Grateful | To The One Who Came


I am grateful for a Savior who continues to invite me in; into this world happening all around me, full of heartache and triumph, and every single ordinary thing.

I am grateful for a Savior who died so that the souls of the ones rough-housing instead of sleeping in the room next to mine can know Eternal life.

I am grateful for a Savior whose Name is whispered through the trees outside my window in the heat of the summer and in the silent cool of the winter.

I am grateful for a Savior who came.

I am grateful for a Savior who isn’t confined to the borders of this land but is felt and known and seen and active even in the places yet to be discovered by the western world.

I am grateful for a Savior who is mightier and wilder than any ruler that has ever walked this earth, or ever will; no test or battle required for He has already accomplished greater victory than any one man will ever come close to achieving.

I am grateful for a Savior who invites me to soften my heart a little bit more as I stand outside their room with a stern look and an even stern-er still resolve; He is not too serious of a Savior, this One. At least not when it comes to grace.

I am grateful for a Savior who came.

I am grateful for a Savior who doesn’t need me because of any letters that might come after my name or any amount of years I might have studied, but rather who chooses the last and the least.

I am grateful for a Savior who has taught me how to bow low and admit my wrongs, and in doing so has never neglected to tip my face up to His and remind me of just one more thing I’m forgiven for.

I am grateful for a Savior who is doing far greater in and around and through me than I know, and who is full of enough grace to do so in spite of myself and my sin.

I am grateful for a Savior who came.

I’m grateful for this Savior who is mine.


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How's Your Sight? | Reflections from Luke 11

Whatever color you want to call them, if we’re not intentional and vigilant, we can throw these colored glasses on without even thinking twice. And this is where I want to talk about this thing that the Lord was so patient and purposeful in showing me, and in doing so reminding me that I have a choice in this.

“You need a light to see. Only an idiot would light a lamp and then put it beneath the floor or under a bucket. No, any intelligent person would put the lamp on a table so everyone who comes in the house can see. Listen, your eye, your outlook, the way you see is your lamp. If your way of seeing is functioning well, then your whole life will be enlightened. But if your way of seeing is darkened, then your life will be a dark, dark place. So be careful, people, because your light may be malfunctioning. If your outlook is good, then your whole life will be bright, with no shadowy corners, as when a radiant lamp brightens your home.” -Luke 11:33-36 | the Voice

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Looking To The Right Or Left | A Blog on Worship & The People Around Us

“My friend, this is what we were designed for. We were made to worship, the only problem is that we often worship those around us more than we worship the One who made us. There’s so much talk about the worship of other things, but maybe we need to start talking about how many of us are worshipping one another?

Through comparison, through envy, through striving to keep up with the Joneses, we are in many ways worshipping each other and they ways we believe we can be satisfied through relationships.”

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P E A C E & loss | A Blog for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

It passed without me realizing it, as it usually does. It’s been almost exactly 4 years since we went to that doctors appointment and saw nothing instead of something. I still remember the confusion on Thomas’ face… how do you understand everything and nothing all at the same time?

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I remember this girl above. Newly pregnant and so excited about the things to come. Sometimes I look at her and cringe a bit at the events that are about to unfold. If only she hadn’t gone on that road trip to Chicago. Maybe she wouldn’t have gotten that blood clot that might have caused her miscarriage. The thing with if only statements in that we see things one-sided. Had the events not unfolded as they did, would we have had our sweet Hazel? An answer I’ll never be able to find, but what I do know is that God works everything together for our good. And His. And He wanted Hazel to set her feet on the soil of this earth.

Then last year another loss, one unexpected in so many more ways than just the obvious. The pregnancy was a surprise; the loss left me utterly perplexed. What was it for, Lord? I guess we find those answers along the way, but we can’t let the answers be our destination. Our destination must always be closeness with Christ.


My grief has worn a lot of different shades over these last 4 years, and I imagine it will continue to change in the years to come. The mistake I’ve made is in thinking that I’ve finished grieving, or that I will one day. I’m thinking, today anyways, that if we ever got to a place where we were done grieving the things that cause us pain in this life, then we’d have no need for the peace of Christ.

I forgot I needed it for awhile.

Around Christmas time last year I went to a church service specifically for those grieving the loss of a loved one. I went for my grandma, and I realized not too far into it that I was really there for my babes. I was recognizing the places in me that had yet to accept their swift journey Home. Maybe this was the cause for the anxiety always on the rise inside of me?

My pregnancy with Hazel was full of depression and anxiety, which was odd because I felt the best I’ve ever felt when I carried Malachi. I didn’t know a person could become depressed during pregnancy, and unfortunately I had to learn that in real-time. And then that anxiety never really went away. Like my grief, it just sort of took on another shade, and I learned how to live amongst it. But it was always there, creeping up on me and doing a dang good job of sounding convincing.

Amidst a hurricane of anxiety and fear this week, the Lord kindly called my attention to Philippians 4:6-7:

“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.”

I don’t know the answer to this anxiety that has come upon me since the loss of our first babe other than it comes when I saturate my life with prayer each. and. every. day. His peace was there in that doctors office. And on that phone call. And in that hospital room. And as we faced one another and soaked our pillows with tears.

What I know is He is good. And that His peace is a promise He will always keep.

There's a peace far beyond all understanding
May it ever set my heart at ease
What anxiety fails to remember is peace is a promise You keep
Peace is a promise You keep

-Peace | Hillsong Young & Free



To that girl down there who was about to enter into a kind of heartbreak she’d never known before, what I know to be true is that God will be faithful. He sees you, He loves you, and He is already working everything out in a way that will leave you feeling the unexplainable peace and contentment that only He can give.

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To every person out there who is living their days as the “1” they refer to in the 1 in 4 who will experience miscarriage or infant loss, your story and their little life, is immeasurably valuable. I’m grateful for a God who is still good, even through life’s greatest hurts.

Reflections From Acts 9 | The Unmentioned Aspects of Conversion

You know that Enneagram train everyone is riding these days? Yep. I’m on it. Maybe it’s because I am unashamedly curious about all the ways I can get better at being Laura, or maybe it’s because I weirdly like having spelled-out before me the areas that I am weak and need improving. Whatever the reason, the Enneagram has me hooked and I want to know everyone’s number and talk about all the ways we can become the best versions of ourselves. (For those dying to know… I’m a 9 ;) )

What’s crazy about the Enneagram is that the belief behind the system is that we take on the version of ourselves that we are as adults when we are children. So it’s not necessarily that we were born this way, but rather that life circumstances and choices forced us to put on a certain self as a coping mechanism or a way of navigating our own little worlds, and thus we became the people we are today.

It’s fascinating to me just how influential our surroundings are in the people we become. Where we lived, who we spent our time with, the kinds of food, music, and activities we consumed—it all weaves together the tapestry that is each individual person.

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Our surroundings shape the pages that write the beginnings of our lives.

