Why I cringe when I hear Christians say “we live in a fallen world”

2017 took from me. I lost a lot of peace. I lost way too much focus. I even lost a friend.

My heart felt constantly challenged at the mercy and grace of a God “who could let such horrible things happen.” Fires, floods and hurricanes frequent news headlines of devastation. Where was God in all that?

My soul cringed at the remarks on how God “would let a man such as he be the President” of our country. Or worse yet, the belief that God somehow condones this President’s actions because a well-known evangelical somewhere endorsed the President.

2017 screamed at me and shook my heart. The undeniable attention drawn to sexual harassment was startling and sad. My heart grieved at the thousands and thousands of voices shouting for recognition of sexual assault. Recognition that will hopefully keep moving towards reconciliation. Towards healing.

From the raging voice of man behind the pulpit to the sneering grab of a woman’s breast on a bus, these voices are shouting an irrefutable reminder: we live in a fallen world, full of free will and choice. A world full of sin.

I hate when people say that sometimes. I even sort of squint my eyes shut and shake my head when I read it.

It can feel so compassionless. So graceless. So condescending to one’s emotions. Maybe even invalidating to those emotions.

But above all, I hate it because for the angry and for the unbelievers, it typically stops there.

To the angry heart, living in a fallen world doesn’t help them find healing from the badgering boss who forced you to have sex with him so you could keep your job. Living in a fallen world is not going to bring back your burnt family photos from a ravenous fire. Living in a fallen world doesn’t shed light on the darkness of a shooting as a young child’s blood smears the concrete.

Yes, we live in a world full of nasty, heart-wrenching sin.

And my heart aches for the unbeliever who stops there.

Because you know what we also live in?

A world full of hope.

A world full of hope that’s been giving to us by the one who died on the cross while we were all still sinners.

Jesus didn’t just die for the victims to find hope; he died so the murderer could find healing too.

If we don’t believe in the hope of healing and restoration for the victim and the predator, then we’ll never see past our fatalistic predictions.

All the shouts for change and reformation will fall on deaf ears when the next shooting occurs or when we hear of another boss assaulting a coworker.

We’ll never see God’s grace for what it really is.

Real change comes from healed hearts.
Real change comes from accepting God’s grace.

We live in a world full of hope not only when we see the victim forgiving the perpetrator, but when we see the perpetrator find God too.

We live in a world of hope when the victim’s family publicly and privately forgive the shooter, and their act of grace and forgiveness through the power of Jesus, brings restoration for the shooter.

We are called to bring God’s light into the dark. How would we know we live in a dark, deathly world, if not for God’s life-giving light?

And to be even more honest, I struggle with this calling. I struggle knowing how I, as a 30 something, white, middle-class privileged female can bring about any change.

I struggle with my own fatalistic thinking.

But when I look into the innocent eyes of my son, playing with the water in our kitchen sink, I know what I’m supposed to do.

When I see my sweet daughter laugh at her brother’s silly dance moves, I know what I’m supposed to do.

When I see my neighbor crying on the porch, I know what I’m supposed to do.

When I see a text from my friend whose husband is having an affair, I know what I’m supposed to do.

When I think about the books, movies, and music my children will listen to, I know what I’m supposed to do.

Those seem obvious “I know what I’m supposed to dos”.

What isn’t so obvious is what to do when my husband hurts me or when I hear about an old friend of ours molested his daughter. What isn’t so obvious about what to do is when a family member reaches out after years of anger and bitterness.

Those not so obvious moments are our opportunity to bring about progression and hope.

I bring God’s light into the lives of those around me by loving them as God has called me to because with his grace in me, I can.

I educate myself to bring diversity into our household so my children know more than what they’re privileged to. I teach my children about body boundaries and pray my heart out over their protection. I pray for protection at my husband’s work from a walk-in gunman.

I pray for hope. I believe in hope. I use grace to guide my decisions and forgiveness to lead my heart.

I listen to God’s still small voice in my heart about raising my children believing they will hear his still small voice in their hearts.

I do something for someone else today.

I accept that my form of bringing about God’s light into this world may look different than how God has called you to. And because of that, I don’t think your way is any more or less than mine.

Because in the end, we’re both being obedient to what God has called us.

And that’s how we change our world. No, not change. Change implies that we have the sole power to make things right. And we don’t. We can bring about progress. We can bring about a push towards a world that is closer to Christ.

We have the ability to shed God’s hope, so when we hear we live in a fallen world, we can say that only with God’s strength, we’re helping us get back up again.

To the husband with a controlling wife

Do you struggling with being a controlling wife? Read more from this wife's perspective on being a controlling wife.

“I found us a babysitter for next weekend,” I say as we begin winding down for the night.
“That’s great! What do you want to do?” you ask while taking off your socks.
“Maybe you could plan something for us? Anything is better than just eating out,” I mumble as I exit the room to brush my teeth.

You hear these words from my mouth, but you sense there is more in my heart. You feel pressured as my husband to rise high to date night standards. This feeling only makes you want to pull away from my desire to be romantic.

This scenario probably sounds pretty similar to our married friends. Arguments about what to do on date night may sound trivial to other couples (most are happy to even get a night away from the kids!), but there is more to our story than an indecisive night out as husband and wife.

Underneath my passive aggressive tone was this need to change you. I wanted you to change so I could be happier. I felt if you could just change one or two things about yourself, then I would feel more fulfilled. And it was my job to show you the way.

My persistent perfectionism pushed into the boundaries of our day to day lives, leaving you to fight for your simple preferences in our household. Comments like “leave the thermostat alone” or “we’ll just eat without you if you aren’t here on time” became an insidious poison in our home. For us, these fights were a disguise, existing only on the surface and masking roots of fear underneath.

You found yourself throwing your hands in the air in defeat many times because I needed to have the last word as a controller. 

You didn’t realize I was a controller in the beginning. My trait seemed admirable. At first. You saw my drive to push forward even when life around me was falling apart. You saw my persistence to succeed in what I did as determination and focus. You saw the good in me when all I felt was tainted.

Fast forward over ten years later and that persistence and determination torpedoed through our marriage and into my motherhood.

It’s the little things I needed to control that added up to big chunks of your heart being stomped on by my messy, fearful feet.

All these things floated on the surface in our marriage and they seemed like no big deal on the outside. So she likes to keep the house cool? Big deal. She hates being late? Punctuality is a good quality.

But these trivial fights were the tip of the iceberg. Below was a mass of rock-hard challenges we faced in our marriage.

The hardest of these challenges churned within the pit of your gut. The lie that spewed forth with my condescending criticisms that Satan tried to push further into your heart to steal your identity.

The lie that says you are never enough.

photo credit: Emily Nystrom Photography

Our winding road of arguments and conflicts centered around this lie. The lie that told me you were not enough by my standards. The lie that said if you would just change, then things would be better.

