Tuesday, December 27, 2016

When the "Why" Seems Unfair

As we come to the close of another year, it's natural to ponder and reflect.

This year, however, is throwing in some curve balls that have forced some painful and difficult reflections and questions.

I have the honor of being a part of an incredible church family here in our neck of the woods. It's a close-knit group of about 120-130 people. God has been moving in some absolutely amazing ways as well. It has been so awesome to watch Him move. Because of that closeness, when one member of our body aches...we all ache. And we have been aching a lot lately...

We've had blow after blow this year and even more so in the last month. And today we got word that a sweet sister in Christ is now literally at the feet of Jesus.

When tragedy strikes....particularly death, it's natural to begin asking questions.


What now?

What's next?....

It's also natural and very easy to begin to question God during these times.

"Why would God allow this?"

"What is the purpose in this?"

"How can this possibly be good?"

These are questions that we all ask at some point in our lives- especially when things seem to slip out of our facade of control. It can be unsettling....the unknown. We don't have control over anything, even though we fool ourselves into thinking we do. And when these reminders hit us square in the face, it jolts us back into reality and reminds us that we are simply a vapor here in the grand scheme of things. And that can cause these questions to come reeling into our purview.

But you see, these questions that I listed earlier....they are the wrong questions to ask.

We have a skewed view of...well everything really. Our view is broken. It broke that day, many years ago, in the garden when Eve believed the lie of the serpent. And it's been broken ever since. We can't understand the tough questions. It isn't possible. Why?? Because we too are broken.

You see, God is perfection personified. He is the definition of good. He is the standard. All things perfect and good are measured on His scale. He defines it.

But our world is so blinded and broken by sin, so it distorts our view and causes us to ask the wrong questions. Instead of asking "why....what now....what's next.....why would God allow this??", we need to be asking this:

"How will God be glorified through this?"

"How can this point someone to Him?"

"How can He use this for His glory?"

I once heard someone say "We are basically immortal until God's part of His plan for us is through.". That is SO comforting to me. It removes the illusion of my control and places it back where it belongs- in the perfect, good, just, merciful, and grace-filled hands of my Savior. His plans are always
for good because He is good.....even though my definition of good isn't always the same as His. So I'm here as long as He needs me to be. When my part has been played out, I get to join Him face-to-face. When He removes us from this world, our hope and prayer is that it's because He will use it to bring someone to Him. When we begin to view things this way and ask the right questions, it gives Him the glory He deserves. We were created for His glory to begin with. So when we enter into tragedy with a cross-focused view, it gives Him the glory and it also brings comfort to us as well.

Even with the right view, it doesn't necessarily dull the pain. But we serve a God who has suffered more than we could ever imagine. He understands...He cares....He heals.

Lean into Jesus. Press into our Savior who is good. Allow Him to restore and heal you. And rest in His promise that He has come to seek and to save.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Grace in parenting...but not for who you would assume....

Life has a way of allowing us to develop character traits that we'd like to have but really don't want to gain by practicing. Patience comes to mind when I think of this. I refuse to pray for patience anymore because God always seems to bring me opportunities to "practice" and develop it....opportunities I'd rather not have honestly. I mean, can't I just have a supernatural dose of patience instead of answering my 5 year old's incessant "why" questions??? Sigh....

Another trait that comes to mind is grace. Grace is difficult to give at times. We are called to extend grace to others because the ultimate act of grace was extended to us through Jesus. I mean, who can argue that really?

Yes, it's tempting to want to scream and yell at the person who just cut you off in traffic (but really all that will do is scare your kiddos to death in the backseat as the person goes on their merry way). But we should extend grace. It's more appealing to want fairness and justice to always win out, but we should extend grace. And honestly, giving grace is better for all involved. It points to Christ and gives Him glory, it affects the other person and may encourage them to extend grace as well, and it stretches your own heart in a good way.

Ok. I can be on board with all that. But if we're getting down to the nitty gritty raw honest truth (which I'm intent on doing ever since I boarded on the #honestymovement train), the person I struggle to extend grace too the most is....myself.

If you're a mom, I'm willing to bet you are tracking with me. We are bombarded everyday with expectations and standards as to what a "good" mom is. And we fail...Every. Single. Time. (At least I do...maybe you're better at this "mom" thing than I am. Kudos.)

Seriously though. These expectations are rough. I'm always left feeling like I missed the mark.

As their mother I'm responsible for their:
-character building
-becoming a respectable human

Just looking at that list and really thinking about it makes me want to throw up. You really can't grasp the full responsibility of parenting until you're in the thick of it. And when you do....you realize it's really a true miracle that we all survive even a single day throughout it.

The weight of that responsibility, and the fact that I feel like I do it so poorly, inevitably causes me to allow the hopelessness and failure set it instead of extending myself grace.

I often lay awake at night and allow the despair to overtake me, as I emotionally flog myself.

But you know what?

It's in those moments that I've taken my eyes off of Christ and am trying to do an impossible job all on my own strength.

It's similar to "the Law" that is given in Scripture.

You see, the Law was given- not foremost as instructions but rather to force the people to recognize that they couldn't live a holy and righteous life on their own strength. It's impossible. It was given to accentuate our desperate and incredible need for a Savior.

I think the standards for parenting/life- even the ones we give ourselves- do the same thing. They are impossible to do on our own. Therefore, they point to an utter need for our merciful Savior.

So when the despair begins to creep in...instead of allowing it to consume me, I need to allow it to remind me of my need for Christ. I need to allow it to catapult my heart into His loving arms and rely on His strength to get me through. It's only then will I find peace and the gumption to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Praise God for His incredible grace and mercy and may I extend it to others, as well as myself.

Do you struggle with grace? Do you feel like you're failing as a parent? You're not alone sweet friend. Rest in His grace and allow THAT to guide your parenting. It's only by this that we can move forward and it's only because of His grace that we all will survive it! So be encouraged and don't allow the standards to consume you. Allow His grace to surround you!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Two Sides of a Coin


This simple word can bring a many number of different emotions that come flooding in when spoken.

For many, this is a season of absolute joy! Family, traditions, shopping, gift-giving & receiving, lights, movies, hot cocoa, fires in the fireplace are just some of the many beloved things that are a part of this cheerful time of year.

For others though, this time of year brings the opposite. Sadness, loss, reminders, financial issues, loneliness, hurt, increased work schedule are just some of the things that come with this season.

But regardless of what side of the coin you are on, there is something that we should be able to be joyful about no matter our circumstances...

It doesn't come wrapped in pretty paper with a bow.
It doesn't come under the tree.
It isn't something we can give.
We aren't worthy of it at all.
We can't earn it.
But it's the absolute ultimate gift you could ever receive.


Yes, that may be the obvious answer to those of you that are churched. But even though it may be the "sunday school response", it doesn't change the fact that it's true. Or that it's hard to remember. Yes...we all know that is true. It's hard to keep Christ at the center of Christmas. We are bombarded by cultural things -which aren't necessarily bad. But they can distract us. In fact, any of the things I listed in the two sides of the coin categories can take our eyes off of the reason we celebrate....especially the difficult ones.

I know that I struggle. You see, I'm a UPS wife. For those of you that work (or have spouses that work) at UPS/FedEx/etc. enough said, right?? For those of you that don't, allow me to explain. This time of year is what they refer to as "peak". From Thanksgiving (although it's WAY earlier now) until Christmas (and then into February b/c of returns!) they work countless hours, in every weather condition, and even on Christmas Eve if it falls during the week. Basically, we don't see my hubs during this season and when we do, he's completely exhausted- both physically and mentally. He's a mechanic for UPS, which may be even more difficult than the drivers. Any position with these companies is rough during this season.

Because of that, I often lose sight of the meaning of this time of year. It's so easy for me to wallow in the self-pity of "why us" and "this is so hard". Everyone in our household tends to get crabby this time of year, and that often causes me to become bitter.

But you know what? I don't have to be. No, there is a better way. Not necessarily easier....but definitely better.

I need to get my eyes off of myself.

That goes COMPLETELY against my human nature, but it's the only way to change my perspective of this season.

I have to die to self.

Christ calls us to do that at all times actually.

Galatians 2:20 (ESV) says: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Luke 9:23 (ESV) says: "And he said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'"


I must take up my cross daily.
I must surrender to Christ at all times.
I must look to Him for my joy.
I must rest in the promise that He has a plan for me.
I must rest in the joy of the cross.

THAT is how I will make it through this season. THAT is how I will make it through every season. He truly is the reason for the season, and for every season.  I need to take my eyes off of myself and place them on the cross.