I wonder at the details of Paul’s surroundings early on in his life. (Or Saul, rather, at that point in time.) The book of Acts tells us that he was a severe man, with a fiery intentionality for whatever he set out to do. In the case of the early church, Saul set out to persecute and rid the world of all those who claimed to be followers of Jesus Christ.

Later on, after his conversion, he tells us that he was as straight as they came in terms of his Hebrew heritage and way of living. Not only did he dot every “i” and cross every “t”, he did it better than all the rest. So the pride, and social status that fueled his actions was likely of astronomical proportions (Acts 22:1-5).

In his circle, he was doing all the right things.

And then Jesus Christ, the One Saul had devoted all of his time, energy, and resources to slander, intersects his life in a blinding way, and everything in Saul’s life turns upside down.

[You can read the story of the road to Damascus in Acts 9:1-18. What I want to point out are the days following this miraculous conversion.]

Verse 19 of chapter 9 tells us that,

He spent a lot of time with the disciples in Damascus over the next several days.”

As I read that I wondered, what about all the guys he was traveling with, all on their way to persecute believers in Damascus? Paul had made a HUGE decision to follow Jesus. And he didn’t do it privately so that no one in his regular life knew about it. He was baptized and proceeded to then spend all of his time with those he had intended to kill.

What did his friends think? His family? His boss? The other Jewish believers who saw him as a wise and powerful man “on their side”?

He had ditched his comrades and the life he lived before that moment he met Jesus, and the word spread quickly.

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.” (Acts 9:20-22 | NIV).

Paul had “everything to lose” and yet he knew that he had, in fact, gained everything the moment he gave his life to Christ. People were dumbfounded that this man was now living for the One with whom he had devoted his life to wiping out. As I read this, I am floored by the reality that we as believers live our lives so ashamed of this incredible gift we have been given. We try to hide from a watching world the eternal life and salvation we have been given through Christ Jesus, our Lord.

There is so much we can learn from Paul—God knew the tenacity with which this man would get after anything he was passionate about, so He made sure Paul would be passionate about His Son.

Couldn’t that be true of you and I, too?

He knows the exact way He wants to use you and your commitment to Christ to influence your surroundings. He knows the head-strong people you work with, or share a family name and genetics with. He knows the story of your past and all the ways people like to define you by it. He knows where you’ve been and He knows where you’re going. And He wants His Name to be what defines your life from here on out.

So don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of who you were or who they are. Perfect love drives out fear, and His love in you and for you and through you is perfect. He knows how to wash-white your past, He knows how to supply your every present need, and He knows how to lovingly navigate your future, so that His Name would be made great through your passionate love of His Son.

So can you and I be like Paul, and run head-long towards the One from which we have been given true and lasting LIFE? Can we cease caring about how life will go on for those around us, and start leaning in and doing life with those who are devoted to Jesus, trusting that He will use our stories to speak to the hearts of those who have influenced us before we met Christ?

It wasn’t easy for Paul, at first. But he pressed on, and was given an advocate—someone to encourage him, guide him, and support him on his journey towards complete devotion to Christ. RPromise me you’ll read the rest of the story—it can be found here. If you are new to your faith, like Paul was here, find yourself a Barnabas. If you can’t, then pray with boat-loads of faith that God would bring you one. His heart is not for you to do this life of faith alone, so broaden your vantage point and start looking to places you’ve never looked before. I promise you, you’ll find your Barnabas.

What could happen to this lost and lonely world if we all turned and followed like Paul did? Lord, would you do this again in each one of our lives; that Your church would grow and the lost would be found in Jesus.

Giving Myself Up to God's Plan

But that’s not what Jesus says in Mark 8.

Because I don’t want to follow you, or you, or you. I want to follow Jesus. And He makes it pretty clear that if He is to be my Lord, then I need to get over my own ideas about what my life should (or could) look like, and relent to His plan—His way—not because He is a Lord who withholds, but one who gives in abundance. In an age where we follow people all the time, I believe there needs to be a major revival in our understanding of what it is to have a Lord. We need to look at what Jesus is not saying in this verse in Mark 8—He isn’t saying that we get all the benefits of salvation while getting to keep our lives as we think they should be. Give ourselves up to God’s plan. Take up our crosses. Follow HIM. We need to do as the disciples did and throw it all away to go where He is going and do what He is doing.

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Reflections From Mark 5 | That Woman Who Dared To Believe

We're adjusting to a new normal over here these days. With M now away at school most days, I find myself actually free to do some of the things I regularly tuck away in the back of my mind and never find time to dig out again. Really, by "some" things I mean one: writing.

Another activity that's been quietly beckoning my attention again is journaling--the lack of which leaves me feeling embarrassed and exasperated. Who has time to journal? My abide time so easily turns into a quick read (or a long one) without the effort to process and pray through what He showed me. Man, I used to journal all the time, and I can see the shift in my heart and mind because I've neglected to make the effort. Dang.

It's funny, because for whatever reason (or an all too-intentional one) I've had this line from a video at church this last weekend constantly on my mind. Something to the affect of,

"I kept spending time with Jesus, and at first it was difficult and took a lot of effort, and then eventually it became natural and easy to be with Him."

I remember hearing that and thinking, "time with Jesus difficult? Pff! How could time with Jesus be difficult?" And then, not too soon to be embarrassing but soon enough to sting a little, I remembered just how painstakingly difficult it feels for me to journal.

Well geez.

So I guess this is why that line keeps hanging around. I, Laura, admit that it is difficult for me to spend time with Jesus with a pen in my hand and paper on my lap. Can't we just talk about it via my thoughts? That's so much more accessible to me when I've got to deal with H whining at me, demanding more cookies or cereal or Moana.

Turns out, one-sided dialogue via my scrambled thoughts isn't exactly amounting to a real relationship with my Lord. So today, after we sent the big boy off on the bus (which, for those wondering, is getting easier. K, you were all right.), I hunkered down on the couch with my Bible AND my journal, gave H some Sesame Street crackers for breakfast (#winning at this mom thing) and dove back into Mark 5, where I left off yesterday.

I made it a whole 2 verses before I had a thought cross my mind that I just had to journal about. Two pages later, I had processed through this crazy cool revelation of who Christ is. (And if you want, I'll share that one with you.) Then I made it a whole ZERO verses down through that story because the story within the story caused me to stop and write AGAIN (for Pete's sakes, Lord let Hazel be eerily pleased with these crackers and Moana in the background because I can't stop now!). And this is what I want to share with you today.

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We know her. The bleeding woman. This woman, for a long season of my life, gave me so much comfort, because I felt like she would've known my own pain well. She bled for 12 years. I bled for 5. Maybe if she had been sick during our time of medical advancement, she wouldn't have suffered for quite as long. Regardless, she was a woman who had been forced to define her life by her body and how it was failing her. She didn't know how to control it. She spent everything she had to try to fix it. She was cast out because of it. She was a desperate woman, left with an out-of-her-control body, and if I were a betting gal, I'd put money on her slowly losing a grip on the woman she was before this all began.