It took you time to realize my need for control came from a past of uncertainty. It wasn’t until I finally gave up trying to make my world perfect, to make you perfect for me, and sought therapy for myself, when you saw a small spark of change in me.

And when that small spark of change started to course through our marriage, then you knew who I really was.

You saw me as the thirteen-year-old girl standing in the driveway of her childhood home, watching her parents end their marriage, walking around as a woman in a thirty-year old body, trying to make sure that kind of fear didn’t happen again.

You saw my false sense of control as a mask for all my fears.

You saw me. You really saw me.

And then we had to start a new journey together.

We had to learn what healthy fighting looked like. I realized my controlling criticisms cut you down to the knees, leaving little room for grace to grow. I am learning what it looks like to glean the positive from a controlling mindset to a healthy structured lifestyle. I’m learning to be who I am in Christ. And I see more clearly each day who you are in Christ also.

It took me time to realize that “you are never enough” was a lie when it oozed from my heart of fear. But, there is truth in thought that you are not enough for me, husband.

I am learning that you are never enough because only Christ is enough.

I am learning that while you may never be enough to fill the uncertain fears I have in my heart, you are enough because you are my partner in walking this path the Lord has before us.


Because you choose me. Every day. And I choose you.
Because you come alongside me and hold my hand, even when our anger screams otherwise.
Because you stay close to me even when I push you away.

Because you see my need for control and perfectionism for what it really is, and you see me with grace eyes.


Your choice to see me with grace eyes reflects in my eyes. When we look at each other, we see each other for who we really are: flawed humans walking in the grace of God.

And for that, I am forever grateful.

What if we’re missing the point of “the days are long but the years are short”?

Ever since I became a parent I frequently hear how time flies with kids and how one day I’ll blink and my kids will be moving out, getting married and start having families of their own.

Like when that sweet older mother you ran into at the grocery store, pushing a rather empty cart, looks over at you and your chaotic tribe with adoring eyes. She tells you to enjoy that tantrum in the store because when they’re teenagers you’ll be wishing all you were worried about was teaching them to manage their emotions in aisle six. And if she’s feeling really nostalgic, she’ll go on to explain how when they move out someday, you’ll be wishing for crazy bedtime bribery again.

As she slowly starts pushing her cart down the aisle away from you and your munchkins, she bids you farewell by saying a phrase we hear often as young parents: the days are long but the years are short.

Depending on how overwhelmed you feel in that moment, you may find these words encouraging as you breathe and navigate the tantrum with more ease than before, or you may quietly be ripping that sweet old lady’s head off while trying to wrangle your kid to get in the basket.

Yes, today was a long day for you for sure.

When we hear the phrase the days are long but the years are short, most of us easily get why the days are long. Being at work all day with stressful clients, followed by a frustrating drive to pick up your kids from daycare or school, followed by an evening full of meeting the rest of life’s demands, can make a day seem certainly long. Or maybe your day is filled with the demands of your threenager and newborn and more times than you care to admit, you are just waiting for the day to be over (I feel you!).

But what about the years are short part?

What does the days are long and the years are short really mean? Feeling tired and worn out in motherhood? Read more to explore finding rest in the busy season of motherhood.

I used to think the years flew by because we’re such a busy society always in motion. We live a life where busy is king and productivity is lucrative. Our schedules are filled to the brim with busy from sun up until sun down, and then some. And we’re talking real busy.

You’ve got a presentation to give at the end of the week and after the kids are in bed, you need to stay up late to finalize the details and get up early the next day so you can meet your colleague to go over the project. Or you’ve got a busy day that includes day three of potty training with your toddler, day one of starting solids with your baby, followed by a trip to the library and then the grocery store and probably a quick run to Target for those pull-ups you forgot to buy when you were there yesterday. Or maybe you’ve got a day that includes both of these kinds of busy!

But what if being busy is only part of the short year equation?

Do you ever feel like we’re constantly waiting for that next thing? We all wait and work towards the next big thing in our lives–promotions at work, getting married, having kids, buying houses, new cars, big trips, holiday events, etc. But I’m talking about even waiting for the small things too that fill our calendars–for the weekend because we have plans for the pumpkin patch, or next week you have that dinner date with a friend, or the next week your family is coming up to visit, and then it’s the end of the month and that one bill is finally due you forgot about. Time flies when we’re waiting.

I feel like I am constantly looking ahead. I am always excited (or dreading) for the next future thing that’s coming up on my calendar.

My life feels like it’s constantly in motion whether I’m moving through a busy day or waiting for the next busy event to happen in my life.

This constant motion has my heart continuously reaching for ways to work harder not smarter, to find balance in the chaos, to have peace while still being able to do all the things I need to do (or want to do).

And when those long days are done and I’m lying in bed recapping my day, I let my mind wonder and toy with a new idea: what would it look like to live a life a where the days don’t feel overwhelmingly long and the years feel more lasting than vanishing?


I’ve been getting this subtle itch about the uncertainty of my life lately. It starts when I question my parenting skills a little more than usual. It grows when I feel like I’m not doing enough writing. It overflows when I start comparing my life to others and question if what I’m doing even matters.

Maybe you feel it when you come to a crossroads in your job. Maybe you feel it when all that potty training feels like a waste because your kid is going through a regression. For me, it’s been a small series of events in different areas of my life that are unfolding in ways I did not plan.

When things don’t go according to my plan, I start to wonder if I’m messing up somewhere. I question my ability to lean not on my own understanding. As a recovering control addict, feeling uncertain can feel like a nervous breakdown at times. I’m serious.

The other day I was making my way through our local bookstore. As always, I stopped to peruse the Christian Living section. As I scanned the shelves, I felt bombarded with title after title telling me, no, it felt like shouting, they were shouting at me to to chase slow, to be present over perfect, to find joy in little, to throw out all my possessions because less really is more and so on and on and on and on…

And I love it. My soul eats it up because each of these titles speak to a longing in my heart to somehow find a satisfaction in my life that I am otherwise missing.

And I love these authors. I really do. I own many of those titles. I truly believe God uses writers to extend his truth to his people. Clearly I believe this, otherwise I wouldn’t be up at 5:00 AM writing this very article.

But what if I’m approaching these books with a “fix me” attitude? What if I took that hunger that was oozing from my heart and through my eyes at the book store and shifted it to my time with the Lord? What if I approached the Bible with more of a relationship attitude?


I have this verse above our fireplace that I see every morning when I’m getting around to start the day, and I see it every night when Mike and I catch a quick show on TV.

be still and know

Almost every time I read it, my heart echoes the rest of the verse, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NKJV)

And lately, I feel like God is saying to me, Stop being so busy waiting for the next thing, Gloryanna, and start being uncertain in life, but certain in Me. To be certain in me you have to be still.