How about you? Where are your eyes fixed? Are they on the glimmering glow of the lights of this holiday season? Or are they on Christ? One will only bring temporary happiness. The other will bring everlasting joy. It's a no-brainer really ;) Let's focus on Christ and gently remind one another to do the same when the world's glam begins to tear away their gaze. That's what the Church is for, right? I pray you have a Christ-centered Christmas every day of the year. He truly is the reason to celebrate every moment of every day. Merry Christmas :)

*I'm honored to be featured over at Blogs by Christian Women today on their Christmas Blog Tour. You can check out the tour at: http://wp.me/p4YjKM-MX . They are also having a couple giveaways over there too! Go check it out!


Monday, November 28, 2016

The Greatest Love of All

How many of you immediately had Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" song pop into your head as soon as you read the title?? I know I did as soon as I wrote it! Ha!

My daughter is in an area children's choir here where we live. It's a great program and she absolutely loves it! Recently, they had their fall concert. They feature each of the children's choirs as well as the community adult choir. It was a lovely program and all the kids/adults did a wonderful job. But what I remember most was a question the director of the adult's choir asked the kids, and even more so the response. Before each of the adults' songs, the director would introduce it and engage the children with questions. It's charming and he has a real talent with connecting with them. One of the songs they sang was about the "greatest love of all". And so he understandable asked the kids,

"What do you think the greatest love of all is?"

My heart was actually broken from the answers.


These were just some of the answers. I don't specifically recall many of the other ones, but I assure you they were similar.

Some of you may be thinking, "Those sound like great answers to me!". And I would agree that they are good answers....if the question was "What is an example of a great love?"

But that's not what he asked.

He asked:

"What do you think the greatest love of all is?"

Friends...I assure you that none of those answers is one that I would even want to be the answer to that question. Let me tell you why.

People will fail you. You will fail them. It's inevitable.

So why would we want something that we know will fail us to be the definition of the greatest love of all?? We don't. If it fails us, it's not really that great right?

So then if those aren't it, then is there, in fact, a greatest love....at all?

Yes there absolutely is!

The only love that can fall into that category is the love that Christ has for His creation.
It's the greatest because it's perfect.
It's the greatest because it's so undeserved.
It's the greatest because it's unconditional.
It's the greatest because it has no limits.
It's the greatest because it's the love that set the standard.

Guys, the God of the universe- you know the one- He created everything, He's the only true God- yeah that one. He created man. Man failed Him. He could've started over. But He didn't. He loves us so much, that He Himself came TO us, just to rescue us....because we couldn't do it ourselves. We were irrevocably broken. There was NOTHING we could do to fix it ourselves. But love changed that. I love how the author, Sally Lloyd-Jones, of the book The Jesus Storybook Bible describes God's love. She calls it "a never-stopping, never-giving up, unbreaking, always, and forever love". What a beautiful description of the absolute greatest love of all.

Church, it's up to us to share this greatest love. If we don't, then we truly are spreading hate not love. Why? Because this love is the key to eternity with God. If you don't share it, it's like having the cure to cancer and not telling anyone. You would do that out of spite or hatred, not love. Withholding the GREATEST news ever is not love. I know it's hard. I know it's scary. Believe me, I've been there and even still struggle with that sometimes. But I want to live a life compelled to love others because of the love given to me from my beloved Savior. So let's truly love others. Let's shout about our Savior's greatest love from the rooftops!! THAT is spreading love- the greatest love of all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

We Need to Move Forward...

I know that I have made a couple posts about this before, but it still astounds me that even though it appears that we all agree on what needs to happen....it's not happening. I'm hearing all kinds of outcries from both "sides" of the political coin- that we need to unite and love. Yet I still continue to see hatred, bullying, and condemnation- the very thing they are preaching against.

If we are all in agreement on what we should do, then why aren't we doing it???

Because I think deep down inside fear is still winning.

I know that I live in a bubble of sorts, but this all seems overkill to me. Yes we have an unprecedented person stepping into leadership in our country. Yes, he has made wild claims. Yes, his moral character is super sketchy. Yes, he's probably not the ideal candidate for this position.

But he won.

We can't change that now. But we can change what's going on as a result.

Pardon me while I scrape my jaw off the floor from the shock of what I see unfolding in our country. People are acting like I would expect junior highers to react to an armageddon. Comfort dogs, counseling, riots, people hiding, hatred spewing from the mouths of those who claim to follow Christ.....I. Can't. Even.


Let me ask you this. Has anything actually happened yet that would warrant this kind of behavior??


He hasn't even taken office. No one is being forced to change anything yet. And honestly....I really don't believe that anything "drastic" that is being speculated about will actually happen. And if it does, you can bet your bottom dollar that most of the citizens of this country will not allow it. I know I won't. So can we all take it down a notch or two? I mean don't you think that you will feel a little silly if none of these things actually happen and you were caught reacting like this? For real....

I know the unknown is scary. Believe me....I am all too familiar with that. But one thing I have learned, is that speculation only leads to ridiculousness. Allow me to explain.

16 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I was told I would, at best, have 5 years to live and if I somehow surpassed that, my chance of having kids was zilch because of the chemotherapy I was to have to try to spare my life.

Que freak out.

Actually, my freaking out was kept to a minimum. Sure I had my moments, but one of the benefits of being 16 when I was diagnosed is that I thought like every other 16 year old- I am invincible. Oh sweet innocence....

Now fast forward 16 years. I am still alive AND I have 3 precious babes (all of whom I carried and birthed). So had I given into the normal fears and speculations, I could've spent those first few months/years loathing my potential fate and wallowing in self-pity. That would've made for a miserable way of life and frankly...I would look ridiculous now considering what actually happened was nowhere near what was expected.

Do you see what I'm getting at here? We can sit here, wallow in self-pity, speculate about what could happen, and continue to throw a massive fit about it.


We could stop speculating about a potential future that we really have NO idea about and start actually living again. We could reach out to our neighbor in love and kindness and build relationships with those around us. We could stop thinking about just ourselves and start putting others first. We could love those around us and stand up for them when necessary (not preemptively with no cause).

Had I focused my life on the possible negative outcomes I also would've missed some amazing things in my life. God has used that dark time for good and I got to see it because I didn't constantly live in the "what if".

Did it ever occur to you that maybe God allowed this so He can show Himself in some crazy awesome way? It's happened before and I'm confident it can and will happen again.

So let's do this. Let's stop focusing on the unknown and start living in the now. Because really, we have no idea what the future brings anyways. So let's hope and pray for the best and love the crazy out of people and life. I'm gonna do it. And I hope you'll join me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Washing Feet

In the wake of this momentous election, I was reminded of some truth today. You see, after reading and witnessing the reactions of many, especially those who claim to be part of the Church, my heart was heavy. Even though I knew this would happen, it was heartbreakingly disappointing to actually watch it unfold.

Hatred. Word violence. Despair. Ugliness.

That's what I saw. And I was left speechless...almost. I turned to the only place where I knew I would receive hope and encouragement.


God's Word is so amazing. It's full of beautiful truths and encouraging pictures that point to our glorious Savior.

Today, God brought me to John 13. This is where Jesus and his disciples are eating the Last Supper. They have finished eating and Jesus gets up to perform a radical and jaw-dropping move.

He washed their feet.

That may not seem all that awe-striking to us today, but in that culture it was. It was the ultimate act of servanthood- washing the crud and junk off of someone else's feet.

I mean, to be honest, feet kind of gross me out anyways- even in this day and age. But back then...gag...they didn't have sewer systems or things to clean off the roads (other than rain). So people walked through...everything. Gross.

And here was The Christ...The Messiah...The Savior of the world getting on his hands and knees and washing all of their feet. He was showing them that He was here for a purpose. He came to serve- not to be served. He came to ransom them....us. He came to pay a price so huge, that no one else could do it.

But do you know what stuck out to me today? I've read this passage many times but this never really quite hit me this way before.

He washed Judas's feet too.

Judas. The one who would betray him. The one who would, for 30 pieces of silver, willingly hand him over to be brutally murdered. He washed his feet too.

John 13:2 (ESV) says that "the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him."

Guys, God allowed the devil to use Judas to betray Jesus. He ordained it. Why? Because in order for His master rescue plan to be fulfilled, it had to happen. In order for Jesus to rescue you and me, stuff had to go down to make it happen. And it was ugly.

But Jesus washed his feet.

He served him anyways. He loved him anyways. He treated him just like the other disciples, who didn't betray him.

