is not new.  It is just different.  Different, not “normal”.

Sometimes we can get riled up and create anxiety trying to maintain normal, create normal and create routine.  The longer we go, the more riled up we can get.  Especially when our future looks to be in the hands of others and we our daily lives and the simplest activities are out of our control.

I see many clinging to the old way and lamenting all that they perceive as lost.  I hear the struggle as some hold so tightly to “normal” that I want to get everyone on a video call and, all together, on the count of three, let’s say, “Things are not NORMAL!”.

Release all of the ___________(insert what you need to)_____________ and take a deep breath.

  • What does it matter if the house gets and/or stays clean or not? No one is coming over right now anyway
  • Start a new project; don’t start a new project. Finish an old project; don’t finish an old project (queue video of paint swatches on the outside of my house from I don’t know when..).  Start a new project now and never finish it.
  • Got kids at home trying to do school? First, trying to do school at home is not the same as homeschooling.  Second, any effort you make is great!  Your kids are fine.  Send some love to their teacher and throw in some Bible time and start over next year.  THEY ARE FINE!
  • Some of us did leave home most days. But wasn’t that stressful too?  Could have sworn when I saw you last there was a deep exhalation and we were all “hanging in there”.

This could be an opportunity for you to do a new thing.  How many times did we say, I wish I did not have to go to work today and…..?  How many times did we wish we had time to clean, read, play a game with the kids, cuddle, walk outside and watch a bird?  This is our chance to throw away our schedules and….do a NEW THING!

And maybe God wants to do a new thing too.  Let’s remind ourselves of our first calling as wives and mothers, as husbands and fathers, and as sons and daughters of the risen Savior and as His chosen people to deliver His word to a hurting world.

First step?  Take all your fears and concerns and uncertainties, and lay those all down at the feet of Jesus.


Dream: Wings as an eagle

Dear Diary,

I had a dream last night.

I was isolated in a high space, beaten down, hungry and stranded. Do you remember when Gandalf escaped from the top of the tower at Isengard? He jumped off and was rescued by the Eagle.

Start at 1:30…


In this dream, I did the same. I fell backwards off the high tower and was caught on the back of a eagle. Immediately, I heard God say to me, you can be caught and rescued by an eagle, but MY BEST for you is that YOU mount up with wings as eagles instead.


The key? WAIT UPON THE LORD!!! And then that song from Phil Driscoll began singing through my mind……



Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.


Medical Journey

My first major medical event was not even in this country.  I was 14 years old and on a mission trip in Egypt exactly one day when I fell unconscious from dehydration and remained so for two weeks.  After an injury to both knees, I came home ill and it was decided that I had returned with probable Hepatitis A.  By the time I was 17, I developed noticeable allergies.

By the time I was 20 years old, I was making the rounds to various physicians of various specialties trying to figure out what was wrong with me now.  Almost a year passed when I passed fresh blood and was admitted to the hospital.  The next week was spent going though whatever test they could think of, getting “my affairs in order” and preparing “for the worst”.  One highlight of that week was learning about suppositories.  Another was my first colonoscopy that soon followed and my first diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

But that’s not all.  The rheumatologist came in the day after and reviewed all of hospital tests and reports from the previous year and performed a physical exam before announcing – “I know what’s wrong with you!”.   And then he introduced to me to Fibromyalgia.

Finally, I was visited by the Rheumatologist who took the time to review all of my test and past records, perform a physical test before making his grand announcement – “I know that is wrong with you!”.  That was the first time I heard of Fibromyalgia.

Though the fibromyalgia went into “remission” after a few tough years, the IBS progressed into Ulcerative Colitis (UC) which I tried to manage over the next 7 or so years.  Those were eventful and stressful years were peppered with accidents and ER visits and surgeries.  I also collected a Hiatal Hernia and awful reflex (GERD).

