A Complete Reset To The Factory Settings Of Life

I had an outlandish dream last night where something was going terribly wrong. I don’t remember the specifics, only that I was on a high balcony, of sorts, looking down on a skirmish.

skir·mish /ˈskərmiSH/ noun
an episode of irregular or unpremeditated fighting
(definition from Oxford Languages Dictionary)

The right side of the rectangular space, onto which I peered, was elevated above the left side. People from both sides were yelling at each other. The tension mounted quickly.

Someone from the higher side picked up a huge, stone statue from the corner, and hurled it down on the lower side. Just as it was about to crush the people below. I yelled “RESET TO FACTORY SETTINGS” and everything immediately returned to normal. The statue stood in the corner, and the people – all minding their own business, were eating, dancing, and chatting quietly amongst each other. Whew, that was close!

Dreams are often unrealistic like that. And sometimes, they are meaningful. Those words “reset to factory settings” have been reverberating in my mind all morning.

Girl biting her pencil, looking at computer
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
If you choose a complete reset to a device’s factory settings, your customizations will be erased, whether you like it or not!

I accidentally reset a device to factory settings once. I lost everything I had worked hard to customize and save. That was devastating!

I have also intentionally reset devices to factory settings. It creates a clean slate – a new blank canvas, so to speak. It can’t be done to reverse a skirmish. But I do believe God used my dream to teach me about what He’s done and what you and I can do.

What has He done?

In essence, when I accepted Christ, I was reset to factory settings. He threw my sin as far as the east is from the west, making me – in His eyes – as fresh as the day He created Adam. And every time I make a mistake, I can repent, and He will completely forgive me, taking me back to that setting of life.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Psalm 103:11, 12

I have an advantage in that I retain memory of my experiences when I am reset to factory settings. I have a clean slate AND the wisdom of lessons learned. That is the best of both worlds! What a smart program Jesus has built!

What can I do?

I can reset my relationships to factory settings. I don’t mean that I can maneuver other people’s lives before their creator, but I can wipe their slates clean, as far as it applies to me. I can offer complete forgiveness. I can give new chances and fresh starts to my people connections which have gone awry.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Romans 12:18
An iPhone with the introductory Hello screen
Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash
Taking it all the way back to Hello!

What can you do?

We don’t have the power to catch people getting out of control and simply reset them to factory settings, like I did in my dream. But God does. We must buy in to it, of course, but the offer stands.

Oh, what the skirmish must look like from His perspective! The statues have been thrown, so to speak. The idols of this world are heavy and we are sure to be crushed by the weight of them. But God.

Does your life need a complete reset to factory settings? Talk to God about it. He is faithful. He wants to wipe your slate clean. He will renew your right standing if you ask.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

5 Reliable Reasons to Rejoice Through Unexpected Tears

My dog died this morning. We were in the kitchen. When I bent to brush something off his face, he lay his head heavily in my hand and his legs gave way. I caught him and lowered him gently to the floor.

I got down on my belly, forehead to forehead with him. I petted him and spoke softly to him, reassuring him and telling him how much he was loved. I texted my son and husband to come quick, but I felt his last breath on my cheek before they got downstairs.

I am surprised how hard this hit me. Makali’i, aka “Maka”, just turned 12. Because of his breed, pug mixed with Japanese Chin, he’d already exceeded lifespan expectations. He was slowing down. I knew this was coming, yet is anyone ever really prepared?

As sad as today has been, I have found 5 reliable reasons to rejoice through the many – oh so many – unexpected tears.

1. God’s Timing

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a

God’s timing is a reason for me to rejoice through tears today. I am so thankful we were home when the end came for our pup. If it had happened yesterday, we would not have been. I was even in the same room when his strength gave out.

I am appreciative that it didn’t happen on Easter Sunday, when assistance resources may have been closed and when our family might have carried a twinge of our sorrow into future Resurrection celebrations. There is no time I would want my pet to die, but the inevitable was timely in God’s plan and is giving me joy through my tears.

Are you sad about anything today? The circumstances which cause your tears are likely different than mine. Still, God’s timing is perfect for you too. Have you noticed it?

2. God’s Provision

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19

If you read Part 2 of the Amazing News series, you know that the thing I disliked most about my new house was the back door. It is not compatible with a doggie door, so I had to walk Maka several times a day. Oh, what a fool I was!

That door was a precious provision from God! You know why? Because taking my dog out 4 times a day, meant over 100 walks together just since we moved here 26 (ish) days ago! I cherish the memories, the photos, and the quality time I got to spend with him while we got accustomed to this new habit.

Pug on a sunny sidewalk
Makali’i (means “Little Chief” in Hawaiian)
March 2010 – April 2022

This photo was taken on a walk yesterday. He always loved the sun and he appeared to be smiling as it shone down on him.