And do you know what else Jesus says in John 13?

"If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you." 
John 13:14-15


Jesus washed the feet of those who loved him and he washed the feet of the man he knew was going to betray him to his death. And he calls us to do the same.

So Church....we need to put our big boy/girl unders on and start "washing one another's feet". But what does that look like?

Well, it means love not hate. 
It means to actively look for opportunities to serve your neighbor/co-worker/friend/enemy. 
It means to think before you post a rant on social media- 
Will it please God? 
Will it point to Christ?
Does this represent me "washing feet"?
It means dying to self. 
It may mean staying off FB if you can't resist chiming in on something that will ultimately lead to hatred. 
It means defending those who can't defend themselves.
It means declaring truth in love, even if it's hard. 
It means forgiving those who offend or hurt you. 
It means showing grace even when everything in you is screaming for justice. 

Is it fair? No. But it wasn't fair that we broke our relationship with God and He had to step in to fix it with a price that cost Him everything. When we compare it to that scale, it really puts things in perspective. 

So will you?? Will you love? Will you be the hands and feet of Christ? Will you "wash others' feet"? It's not easy but we don't have to go at it alone. Let's be the Church. Let's join together, encourage one another, and run this race together. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Exhaustion. Can I get an amen? I'm exhausted most days. I've come to the conclusion that it's a permanent thing once you transition into parenthood.  It's so unfair really. We are not properly warned about the energy vortex that ensues the minute you become a parent. But there's really no way to fully prepare you for it.

I mean, how can something so tiny, so adorable and squishy, and so sweet and innocent suck the absolute life out of you??? It astounds me even to this day.

Yes, parenting is rough- probably the toughest job out there hands down. And yes, it literally sucks the life out of you. But it's worth it. I love my littles, even on the days where I want to pull out every hair on my head.


But that kind of exhaustion doesn't even compare to "soul" weight. Lately, I've been experiencing that level of weariness. And it's heavy.

I can't seem to get away from it. Everywhere I turn, something else adds to the pile.

Parenting woes, constant (sometimes debilitating) physical pain, busyness, family and friends with broken marriages/relationships, sickness, tough social issues, our country, watching the Church implode, etc. It's weighty.

There are days where I don't even think I have the strength or mental capacity to even get out of bed. It's too much. Too hard. There's a lot of days where I simply do not want to "adult" that day. I'd rather snuggle down deep in the comfort of my own bed and my abyss of pillows, drink loads of coffee, and binge watch Netflix all day. (A day of Gilmore Girls, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and While You Were Sleeping sounds absolutely divine! Sigh....love.)

But that's not reality. And frankly...it's not going to change anything either. Not dealing with things unfortunately doesn't make them disappear. Trust me, I've tried.

It's in those moments that I'm reminded that I can't do this alone. Those times highlight my desperate need for my Savior.

It's only in Him that I can find rest.
It's only in Him that I can find peace.
It's only through Him that I can keep going.
It's only through Him that my burden can be lifted.
And it's only through Him that my pain can be used for good.

You see, we aren't left to suffer and wallow in our despair alone. We have a Savior who rolled up his sleeves and jumped into the muck with us. He has suffered more than we could ever imagine, and because of that He can understand our suffering. He is a God who cares. He is a God who loves. And He is a God who redeems.

So if you're feeling weighed down today, drop it at the foot of the cross. Let our Savior carry the load. He's already paid for it anyway and He wants you to turn to Him. Weariness can only be cured by complete surrender to Him :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Absolute Truth in This Relative World


That has become a fairly subjective word in our culture today. According to our society, there is no absolute truth anymore. What is true for me may not be true for you. It's relative.

But is it really?

It sounds great initially, but it really is the entrance to a deep cavernous rabbit hole that ultimately leads to destruction. If there is no absolute truth, than morality is subjective as well. If that's the case, then there really is no "right" and "wrong" and that, my friends, is troubling and only leads to chaos.

Fortunately, there is such a thing as absolute truth. Scripture. Praise God for it. It gives us a basis for how to live- a plan for how life works best- a picture book of our Savior's incredible rescue plan for His beloved people.

Absolute truth.

This is what I cling to in these trying days. As we watch our world unravel before our eyes, it is our one constant- our reprieve. God's Word to us...His good and perfect Word.

But lately my heart has been breaking...feeling like it's being ripped in two. God's Word is under attack. And what's even worse is that it's by His own people.

You may have seen/heard about a recent viewpoint that has come out from a couple in the Christian world that have a large platform. As pastors, authors, and speakers they have quite a reach of influence. It was revealed in an interview that they now hold to the view that a monogamous relationship of the same gender is approved by God and even considered to be holy. They claim to have come to this interpretation of Scripture after a year's worth of study, prayer, and seeking the Spirit. And this is the result.

Friends...I was speechless when I first heard this. I felt sick and could literally feel my heart break in two. Why?

Because this viewpoint clearly goes against what Scripture says. There's no way around it. And to say there is, is twisting Scripture to make it more appealing to the masses and to make it easier to swallow.

But that's not absolute truth.

If you had no outside influences, you had never read Scripture before, knew nothing about this issue (either side), and were stranded on a desert island with only a Bible- I guarantee you there would be no question in mind, after reading through it, what God's view of this is. He makes it very clear. Does that make it easier? No. But that doesn't cloud the clarity.

But honestly, what scares me even more is to watch the events that have been unfolding after this announcement. There is literally being a line drawn and people of the Church are choosing sides.

And it's getting ugly.

Do you know that the best way to destroy something is from within? Yep. The enemy knows that too. And that's exactly what he's doing. And he's doing a fine job at it too. But that's where we have to stand next to the only constant true thing here- God's Word.

We cannot drift from it- especially now. Because our world is only going to continue to become more divisive, corrupted, and broken. We have to stand firm, but firm in love.

We are called to stand in truth, but do it in love.
We are called to love, but do it in truth.
We are called to love our neighbor, but to love God first.

That last point may be the most important. When we twist Scripture to make it more palatable, we are now loving our neighbor more than God. If we try to change Him to make Him more appealing to those that are questioning or are not walking with Him, then we are trying to do the Spirit's job. It's not our job to convince someone of God. The Spirit stirs the soul- not us. We are simply the messengers.

As our world continues to change, let's remember to first love God wholeheartedly and also to love others through the lens of His love. The more the world changes, the more desperately we need to cling to Him and to His Word. We will be hearing more perversions of the Word as we move forward. It's guaranteed. So now, more than ever, we need to make sure we ground ourselves in truth. Make sure we are asking God for a discerning spirit and to not try to dig around something just because it's hard or uncomfortable.

Because guess what?

The Gospel is uncomfortable.

In order to truly grasp it, you have to "die to self"- give up yourself entirely- be willing to walk away from whatever stands between you and Christ.

That's uncomfortable to our limited human purview. But oh so worth it.

There's no greater joy and satisfaction than in the arms of Jesus- no matter the cost. And it will cost you on this side of eternity. But you can rest in the fact that it cost our Savior way more than it will ever cost you.

“I believe that in the end the truth will conquer.”
~ John Wycliffe

Monday, October 31, 2016

Plugged Ears

Over the weekend I finally caved. I have been battling a cold for several weeks now and with that has come issues with my ear. I'm the type of person who will try every home remedy before I begrudgingly succumb to asking for help. There are several reasons for that- mainly because being a SAHM of 3 kiddos, that I also homeschool, doesn't allow much time for things like that. Anyone who has had to cart their entourage with them while attempting to see a doctor can relate.

Any of these scenarios are completely possible during a medical visit:

1. Children (usually of the male gender) decide that the waiting room is a great place to play WWF wrestling.
2. Children decide to ask incessant and often socially inappropriate questions about other patrons in the room...Very. Loudly.
3. Children take advantage of the fact that mom has an encyclopedia's (that's a big collection of books that increases your knowledge of things for those of you that are of the "pre-Google" age) amount of paperwork to fill out even though none of your information has changed since the last time you were there. (To be fair, the last time I went in everything is paperless now so this may be a thing of the past. SO relieved.) They know that mom is distracted, so insert any possible scenario of trouble here.
4. Children decide to open every drawer/container/push every button possible in the room. With that comes a constant mind-numbing "What's that? What does that do? What is this for?? Why??" (Imagine me banging my head against a wall....)

Any of this sound familiar? If so...I salute you, you brave souls. I've been there too. We may laugh about it now, but it is certainly not any sort of humorous when you know you have to do it again.