By the time I married again at 29, I was beginning to manage my UC well and perfecting the art of the having a colonoscopy, working on my current record of 8.  I was symptomatic for a few years, I was finally diagnosed with Hyprothryoidism when I was 34.  The following year brought another surgery for a cyst growing out of my chest.  For a while, I had a trick breast that would bleed without warning and for no reason.  I decided to skip that “exploratory” surgery.

As the years went by, my stomach got better while my thyroid meds kept increasing.  Several years ago I was gifted with anemia and vitamin deficiency and a little over two years ago I yet another familiar illness – Fibromyalgia.

This is where I got mad and I will post that story later.

To finish this history, we cut to this past week.  In the past two years, I have had many health victories so you can imagine my disappointment when my latest test results revealed that I have developed Hashimotos Thyroiditis.


Not Weak.

Dear Diary,

So…… more thing about that doctor’s appointment.  We talked meds.

More specifically, adding a medication.  Two and half years ago, I swore off all over the counter and prescription medications unless of course it was vital.  I have been faithful to that decision so adding a new med is the opposite of that.

I have experienced many victories in my health these last few years.  The sacrifices made and effort put forth have been worth it.  But the journey has been long and I am getting tired.  As much as some things have improved, the pain has this year has increased; the Fibromyalgia more present.   The stress of that too begins to wear on you physically, mentally and emotionally.

The physician surprised me when he asked me – what if this pill changes the quality of your life?  What are you trying to prove?  Do you realize it is o.k. to accept some help?

This started a downward spiral of inner turmoil and questioning.  I said I would not.  That would be a step backwards.  Does that make me weak?  I did all this work and expected a different result.  I think I should further along.

I was so fortunate to have both my medical and natural doctor to talk this over with and that both prayed with me.  It was timely that I was visiting with a few of my close friends to whine to and be encouraged.  And when I laid it all on the table to my husband, he validated my concerns and suggested I take a pill now, perhaps lick one as soon as possible.

All of this might seem like nonsense but for me it is revealing.  It has shown me that my struggle I have isolated myself when there are people who do care about me that eagerly support me when invited.  It has confirmed that as hard as I am on others, I am much harder are myself.  As one of my friends said to me, “you truly unrealistic expectations for yourself”.  And she is right.

I have started my new medication and I am dealing with the effects it has as my body adapts to it.  Some of areas I experience the most pain have already improved and I look forward to feeling better and better with each day.

This late in life I boldly say, accepting help is not weak.  I am not weak.


Not defeated.

Dear Diary,

My latest lab work is in, did you see them?  I reviewed the results with the doctor, did you hear?  I feel defeated, did you know?

Before I knew it, I forgot all about the progress made over the last 20 or so months and dove into despair.  I ignored the seven pages of great results and zoned in on the one not so good.  I think I would have been o.k. if something I already knew was a problem was still a problem or a worse problem.  I had not prepared myself for a new thing to be wrong.

In fact, I have spent these months trying to help my body heal from all these little problems so they will all go away and I can be perfectly healthy.  I did not expect a new thing; a different thing.  I only accept improving things; better things.

But here we are.  Hashimoto’s.  There, I have it.  Maybe the most common diagnosis in our country today and millions of people have it.  I did not have it.  Now I do have it.  I don’t want it and the additional possible complications that come with it.

Now, what does it mean really?  Probably nothing.  I am already medicated and medicated “appropriately”.  In fact, this was the big test to see if the lower dosage was still applicable and it is.  I get to keep it and not have it raised.  That’s a victory.

And I have had many victories and each one is important and meaningful and all of the praise and glory goes to God.  And this little distraction is just that.  A distraction.

I have got to get my head back in the game.

What is the object?

rollI was in my quiet place (the bathroom) during my private reflection period (playing a phone game on the toilet hiding from the family).  The game I was playing is called Roller Ball.  It is a puzzle game and to clear the level, you move the channel pieces around the screen to provide a clear path for the ball to roll from one square to another.