She was the bleeding woman.

Many of us have our own version of this story. The thing that happened to us that was out of our control, and has therefore become our identity. Disease, abuse, circumstances out of your control, born into a seemingly inescapable world of sin. So much of life is about what's happening around us, and if we don't intentionally find our identity in the One who made us, we will identity with that which is the easiest to claim.

You may come from a family of addicts, but your identity in Christ is that of adopted child of the King.

You may have been wronged physically, emotionally, or verbally, but your identity is one rescued by the One True Victor, Jesus Christ.

You may have a body that seemingly "fails" you every day, resistant to your efforts to find health and answers. But your identity is found in your Heavenly realities--that this life and this body is not your own, but for the telling of the story of the Gospel that says you aren't Home yet, and if this failing body is the vehicle that takes you there, then hallelujah amidst the pain and sorrow.

We all relate to the bleeding woman in some way. Which is why I can't not tell you what He showed me this morning.

Jesus is on His way, with His disciples and a man named Jairus, to see Jairus' daughter. Mark specifically tells us that there were people pressing into Jesus on all sides. And there's this woman, with this faith that could barely be contained inside her weak body, who believes that if she can at least touch His cloak, she will be healed. Scripture tells us in Mark 5:29, "As soon as her fingers brushed His cloak, the bleeding stopped. She could feel that she was whole again."

First of all--brushed His cloak--for goodness sakes she didn't even have to GRAB ONTO His cloak and she was healed. Immediately this disease that not only consumed her body physically, but changed every single aspect of her life, was gone. Amidst a crowd of people all around her, the most incredible thing that would ever happen to her in her lifetime, took place. And here's the clincher:

Had Jesus not stopped and asked a question (one I believe He very well knew the answer to) no one would've known it.

"He stopped. Everyone stopped. He looked around.

'Who just touched My robe?'"

God is omniscient--all-knowing--so this question is really for the benefit of everyone else. In the tizzy of people following Him to watch Him do the thing they had all heard He could do, which was bring someone back from the dead, He caused them all to stop. 

I find what the Disciples did next to be entertaining, mostly because it's what many of us do in the church all the time. Amidst the likely awkward silence, the disciples offer up a little bit of that holy common sense that we are all-too good at giving.

They had to remind Him that the crowd was thick, so obviously someone had touched Him. What's with the question then, boss?

"But Jesus waited" (vs 32)

He didn't answer them. He waited. He looked for her. He knew her, and He waited for her to have the courage to step out and grab hold of that which had been done for her.

"At last, the woman--knowing He was talking about her--pushed forward and dropped to her knees. She was shaking with fear and amazement."

You know that feeling--when the Spirit is like, "Hey, I'm picking you to share. I'm not going to stop tapping your shoulder until you open your mouth and start talking!" Jesus just waited. No amount of common sense observations from His disciples would cause Him to let this moment pass by. This woman needed to proclaim what He had done for her. 

For her benefit and for theirs.

As I journaled through this I wondered 2 things:

1) How many others had received their own silent miracle at the touch of Jesus? Had He not paused, this woman's story would've gone undocumented. So who else received a new life, a new identity, simply at His touch?

2) Had she not voiced her miracle, would she have truly moved forward made-whole? When you find your identity in your circumstances for years on end, how do you suddenly stop slapping that label on yourself? How would she, in a place where physical illness made her unclean and unable to be in certain places and around certain people, have gone on healed and whole, without somehow letting others see it for themselves? I believe Jesus knew this. I believe He knew her propensity to throw that label back on herself, and I believe He knew the likelihood of others continuing to shun her despite this miraculous healing. And so He called her out. He made her talk.

And because of it, countless people have been spurred on to have faith like that of the bleeding woman. I sure wish I knew her name, because even now it seems unfitting to identity her with what no longer suits her.

There are people who are longing for a story of faith to help spur them on in their own journey... dare I say, your story. I believe that Jesus pauses and waits for each of us to open our mouths and to tell those around us of the miracles He is doing in our lives. Where is He showing us our freedom and redemption? Where is He fighting our battles for us? Where is He bringing peace despite our pain?

He waits for you to come forward. And He'll wait as long as it takes.

Verse 34 is the cherry on top, in my opinion: "Daughter, you are well because you dared to believe. Go in peace, and stay well." Oh how He knows our tendency to go backwards, even if it's back into illness or sin. So He sends her off with peace and the command to keep her feet firmly planted on this new ground He has given her.

Phew. What an incredible insight into such a special story. My prayer is that we would never assume we know the stories of Jesus. We just simply don't. God is far too intentional to ever be fully known, even in the retelling of His time here on earth by mere men. 

Go tell your story. Step forward and let the world around you know who this Jesus is that you call your Lord! Let Him get His glory.


Lord, keep my eyes ever-open to who You are. Let me never assume that I know You "well-enough". And give me the courage to come forward in the crowds and tell of what You have done for me.

A Fraudulent Writer

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Or maybe that you got a little ahead of yourself in an area of "expertise" and then you blinked and all of a sudden you're way over here when where you really belong is back over there?

That's how I feel today. With writing. It feels like I said some lovely and inspiring words, got more compliments than I maybe should have, and wound up way over here in this place where I stand, believing I can write books and teach people and merit some sort of anticipation from others of what I might do next.

What a fraud. 

Because what people aren't aware of is the anxiety I feel about posting something worth your while. The dread I feel when I check back to see that no one has read what I wrote. The pit in my stomach as the days pass by and I have nothing to show for my writer-self. People don't see me sitting there in those few quiet moments, with a blank stare and an even blank-er brain space, with nothing inspiring, or even mildly thought-provoking, coming to mind to place out there in the world.

A fraud who's got nothin.

I was sitting here today, on this beautiful, blustery summer afternoon, with a babysitter at home and my computer in front of me, ready to write. Ready to do this thing. Because that's what I always say, isn't it? "The problem is I can't get time away from my kids." No, the problem is I'm not the writer I think I am. On the verge of giving up, I began to look through photos to see if there was one I could post on social media, because I'm losing ground on my posting timeframe in order to keep followers and stay attractive to all of you people. So I'm scrolling and nothing is clicking and then this:

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This is me midway through the most difficult hike I've ever done;

and THIS is the writer I am.

Doing the hardest thing I'll ever do in my life--obediently walking into something I know I am too inadequate to do.

Turns out I was a bit confused because the writer I thought I was looked more like this:

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Radiant, backlit, and full of the kind of effortless grace that makes you utter the movie title, "How Does She Do It". 

But I guess that's the sad reality, isn't it? We're all depending on God to get us to that place where we can take over and press on without Him; to that place of finally being self-sufficient. It's true. 