The first thing I did when I woke up this morning was take Maka outside. It was apparent that he was unwell, so my husband booked the first vet appointment he could find. It was for 10:30am, which was miraculous because most offices were booking weeks out.

Maka didn’t live long enough to keep his appointment, but when we called to cancel it, the receptionist had answers to all of our questions. She was God’s provision for us. She had the right words, she knew the next steps, and she gave us direction when we were lost in loss.

We rejoice through our tears because God provides what we need. He knows what is ahead and lays all the proper groundwork. This has been a recurring theme. If you need proof and encouragement regarding God’s provision, please read this true story and this one.

3. God’s Grace

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

I asked earlier if we’re ever really prepared for tragedy. I can say with certainty I wasn’t. I’ll bet you’d answer in kind. This verse in Hebrews tells us why. God gives us grace in our time of need. He doesn’t promise to make it available in advance. He comes through with what we need when we need it.

This is an unexpectedly tearful day. And yet I’ve been able to rejoice because of God’s grace. He has taken the load and directed my thoughts. This doesn’t bring my sweet puppy back, but it does soothe my heart. It gives me strength to focus on the gift I had instead of what I’ve lost.

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’


“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:8, 9

If you are in need, God’s grace is sufficient. Open your hurting heart to Him. He makes it possible to rejoice through our tears.

4. God’s Comfort

“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:18

I would love to say that I crawled near to God in my grief today. I don’t think I’ve had the wherewithal. But He has pulled me close. I feel His comforting presence.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Matthew 5:4

All day, through reassuring my dying dog, reminiscing with my husband, and helping break the news to our kids one by one, I am being comforted by God. And as news spreads, friends who have been in these shoes are reaching out with knowing words of empathy.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

The amazing thing about comfort is that we get to pay it forward. Our grief gives us first-hand understanding and enables us to encourage others through theirs. If you’re not ready to help someone else, that means you’re still in need of comfort yourself. Accept it from God and others. One day you’ll be able to give it back out.

5. God’s Understanding

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

I am relying heavily on God’s understanding. I lost a pet, but God the Father watched His Son die. And God the Son was described by the prophet Isaiah as a “Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”.

My heart is not held by One who does not understand. My God created me, knows me, and understands me like no other. I’m so grateful to lean on Him today.

Do you feel like no one understands you? God does. My friend, I pray you allow yourself to be known by Him, especially when you’re sad.

A pug photo with text that reads "I'm grateful, blessed, and kind of a mess..."
I saw this phrase somewhere today and adopted it wholeheartedly!

No question about it, today is tough. I now expect my tears. But I have 5 reliable reasons to rejoice my way through them as I grieve.

If you are unsettled today, I hope you find encouragement in the goodness of God. He is ready to meet you where you are. Cry out to Him and He will answer!

To everyone who’s lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
When you said goodbye
And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there’s nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right
There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
And love for the broken heart
And there is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He’ll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus

Cry Out to Jesus (<– Click to listen)
Song by Third Day

4 Practical Ways God Positions His Devoted People

Have you ever felt betrayed because someone moved away from you emotionally, physically, spiritually, or mentally? I have. It’s hard not to take something like that personally. We can avoid a good amount of heartache if we understand the practical ways God positions His devoted people.

This is a follow-up post to Introducing the God Who Positions His Devoted People – Part 1. If you would like to start there, please do! Otherwise, let’s examine GPS – God’s Positioning System – and use it to stay the course He has laid out for us.

4 Practical Ways God Positions His Devoted People

1. God positions His devoted people emotionally.

I refer to this phenomenon as “the tying and untying of heartstrings”. Sometimes we’re drawn to, or away from, things with an unexplainable urgency. God positions us, emotionally, to do what He asks us to do.

A map, a guidebook, and a compass
Photo by Abdessalem BENYAHIA on
God gives thorough, well prepared instruction.

On the surface, this is easily misunderstood. Separation can be a difficult process all around, and it can feel like a punishment. But it is actually an amazing blessing. Let me tell you a true story.

When my children were little, we were deeply rooted in Southern California. We felt we would never leave our church, the school the kids attended, or the halau (Polynesian dance studio) where our family performed. Yet one after the other, we were forced out of each of those institutions as tuitions, situations, and locations changed.

It was a painful and confusing time. But when God moved us to Hawaii soon after, we understood. Our heartstrings were already untied from what might have held us back. God had prepared us, in advance, to joyfully go where He wanted to position us next. And that is the perfect segue into the second way God positions people.

2. God positions His devoted people physically.

God puts us in the physical locations where He needs us to be. Whenever my husband and I change our home address, we try to remember it isn’t just about a new house. God positions us near specific neighbors, teachers, bank tellers, etc. He has plans to use our interactions with our new community to bless and teach us all.