So now you may understand a little bit of my reluctance to go to the doctor. And that's just scratching the surface.

So this time I waited. I kept thinking, "It's not really that bad. It'll get better." But I didn't know what was brewing inside. I waited until I couldn't take another millisecond of misery. But because I waited, it was the weekend when I finally caved. And because it was the weekend, my doctor's clinic was closed. Ugh. So off to Urgent Care I went. Why you ask? Well I would've braved it through the weekend, except that I woke up that morning with my ear COMPLETELY CLOGGED. I couldn't hear a thing! Talk about an absolutely horrible sensation! So off I went (kidless BTW since the hubs was home-it was almost like a vacation...).

Turns out, it was just wax. So gross. I'm definitely not cut out for medical care. Ick.

It had built up more quickly than usual since I've not been feeling well. But fortunately, it was an easy fix. But it wasn't the most pleasant experience. Not only was it uncomfortable to have my ear irrigated, but after it was cleared I had the worst vertigo I've ever experienced. It was absolutely horrible.

But it turns out there was no infection (which is good), but there is a lot of irritation in it that can turn to infection if I don't monitor and take care of it.

So why am I sharing this with you (if you're still with me and I haven't completely grossed you out yet)?

Well as I thought about this whole thing, it occurred to me that it mirrors something in our own lives.


I don't know about you, but I don't like to be wrong about things....and I certainly don't like being "called out" on the ugly parts of my life. As a recovering people-pleaser, there is nothing more devastating to my pride than being wrong and having it pointed out. (A shot in the gut.) But that's exactly what needs to happen when there is a recurring sin condition in our lives.

Just like I'm often too stubborn to go to the doc, we are often too prideful to recognize and admit sin in our own lives. We try everything we can to cover it up or fix it on our own. But the reality is, is that we can't. If we were able to fix it ourselves, there would've been no need for Christ to come.

But, there are also times that we need our brothers/sisters in Christ to lovingly call us out on some things. We may be blinded to our sin. We may not be aware that the problem goes deeper than we can see. That's why we have each other. We are to have one another's back- constantly praying for one another and lovingly pointing each other to our Savior. Sometimes the process of sanctification (becoming like Christ) is messy and uncomfortable. In order to walk away from our sin, we have to "die to self". Friends...that's painful no matter what it is. And often times there may be a domino effect of consequences that comes from the choices we've made. Those can and usually are painful as well and they may even leave scars.

However, the final result is worth all of that. To be like Christ. To be in communion with Him. To be living a life that brings Him glory and is aligned with His will. There is nothing greater. Nothing at all. And it's worth every painful, gut-wrenching, soul-bearing strip that falls away during the process.

So if you're walking in sin- stop. Turn around and run back to Christ. The journey may be long and difficult, but I guarantee you it's way better than the path you're on. And sweet friend, you don't have to do it on your own. Lean into Jesus and ask the Church (His hands and feet) to walk it with you. He's waiting for you. He loves you more than anyone else ever has or could. So don't leave your ears plugged, don't resist the help that's there. The problem will just get deeper and worse with time and you will be that much farther away from your loving, merciful, forgiving, adoring Savior. True joy and relief is found only in Him. So don't wait :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Heaviness of the Heart

There are some days that my heart hurts so deeply that I can hardly move. Have you ever felt that way?

Today is one of those days.

I feel things deeply. When someone hurts, especially someone close to me, or I hurt someone else it often times consumes me. I am a people-pleaser by nature, so this kind of thing is like mortally wounding to someone like me. (All y'all who are not people-pleasers, you have no idea. Really. So tragic...)

I can't rest until things are resolved. They hang over me like a dark saturated storm cloud, ready to burst at the seams, with monsoon-like rains. Ugh. It really is tortuous.

Today, my heart is so heavy. Friends and family are battling different things, our world is in a state of chaos, and if I see one more election post I think I may vomit. If I allow myself to sit and ponder these things, the tears begin to well up and I feel like I'm going to hyperventilate. I just wish I could fix it all.

But I have to remember that it's not my job to fix it. And I can't. I have to force myself to remember that there's only one that can fix what is broken. And I have to remember that it may not always be in the way that I think is best. That's a lot to swallow sometimes. I know I'm not alone in that either. I mean, I've seen people completely walk away from Christ because they couldn't stomach that. That's where faith comes in.

Faith that I don't know everything, but He does.
Faith that I can't see everything, but He can.
Faith that I don't understand the why, but He does.
Faith that what I deem as "good and right" is ultimately from a broken perspective, but His isn't.

I also have to remember that it shouldn't be my aim to please "man" more than pleasing God. He is the one that I am living for. He is the one that my heart ultimately seeks to please. He also created me. He knows that I have a passion to love others, but that I'm limited in my ability to spread myself as much as I would like.

So sometimes, all I can do is pray. Pray that His will is done. Pray that, if I can't step in, someone else will. Pray that I will ultimately seek Him when I am feeling overwhelmed and ill equipped.

Things will continue to be broken, this side of eternity. I know that. But I also know what is on the other side is well worth the waiting and the sifting through the brokenness to get there. And I'm thankful that I don't have to go at it alone.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A Line in the Sand

I usually don't comment or blog about any "hot topic" items. I feel that there's not a lot of point in it. Anytime you "argue" on social media you're missing a huge part of communication- the nonverbal side. Things get misinterpreted, people get heated, and things are said that normally wouldn't be said in a face-to-face conversation. Also, when anyone posts an opinion, someone is always offended and then the aforementioned argument ensues. There is no tolerance for opinions anymore. If you don't agree with someone, people can't "agree to disagree" very well at all. It's sad really. Because you know what??

We are never all going to agree on every single thing. Period.

Shocking, I know. But it's the truth. We were all created differently and we all perceive things differently. It's a hard concept for some to wrap their minds around, which is why I think these conversations are usually best left for a physical meeting....but I digress.

After wrestling with whether or not to speak up, I decided to weigh in on one particular subject though, because I feel like, out of all the "issues" out there, it may be the most important one.

No matter what side of the coin you are on here, I beg of you to please hear me out. And let me preface this by saying, these "opinions" come from the bottom of my heart, unprejudiced, and with as much love as I can muster. I realize that not all of you will agree with my line of thinking. And that's ok. I just hope that you can put all presuppositions aside for a moment and truly consider these words.

I've seen quite a bit of arguments and conversations revolving around the issue of abortion. (Please don't discount me now. Keep going b/c this isn't just about this procedure.) But you know what? I think the real issue goes way deeper than just a procedure. I mean, we are ultimately talking about the value of life. Allow me to explain.

I know some of you are already digging into your bag of arguments to refute whatever it is I have to say from this point on. Please...I beg of you to wait. Really listen and consider. Then, if you still draw the same conclusion, by all means reach away.

At the core, we really are addressing the question "What value do we place on human life?". I realize some of you may not see it that way, but allow me to explain. You see, when we say yes to abortion or any procedure that will end a life (especially a life where they cannot speak up for themselves), we are essentially saying that that particular life didn't have as much value as another. If you truly think about that, you would have to agree. When we make a choice to end a life because it was not wanted, it was the result of a tragic crime, or because there are imperfections we are saying "I determine what is 'worthy' of living or dying. And the other life in this scenario is of more value." Friends...that is a dangerously slippery slope that cannot be reversed once ridden and will undoubtedly end in disasters of epic proportions. I mean, who are any of us to determine who is worthy of life or not??? Last I checked, none of us is God...so....yeah...

Think of it this way. If you couldn't speak for yourself, would you want the value of your life determined by someone else who can't see the future, who is just as broken as you are, and who doesn't love you unconditionally and WAY more than you deserve? I think not. I know I wouldn't.

But that's exactly what we're doing when we condone any practice that takes the innocent life of a child. And when we say yes to that....where does it stop? Where do you draw the line?

It starts small. But before you know it, the snowball effect has happened and there is absolutely no standard anymore. And we will have mass chaos and disorder. Nothing will be morally wrong anymore.

You may think this to be an overreaction of sorts. But allow me to refresh your memory. This has happened before. You may remember a man named Adolf Hitler and a time in history referred to as The Holocaust?? Let me clarify. I am NOT in any way, shape, or form labeling ANYONE as Hitler. Not. At. All. I only refer to this because at the core- the issue is the same one: the value of life. He took it upon himself to determine what lives were worthy to remain and what ones were not. And it started with little things. I mean no one follows a mass genocidal leader right off the bat. That's just crazy talk. It starts with little things- things that sound "right" initially. Things that can be justified and made sense of. But then it grows and before you know it thousands of lives are being ended because they don't "measure up". (Fun fact: The Holocaust claimed 6,000,000 lives. We've had over 45,000,000 abortions in our country alone since Roe v. Wade. Let that one soak in for a second. Sobering, isn't it?)