Jen Wilkin has written a book that is turning my world upside down. Don't walk, but run and get yourself a copy because it will right so many wrongs on how you view God. On self-sufficiency she says, 

"But we humans are remarkably needy, a reality we are eager to conquer or conceal... we love autonomy and view dependance as a sign of failure, a flaw of some kind, a lack of proper planning or ambition. Christians, in particular, can interpret physical, financial, or spiritual need as a sign that God has removed his blessing from us because of some failure on our part... We turn from God-worship that should have resulted from seeing our need to the self-worship of believing we, like God, are self-sufficient. God, in his infinite wisdom, created us to need him. And he also created us to need each other... We are not needy because of sin; we are needy by divine design." (pgs 62-63)

And so the sun-lit, effortlessly beautiful Laura meets the sweat-soaked, panting Laura, and the winner in God's eyes, by a landslide, is the desperate one, clinging hard to Him.

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So I guess I'm a dependent writer. A writer going through the unending process of sanctification. A writer who might not ever be back-lit but will always be pouring forth (worthwhile words) from a place of complete reliance on God. Jen also writes, "Sanctification is the process of learning increasing dependance, not autonomy." So a being-sanctified-writer, I am. While the words may sound lovely, the appearance of one such writer is not. At least not to your eyes or mine.

But what could be more lovely than fulfilling the call He has placed on your life from a space of complete desperation? We are so quick to dabble in the things we know we are good at; but I bet He has a long list of things He'd love to see you try, simply because He knows you will desperately need Him to do so.

"The kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit. Its king meets us and saves us, not in our self-sufficiency, but in our lack. Blessed are those who need. And most blessed is he who supplies all our needs according to his riches in glory. (Phil 4:19)" -Jen Wilkin | None Like Him


What is He calling you to, dear one? Will you follow, even through the sweating and panting and chatter to just give up already? He is worthy. Oh, He is worthy.

To Proclaim in the Bright Light of Day

Earlier this week I had the privilege of teaching two different groups of women from our church straight out of the book of Matthew. Typically when I teach I am given the curriculum and I take it before the Lord and ask Him to show me what it looks like from the lips of Laura. But this time I got to teach straight from my own time with the Lord.

Man was it fun.

And also extremely difficult. Because who am I to teach others from the Word of God? What credentials do I have after my name that merit me the opportunity to instruct others on what God's Word has to tell us? If I've learned anything from following Christ and learning from His time here with His disciples, He errs on the side of "lacking in training" when He chooses people to use, and in that regard I'm a great fit.

I feel compelled to transcribe this message for you, because it is one that really needs to be heard by anyone who spends any time at the feet of Jesus. I pray it packs the same "punch" as it did from the platform on Tuesday.


As you read this I encourage you to open your Bible to Matthew 10. (I pray you have confidence from the Spirit to engage in His Word knowing you have all that you need to understand what He wants to show you. May we never enter into any time in His Word fearful that we just don't get it. He is all we need to get what is written here.)

I have one of those letter boards in my living room. You know the ones--really trendy right now and went from being hard to find and crazy expensive to available in your local target store. Isn't that how things go? Anyways, moving on. On said letter board I have a verse from Matthew 10 that I found over a month ago and loved. It spoke to me, albeit not in it's fullness at the time, and I've loved having it in my home. But the day we were having our Global Team over for a reunion dinner, I felt like changing it. With the bustle of the day, I never got around to it, and lo and behold, it became a hot topic of conversation and encouragement that night with those in my living room.

Huh. I guess this verse IS really encouraging.

As I anticipated what to teach the women of my church in the week that followed, I found myself coming back to this verse again and again. So I went to the Scriptures and found a call to action I, and likely you too, desperately needed.

Hold tight though. We'll get to that call in a minute.

At the end of Matthew 9, we find Jesus with His disciples, having been healing and driving out, and restoring what was lost. His disciples have been witnessing and learning, and He has been likely blowing them away at every turn. In verse 36 we see Jesus taking in the crowds around Him, and feeling such compassion for their lostness. There is such a great need for what He has come to bring, and yet at this point there is only One who is able to do the work. He goes on in verse 37 to tell His disciples, "The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."

Translation: "Guys, do you see this great need around us? There are souls ripe for the hope found in Christ, but there are few who are bringing that hope to them. Pray for a solution. Ask the One who is over this great harvest to raise up those to do the work." -That's how I read it, anyways.

This is the beloved missionary verse. 

*NOTE TO THOSE WHO READ 2 CHAPTERS A DAY AND CALL IT GOOD* here is a perfect example of why you should explore the next chapter before you officially end your reading. If you end at chapter 9 and wait to go onto chapter 10, you miss the ironic and glorious part that happens next.

Matthew 10:1-2a- "Summoning His disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles..."

Did you catch it?

There's this problem. People need an encounter with Jesus Christ, and yet there is, at this point, only One who is able. Jesus tells them to pray for a solution. Then He gathers them and GIVES THEM THE VERY EQUIPPING THEY NEED TO BE THE ANSWER TO THEIR OWN PRAYERS. He gives them authority and a new title. They are no longer merely disciples but apostles with orders from the Messiah.

In the church we are encouraged to "fill the empty seats" and "grow community" and "invite our neighbors". And we pray, "Lord, encourage others to fill these empty seats and grow community and invite their neighbors!"

But what if you are equipped enough to be the answer to your own prayers? What if Jesus isn't asking them but He's asking you?

In verse 5 Jesus tells the apostles not to go to the lands that make the most sense to them. I imagine these men to have received this incredible authority to do the very things they've witnessed Jesus do, and then begin down a trail of thoughts about all of the far off lands that need this kind of power to intervene. But Jesus says, (my own paraphrase and assumption) "Those places that seem like they are the most lost? That's not where I'm sending you. I'm sending you to the people within My own house--I'm sending you to your own people, because they are the ones in need of what I have come to bring."

We are so quick to assume who needs to message of the Gospel and who should be the ones to bring it (you know, those called to missions and whatnot). But is Christ the one who told us that? Because these few passages alone would tell us otherwise. It's the people down your street, at your favorite coffee spot, in the office next to yours, and even sitting in the same row as you on Sunday mornings.

As you continue down in this chapter you will see Jesus give the apostles instructions on coming and going--the what-not-to-dos--and then go on to inform them of all of the persecution they will face for this charge they've been given to fulfill. A point in the conversation that I would likely have begun to second-guess my previous decision to leave everything and follow this Man. But the kindness of Jesus is that He is both bold and reassuring. He tells it like it is--there will be trouble AND He has overcome the world.

And here, friends, is where we find this beautiful verse that has been accompanying me these past weeks:

"And you should proclaim in the bright light of day everything that I have whispered to you in the dark. Whatever whispers you hear—shout them from the rooftops of houses." - Matthew 10:27 (the Voice)

Jesus has just told them of the persecution they will face, but what He doesn't do is tell them to keep this message on the down-low so as not to ruffle feathers or cause dissension. Amidst all of this, He tells them to speak in the light the things He is telling them in the darkness. The wisdom He is whispering in their ears, the revelation they experience in the darkest corners of their souls, they are to speak out in the brightest light of day--without a shadow of doubt or fear--so that those around might come to know the wisdom and truth found in Christ.