“But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:14b, 15

And as I’ve seen Him do it with us, I need to allow Him to do the same with others. I cannot hold too tightly, or be resentful, when He moves people, and positions them physically for His purpose – even if the process separates them from me. They were created for His glory, not mine.

“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.”

1 Corinthians 7:17a

It might not be as big as a household move. Just today, my husband, son, and I went to a local business at 10am, their opening time listed on-line. They were closed, and the sign on the door said they’d open at 11.

With an hour to wait, we ended up at a nearby restaurant. Was God physically positioning us there to bless someone? Possibly! He doesn’t always create an unexpected turn of events, but when those occur, it is a good idea to be extra vigilant for divine appointments.

3. God positions His devoted people spiritually.

What do you think about this one? I am going to tell you another true story to illustrate why I include this as a way God positions His people.

My family had found a wonderful church. We were heavily involved, serving, and being served. In God’s timing, He moved us on.

We switched to a church where things were done differently. They focused on distinct attributes of God and worshipped Him in unique ways. We gained a fresh perspective from experiencing Him with that congregation.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

Psalm 32:8

When circumstances changed again, and we landed at the next church, it all came together. We could clearly see how God had positioned us spiritually, teaching us over the previous several years. He had given us a foundation for real spiritual growth and ministry. God is consistently contributing to our understanding of who He is, what His plans are for us, and how He positions His people.

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

4. God positions His devoted people mentally.

This is one that I’ve come to notice recently. I have encountered brilliant people who will not embrace God because they cannot fully comprehend Him. And I have met little children who love Him with all their hearts.

“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’.”

Matthew 18:3

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2

I’m not saying God positions us to be simple minded, but rather heavenly minded. He enables us to surrender our prideful desire to completely grasp Godly things with our human intellect. He positions us mentally to accept Him. When we open ourselves to His prompting, the Holy Spirit does His convincing work, and our faith grows.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

2 Timothy 3:14, 15
Compass held over a ridge with a canopy of trees below
Photo by Supushpitha Atapattu on
We must align ourselves with God’s coordinates for us – body, mind, and soul – and encourage others to do the same.

Some say it’s wrong to move on from connections, situations, institutions, and such. They see it as a failure of loyalty. And I guess, at times, it can be that.

But when we realize God positions His devoted people emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally, we shouldn’t be surprised when shuffles happen. Instead of taking offense, hopefully we will encourage everyone to follow God, wherever He leads. Separation is painful, but it is temporary. We will have comradery for all eternity once our work on earth is done!

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,

    for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go,

    for to you I entrust my life.

Teach me to do your will,

    for you are my God;

may your good Spirit

    lead me on level ground.”

Psalm 14:8, 10

When God’s Message is Heard and Delivered, People Find Hope!

My friends, I’m so glad you’re here! I have an incredible guest post for you today! 3 years ago, a friend of mine, named Jordan Davis, wrote about an eye-opening experience he had. I just recently came across it. It resonated with me; moved, encouraged, and shook me in the best of ways.

I asked him if I could repost it here on the Back Porch, and he agreed. I cannot wait for you to read this powerful, awe-inspiring story! It didn’t have a title, so I did my best to give it one. After that, the words are his.

When God’s Message is Heard and Delivered, People Find Hope!

Okay; long post incoming, but I promise it’ll be worth it!

So, tonight on my way to Walmart, Jessica King called me. Mind you; I’m in Alaska, and she’s in Texas right now. Anyway, she called me to tell me that God placed it on her heart that there was going to be a homeless man at Walmart that needed someone to talk to.

She didn’t know if it was a vision for her, or one for me; but she wanted me to be aware. So, I continued my shopping as usual, just being more mindful of the people around me than I usually would be. I finish check out and walk outside.

I looked around and didn’t see anyone, but I did see a backpack just sitting by itself near the entrance. So, I just watched the backpack, and waited for its owner. It turns out, it belonged to a man and a really cute puppy.

At this point I was suspicious that this was who I was supposed to talk to, but I wasn’t totally sure. So, I kept staring at his cute pup lol. He got up and walked outside to where I was. I began asking him about his puppy, and he told me how the dog kept bumping into his heater.

At this point he revealed to me that he and the puppy were living in a tent with a small space heater inside it. I asked him if there was anything I could do for him, and he told me his heater was out of propane. He was so worried that he and the dog were going to have to sleep in the cold for the night. I told him I’d take care of it, and I went in and bought him a few things.

I just kept thinking about how ever Present our God is. I kept thinking about how this man felt totally alone and abandoned, and yet God was working on his behalf without him even knowing it.

I walked in the store and just started crying. Walking through the store, gathering things for this man God placed in my path, eyes full of tears, looking like an idiot lol. I just kept thinking about how ever Present our God is. I kept thinking about how this man felt totally alone and abandoned, and yet God was working on his behalf without him even knowing it.