To be still means coming back to the foundation of what I know is true of the Lord and the only way I remember his foundation is by reading his word and praying with him.

It means I might have to look at my calendar less. It means I might have to be OK with that potty training regression because seriously, God is with me in that. Maybe it means you might have to accept what you can do within your job and what you can’t, and trust that God is there in the uncertainty of your job.

To know God means being OK with being unsure of what the next step is because we know he is there in the uncertainty.

I wonder if the more I press towards the Lord and the calling he has on my life, then the more life might start to slow down.

I wonder if the more I lay Biblical foundations in my heart, the more I will mature in new ways when the uncertainty comes. I will remember to lean not on my own understanding (or someone else’s) and trust in God first. If we reach for his word first instead of reaching for an answer on our phones, then maybe the days wouldn’t feel so long.

And maybe this constant reaching for his truth as the compass in our lives would make the years more memorable and lasting.

Next time you see that lady in the store and she’s telling you the days are long and the years are short, your eyes will soften and you can say, Thank you.

Because really, she’s just reminded you to be still and know.


When I realized my past was controlling my present

When I hear her cry out, I go from 0 to 60 in a heartbeat. My eyes dash to the clock that reads 2:00 AM. Covers fly off my bed to the floor and my feet hit the ground running. My heart beats loudly in my ears as I run to the bathroom, afraid of what I might see. I’m afraid of how I’ll find her this time.

Mom fell in the night. Again.

I scan the floor and find her wedged near the toilet and bathtub. She had reached for the handle and slipped. Based on our past experiences with falling, I can tell this fall won’t need a call for help from someone to help me get her. I take a deep breath and prepare to help her on my own.

All on my own.

We fumble along, making our way back to her bedroom. My slim, 17-year-old body shoulders her arm. I hear her groan under her breath, denying herself the expression of pain. I ease her back into bed and shuffle back to my room.

I still feel her weight on my sagging shoulders as I go back to my bedroom.

As I pull the covers up, my hands are still shaking. The weight of feeling alone and having to do it all on my own bears down on me and tears start pouring down my cheeks.


He’d been crying for almost twenty minutes. It was almost 2:00 AM and I had absolutely no idea what to do; I felt like I was shooting in the dark. I looked down the hallway and saw my husband’s hand dangling over the edge of the bed while his chest slowly moved up and down. He had an early day and would be getting up in a few hours to go to work.

I knew I couldn’t wake him. I hardly ever woke him in those moments with my son. Looking back I wish I would have woken him. In the moments when you feel like your heart can’t take any sort of response he might give and you feel like you might explode, sometimes doing nothing is the only response you can come up with. Maybe not the healthiest, but it’s all you’ve got at the time.

But there was this nagging in my soul that I couldn’t shake from all those nights up with my son.

I felt alone. I felt like I had to do it all. And then I couldn’t tell whose tears were soaking my clothes. I couldn’t tell who was sobbing more, my son or me?

Little did I know in those moments as a new mother that claws of past experiences were triggering fresh rawness right across my heart. My body was 30 something but my heart flashed back to me being 17 years old.

I’m 17 again and I live alone with my mother while I stand there holding my crying son.

When I held my crying son alone in the night, I didn’t realize those feelings of being alone, of feeling abandoned, were playing out in my anger towards my husband at 2:00 AM over ten years later.

My past becomes my present.

My mind started listing off everything I had to do around the house. Everything went to how I felt like my husband wasn’t enough. I started saying things to myself like “I always get up in the night” or “I’m the one who always gets up in the morning with him.

I’m the one who was always with Mom to help her get back up.

I’m the one who always ______________.

My heart has triggered something raw.

I wish I had understood this better during my harsh postpartum emotions with my first child.

I wish I had understood this better when we first got married.

Because in those moments of high emotions and agony, I was holding on to my past. It was a quiet weight I didn’t know I was still carrying.

I’d be arguing with my husband and he’d say things like, “I don’t do enough? You feel alone? What about when I do this or this or this? What about all those times I take over for you with the kids in the evening? How can you feel alone? I’m RIGHT here.”

And those kinds of arguments went on repeat for seven years.


Triggers can be a nasty game and you’ll lose every time if you try to play with your own strength.


I had been sitting on the couch, talking with her about my mother and how much I missed her. I had talked about our twisty past together and how I had grown strong from the years I took care of my mother.

And my therapist looked at me calmly on the couch and asked me if I still had those feelings of panic and frustration as a mother that I felt as a teenager.

And then I was crying. Crying because I knew where this was going. I knew that I was still carrying the weight of my past and turning a blind eye to triggers that were eating away at my heart.

How could I enjoy motherhood with this kind of weight? How could I ever find peace and grace with my husband when He never seemed like enough?

How could I quench my thirst for being enough and feeling loved?

I had fooled my soul into thinking the cup I was drinking from was of life and truth. I was drinking from the well of the world, coming back thirsty, over and over again.

It wasn’t until I confronted my triggers with the water of Jesus that my thirst for peace was satisfied.

It wasn’t until I fell on my face before the Lord, asked for living water, when He called out my past triggers by name, saying, “Are you alone? Are you back in that apartment, filled with fear and uncertainty? How do you expect to drink living water when you are gulping down lifeless water filled with your past?”

In John chapter four, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman and revealed to her that he is the Messiah who brings living water to those who will believe. He also called out her past, naming it before her about the several men she had married.

After her encounter with him at the well, she went back to her people and spoke of him as being the true Messiah, mainly because he had told her of her past.

Don’t you think she knew of her past?

It wasn’t until her past was called out by name that she could move forward in the belief of him as the true Messiah, knowing that her identity wasn’t the woman who married many men.

It wasn’t until my past was called out by name that I could move forward in believing who I am in Christ.

When I hear my son cry out in the night, my heart goes from 0 to 60 in heartbeat. But now, the panic is subdued. The fear that used to wrap around my throat is replaced by a calm surge of discernment and confidence.

I am not 17 again. I am not alone. I do not need to feel abandoned. I do not need to feel like I have to do it all.

My present emotions do not have to be controlled by those triggers. When those triggers try to flare up at 2:00AM, I call them out by name and remember who I am in Christ.


I am not bound by fear.

I am no longer a slave to sin, to my past.

I was known by Christ before I was even in my mother’s womb.

I am filled with the Holy Spirit from Christ.

I am lavishly loved by God.

I am a child of the King.


I am not thirsty anymore.


Just Because You’re Good at Something Doesn’t Mean You Should Do It

Sometimes I think the busier I am the happier I am. Until I start running on empty. I run on empty because I can’t keep up with all the busy.