Guys, when we start giving wiggle room on the value of life, we've opened up the gates to this and it's really hard to close them.

ALL life is valuable and there is no one here on this beloved planet that is worthy of saying otherwise. No one. You didn't create life. I didn't create life. So it's not our responsibility to determine the standard of value for life.

Those of you that are pro-choice may not see it that way, because more often than not you are looking at the whole issue through the individual lens of a case by case scenario. There's always going to be a scenario that is difficult- no matter what issue we are talking about. Rape, for example, is atrocious. I can't even imagine the horror that the victims experience there. But the life that comes out of that is not guilty of the crime. They didn't choose to be the result of that. And who says that their life is of less value than the mother's? That is NOT ours to determine. Period.

You may think that I don't care about those that carry unwanted pregnancies or that have been through trauma. But actually, I care more deeply than you realize. In fact, I would argue that those that are pro-life care even more. You see, I have yet to meet or hear of someone, who after having an abortion, has not regretted it even a little. Often times, the trauma of the abortion is just as bad, if not worse, than the rape or trauma itself. You can not have an abortion without any repercussions or consequences from that too. Just ask anyone who's had it done. So when you say that you support the woman's right to choose...have you thought of what will happen to her after the procedure- especially if she isn't warned about it? And I guarantee you even if she is, no one can fully prepare you for that kind of grief- especially someone who has never experienced it themselves. So you say that you are thinking of the mother when you argue for the right to choose. But are you? Is that really what is best for her? I don't think it is. Statistics even prove that it is not.

I'm sorry this is longer than normal, but it literally breaks my heart to see what is happening here. Life is valuable. Period. There's no other standard than that. Yes, our world is broken. No, it is not free of hardship. Yes, horrific things happen. But we have to draw a line in the stand or we will hit the point of no return. I'm afraid we may have already passed it. (Especially since we seem to value wildlife more than human life. We have no problem protecting the eggs-still 'unborn' young BTW- of an endangered species but we don't bat an eye at killing off the unborn of our own species. Am I the only one seeing the irony and horror in that???) But that is why we need to dialogue about this. We need to know and think about all of it. And we need to encourage one another to value life....all life. And then we need to help those that walk through the difficult circumstances. I think we could all agree that things would be better if we put our energy and focus on that instead.

So you have a choice. You can go ahead and place your head back in the sand and your fingers in your ears and hum to drown out the 'noise'. Or we can join forces, help those in need, and fight for the value of life. If we don't....well...I don't even want to imagine it.

"If you truly believe in the value of life, you care about all of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society." 
Joni Eareckson Tada

Thursday, October 20, 2016

In Honor of Cancer Awareness...

I have the incredible privilege of guest posting over at Blogs by Christian Women today!! Because October is "cancer awareness" month, I got asked and then selected to guest post over there- specifically related to my battle with cancer. I'm honored to share a bit about what God has showed me and taught me throughout the years. I hope you will jump on over here: http://wp.me/p4YjKM-JA  and check it out! Thanks so much!

Monday, October 17, 2016

I wanted to share something exciting!

We hear a lot about what "the Church" is doing wrong these days. It seems like so much focus is on the negative. And don't get me wrong, there are definitely things that are just downright broken there (which is not surprising since it's full of broken people but...I digress). Yes, these things are good to address and it's good to remind one another when things are gettin' a lil' crazy. But it's also good to talk about the times when the Church is acting like "the Church"....and doing it well.

Why, you ask?

Well, first of all it gives the glory to Christ- that He so richly deserves. And second, it's encouraging! When we hear positive things, it spurs us to want to do the same. So buckle your seat belts and get ready to hear about what God is doing!

I have seen God move in some absolutely incredible ways over this last year. I mean, I'm speechless (and that's saying something- no comments husband ;) ) But I wanted to specifically highlight a particular group that I have the privilege of being a part of.

It all started this last spring. A friend of mine and I were preparing to speak at a women's conference that we had organized at our church facility. As I was prepping for it, I felt like God was tugging at my heart to start a women's group that would meet in my home. Now, I had put together bible studies and stuff before, but this time I felt like He was telling me to do something different. To be honest, I wasn't really sure what it would look like. I just knew that He wanted me to start something that would:
1. encourage women
2. break down the internal barriers we have built up (i.e. denominations, prejudices, etc.)
3. would be a safe place for women to be open, honest, and loved.

God gave me an idea that instead of doing a study per se, to just have a topic or some questions to have an open discussion about each time we met. The intent behind it was to really have some great discussions that would encourage one another, point each other to Christ, but also make it so that if you missed a week or two you wouldn't be "behind". I even started a FB group so that we could continue the discussions/encouragements there when we weren't meeting.

But honestly....I thought it would fail. Really.

I remember feeling so strongly that I was supposed to do this...but not really believing there would be any interest.

But God had other plans.

Friends....I am sitting here today in complete awe and have been blown away time and time again at what God is doing through this little group. Women from all kinds of backgrounds, ages, and denominations are gathering together every other week to point one another to Christ. And you know what??? He. Is. Moving....BIG TIME!!! And let me tell you, there is no more exciting place to be than right smack in the middle of God's will.

Not only has this group brought encouragement to me and the women who are part of it, but it is growing into more groups! Women are feeling free to be real and honest, without judgement, to share their struggles and hurts, knowing they will be loved and encouraged when they do. Some women just sit and take it all in while others share. It's been great to have them there and then to hear their thoughts outside of the gatherings. Guys...this is now also birthing into more intimate one-on-one discipleship relationships between generations!!

Only God could do this. And I am so humbly grateful to be a part of it.

So why do I share this?

Please don't misinterpret this for one second. I don't share this to boast in anything or to take credit for even an ounce of this. Not. At. All. Because this was NOT of me...at all. This was God- absolutely and completely Him.

I share this for two reasons:

1. When you do something out of obedience to God, even if you think it will fail, He will show up. And it will rock your socks off!! So it's always better to obey....I mean He has a much better perspective anyways so we should just trust that. He is God afterall ;)

2. When the Church acts and loves like Christ, BIG things happen! And God is glorified!

It is still so amazing to me that something so simple is so effective. I think sometimes we get caught up in programs and events (not that they are bad at all- they're not) and we forget that simplicity works too. In fact, often times it works better.

Another thing....it's so rewarding to be honest. Yes, it can be scary to expose yourself and risk rejection and hurt. But it's worth it when you experience healing, encouragement, and love. Plus, when we're honest it not only points to Christ in a big way, but it opens the eyes and hearts of others to do the same. Is it always easy? No. But things that cost us something are often the most valuable.

So I hope this encourages you. Take a risk. Be honest with someone. Show love like Christ. Obey, even if it seems crazy. And let's be the Church and spread this Jesus-love like wildfire!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

This Has to Stop...

I don't know about you, but as I peruse through social media I am bombarded with political mumbo jumbo. It's as if there's an election or something coming... ;) But in all seriousness, it's crazy out there. I'm not exactly sure if this is 100% accurate, but it seems like every 2 out of 3 posts is politically motivated. As annoying as that is, what's even more aggravating, and makes me want to smack my forehead in utter frustration and shame, is how the Church is joining the political hissy fit. It's bad enough that everyone else feels the need to be a part of this junior high level whine-fest. But it's even worse to hear and see those claiming to be Christ followers front and center in the action.

It has to stop....like yesterday.

Let me let you in on a little secret.....you're not helping. In fact, you're hindering...a lot.

Let me ask you this. Has any one of your politically motivated posts convinced someone of a point, changed an opinion, or better yet pointed to Christ and the gospel??? I'm willing to bet big bucks the answer is a resounding no. So why are you doing it?

After much contemplation of this questions, I can see only one answer.


You want to be right. You want to be heard and affirmed that you are right. Bottom line- it's selfishly motivated.

How do I know this? Because of what I see.

I see "christians" excusing behavior as the "lesser of two evils" to further their own agenda. I also see them lashing out violently at those they would call a brother/sister in Christ simply because they disagree on who should run our country. I also see people threatening to end relationships over a difference of opinion. I mean....seriously?!?