And we sit. And we hesitate. And we are content to keep what He is showing us to ourselves.

Well, what if they don't know the Lord? I mean, what if they aren't a Christian? What if they don't like what I have to say and turn me down or don't want to be my friend anymore? What if they call me ridiculous, or even tell me I'm naive and stupid to believe such nonsense?

So we take all of those "what-ifs" and we keep to ourselves the gift of wisdom and understanding we get to continually unwrap by the grace of God, and we hope that someone will reach these lost sheep around us.

Friend, can I tell you something? You are the answer to the problem. You have all of the equipping you need to share the Hope of Christ to the lost around you. For the sake of those who are desperate for a reason to keep living, a reason to keep moving forward, and a reason for their existence, be BOLD and share the things God is whispering to you.

And guess what? It's doesn't have to be as awkward as you think it's going to be.

How did Jesus talk to people about the Kingdom of God? He spoke in stories and shared this ground-breaking, earth-quaking truth in a way that could be received by the ears it landed on.

Mom friend from preschool and a playdate:"My husband doesn't talk to me. And when he does he's so negative. I feel so unappreciated."

Me full of fear: "Oh man, I'm sorry. Yeah, that totally sucks, I've been there."

Me following the instruction of Christ in Matthew 10:27: "Oh friend, I'm so sorry. You know, whenever I feel like my husband is distant, I try to find ways to encourage him and love him for exactly where he is. I've spent a lot of time praying for God to change him so that I feel better, but God showed me that if I love my husband where he is at, just like God does, then my heart changes and I soften towards my husband and what he might be going through that I am unaware of."

Because we have to fear God more than we fear being unliked. 

Jesus says in verse 32 that if we acknowledge Him before others, He will acknowledge us before His Father in Heaven. Every one of us who think we could be instant best friends with Joanna Gaines "if only we knew someone who could introduce us", this is that scenario times one hundred billion. There could be nothing better in all the world than to have the Father hear my name from the lips of His very own Son, and He says that if we will simply acknowledge Him before others, He will do just that for us.

Please tell me you see the incredible value in this!

Jesus also tells us in verse 39 that whoever loses his life for the sake of Christ will find real life. And I know what you're thinking, "I live in a free country where no one is going to kill me or imprison me so I'm good. This only mildly applies to me and in ways that are more metaphorical than anything."

But what if it said, "whoever loses his convenience for the sake of Christ will find real life" Or "whoever is willing to have their plans, dreams, and goals disrupted for the sake of Christ will find real life"?

The Spirit of God is whispering to us all the time, asking us to be willing to put down our own desires so that the souls ripe for the hope of Christ might be tended to by the children of God. Are you willing to be interrupted? Are you willing to miss your meeting, or be late with dinner, or make others wait on you because you followed the prompting of the Spirit to have a conversation with someone around you? Because there are people all around you DESPERATE for someone to care to know them. There are people who have lived where you are, in your community, for months or more and never had someone care to get to know who they are. And you and I are brushing past them daily, so focused on our own agendas and needs that we are missing the chance to show them that there is a God who KNOWS them and LOVES them.


How do we follow Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 10:27?

  1. Don’t fear: (vs 28)-“Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul;” Have greater reverence for Jesus than you do for your own likability to others.
  2. Know your value to the Sender: (vs 30-31)-“But even the hairs on your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." He sends you because He has placed value on you to be the one to accomplish the work around you. What is the price being paid for being unable to grasp your value in this whole thing? Souls still desperate to know the Hope found in Christ--a very high price, indeed.
  3. Understand the mission: (vs 34, 37-39)- “Don’t assume I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword… The one who loves a father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; the one who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it, and anyone who loses his life because of me will find it.” Do we "keep the peace" at the cost of the Gospel?
  4. Frequently evaluate where you stand on this journey of being a disciple of Christ—are you moving forward? Like the disciples, we have the opportunity for promotion--to be given greater tasks and to go further with Christ. Are we willing? Are we pursuing Him now with a heart longing for more?

Friends, we cannot keep this revelation to ourselves. The people we do life around are not just people--they are valuable to God, and He has chosen to use us to show them that. Will you be bold in the reality of Christ in you? Will you share with those around you the things He is doing in you? Will you cease to let fear hold your tongue and keep your life with Christ separate from your life in the world? We have been called to be Ambassadors of Heaven--to represent our Homeland amongst a broken and hurting world. Can we be bold for the sake of the Gospel and remember that this can happen in the simple acknowledgement of Christ in our lives?

 

I would LOVE to hear how you are doing this, what your response is to this lesson straight from Scripture, and how you feel challenged to change your ways. Comment and let's start a conversation!

 

 

Stop & Take It In | A Call To Pause

The best piece of advice I was given before my wedding was to pause and take it all in. To quite literally stop, look around and let my mind take in what was happening at that given moment. I vividly remember sitting at our little head table, looking out over a beautiful, warmly lit ballroom filled with the sounds and sights of significant people in our lives, all gathered to celebrate two lives becoming one. In that moment and in this one today I am grateful for the advice to pause and take it in.

 

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This morning as I fed Hazel her bottle I found myself mindlessly staring at her eyelashes--taking her in without even realizing I was doing it. I then began to intentionally take in this miracle girl as she dozed off into her beloved and trusty morning rest. My mind then wandered back to my time of worship last Sunday morning. How I had to painstakingly bring myself to sing with i.n.t.e.n.t.i.o.n.a.l.i.t.y. Even with the good and beautiful things, our minds have been made in such a way that they jump right into what is familiar and well practiced without much intention or effort. I can worship my Almighty God and still wander about in my thoughts regarding what I'm wearing or what we are going to do later or the tray of donuts that are always calling my name a mere handful of feet away. To worship Him, really worship with my entire being, required the effort intentionality calls for.

The pause to take all of Him in.

Pausing takes a lot of effort if you really think about it. We are wired to go, go, go. So today I paused and took in my daughter. "She is really mine. She has been given breath and life and a soul that will long for the Savior the same way mine did and still does even now. This life with her is real and happening now and will never happen in this same way again."

As I walked throughout my home, I was acutely aware (as I usually am) of the amount of toys, socks, and randomly misplaced items strewn about each room. Usually this causes me to swing into a flurry of irritability, frustration, and panic while a rain cloud of "should's" begins to pour over me, drowning me in my apparent "failure at life and keeping it all together". But this morning I was given the incredible gift of pause.

There will be a day where there are no toys strewn about.

There will be a day when all the things stay in their place because little hands are now big and responsible and have their own things in their own places.

There will be a day when neither my arms or my provision will be required for that daughter of mine to fall asleep or find the rest she longs for.

There will be a day when that son of mine will help himself to snacks and shows and decisions and mistakes. Neither my ability to create adventure nor my opinion on what is considered adventurous will be required because he will have become a man of his own ideas and faith and living.