But then I tell myself that the busy is good. I’m pretty good at convincing myself that all the busy is meaningful because I’m helping someone else out or being a blessing when someone needs it. Or it makes me just plain happy. Those seem to be pretty good reasons to keep all the busy going. I help others. I help myself. Win win.

And then the early morning comes and my feet haven’t even hit the ground. Dread wiggles his way into my heart. I dread the commitments I made. Wishing that I hadn’t said yes. What’s that verse say…something about let your yes be yes and your no be no….Anyways, my peace is about gone before I’ve even had a cup of coffee to try and muster it back.

The problem I struggle with is that I find myself doing things that some might say I’m good at and there is this immediate feeling that I should be doing it.

When we find something we’re passionate about and turn it into our own freak show.

I love writing and am blessed that it is an outlet for me and a process that encourages my growth in Christ.

Back in the early fall, I convinced myself to start free-lancing. I had myself convinced it was something God wanted me to do. Two months later I was hating it and had zero peace about it. I didn’t even know why I was doing it to myself.

Then I decided to monetize my “mom tips” blog. That was quite a rush. My site was growing nicely and I was starting to get sponsored post opportunities. I felt like I was helping other moms. I really do think I was helping other moms.

The problem was I that at the end of the day, I was so empty that what peace I had about monetizing my blog was a faint feeling, hiding itself from my heart.

And then God jolts us awake.

Then God jolted me awake with a private emergency. I had to trust Him completely and turn my eyes towards Him, leaving behind my daily commitments. I needed to give my surroundings my undivided attention.

And in that process, God lifted a film from eyes. A film of fear that I had disguised as freedom.

A false sense of freedom.

I couldn’t help but get his feeling that I needed to let go of a few of my commitments in order to cultivate my trust with Him. The feeling was so strong that I was questioning a lot of life choices Mike and I had recently made. And this is when I knew that God had a different plan that what I had planned (shocking, I know).

One of those choices was my writing. I had taken something that God gently handed over to me. I grabbed it with both hands and stuffed my face. Then I came back for more and more, totally overdone with my own ability, tossing God’s intricate plan to the wayside.

And just because I was good at something, didn’t mean I needed to be doing it.

I can think of other instances in my life when I needed to let something go in order to move and trust God. Uh, hello stay-at-home-mom and bye bye teaching eighth grade and shopping at Gap. Bye bye coaching cross country. Bye bye youth leader.

Bye bye all these opportunities that I wrapped my identity around. Hello identity crisis.

And even though I knew I was being obedient to God (most of the time!) I still fought these transitions more than I’d like to admit.

And even though I know that God doesn’t believe in wasted time and I did those things for a time and reason in a needed season, I still struggle to surrender myself and end up fighting Him.

Those small moments that brighten the path, pointing us in the right direction.

Every day my son fights me. He fights me when it comes time to wipe his face and hands after we eat a meal. And every time I approach him with patience, calmness, and firmness, because no matter how upset he gets, I am going to be there to wash him clean.

And the Lord tugged on my heart, reminding me that this is how I am with Him when I am wrestling with my heart. I fight, I kick, I throw my hands up and yell. I turn my face away from Him. But He’s right there, patiently and calmly waiting. He’s not going to leave me unclean.

I just have to open my tightly shut eyes to see that He’s there.

But when I do, the weight that gets lifted is tremendous. And I always wonder why I waited so long to surrender myself to him.

I make the decision to follow Him, yet again coming off the path that I tried to make for myself. It’s a decision I have to remind myself of daily.

I have to remind myself that just because I’m good at something, doesn’t mean I have to do it.

I know I’m not alone in this. When did something like this happen to you?

If you’d like to get more scoop from me, follow along on Facebook to catch snippets of encouragement during your day.

Every wonder if you shouldn't be doing something in your life, even though you're good at it? Me too. Here's how I responded when I realized...

To the Weary Mama

“Give me your heart, give me your song, sing it will all your might
Come to the Fountain and you can be satisfied.
There is a peace. There is a love you can get lost inside.
Come to the Fountain and let me hear you testify.”
                       ~NEEDTOBREATH “TESTIFY”


Motherhood is a gift that easily gets tainted. I know I am my own worst enemy most times. So much anxiety and thoughts race through our minds.

Am I doing this right?

Am I doing enough?

Do they know I love them?

Do they feel loved enough?

To the weary Mama, I see you. I see you trying to hold it all together on the straight and narrow path of deception. A path so wide and straight that many find their way so easily to an unfulfilled thirst for acceptance. We want to know that we’re doing enough. We want to believe that the daily decisions we make will guide our children to a better path as they grow.

I see the worry. I see the masked concern when you drop a little bit of your motherhood that you have clung on to for so long, when one of the plates fall.  It’s a constant nagging when Inadequacy drowns out all the love noise of the One who is calling you to His well.

We want to be confident in who we are, but the world constantly battles for our attention and tries to fill all those voids. The world offers us a drink and we leave still feeling thirsty. When I take that cup from the world, I leave with a false sense of knowing where I am. I leave with a parched mouth.

Are you weary and tired in motherhood? Do you feel overwhelmed? Know that you are not alone.

I know that all consuming thirst all too well. It’s that thirst that can only be filled when I drop all that I am trying to carry and come to His well where His Word fills my soul.

I want to be lost. Lost in His love that I can’t see a way out. I want to wander in the deep cave of His mystery. My feet kick the rocks on the ground in His canyon of peace.

He takes my hand and shows me His Word that’s written on my heart. I gently hand Him my heart that has it all figured it out and in exchange I receive His truth.

There are times when I trip and fall as I walk through the vast valleys of victory in Him, and it’s then I am grateful for my weakness because it’s in these moments when I know really how strong I truly am in Him.

If I am always looking back, questioning my worth as a mom, then I trip and fall. When I look side to side, I lose direction. But when I look forward, towards Him, I am lost to all that is around me. I’ll never look back again.

Wont you be lost with me?

I let go. I let go of the expectations I put on myself. I let go of comparison. I let go of my anger. I let go of myself.

I sing my song of redemption. I sing it at the top of my lungs.

Let go and sing with me.

I find His well of wild love and drink deep. I am satisfied in the lostness of knowing Him.

Peace Mamas,


My Two Words for the Year 2016

Back in January I wrote a post about my two words for the year 2016. As I look back and see what my goals were I sort of chuckle to myself. I had a new baby, a new blog, and a bunch of new endeavors I wanted to tackle.

For the most part I think I stayed realistic with myself and self-aware of how I operate when it comes to these resolution things. And honestly, I feel like I stuck with a most of them too. Some of them got a little bumpy as we became pregnant this summer with our second and with the loss of my mother, but I have stayed active nonetheless, which was the ultimate goal anyways.