People...THIS IS WHAT THE ENEMY WANTS!!! I'm sure that he is frequenting his diabolical laugh, as he dances around with glee every time someone who "claims" Christ opens their mouth in this way. He wants division. He wants dissension. He thrives when the Church takes their eyes off of their Savior and begins to tear down walls and throw ugly daggers within.

Church, please hear me....this has to stop.

The enemy knows that the best way to destroy something is from within. And we are falling like dim-witted prey right into his carefully constructed trap. So consider this your red flag.

You see, when our own agenda becomes front and center, we fall into the role of the enemy's pawn. Our goal should always be to make disciples for Jesus and to love like He did/does- not to push our own agenda and consequently alienate people from the Church. Every time we argue and tear one another down, we are fueling the fire for those who are already skeptical of this whole "Jesus thing". People see the fighting, the arguing, the name-calling (it's uncanny how adults mirror their junior high selves), and the absolute wretchedness that goes on. All it does it make them turn tail and run away faster than a kid who just poked a skunk.

So before you say/post anything, I beg of you to ask yourself these questions:

1. Is it necessary?
2. Will it point someone to Christ?
3. Will it do more harm than good?
4. Does it promote the love of Christ?

If you answer "no" to any of those questions....do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and don't say/post it. Just don't. Yes, it may be a huge struggle to keep your mouth shut. (Believe me I can relate.) But this whole thing is bigger than just you and I. Would you want to stand before God one day and try to explain why you felt the need to promote your agenda instead of reaching out to love those that He allowed His Son to be brutally murdered for? I'm thinking not. I know I don't.

So let's stop bickering and throwing virtual (or literal) punches and let's be the Church. Does that mean we all will agree on everything? Absolutely not. And actually, that can show the Gospel even more- if we agree to disagree in love. And when we disagree let's intentionally pray together- for our nation, for our leaders, and for each other. I guarantee you, that will have more positive affect than any other tactic.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Singing Hallelujah

So I heard a song on my Pandora station this morning. It's one of those songs that hits you out of nowhere like a kamikaze deer that runs into your car. 

The song was "Hallelujah" by Bethany Dillon. It's a beautiful song, but it's the chorus that really stuck out to me.

"Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
Help me to sing hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me
I'll choose to sing hallelujah"

Oh, God....I so desperately want that to be my heart. I want to be able to say that whatever comes...whatever is put in front of me....that I will sing hallelujah with confidence through it. But since I started this whole #honestymovement thing, I guess I should be completely truthful here...

That scares me.

Ok, so I have been down this road before...and that has been my heart cry as I've walked through some really tough stuff. But to be totally truthful, there are things that could happen that are a whole lot scarier to me then what I've already experienced. Now I'm not some hypocondriatic crazy person that dwells on all the "what ifs". But people, I have see close friends and family walk through some really tough doors and it has left me questioning myself at times with:

"Could I cling to my faith like that?"

"What would I do if that was me?"

There's are days where I don't like the answers that come floating back. The uncertainty is terrifying. And if my faith was in anything else....that would be my final answer.

But praise God it's not.

Sweet friends...I'm SO grateful that my faith is in the One True God....and that no matter what life throws at me....He won't leave me. There may be times that He allows things that feel like it's more than I can handle. But that's when I need to recognize my incredible need for Him. He will not abandon me. He won't abandon you either. After all, He paid an unmatchable price for you and I. He won't ever let go because His love for us is greater than anything else in this world.

But why don't we hear of this type of honesty more often? When did this false standard develop that says that in order for you to be a Christ follower, you have to have it all together/you're not allowed to doubt/you have to slap on a happy face and quote cheesy "christianese" and pretend that everything is fine???  You know, there are times in this journey that a mustard-seed sized faith is all we can muster. Life and circumstances can feel as if we are drowning and the pain is just too much to bear. But all we need to do is keep our eyes on our precious Savior. That's enough. He's enough. It's in those moments that we need to cry out to Him, immerse ourselves in truth, and cling to Him with all we have. And here's a newsflash for you: we can't do this on our own. We need Christ. So it's ok to admit that we don't have it all together....that our faith sometimes waivers in the storm....that sometimes the weight is too much. It's in those moments that our absolute desperate need for Christ is radiated. We just need to recognize it and lean into Him. 

We, as the Church, have the opportunity to be His hands and feet when our brothers/sisters are suffering. We need to be watchful for it. Intentional. We need to come alongside (and sometimes help carry) and run a stretch of this life journey together. 

And you know what? It's because of all that, that I can know with confidence that whatever comes...I can sing hallelujah. Sometimes my hallelujah may be shaky, messy, and weak. But that's why my heart cry is "help me to sing hallelujah". I know that no matter what comes, good or bad, I can't do it without Him. I'm so thankful for His grace and that He cares more than I could ever imagine. 


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Honesty. Wait...what???


That's a word that has become subjective in our culture. I feel like it has become a thing of the past...a foreign concept, if you will. Allow me to explain.

Social media. Need I say more??? This is the epitome of dishonesty. I mean, come on, all of us have that picture-perfect photo of the family that you desperately wanted that makes you look like the all-american happy family. You know the one- where everyone's smiling lovingly at one another even though seconds before it was all, "you need to smile or else.....stop picking your nose and eating it......don't hit your sister with that.....look like you love each other!!!" Yeah...that one.

Or the before and after pictures of your completed DIY project that gets like 1,000 likes and makes you look like an expert DIYer. Except that the whole story is that you started it, screwed it up, started it again, screwed it up yet again, proceeded to throw stuff at it and yell and scream, took a deep breath and attempted it yet a third time where you had mild success. And then you used Instagram to edit the photo so it looked better than it looks in person. Yeah...that one.

Or the endless amount of photos of all the things you do each day successfully- making it look like you have it all together. When really you post those because the truth is too ugly to even admit.

That's just on social media. I haven't even addressed honesty face-to-face.

How many of us, when asked "How are you?", automatically respond with "Fine."??? Every. Single. Time. Even if we are barely holding it together.

And don't even get me started on the leadership of our country. But the most ironic thing is, is that we KNOW they are lying....they KNOW that we KNOW that they are lying....yet they still do it....and we allow it. Conundrum.

So...why? Why do we shy away from honesty? Why would we rather stick our heads in the sand of delusion than let people in on our reality?


Fear trumps everything else. We fear being judged, shunned, bullied, pointed at,....exposed.

Do you know what's interesting though? Fear is nothing new. In fact, it started way back in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve chose to believe the lie of the enemy and after acting on it- fear entered into the world. They feared God's response to their sin so much that they tried to hide from Him. And the cycle has continued for generations since.

But now, instead of fearing God, we fear man. We are more afraid of someone else's opinion of us, that we cower to the demands of our culture. We don't dare even comprehend letting down our guard or facade because then people will see our junk and the dance will be over.

But is that really a bad thing?

I mean, keeping up appearances is exhausting isn't it?? Live any sort of lie long enough and it will zap any energy you have left in you. But what if we could be liberated from that? What if we were.....honest??

I know, crazy right? But what if we were? What if alongside of our social media posts we included the "real story" behind the photo? What if we opened up about our struggles with those around us? What would that look like?


You see, if we stop fearing man and start living for God instead, radical things happen. Now I'm not saying that you have to air your dirty laundry with everyone you cross paths with...please don't. That would be just...awkward. But let's stop living a fake life and start sharing our struggles along with our joys. Did you know that most people have junk they are dealing with too? What if you are dealing with the same thing someone else is but you both feel like you're alone in it?? Guess what? YOU'RE NOT!! But we have to be willing to be vulnerable in order for this to work. And it has to start somewhere.

So I will break the ice and be honest first. (Which if you've read previous posts of mine, you'll know I've already got that ball rollin'...) But here it goes:

-I hate mornings. I sleep in almost every morning. I'm not pleasant when I wake up in the morning. Fact. Basically....don't ask me anything until I've ingested at least 3/4 of my coffee.
-I don't make my kids breakfast every morning. They are old enough to make their own. So they do. They don't starve. They don't feel less loved. They are actually learning to be independent...which is the point of parenting really. So, you're welcome kids.
-I love watching TV/movies. Yep...I do. In fact, there are days that I would love nothing more than to lay in bed all day and do nothing else but that. True story. Not ashamed.
-I'm not great at cleaning. I have cobwebs...I rarely wash my windows....I don't mop my floor as much as I should. Truth.
-I don't have all the answers and sometimes I get angry at God. (GASP) And you know what? That's ok. God CREATED emotions. He gets it. Besides...we ALL get angry at Him sometimes. If you say you don't...you're lying. And news flash...He knows it all anyways. Just because I'm angry doesn't mean it changes my faith at all. I don't always understand what He is doing and that frustrates me sometimes. But I always get over myself and He's really good at being patient when I'm throwing a tantrum.