Sometimes when I complete the puzzle, I get all three stars but I do not use all of the available channel pieces.  There is some fire iron pokey thing inside of me that pokes the embers of the ever achieving perfection and in this case, I started questioning if there was a way that I could complete puzzle using everyone of the pieces, every single time.

As I clear each level, I reevaluate my solution and the left over pieces.  Could I have used them?  Should I have used them?  Where could I have used them?  I do not see a point system on here, only the three stars.  But still, would it some how be more of an achievement to use as many as possible?  I do not want to just do the bare minimum and get by, right?  I want to earn those stars!  I want to really deserve them, without question.

And then in some moment of clarity, this question came booming forth – “What is the object of this game?”.

I actually left the board I was working on, to go and search for a help section or tutorial or anything that could clue me in on the pros/cons of using any and/or all the pieces or just some or….

What a waste of time!  We certainly could go back and forth on the answer that is obvious.  The object is to get the stars. The object is to maximize available choice to formulate the best path for the ball.  The object is whatever you determine because WHO CARES?

But that booming question was a voice in my soul that kept on nagging at me.  As I thought about all of the mental effort I wasted debating over this silly game, I became aware of this area and that area, where I have put this same type of fruitless effort into effect.  It is exhausting.  As I moved through the rest of the day, I kept asking myself that question – What is the object?

When the conversation that I am having is off topic, going on 20 minutes longer than planned and the sound of irritation is rising…what is the object of this call?  When my level of patience is decreasing with the kid, take a deep breath, in this very moment, really, what is the object here?  At the kitchen sink when I try to start a cup of coffee… while washing up those few things, while putting those spices back up in the cabinet , while putting the creamer back while…what was the object here?  What did I come in here to do?  What was that ONE thing?

Maybe, I could start making this my new practice as I move throughout the day.  Maybe this one question could help me keep my focus where it needs to be, blurring the rest.  Maybe this small change could provide some relief to that one throbbing muscle in my neck.

And, just a thought, I am thinking the object of my being on this earth may not to be a miracle worker after all.  I wonder why I keep trying to be one?


Act Natural.

Dear Diary,

I have to talk quietly.  Water Lily has had a rough week and I do not want to gain her attention.  She hates to admit it, but she has had a rough week.  She likes to think that everything is not so bad.  Each day is o.k.  It’s fine.  Every week is alright because, it could have been worse.

This week seemed to conclude in a perfect storm.  She was tired and her body weary.  She was gifted with extra hormones and impressive contractions off and on for days.  She was hurt in a relationship and her emotions stampeded between the perceived betrayal and resulting fury doused with disbelief.  She then performed a most brilliant melt down to her little gang of friends.  But she was not done.

For finally, in a grand conclusion, she raised her voice at another human being.  Oh Diary, can I be honest with you?  Water Lily … she more hollered  at such a pitch, not heard for what I can estimate for some 17 or 18 years.  And the frustration, no, anger that bellowed out of her mouth!  I was embarrassed for her.

She was shaking and I could not console her.  To be honest, she wanted nothing to do with me.  That woman wanted no part of what I had to say.  She is so ungrateful.  I mean really.  I am there for her when no one else cares to listen to her gab on.  I stand  by her side and cheer her on when the husband thinks she is wrong and she is not.  I help her find a place to hide in the house when the kid has maxed out the 17,000 questions per day limit.  As I have been a constant support to her, you would think she would turn to me in times of distress.

I tell you, that Water Lily is quite a handful and frankly, I get tired of her and her antics.  Her demands are constant and her expectations high.  But still, it was hard not to feel sorry for her.  Even after all of that, when her mother asked how her day was, she said, “It was fine.  I got through it; got some work done.  Moving on to the weekend.”  She could not bring her self to say, “I so blew it!”  “This week was tough.” “I think I might need to take a break.”

I don’t know what to do.  I have tried to work with her but she can be difficult.  I might need to change my tactic.  One thought I had was….OH GREAT!  She is looking at us. She knows we are talking about her.  Act natural.