Social media and I have a love hate relationship. As I have worked to grow my mom tips blog, I have had to utilize social media, BUT I have majorly grown in organizing my time and planning tools so I don’t have to stay glued to my phone. Score!

As I look back over our year of 2016 and I can’t help but think the words cultivate and focus still ring true for how I would describe this past year.

With all the deaths, anger, elections, shootings, religious controversy, and that’s to name a few, I feel like this year has caused me to seriously cultivate my relationship with Christ and focus on who He is according to His word. And this wasn’t originally my reasoning for picking these two words back in January.

If there was ever a year when I felt like my faith was tested, then this was the year.

I have spent much of my Christian life relying on my experiences in my relationship with Christ. While I think most of us need those supernatural experiences when we feel God holding us, I have also come to realize that truly knowing what His word says about Him is the fuel that fans those experiences.

It’s the fuel that fans my feelings from day to day experiences.

But my relationship with God isn’t all about feelings either.

Cultivating my relationship habits with Him has caused me to focus on His truth. And while I will continue to look at how God has provided for me throughout the years based on my experiences, I will read His Word to believe in what He will provide for me in the future.

I think we fall into that rut of “seeing is believing,” but that mindset causes me to lose site of the truth that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

To me, this means that if I am praying for growth and change and God’s supernatural power to transform something in my life, then I need to already believe it’s going to happen. Not just look back at what He’s already done to give me encouragement for what He can do. It’s a balance, don’t you think?

And while I want to look back at this year and see how God has shown me to not be shaken in my faith when man tells me otherwise, I want to look ahead, believing that He in His mighty power has gone forth to prepare a way of victory for me.

I want this truth to be real, deep down in my core and daily vision.

This doesn’t mean it will be easy. Doesn’t mean I wont lose heart or sight of Him. But it does mean Hope. And I don’t know about you, but I need all the Hope I can get. Every minute for every day.


Looking back at 2016, I can't help but think of these two words.




When I Can’t See His Truth

Coffee is gurgling from the corner of my kitchen. I need this cup this morning. Time has slipped through my grasp and I need to stop and breathe today. An overwhelming sigh escapes me. Coffee, Bible and journal in hand, I sit at my kitchen table that has seen many of my tears and fears on numerous ragged, dark early mornings.

As I open my journal, I am guilted by the gap in the dates marked on the top of the pages. Almost two months since the last time I made an effort to seek out God for his guidance. Guidance on my journey as a new mother, a new friend, a loving wife and writer.

I found something I was drawn to, led by the Spirit and began a spiraled crawl down my own path. Why is it when God gives me an opportunity to serve him, I find the need to take the opportunity and make it my own? I grab it, dress it up in an outfit I picked out, show it off on the runway of my life and call it my own work? My own doing. By the time I’ve come to the end of myself, I am enveloped by a sickness. God shows me the way to a bountiful path and I stuff my face.

It’s the sickness that usually brings us back.

I fumble with an overwhelming sense of insecurity. What if I made the wrong decision? What if I’m not supposed to be doing this with my life? As I search down the wrong turn I’ve taken, I see others in the distance who appear to be on the same journey as me. They look like they’ve made some similar decisions as me. All I see are their successes.

I start falling. Falling into jealousy. Anger. Fear. A dark pit I can’t see out of. I feel like I’ve reached the bottom and I can’t find my way out. I get kicked around by my emotions. They slither around me, rearing their fangs, ready to bite at my weakest moments.

These are the moments when we’ve come to the end of ourselves that we feel God’s hand holding us. We realize we aren’t in the bottom of a self-destructive pit. We are being held. Held by the One who never let go. God’s love is unconditional and will always be cupping us when we fall. It’s our pride that masks the floor from us.

We put ourselves in our own dark places only to find God re-lighting the path for us every time we take a detour. His Word says in Isaiah 41:13 that He is the the Lord our God who takes hold of our hand and says “Do not fear; I will help you.”

I think of the verses we’re taught as children. Verses that become cliches. They get tossed around as platitudes, losing their power in our lives. Until we need His power to rejuvenate us. Until we hear Him whisper the truth to open our eyes and see that He is with us.

I hear him whisper His truth in my dark kitchen that morning.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord our God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

I don’t sit at my kitchen table to feel like I’ve earned points with the man upstairs. I don’t journal about my journey to feel good about myself. I sit down for coffee with the Creator of the universe. I write to clear away the weeds I’ve sown so I can see the beauty He has always had for me. The beauty of His Word. The beauty of seeing others with His eyes. The beauty of seeing myself with His eyes.

This post was originally published on Her View From Home.

What Should I Tell My Children about Trump Being President?

This morning I woke up and dreaded looking at my phone. I knew no matter the winner, I was going to have to reconcile my feelings with the new President of the United States and God. If you would have asked me when I first started writing that I would be writing someday about “Donald Trump as President,” then I would have looked at you and laughed. But here we are. A day full of so many mixed emotions and so many questions. I just keep asking myself, what now?

Of course the instant I turned to my phone and began reading everyone’s comments and status updates about how they felt, I couldn’t help but have a heavy heart. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed for the people who are tormented about our new President. I couldn’t help but feel my heart break when I read posts of victims of rape who couldn’t understand why a country like ours “choose hate over love.” The many women who feel personally affected by the nomination of a man, who quite frankly, is a sinner like the rest of us.

On the flip side, my head shook when I saw those in favor of Trump, gallivanting their statuses as if they think Trump will be the change our country needs. The ignorance of a misplaced trust in a new President.

The reality is, no matter who are next President was going to be, the truth still remains. A truth that squeezed my heart of all the heavy and replaced it with hope. A truth that says this:

God is bigger than a Presidential election.

I certainly don’t write this to say that we shouldn’t have hope in our government. Having hope in one another and the people who help make our country what it is, need our hope. But more importantly, they need our prayers.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to pray for those in leadership positions. We are called to respect our government. That is a TOUGH pill to swallow when you feel like you are in a situation that seems like a lose-lose.

But that’s the real hope we can have with our prayers. A real hope that remembers God is bigger than Donald Trump. God is bigger than our government.

We make a mistake when we put our trust in man to bring a change.

Donald Trump is not going to be there in the night when a woman who was assaulted by a man can still feel his hands on her body. Trump is not going to be there when a mother and father hear their son refer to a girl in their class in a sexually degrading way.

But God is there. He is here. Now.

God is there to wrap his arms around that woman who can’t shake her attacker’s face. God is there to guide those parents as they talk with their son about what it means to cherish a woman and how God created her.

I keep thinking about how I would talk to my children today if they were old enough to understand the confusion and anger that fueled this election. What would I say to my son? To my daughter?

I would tell them that sin is real and Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy. That our new President is a sinner like us and he is a fallen man whom we can’t put all our trust in. I would remind them that Satan will use this President to continue to drive our country apart and that as Christians, we need to put on our armour of love, now more than ever.