So that's a start. I've decided that I'm not afraid of honesty anymore because the chances that it can help someone are much more worth my exposure than the risk of judgement. So I hope you will join with me in this "honesty movement". Let's be real with one another. And let's use it to openly share the Gospel. Because you know what? Showing our weaknesses actually make Christ and His grace radiate even more brightly. I pray wholeheartedly that through our brokenness, He is glorified.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Forced Irrigation

My family and I live on an organic crop farm. I didn't grow up on a farm though. In fact, I was far from being a "farm girl" (My husband would argue that I still am!). However, I've learned a lot from being submersed in farm country. Granted, I still have much to learn, but I have picked up on some things.

One of those things is the importance of hydration. I know, I know....rocket science, right? I'm aware that everyone knows this simple fact. I did too, even before I moved here. But the thought entered my mind, this morning, thinking specifically about how grateful I am that we haven't had to worry about irrigating our crops. We've almost had too much rain this year. But I do have family members, that are farmers out west, that often have to irrigate their farms. Rain doesn't always come when they need it to, so they are forced to irrigate. 

I thought about that. Forced irrigation. If you don't do it, you run the risk of losing your crops. Water is vital for the survival of whatever you are trying to produce. It's not optional...it's pertinent.

I then was reflecting on this recent season in my life, which has been difficult. And not in a way that I anticipated either. 

One of my favorite songs is by Hillsong United entitled "Oceans". There's a section in the song that says this:

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior"

That's a really bold statement if you think about it. When you sing that, you're asking God to lead you somewhere that will test your faith. I really pondered that, after hearing this song. Earlier this summer, I made that my heart's cry. Because I want to know Him in ways that I never have before. I even sensed that there may be something big and even ominous coming a couple months ago and began to brace myself for what that may bring.

But I didn't expect this.

Friends, I've battled cancer (multiple times), we've been through job loss, we lost our home, death of loved ones, etc.

But this....this is different.

What is it? Menopause.

Now you may laugh. I would've....before. But now that I'm in it, I realize why women dread this. I'm sure it would've been bad enough on it's own, but add to it the fact that it was chemically induced and you open up a whole new can of worms. I'm 33 years old (pretty sure...it's hard to remember these days) and am forcibly undergoing a massive change that affects every. single. part. of my being. We are talking physical, emotional, and even spiritual. It's my own personal hell. (Pardon my french but there's no better way to describe it.)

Allow me to give you a tiny glimpse into what I mean. Things may appear to be fine. But without warning, I can go from feeling like I can conquer the world to being bed-ridden, feeling like I'm going to die- with the snap of my fingers. And that's just the tip of it.

I didn't expect this.

This is not what I braced myself for. I thought for sure it was going to be something else. But not this.

God is definitely taking me "deeper than my feet could ever wander". The worst part has been the emotional and spiritual battle that takes place continually.

You see, I came out of a season of growth and closeness with my Savior. I experienced Him in new ways this last spring/summer...and it was absolutely amazing. I know now though, that He was prepping me for what was to come.

Now I'm in a season where there are days that I can barely crack open my Bible. It's not all the time...but it's more than I would want it to be. But this morning, a thought hit me.

Forced irrigation.

When we are in these dry seasons- where it seems like our soul is parched almost to the point of death- we need forced irrigation.

Our emotions lie to us sometimes- especially when you know that something is "broken". Mine have been lying to me a lot lately. So it's even more important to immerse myself in His presence....even if I feel like I don't want to.

Music has been an incredible blessing to me, especially in these moments. When I don't have the strength to read His words to me....I hear them in song. And even though relief may not immediately come, I continue to expose and root myself in truth. It's sort of along the lines of the "fake it 'till you make it" mentality.

I KNOW that if I force myself to hear truth it WILL nourish my depleted soul. And it does :)

So sweet friend...if you're walking a similar dry path, forcibly immerse yourself in truth! It will satisfy your soul even before you realize it :) And remember that this is only a season. It will change and you will know Him in a way you didn't before. I'm thankful for that...even if I don't feel like it right now.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" 1 Cor.12:9

Monday, October 3, 2016

A sweet find!

So I know this is not a "normal" type post for me, but I really wanted to share my fun find with you all! I was invited to try this thing called "StitchFix" recently. I have to admit, I was incredibly skeptic at first. The thought of buying clothes online was terrifying to me. I always have to try stuff on, so I thought for sure this would be a complete bomb. However, the outcome truly surprised me!

Basically, you fill out this profile and a stylist picks out 5 items, based on what they think you would like, and they send them to you. You try on what they sent, keep the things you loved, and send back the things you didn't. You are only charged for the things you kept then.

Even though I was very hesitant, I decided to give 'er a whirl anyway. Although 95% of this whole process was shockingly positive, there were a couple things that I would have to categorize in the "con" column. Allow me to explain.

-I got to design a Pinterest board of my dream closet :) (You can attach the board to your profile so they can see what you "pinned".)
-I got to schedule when I wanted my package. It was like Christmas morning when it came! So exciting!
-The stylist included things that I really would wear! I was shocked!
-The most shocking result....it ALL FIT!! I couldn't believe it! They nailed my size on the head!
-I didn't have to drag my children shopping with me. Bonus!
-The quality of the clothes was top notch.
-Even though I chose not to keep the jeans this time, they were a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I totally get why people buy designer. I just couldn't do it this time.

-The items were a bit on the pricey side for me. Now, hear me out. I am cheap when it comes to clothes. I LOVE clothes...but love a bargain just as much ;) These items were not outrageously priced, as they were designer clothes I believe. I was actually surprised at how affordable they really were. For example, the shirt I kept was priced in the $30 range. Not bad. I'm just cheap lol.
-They sent me 2 of the same style shirt. I was a little disappointed that the variety wasn't there, but they ask for feedback and give an option for that as well! So I'm confident my next box will be different :)

Here's the shirt I kept:

I really like it and have worn it several times already! 

So all in all, yes I will do it again sometime! Hoping it's soon! If you're interested, here's a link for you to get started. 


So I know this isn't my normal type of encouragement...but hey...every girl needs a little something for herself sometimes, right? And men....they do it for you too! Plus it could be a great gift for someone! I mean everyone loves mail, right?? ;) I hope your experience is as good as mine! Happy "Stitching"!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Roller Coasters

If the song "roller coasters of love....roller coaster ooh ooh ooh" just popped into your head...you lived through the 90s ;)

I love roller coasters. The thrill of losing your stomach up to your neck is addicting. I absolutely love it. Not the spinny rides though. No way...no how...uh-uh. Yuck. But roller coasters...yes. Love.

However...(you sensed that coming, didn't you?) I do NOT enjoy "emotional roller coasters". You know the kind...the ones that make you feel like someone should bust out the straight jacket and commit you?? They rate right up there with the spinny rides. They rival being laid up with the disgusting, gut-wrenching flu. In fact, I'd RATHER be laid up with the flu then be on the "Horrific Hormone" ride of death. Seriously. At least you know the flu will end. Not so with this crazy ride.

Now...take that and add another massive layer to it called "menopause". Yep. Ladies...for those of you who have yet to enter this result of "the fall", it's as every bit as horrible as you've imagined. So fun...

For those of you who don't know, I battled cancer for 10 years off and on. (Another story for another day.) And the treatments that they give you to try and ward off the evil cancer really are the lesser of two evils....at the time. What they don't really tell you (because they don't honestly really know) is that the fun really kicks into high gear years after the treatments are over. It's because of that, that I am in the early stages of "the change". So awesome.

I know this post is dripping with cynicism, but that is part of the ride that I am on today. I believe in being honest (especially publicly because our culture isn't) so you're getting the raw uncut version.

The struggle has been particularly difficult, as of late. Not really sure why, but the symptoms have kicked into high gear the last couple months (there's way more than just the moods- my poor hubs ;) ).

So why post about this?

Because of what unfolded today.

Today was a particularly rough day. I had reached my limit. That's when a friend texted and I proceeded to verbally puke out my junk. I'm pretty sure "contemplating sending my kids to military school" was somewhere in the conversation....

And she did exactly what I needed.

She could've joined me in my "woe is me" moment or she could've said "you're ridiculous." But she didn't.

She told me what I needed to hear.

She pointed me to Christ.

She reminded me that I'm not enough on my own- that's why I need Christ and to press into Him.