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So today I took in all the toys, the sounds of his laughter from the other room while he watched Curious George, and each and every demanding and exhausting detail of this current life. Each day I have a choice: wish my life looked easier/prettier/freer or love every single raw and real bit that is now.

I'm pausing today for the days ahead. The days when:

Fake tattoos become real ones

The cries of a bumped noggin become the ones of a broken heart

The nonexistent "me-time" becomes a search for a new passion and purpose in this calling of motherhood

The two little sets of feet crawling about our bed find their own place to land and the two of us that started this thing become "just the two of us" once again.

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Can you see the weight of beauty and glory that is this one life we get to live? If you cannot, the best advice I can give you is the same that was given to me at the start of this all.

Pause. Take it in. This thing that is happening is yours.

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Reverence | An Awakening

Earlier this year I felt led to submit an article to two different online magazines. I felt smoked by the Spirit as I wrote this, and yet neither magazine wanted it. The words are still His and it's time I share them.

So, without further ado, a word on Reverence


Maybe it’s because we live in first-world Americana, but the idea of reverence seems to be lost on many. We can’t tangibly understand the idea because, after all, we live for ourselves much of the time. The Christ-follower in this culture might believe that she is “dying to herself” and revering the Lord she serves, but there are so many simple and yet humbling questions to be asked of her.

We don’t know what it is to bow before a Sovereign, and for some, if given a face-to-face meeting with the President, it would almost be frowned upon if they did not greet him with words of disdain and disrespect.

We are not a culture that reveres.

We boast, we bully, we believe that the ideas created within ourselves are the best of the best and anyone who disagrees loses their place at our table.

And somewhere in the midst of that lies the Sovereign Most High.

 

“For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” -Joshua 4:23-24 | NIV

 

What would happen inside of us if we closed our eyes, quieted our hearts, and let the reality of these events (and the countless others) sink deep into our souls, past our inward-focus, past our distractibility?  What if we entered into the House of God fully aware of the God we were about to meet?

The God who told Moses to take off his sandals because in His presence, the ground is Holy.

The God who is worshipped around the clock with tongues of fire belonging to beings our minds cannot even begin to imagine.

The God who saw the deepest stains of sin and bondage within her and decided to wash her as white as snow.

Could it be that God desires an awakening of reverence? He has not forgotten about His majesty and might, but He has seen each and every time we have.  And in His mercy and grace, He patiently awaits our reverence. He invites us to take off our sandals. He invites us to unveil our faces. He beckons us to lift up our hands.

Because He is worthy of all of that and so much more.

Reverence: to cause astonishment and awe; be held in awe.

When we look beyond ourselves, when we remove the veil of pride, disengagement, and fear, we can do nothing but stand in awe of the God we serve. 

 

I will remember the actions the Eternal has taken,

    reminisce on Your ancient wonders.

I will reflect on all of Your work;

    indeed, I will study all You have performed. 

O God, Your way is so different, so distinct, so divine.

    No other god compares with our God.

You, God, and Your works evoke wonder.

    You have proved Your strength to the nations. 

-Psalm 77:11-14 | the Voice

 

Jess Connolly says in her book, Wild and Free, “The full picture, you see, requires you and me to acknowledge that the main character of the story is not the masterpiece, but its Creator.” How many of us enter into worship and inevitably worship ourselves? Our hands are raised and our hair is done for the glory and praise of the wrong “one”. But the heart that reveres worships with abandon. The ambassador who glorifies and honors the One she represents does so in accordance with what He says is right and true.

 

“Your adornment must not be merely external—with interweaving and elaborate knotting of the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or [being superficially preoccupied with] dressing in expensive clothes; but let it be [the inner beauty of] the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, [one that is calm and self-controlled, not overanxious, but serene and spiritually mature] which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 | AMP

 

Imagine yourself a little girl, leaping downstairs to twirl in front of your Papa in your brand new dress. Do you know the One it is that you twirl before? He is the Papa who says, “Darling, that dress is lovely,” and placing His big, tender, powerful hand over your heart, He continues, “but you [the “you” that rests in here] are beautiful.”

When we stand in awe of this God who chose us, we lose interest in standing our ground on our rights as free women who can “do as we please” because the longing to worship in truth and grace is far too great.

We remove our sandals and unveil our faces.

We stand in abandoned awe at this Holy King who says to each one of us, “I choose you.”

 

The Day He Asked Me Why | Entering Into Healing

My son has this obsession with Band-aids. I'm going to be honest with you--it drives me completely crazy. There are band-aid wrappers all over the house, and even worse, used band-aids in odd, and questionable places. For every owie, and everything that could maybe, potentially be an owie, a band-aid is a must.


Today I asked myself a couple of times, "why don't you want to get healed?" An interesting observation on my part, because my prayer life would reflect that I do, in fact, seek healing in specific areas of my life, and yet when approached with the opportunity, I hesitate.

Interesting.

Later on I heard that same question but from my Savior. "Why don't you want to get healed?" You see, when I ask it of myself, I do so under the false assumption that I have some sort of control over the matter, which would be the reason why I never actually answered myself in the first place.

But when asked that question from the One who holds within Himself all power to restore and renew, I feel the breath lost from my lungs. There's a gasp in my spirit--like embarrassment mixed with shame mixed with maybe-I-can-pretend-I-didn't-hear-myself-the-first-two-times.

The Savior Jesus wants to know why I don't want what He wants to give to me.


Remember my band-aid obsessed kid? Well, one of the reasons he drives me bonkers with these band-aids is that he will keep them on for. days. I tell him repeatedly, "Malachi, if you do not take it off and let it heal you will get an infection. I don't think you understand what that means--you will have to see the dr and get a shot and it will be so so so so so so bad." (Maybe my tactic isn't the greatest, but I'm grabbing at straws on my best days.) And as I drove home from work today I saw that I am, in fact, worse than my son.

I want my band-aids; my coverings. I want my hope and security in the thing that is hurting in me to be found in something tangible instead of trusting that time and fresh air and healing balm with make it all better. If I cover it up then that must mean it's safe. Phew. Except that that couldn't be further from the truth.

Often times, I will find Malachi with his hand wrapped around the finger of his other hand, strenuously attempting to keep a gross, no-longer-sticky band-aid on. Today I see myself doing the same thing. I've got wounds that have been around for more years than I can recount, and I'm still here, a 32 year old woman of God, working that bandage like it's the day I put it on.

So I guess I might need to give Malachi a little slack seeing as I'm more of a band-aid freak than he is.

As I sit here and ask the Lord, "what do I do with this? How do I get to a place of uncovering so that You can do what You do?" And immediately I'm reminded of a restorative holy yoga class I led last weekend. I asked the women 3 questions and today He asks me the same:

"Is God good?"

"Is God good to me?"

"Is God good at being God?"

It's as if I can see His face, and hear His gentle voice as He whispers over me the very same words I whisper (or shout) over Malachi: "You have to trust Me. I need to be the best Savior that I can be, and that means asking you to do something scary and trusting Me while you do it."