I would tell them that God’s love is real and He is out to shower us with His mercy and grace if we would open our hearts to Him. That no matter what Trump or anyone else for that matter has done, that God still loves each one of us unconditionally. God is love. And He uses his love to draw us closer to him.

It’s times like these when we need to hold fast to the truth that is His word.

Not platitudes or false teachings that make us think Man is our rock. There is only one Rock and His name is Jesus.

If there were ever an election to teach our children about Christ and the struggles that come with learning to trust and seek His truth, then this one would be it. Think about that for a minute. I can honestly say that the few times I have voted for a President so far, this was the first one when I was on my knees almost nightly, seeking God for guidance on how to vote this year. And I would be sure my children knew the struggle I went through and the basis for my decision came from His word.

It won’t be long and the buzz will die down around Trump–that is until something new comes up and we can start pointing the finger again. And that’s when the lessons will begin again.

How will our children respond and what will they learn from us if we show an utter disrespect to our President and our government because we disagree with our nation’s decision? What will we be teaching them if we continue to bash those in leadership, when the Bible clearly calls us to respect them? 

If I show respect for one I like and think is morally better but show disregard for one that I think is the wrong choice, then I am showing my children that different sins have different value which in turn clouds the truth of God’s unconditional love.

I want to teach my children the value of respecting our governmental authority, while learning to exercise their rights as citizens to vote and protest. I want them to learn that disagreement doesn’t come in the form of bashing those we disagree with or breaking the rules. Disagreement comes with prayer. Prayer for those we disagree with and their hearts and prayer for our own hearts to stay open to the Holy Spirit and how He would lead us to respond.

God has given us boundaries in His Word and when we choose to live outside those boundaries, the result is sin. It’s not my place to put others in their place. I hope my children will see that when we see sin in others, it’s our place to pray for them and love on them ever more. We don’t have to accept their sin, but we can leave the judging to God and keep our eyes on Him and His truth.

I want my children to remember that God is bigger than we can imagine and it’s His love that pursues us every minute of every day.

I want them to know that God is bigger than a Presidential election.

What about you? What will you or would you tell your children?



It’s Who He Is

That moment when you’re totally engrossed in your own life. You feel like you’re never going to get that check list marked off. You feel like you are always going going. You feel like you’ve lost a little bit of something trying to do it all. Maybe you’ve lost a little bit of time with your spouse. Time with your friends. Time with your kids. Lost a little bit of yourself.

I get these enveloping moments when I’m doing the day-to-day mundane. I might be washing the dishes, running errands, paying bills, vacuuming. Whatever the mundane is in our house, I can always hear the faint sound of music in the background. We’re one of those families that has the radio lulling in the kitchen. Our station of choice is K-LOVE. I could probably write a whole series on K-LOVE calming the storms in the background in our household. Having constant praise music is a life source for me.

I was washing the dishes after a restless night worried about some decisions I needed to make. I’ve always been one that believes if you don’t have peace about a decision, then the answer is probably that you should shut the door on that choice. I was worried about what others would think of me. I was worried of how it would affect a few relationships. I was worried about how I would appear. Lots of “I’s” in that sentence…

I am one of those that also tends to look in the Bible for verses to make me feel better. Thank God for topical reference Bibles. If I’m worried, I look up verses about peace and trust. Nothing wrong with this at all. I think this can be a great reason to talk with God about where you’re at in life. The problem I run into sometimes is that my relationship with God becomes focused on me. Where I’m at. What’s going wrong. What went right.

What is a moment of distress seeking God for immediate help becomes a habit of a one-sided relationship.

I was washing dishes when it hit me. Chris Tomlin’s song “Good Good Father” came on the radio. In that moment, God wrapped me up in Him. Filled me with His breath of life. Filled me with His truth. Reminding me who He is.

He is the healer.
He brings restoration.
He provides.
He never leaves us.
He knows just what I need before I even say it.

It’s who He is.

When you’re in the day-to-day mundane, try to remember who He is and less of your mistakes and worries. If we keep our eyes on Him, we’ll see less of our messy world and more of His kingdom on earth.




Word for the Year 2016: Focus…and Cultivate

I couldn’t decide on one word for this year. I had a few goals and thoughts that I was mulling over for a couple of weeks and I just kept coming back to these two words. Focus was the dominant word. Each time I would delve deeper, the word cultivate kept swimming around my thoughts. So there you have it. My two words for the year are FOCUS and CULTIVATE.

Every year I tend to fill the need to change something in my life. One year I allowed myself to watch TV/Movies for a total of three hours in a one week period. Another year I wanted to run everyday. Ha! That was the year I got bronchitis AND laryngitis. (If you’re wondering, no, I didn’t end up running everyday that year.) Another year Mike and I pledged to eat at one new restaurant a month. One year I decided to read a new book each week. (I was close. I ended up with 50 on my reading list that year.) You get the idea. I have never picked a word to focus on. This will be a new endeavor.

I got the idea from Frank Viola. He posted a great article about getting ready for 2016 and I decided to run with it. If you’ve never heard of or read any of his stuff, you should head over to his site and check it out. Once I decided to pick a word for the year, I started to pray about it. I plan to take this seriously, so it seemed natural to ask God for help.

I knew I wanted to be on social media less, run more, eat healthy, read more, write more, be angry less, spend time with people I care about more and be purposeful in my relationship with Mike. I wanted to focus on them, but not just that, I wanted to grow these things. Improve upon them somehow. Enter cultivate. So here’s my list of focus and cultivation for the year 2016 and how I plan to “implement” them.word2016

1) Facebook less. I plan to turn off all my push notification on all my social media apps (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest). I have found that I have great excuses to be on these all the time (while I’m nursing, while Asher is napping, when I’m going for a walk…you get the idea). I keep missing the present because I’m so focused on someone else’s “present.” Who wants to spend life on Facebook. I don’t even want to know how much of my time is spent either surfing social media or the Internet in general. So, I’ve decided to allow myself two times in a day to check these things. I get up early and like to do emails, etc. so morning seems natural. I’m not sure when the other time will be, but it will be minimum.

2) Run More. I like to run. I feel healthier, stronger, and usually mentally stronger when I’m running. Especially if I have a plan for my running. I plan to run a half marathon this spring. That’s as far as I’m taking it right now. The fall gets pretty busy for me with coaching, so we’ll see what it brings. I already try to run a few times a week, so this isn’t new, but I am cultivating this habit. See what I did there.