So, I take him some food, and propane. I told him that someone called me before I had even gotten there and said that there was someone waiting for me. He started crying.

I asked him if he knew Jesus, and if I could pray for him. He told me I could, and so I did. He just kept squeezing my hand, crying, and thanking me. He began telling me how he felt that God had forgotten about him, he felt that he has been cast out and rejected by everyone. It broke my heart, but I’m so thankful that I was able to rebuke all of his thoughts of inadequacy.

Tonight, Dave (that’s his name) knows that he is still loved by God. That he isn’t looked over by everyone. He knows that his current situation is not a permanent one.

And guys let me tell you; Dave, for the first time in a long time, has hope. He feels loved. He feels connected.

Look at God, y’all. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for a God who loves and protects his children so fiercely, even the lost ones.

I’m at a loss for words. Typing this with tears streaming down my face, I want someone to be encouraged. I want you to know that God hears your cries, even the quietest ones. He knows the desires of your heart. He knows the storms you’re facing, and He will come through.

Even if you feel like you’re a billion miles away from Him tonight, he still wants you. You are still loved, so, so much. God is good, man. So incredibly good.

(Written by Jordan Davis on 3/10/2018)


The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 7c

Wow! This has been an incredible week! To say moving has been hard work would be an understatement.

  • Physically, my husband and I have been loading, hauling, cleaning, repairing, and then collapsing on makeshift beds.
  • Emotionally, we’ve been saying goodbye to our friends, siblings, parents, kids, and grandkids.
  • Spiritually, we’ve been disciplining ourselves to keep our eyes on Jesus, even when many things don’t make sense.

I will be honest- there comes a point in each day where I run out of desire and ability to keep doing the work. I quit. I shut down.

But I have the most amazing news and I’m really excited to share it with you! This is the third verse God gave me when I prayed for encouragement. (You can find the first two here and here.)

God finishes His projects!

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share is that God keeps His word, fulfills His promises and finishes His projects.

I am a work in progress. The hard things He has me doing are part of His master plan. He is working it out in me. I may have to take breaks or want to give up and quit, but He never does!

God will complete everything He starts in me, in my loved ones, and in you! Does your assignment seem too hard? Is the renovation on your body, mind, or spirit requiring more than you have to give? Do not despair. God will see the project through successfully!

God has a perfect project-completion record!

How encouraging it is to know that God will not leave us half-baked. He will not abandon a project mid way. He, who started a work, will be faithful to complete it for, with, through, around, and in you!


The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 6

Hello, hello, hello! (I may have had an espresso shot too many!) But I wanted to quickly say hi and tell you the amazing news I’m really excited to share today.

I’m in the thick of the thick. I’m condensing a 3300-ish square foot house and 3-car garage into a 26-foot moving truck. And today was estate sale day!

When I say estate sale, I really mean pillage day. But doesn’t it sound better the first way?

Miscellaneous household items on a long table
Pillage Day was like a garage sale, only it was in the living room, had an exclusive invitee list, and everything was free.

I put all the things I could not, would not, or should not take with me into one room and invited my five kids to raid it. Everything from spices to stationary, pots and pans to perfume and anything in between. It was like a free garage sale, or more accurately, living room sale.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share today is that there is joy in the journey!

I had fun! It was heartwarming to hear about why certain items were nostalgic or important to which kid. I found joy in hearing the memories they had attached to the items up for grabs.

And it was entertaining to see them making piles for each other of things they didn’t want to see their siblings go without. One daughter made a cluster of ingredients she wanted her sister to take, cook, and then invite her to dinner. It brought laughter to my hard day of work.

Grocery ingredients on a cabinet shelf
The pile my daughter made for her sister, whom she hoped would make kalua pork and apple pie and then invite her over.

But possibly the most fun for me was when I handed each of them a file of things I’ve been keeping from their school years. It contained their report cards and some commendation type things. They didn’t realize I’d kept them. They thought it great to read teacher comments and to recall themselves as they once were.

It has been a busy week of donating, trashing, selling, and packing. But the amazing news I’m really excited to share today is that I’ve found such joy in the journey. My children went home with some things they need, some things they want, and some smiles they’d forgotten about. My mama heart is happy.

By the by, my son dropped, and broke, an almost-full bottle of sesame oil. Boy was that a mess. But, on the upside, it landed on tile, not carpet and now the whole house smells sesame good! It is hard not to see the upsides to every downturn when God has been so faithful. If you haven’t been following and would like to binge-read the story, it starts here.

Thanks for smiling with me today. I appreciate you more than you know! If you have any amazing news you’re excited to share, I’d love to hear it!

Now I’ve got to get back to business. The movers will be here at sunrise on Saturday! If you were going to condense everything you own to fit into a 26′ x 7′ x 8′ truck, what would you be sure to keep? What would you like to see your loved ones receive? To what would you happily say, “good riddance”?