I have to reach my hands out, however shaky they might be, and I need to loose my lips, however much they might quiver, and I need to let Him do what He does. I need to say yes to healing, and believe that even if the other side seems scary and unfamiliar, that He is in that place, too.


I don't have any answers for you and I can't proceed to give you a testimony of received healing. I'm walking this out, today. But I know that His question to me is also His question to you. So, my dear friend, 

"Why don't you want to get healed?"

 

To My Grown Daughter | On Your First Birthday

(Actually, 7 days after your first birthday. Let that be a big exhale for you, darling daughter. You can have the best laid plans, but you can only do what you can, and in reality, it's ok to write a letter to your daughter 7 days after she turns one, instead of on the day.)

I don't know where you are on this day, but I know where I am today, and I think it might release a little something in you that will allow you to live a little fuller and freer in your skin and your life, being reminded of who you really are.

Today I am 32, and most days feel like a game of tug-o-war; being pulled this way and that, between my dreams and life's demands. Majority of it's demands are good, and come from the mouths of the people I love the most. Hazel, while it feels exhausting and often times too much, it's all really good stuff--the stuff that makes up a life. It is beautiful and holy and completely ordinary. What's more, it is intricately laced with the love of God. If you find yourself in a moment of emptiness, feeling as if you are giving to those you love from a source already depleted, know that you are walking on holy ground--the very ground your mama walked before you. Drop to your knees and receive from the One who's supply is abundant. Sometimes you'll need Him just to get to the next moment in life, and other times you'll find yourself going far too long without looking to Him to be filled; if that is the case, don't walk back to him--run. Hard and fast. Because I promise you, all those other things pale in comparison to what He longs to give you and allowing Him into the every day "mundane" of life is the very thing that turns the mundane into a life of adventure and magic and whimsy.

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One thing we have learned about you in your first year of life is that you have these magical eyes. They radiate love. They draw others in. And I like to think they reflect, even a fraction of, the joy found in the eyes of the Father. I pray your eyes stay magical and that they develop the ability to see the love, joy and whimsy in others, and that in your growth you develop the strength and courage to call those things out in others--to be a voice of truth in their lives that tells them who they are and to Whom they belong.

I've discovered recently that the change happening in my heart, the one that is making my heart more like Christ's and less like my flesh, is a bit disjointed from my lips. The thoughts in my head rarely come out of my lips the same; something I am asking Papa to grow and change in me. I pray you will grow to be a woman who speaks eloquent words full of grace, truth and conviction. That you would reflect the heart of God with the way you speak to others, and with the way you speak to yourself.

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I'm sure you've known for quite some time now about the one who strives to keep you small. The one who tells you your voice is insignificant and that your reach is limited. He's the one who clouds your eyes, silences your lips, and deflates your heart. I'm learning today that life is made up not of falling in defeat to the enemy's arrows of deceit, but of falling to my knees before my strong and mighty God, expectant that He will lift me up to stand tall as the woman He fashioned me to be--the woman I am on this very day--who is far more than she believes, withholding greater strength, love and joy.

Beautiful girl, I think this is what makes life so holy. The continual choosing of God, of your original design, of mercy and love and acceptance of others. It's this beautiful, dramatic dance, and He invites us in every day. As I watch you waddle across the floor, I envision you walking confidently into the arena that He has prepared for you. As I hear you babble and tell us what is on your mind, with such confidence and joy in your eyes, I envision you commanding a crowd of eager men and women, proclaiming the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. As you wrestle and fight for what is yours, and keep your eyes on your limitations, waiting for your chance to take new ground, I pray you will carry that same tenacity into the land He has prepared for your adult years. That you would see greater freedom for your family and run hard towards it at the first opportunity. That you would see the places where the enemy has laid strongholds and that you would fight your way in and break them with confidence.

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Hazel, your life is one of my greatest joys. Papa has used your life as an invitation for me to take new ground, to settle a little deeper into my own promised land, and to proclaim greater freedom over your life and over the ways you grow and the realities you take as your own. On this day, I am proclaiming the words of Timothy when he says that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of POWER and LOVE and of SOUND-MIND. This is my promised land, and it's yours too.

Darling daughter, I am fighting my fiercest fight so that you can live free. I promise you that I will never stop fighting for my own freedom from sin and bondage and generational sin so that your life can be filled with all of the joy and whimsy and purpose that He set out for it to. Life won't be "perfect" by the world's standards, but in the holiness we find His perfection, and in my experience that's immeasurably better.

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I love you, Hazel. I pray that every single day of your life you know that. But even more than that, I pray that every single day of your life you know that He loves you. He loves you with a fierce and wild and strong and merciful love. I pray that His love will continue to cover over every single moment my love has fallen short. I pray that you will take for yourself your own determination to love those in your life with even greater tenacity and determination than I did--that the generational bonds would not only be broken but reversed and made to reflect the character and love of God in an even greater way with each generation that comes after us.

If, when you read this or any day thereafter, you find me living a defeated life, I give you permission to remind me of these very words. I implore you to challenge me with the Truth of God's word and my very own testimony--and yours. Don't ever feel that you cannot tell your mama a thing or two about life. Ask your dad--I've always said I wanted us to be teachable by our kids. So if my attitude says otherwise, hit me with my own words. I pray I raise you to be a woman who does not back down out of fear of ruffling feathers. (This one might be a lesson later in life, as I need to figure it out myself first before I can teach you.) It's ok to ruffle feathers when it will bring a person face to face with the Truth.

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I could go on and on about all of the things I hope and pray for you. What's incredible is that my hopes and dreams pale in comparison to your Papa's. He loves you, my sweet girl. It will be my greatest joy to watch you discover that with each passing year, and I cannot wait to see the woman that you are when you read these words.

I love you, my darling daughter.

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Lord, she is wild and strong and so full of love. Let me never take an ounce of that away from her, but let me be a source that You use to feed the woman inside of her that You so delicately and purposefully designed. Lord, may she have lips of conviction--lips that cannot help but speak what she knows is true and right and lovely. And with each word may she demonstrate the kindness and grace found in the One who made her. Lord, let her grow to not only appreciate but to understand the very purpose of her physical being--that she is a vessel that houses Your very Spirit, and with that she has been given the invitation to join You in the miraculous and adventurous life written for her. Lord, let her love with abandon and a complete unawareness of what it feels like to need to be loved by someone else first. Let her just love. Love and love and love and know that the love she receives from You is the real stuff of life. Lord, let her teach. Let her teach the future generations, her generation and mine, especially. I know that she will have so much to teach us women in those days, and I pray in advance for Spirits eager to hear Your heart for us daughters. Mostly Lord, I pray she will know every single day of her life that her life has incredible purpose, and never for one second has it ever been or will it ever be "just another life." You set out for her to be here, and You made a way for her to come. With that let her live a life of bold and unwavering purpose. Let it be because of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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And a few more photos because they are too good not to share: (Photos by ((the INCREDIBLY talented)) Renee Johannesen--@photographybyrenee

 

To My Grown Children | On Making Plans and Keeping The Faith

I've been where you are. Dreaming. Making plans and piecing all of the information you have together into some sort of understanding of life as it has been, as it is now, and as it will be in the days, months, and years to come. You do what you can with what you have. You take the information that God has given you and you say, "ok, this is the plan I'm setting out on because it is what makes the most sense."