3) Cook More Wholesome Foods. I believe I’ve mentioned before how I love Lisa over at I use her site as my go to when I want to make wholesome, less processed foods. I’ve decided to use my blog to help me with this goal. I’ve got some ideas turning but I’m thinking of a “Supper Sundays” post. I’ll post what I cooked, how it went over, the recipe I used and any other resources. I don’t know if anyone will read it, but it will help keep me accountable to cook at least a wholesome, non processed, possibly all organic meal, once a week. I’ll most likely cook this on Sundays, hence “Supper Sundays.”

4) Read More. If you check out my side bar, you can see that I’ve signed up at for the reading challenge this year. I plan to read 40 books this year. If you are a struggling reader or like to read, this is fun to do. You can join others and check out who’s reading what. It’s an easy way to find some accountability for your year of reading. I love it!

5) Write More. I’ve thought about using my blog to help me accomplish this. Obviously it’s two-fold with the Supper Sundays idea. I’ve thought about other “day themed” writings. I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers do this and it seems like a good idea. I wouldn’t have to keep it up every week, but when I get an idea, I could tie it to one of those themes. I also have realized that I want to schedule more time in for writing. This can be tricky. I have two prime times in a day to do this, but I use that time for a lot of other things too, so I’ll have to decide maybe what days to do what. Book ideas keep floating around my head. Right now, their just floating. I’m trying to get the sail up still.

6) Relationships. I would definitely consider myself and my husband an introvert by definition. We have friends we see every now and then but nothing consistently. I tend to easily run in my head that “I’m introvert. I don’t need to see people to get energy.” This might be true, but that doesn’t mean it’s the way God intended things for all introverted people. I plan to invest in some of my relationships more this year and spend time with people I care about. I’m pretty sure Mike will go along with this 🙂 I also have a big family, and we can go a long time without talking to each other. This bothers me when I think about it. So, I’ve decided to plan a phone call/text to my family members more often throughout the week.

7) My marriage. I can easily see how married couples lose their intimacy and friendship when they have a child(ren). I can see this slowly happening to Mike and me. He works fairly long days and it’s easy to fall into the roommate mode and give all  your energy to your kids. I’m thinking we need to implement two date nights a month or something. I haven’t worked out all the details of this because I need to talk with Mike about it. but I plan to be proactive in this. We’ve got a great babysitter that we trust and Asher doesn’t have any issues going to bed at night, so we just need to plan to go out together!

That’s my list to help me FOCUS this year and CULTIVATE some things that are important to me. Have you thought about your year? I really like Frank Viola’s idea of making a list of your “Dream Year.” How inspiring! I would like to sit down with Mike and do that. I think it would be a cool idea to see how those dreams pan out for the year. What would  your word for the year be? Why?
Thanks for reading!

Crying in the car and being a control nut: What is your top ten list for 2015?

I know many are focusing on New Year’s resolutions, but before I jump in to looking ahead, I like to sit back and look at the year and all the things I experienced. I like to make a list, (shocking, I know) and reflect on what had an impact on me as a person. I like to try and narrow down these experiences to ones that seemed most impactful to me. These “experiences” could include a book or music or even a movie. So before you jump into the new year, I would encourage you to reflect on your year in 2015.

WHY make a list?
It’s good for the soul to remember things that have helped mold you into the person you are. As a society, I feel like we’re always looking forward to the next date we have marked on our calendar that we forget to reflect on important things that have happened to us.

HOW to make your list?
I tend to be a “free writer” myself. I don’t start out with a number one and then try to perfect my list right away. I generally sit down and just start writing about the year in total free form. Sometimes I go through all the pictures on my phone to bring up reminders of special events. Sometimes I go through my music play lists to refresh on my favorite songs. I also keep a journal. I like to go through it and reflect. You might even want to talk with someone you spent a lot of time with throughout the year. They might have some interesting perspectives on how the year went.

WHAT to put on your list?
Of course this is very general and can vary greatly depending on the person and what they experienced during the year. Some might find this reflective process liberating and motivating as they move into the next year. We can’t forget the struggles that the year brought. There are many who may have had a tough year who wish to leave it behind and never look back. Think about how your experiences could or may have made you a stronger or more considerate person than before. Your list may include a relationship that ended, a lost loved one, a new loved one, a book, a song, a trip, a concert, a restaurant your family was addicted to, maybe a TV show.

This list is wide open. Be serious. Be funny. Be thoughtful. Be gritty. Be honest.


1) Having my first child.
Of course, this seems like an obvious one, but I must say that it seems almost all my experiences this year revolve around this little guy. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if Mike and I would have kids. God opened my heart and now I don’t even know how I used to think that! I could live without the labor part, and really skip the nine months pregnant part. A stork delivery would be nice. But I would do it all over. Words can’t express all this, really.

2) Becoming a stay at home mom.
If you would’ve asked me a few years ago what I thought I’d be doing the rest of my life, I would have said teaching in a school somewhere. I never would have thought that I’d be a SAHM. Now, I can’t imagine working away from my little guy. The transition had its and still does have its emotional moments, but I am so grateful that I get to be with Asher for all of his “firsts.” Wearing leggings everyday does have its perks.



3) Love and War by John Eldredge.
This book has brought a new foundational meaning to my marriage. If you are struggling in your marriage and are interested in faith-based insight, you really should check this out. I feel like this book gave me a huge reminder that we are all under attack by the Evil One and prayer is a powerful thing for your marriage, for any relationship, really. Marriage is hard and having a child and being parents is icing on the cake! This book saved us! I really should write a review for this book.

4) Since I’m on the topic of marriage, the song Broken Together by Casting Crowns rang true for me this year, especially after having a baby! There were many car rides, with a lot of tears upon hearing this song. Pregnancy hormones didn’t help either! (Come to think of it, there was lots of crying in the car this year…) There’s nothing more humbling than you and your spouse caring for this new little life (or lives) you’ve been given and realizing how utterly flawed you both are as you walk your parenting journey together.


5) Organic and less processed.
This year I have tried to cut out processed foods and create a more “whole foods” shopping list. I am addicted to Lisa’s site I first decided to really pay attention to ingredient lists of foods I buy and I try to buy organic when it’s feasible. I really try to go by the dirty dozen. We certainly don’t always eat healthy, but I feel healthier knowing I’m making more educated purchases at the grocery store.

6) Being a control nut.
I have realized this year that I like control. I like to control as much as I can and when I can’t, I feel like a failure or I feel unstable. Again, having a kid can do wonders! I always knew I liked to plan and organize, but I feel I really saw my controlling flaws within my marriage and my relationships and the unhealthy side of control. I think control can be a good, healthy characteristic, but like anything, too much can become a problem. I certainly haven’t mastered dealing with being too controlling but I feel that being more self aware has already helped tremendously.

7) Learning to laugh more.
Laughter instead of anger. This practice has helped me a lot in my marriage. It could help in any relationship. There are several occasions when Mike and I could easily get snippy or rude with one another, but we’re finding out that sometimes. things can be pretty funny and laughing instead of getting angry can calm a storm very easily.