It always comes back to Him and my (our) incredible and desperate need for Him. He IS enough so I don't need to be. When I feel like this ride is too much to handle, it should be a reminder of how much I need Him.

So this roller coaster....it's actually a blessing. I know, I know....sounds crazy, right? But it's true. It took the gentle reminder from a sweet friend to remove the fog from my glasses and see clearly. Will I need the reminder again? Yup. Definitely....because we humans have a crazy annoying way of forgetting. It's the same forgetfulness that plagued the Israelites from the beginning. We are no different. We forget...God reminds us...we press into Him...and all is right (until we forget again and start the whole process over!). Praise God for His mercy, forgiveness, and immeasurable patience!!

So...get yourself a "person" who will be that gentle reminder for you. Everyone needs them. That's why God gave us the Church. As imperfect and broken as it is, it's necessary for this crazy journey we call life. Grab your person and invite them onto your crazy roller coaster. Chances are they're on the same one anyways ;)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Cleaning my window....

I hate cleaning windows. It may be my least favorite household chore. So...confession....I rarely do it. In fact, we've been in our house almost 2 1/2 years and I just cleaned my first window today. Yup. Gross I know.

I had good intentions. Really I did. Every spring I would say "I should really clean those." And every spring they would sit.

But finally today I said enough was enough. So I cleaned them. Well...two of them anyway. Lol.

What was amazing to me was how dirty they were. (Insert eye roll and "duh" here from all of you.)
But you don't really notice how dirty they are until you go to clean them. I got used to the dirt. And after a while it just became normal.

How many of us allow things like this to happen in our own lives? And I'm not just talking about windows here. How many times do we allow sin into our lives, maybe even something that isn't "that bad", and excuse it or shove it under the rug?

We think: "Oh it was just one time." or "It wasn't really that bad."

But then one time turns into another, which turns into another, which then sticks to you like a bad habit.

Friends, we have to fight against that. The enemy wants nothing more than to bring you over to his side. He will use any means to do it. And let me tell you, he's good at it.

So for the sake of honesty, I will share my struggle here...publicly....like standing naked in Times Square. Gulp...

I struggle with laziness. Now I know that some of you, that know me, may be surprised by that (then again maybe not haha!). But it's true. It's become a bigger struggle in the recent years too. Most afternoons we have a "quiet time" for personal reading time, followed by a little bit of screen time. I will admit there are days that I just let them watch until late afternoon (gasp!). Not everyday...but sometimes. And honestly, it's mainly because I don't want to deal with stuff. When I get overwhelmed, stressed, or exhausted, I shut down. It's easier that way. Sometimes, I will let it happen for a few days in a row. Then I find myself saying those exact things I posted above...."Oh it was just one time..." or "It's not really that big of a deal."

Sure, a "mental health" day is fine every now and then. In fact, I think it's healthy! But when I use it to shut out what's going on just because I don't want to "adult", it's not.

It's so tempting for me to allow this struggle to continue because the season of life I'm in can be difficult. It's my way of dealing with it, I guess. But you know what? I'm leaning into myself to "cope" not my Savior. He wants me to press into Him in the good, the big struggles, and the little struggles.

I love what the Psalmist says in Psalm 63:8 "My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me."

We need to cling to our Savior at all times. He is the immovable unshakeable rock that will sustain us with everything we need.

So what windows do you need to wash? Is there an area of your life that needs to be exposed and washed by Jesus? It sounds scary to let people in on your "junk"...but it's really not because we all struggle with something. So feel free to join me in the "nakedness of Times Square" place. You're not alone! And besides...Jesus already knows your junk anyways. He's waiting for you to unload, repent, and allow Him to take over. It's really freeing when you do. So let's cling to our Savior together :)

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I'm simply horrified and completely heart-broken over what I am seeing unfold in our country. Not only does the senseless violence, ridiculous racism, and deeply-rooted hatred make me sick, but it's the divisiveness among Christians that lands the gut-wrenching blow.

What is going on here?? Why are we even arguing?? We should be grieving for the lives lost and affected, reaching out to friends and loved ones who need us, and on our knees in prayer. Instead I see messages raging across social media oozing with hatred and attempts to justify every single event that has taken place.

Lives were lost. THAT should grieve us as it grieves our sweet Savior! Life is precious. We, mankind....ALL races/shapes/sizes, were created in the image of our Creator. ANYTIME a life is taken, no matter what the reason, it should touch our soul in the way that it does the Giver of Life. If we ever get to the point where a lost life doesn't sadden us in any way shape or form...well...God help us.

Our souls are the only thing that is eternal here. Are we sad that the ones that died possibly may never have heard the Gospel?? Are we more concerned about how we can show Jesus through this than justice?? What gets your blood pumping more- arguing back and forth about racism, justice, inequality, etc? Or realizing the fact that hell may have possibly gained another soul...for eternity??? I can tell you what our world is seeing that Christians care more about....

God forgive us....

When are we going to stop sitting back on our laurels up on our religious pedestals and be the Church?!? Stop arguing with others about worldly things. Yes, injustice, racism, inequality, etc is disgusting!! I hate it too! But when does arguing about it change anything?!? All it does is fuel the fire. Us arguing about whether or not an action was justified WILL NOT do anything except make the gap bigger. So stop it. Just stop it.

Instead, let's do what the Church should be doing. Love. Love your neighbor...even if you don't like him. Love those who are similar to you and incredibly different from you. Just love.

Reach out. Let friends/family know how sorry you are to see them going through this. Ask how you can help. If there's nothing you can do, you can pray. We should all be doing that anyways.

And let's stop the arguing. Let's do what James says in James 1:19 "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;". If the Church started living as Christ wants us to live, showing Him to others, and seeing each other for their souls not their skin, things could look radically different here. When we start living like "all souls matter", you can bet that will impact our world.

So will you? Let's do it together. Let's live like #allsoulsmatter.

Monday, September 19, 2016

An Opportunity for Grace

My daughter is in her first year of band this year. For those of you who have never had a child learn an instrument...be grateful. And a huge shout-out goes to my blessed parents who survived two children who both learned multiple instruments. Bless you.

Actually, (mom brag moment here) my daughter is doing pretty well. She picked the trumpet (complete shock to me) and I was bracing myself for the worst. But it really hasn't been that bad. I'm proud of her that she's taking the initiative to learn something. She comes from a musical family, on both sides, so it's really not all that surprising I suppose.

Anyways, today was band day. Now because I homeschool, I have to take her in and bring her home from her short lesson twice a week. On those days, we have to alter our schedule a bit to fit that in, but so far so good. We went in today, I dropped her off and then proceeded to head to town to do a quick errand. But then I got a phone call about halfway into town from her, saying that there was no band today.

Hmm...I didn't get an email...no phone call...and no one seemed to know why it was cancelled. I turned around, picked her up, drove back into town, and then headed home.

There were two different reactions that I could've had for this circumstance. I could've:

1. Got really frustrated and angry that I drove all the way into town for nothing (we live out in the country) and sulked all the way home about the waste of time and gas....(and change nothing btw)


2. Showed grace.

How many times do we allow little things or mistakes of others to irritate us? I'm sure we can all think of a time when someone has let us down either intentionally or unintentionally. And I know we can all recall something, which was really insignificant in the big scheme of things, that got under our skin and caused us to lose our cool. Why does this happen?

Well...it's because we are selfish sinful people. Plain and simple. Our natural tendency is to put our own selves and agendas first and foremost. When something or someone inconveniences us or forces us to change our plans (even on a very minor scale) we become agitated and often birth a reaction from that.

But what if we didn't?

What if, instead, we showed grace? What would that look like? Would that change anything? I mean after all, you would want someone to extend grace to you when you screw up...so why not do the same for others yourself?

Well, I can't guarantee it would change your circumstance or even the other person's reaction...but it will change you and your heart. When we fight against our natural tendencies and extend grace, it does something to us. It allows the Holy Spirit to come in and soften our hearts. When we do that, guess what? Others notice....because that's NOT the norm.

It also brings joy. Frustration, anger, and hatred only produce more frustration, anger, and hatred. No one enjoys being angry all the time. It's uncomfortable, stressful, and hard on the soul and body.

I chose to extend grace today :) I admit, I had to fight my natural urge to be irritated. But choosing grace was so much better. I mean...how many times have I forgotten something?? (TOO many times...it's embarrassing really.)

Can you imagine what our world would look like if we gave grace more than we gave in to our natural reactions?? So why not look for opportunities to extend grace? You won't regret it :)