Maybe that will be your story--I pray it is. And maybe it won't be. I'm banking on the latter, as that seems to be the story for many of God's chosen. I think it's because He wants us to depend solely on Him, and not on our own understanding. And, shocker, I'm not the first one to come to that conclusion (shout out to Solomon)-- "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6). 

Right now you are 4 (almost 5) and 11 months (almost 1) and Dad and I are as wayward and squirmy as you two combined when it comes to abiding in this instruction. Which is why I felt it pertinent to jot this down for you--I'd hate for you to believe the lie that you are the only ones who aren't on the path to success in your generation.

big. fat. lie.

Dad and I experience that, too. When we look around all seems to be right in the lives of most, and yet here we sit. Asking God so many questions and hearing so few answers. Just abide. Just sit and watch. It's hard, my loves. It's hard on this day and it will be hard for you on the day you read this. Also ask questions. Get to know those around you--the ones who's lives seem to together and forward-moving. I bet you'll feel better about your lot and be built up in faith and fervor when you do. When you really get to know those living their lives for God, He will give you a grander scope of life and success and the reality that life is raw and, at times, ugly for everyone. Not just you.

Just as the struggle doesn't change over the ages, neither does the faithful hand of God. Keep trusting Him. Force yourself. Move yourself, step. by. step. by. step. to the altar of God. Dad and I are doing everything we can to leave behind us a legacy of faith--the example (however messy and imperfect it may be) of people who drag themselves before the throne, sometimes kicking and screaming, sometimes desperate and raw, and sometimes proud and stubborn. You might find yourself asking the question, "what if it's all for nothing?" I asked that question, too. On this very day. And it is all worth it. It just has to be. I don't have the answer for you today, but on the day you read this, I know without a shadow of doubt that I will have a fiery joy as I tell you how it was all worth it. You won't understand, and my story might leave you feeling just as you did before it began, but I promise you one day you will understand. You will see the faithfulness of God in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).

Just like Dad and I will, too. 

So make plans. Piece together what you know, but hold it loosely. He is going to ask you to trust, and it is going to be hard. Probably one of the hardest things you'll ever do. He is not a safe God, and Dad and I have just begun to scratch the surface of how He is both unsafe and yet a mighty fortress and shield.

When you doubt that He is listening--that He isn't moving and pursuing you and your deepest need and desire, remember that when Jesus comes back He will have a new Name-- Faithful and True. Those traits aren't awaiting the title. He is both faithful and true now and forever.

Maybe today, as you read this, you are twenty and think you know it all. Maybe you are thirty and are desperate in your absolute lack of understanding of all the things. Maybe you are fifty and feel like the ground has given way beneath you. Keep making plans with what you know, and keep choosing faith--forcing faith, abiding in faith, pursuing faith--because He is Faithful and True, and my darling loves...

He sees you.

We Asked For Adventure | Two Years Later

I'm sitting here with a bowl of chocolate chips, a big mug of herbal tea and an anxious and desperate heart. Here's why:

Two years ago we got this idea. We wanted adventure with God. It sounded and felt so dreamy. At least, that's what I vaguely remember it feeling like when I am reminded of my own words two years ago.

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"I'm itching for adventure. And not the kind that I can come up with on my own. I'm praying for big, beautiful, only-God-could've-done-this adventure. I believe that if we ask Him to write a beautiful adventurous story with our lives He will deliver. He's so creative, and I'm desperate for Him to showcase His skills with my life and my family... We live one life. I want to live it the best way He allows."

Words straight from the heart of a woman just beginning her adventure towards understanding.

I'm two years in (maybe even more) and on the outside life looks a lot like it did when I typed those words, just with one additional little person. Still waiting. Still hoping. Still white-knuckling my way towards the promise and the secure future that I know is mine.

I think I believed that if I just gave God permission to move me to the beautiful mountains and give me this dreamy life that He would do it--like I was the one keeping Him from getting that ball rolling.

Apparently He wasn't waiting for my permission.

Do you have a dream for your life? A thing that, if you close your eyes tight you can see it play out before you? I do. And it's that adventurous life that I "gave God permission" to write for me. It's frolicking through His highest mountains and twirling with my eyes raised towards the sky in His grassy valleys. But as I sit here and write this I'm realizing that He's never told me I can't frolic on the mountain tops and twirl in the valleys.

It might just take place in my heart and not in my body.

To the one who craves adventure with God--who is ready to throw caution to the wind and let God take them wherever He wants: don't do it unless you're ready to let go of the reigns and really go wherever He wants. Because where He wants just might be where you already are.

At least it is for us. For now.

Jesus informed me in John 14 a few weeks back that He doesn't give gifts the way the world does and that I should not lose heart. I'm a sign-reader by nature, a trait that I try desperately to squelch because I know who my God is and He is not confusing or mystical. He is clear and firm. Loving and generous. Sovereign and Holy. So when I read this in John I had to fight hard against my tendency to read all the signs in my life and see how this gift-giving strategy of God's holds up against all the things I've received.

I can't help but think of Malachi.

Kids have a way of trying to make a gift out of anything. And they usually end up enjoying the thing that wasn't intended to be the awesome, expensive, super-thought-out gift in the first place. 

Jesus also tells me to be more like the little ones, and if the world gives the awesome, expensive, super-thought-out gifts then I guess I'm finding joy in the box it comes in. 

I'm still drinking my herbal tea (in desperation that it will bring the peace and calm it is widely acclaimed for.. pshh), I'm on my second bowl of chocolate chips, and my heart is still processing this place we are in.

This place we are in is an entirely new place, a new and promised land, where we believe with little hesitation in the character, love, provision, goodness, mercy, sovereignty, might, holiness, and love of God. We want adventure, even now knowing that it isn't going to look like what we first imagined. We are even more desperate for and sure of the provision and promise of God.

We are in new land, and it's spacious and beautiful just as He promised it would be; I need only take heart and receive.

If you're craving adventure, keep on keeping on. If you are afraid of adventure, don't just dip a toe in--cannonball. This life of adventure with God is raw and real and vulnerable and hard, but it's also vibrant and full of real life and love and joy and commitment. It's the beautiful, adventurous story I asked Him to write for me.

I will not wait around--push pause on living vibrantly and with a receptive heart-- until He brings me to the place I thought we were setting out for two years ago. I will live this adventure wherever I am and with whomever I'm with, because He is the One who makes my heart skip a beat with excitement and my eyes gaze with wonder at His glory. I will explore His beauty, dive deep into the souls of His beloveds around me, and fall even deeper in love with Him because this is the adventure and I've been living it all along.