I could probably add Taco Bell, KLOVE Radio, and the public library to this list, but those are long enough for a post of their own! By the way, I realize I only have a list of SEVEN! I’m working on my controlling deficits.

The new year is almost here. Take some time to reflect before diving in with new resolutions or before planning away all your time. Remember those closest to you and how they have impacted you. Most of all, enjoy the season of life you’re in. We all know things can change so quickly.

Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

I’ve never been one to agree with the phrase “Everything happens for a reason,” but I’ve got to say, I feel like the answer to this is “yes.” If you really think about it, clearly the answer is yes. I had been praying for the people in California and the ugliness those families are going through. The heart ache. The pain. I began to be overwhelmed with the feeling of how much hurting there is in the world and I always seem to find myself asking God why does this happen. I know I’m definitely not the first to ask this. So many have given their own answers to this. I can only share where I’m at and what I feel the Spirit ministering to me.

Yes, there is a reason for bad things that happen. Sin. God gave us free will and choice, and because of that, we have sin. We have awful things that people choose to do to other people. We have flawed human bodies that are capable of producing life-threatening sicknesses. I don’t think I’ve ever really meditated on what it means to live in a “fallen” world.

I know sin began with Adam and Eve in the garden and their choice for sin (stupid tree), instead of what God had for them, but when I start to think about that, I yet again, find myself asking God, why did you even have to put the tree there? Why couldn’t we have all been happy and perfectly content to only know You and live in blind joy with one another? Why do You allow sin?

This might seem weird, but I immediately thought of a scene from Hunger Games when Katniss and Peta arrive at the party in the Capital and are offered a drink. The party goer explained that if you get full, you take a drink and it will make you throw up so you can keep on eating and try all the different foods.

The people at the capital had NO IDEA what it meant to be hungry. They didn’t know what it meant to savor a bite. Relish in the opportunity to have a full meal and to go to bed without starving for once. As Peta mentions, people are starving and they are throwing up food to eat more!

God loves us too much to keep us in a box of blind joy.

He wants us to know what it means to really experience unconditional love. To savor it. Relish it. By giving us free will, we will know what it means to be starving. To be so hungry for something that we can’t hardly live without it. We will know what it means to experience a pain that is unbearable. To feel like we have nothing. We will know what it means to feel hopeless. Yet. you can only truly know what you have if you know what it’s like to not have it. There have been times in my life when I felt truly hopeless and alone. In those moments, I had to surrender myself and let God wrap me in His arms. I mean TRULY let myself experience His love. His forgiveness. His grace. That can be a tough choice when you are full of anger.Does Everything Happen

I think of so many stories in the Bible when bad things happened to people who didn’t deserve them. Do you think God wanted Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery? To be thrown in jail for years for being falsely accused of rape? Do you think God wanted David to have Bathsheba’s husband killed on the front lines in battle? Do you think God wanted Job to lose everything, including his family? Those awful things happened because someone somewhere had a choice to make and he chose selfishly. What is amazing in those stories is how God is faithful. He never left them. He was there, holding them. He was there to lift Job out of his pit of despair. He was there when Joseph was alone in prison.

I love it when Joseph’s brothers finally realize their brother is the big man in charge during the famine in Egypt and as he reveals himself to his brothers, who thought he was probably dead after all these years, Joseph says to them, “God sent me ahead to pave the way…it wasn’t you who sent me here but God.” Joseph could have easily blamed his brothers for choosing what they did. Instead, he saw God’s faithfulness in it all. He chose to see God and let himself experience whatever it was God had for him. God revealed himself to Joseph during his trials. In Genesis 39, scripture says that “God was with Joseph.” Joseph experienced God’s faithfulness, during what seemed to be Joseph’s end of the rope. Joseph had been “starving” for years, and God satiated him.

There are so many starving in the world. So much ugliness. But then, there is so much beauty. So many people reaching out to the hurting in the world. So many working to feed the hungry, to educate the homeless. So many who are trying to help the starving find their way to God. Yes, there are a lot of bad things that happen, but I believe that God is always faithful during times we don’t understand. Believing that is not always an easy choice, but I choose it. I’ve seen the evidence of his faithfulness operating through others. The neighbor who drops by a bag of food because she thought the family might need it. The school who decided to raise money for a little girl with cancer.

We don’t always get the answers. We go through something that may never make sense to us. But God can make sense for you. He can bring order out of chaos. Man can choose ugly things, but God is available to anyone who believes, and He can hold you during the ugly times and He’ll be there during the joyful times too.

Because then, in those moments, you’ll truly know what it means to be alive.




Why Can’t I Just Forgive?

Some times when I’m mad at Mike, he might ask me if I’m still mad at him. Sometimes I respond, “I’m only on seventy times two right now!” He knows I’m referring to Peter in the book of Matthew.

“At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, ‘Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?’

Jesus replied, ‘Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.’ ”     Matthew 18:21-22

I always thought it was kind of funny that Peter gave a number of times when he asked Jesus this question. Seven does seem like a mystical number in the Bible. Maybe Peter was thinking, Hey, I can live with seven times, I mean six just doesn’t quite seem enough and more than that just gets to be too much! Ha! I can just see Jesus throwing his hands and shaking his head while slightly exclaiming, Seven! Thinking, Oh Peter, if you only understood

Why was Peter asking this? Jesus just finished explaining to them the importance of working out conflicts with someone who has hurt you. He makes it sound like a “process” of actively pursing and choosing to forgive that person. Jesus said try talking to him, if that doesn’t work, talk to him with someone else present, and if that doesn’t work, talk with someone who might offer guidance to him and guess what? If that doesn’t work, “you’ll have to start from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love” (Matt. 18:17).


What?!? Start from scratch? That might be why sometimes I feel like I just can’t reach forgiveness with someone. It also sounds like a lot of work to reach forgiveness. Although, he did mention seventy times seven, hmmm… Why is forgiveness so hard?

I’m not one who believes that I have to do tons of work to get God to love me or forgive me. If I do this and this and this then all is well in the God department. I don’t think it works that way. Now, when it comes to forgiving someone else, I do think there is an action required on my part. I think Jesus is pointing out that you have to choose to forgive. That is an action of course, but by making that choice, you have to trust God will take care of the rest. Notice how he doesn’t say, once you do these steps for forgiveness, the other person will finally understand. No, he says you might have to start over, meaning you might have to keep choosing to forgive that person. And you might have to do it seventy times seven times! He doesn’t say you will get that other person to change their ways. He doesn’t say you will get that other person to come forth and apologize. I’m starting to think the whole forgiveness “process” is really for the person who is hurt, more than it is for the person who has hurt you.

That’s not to say your actions of continuously choosing to forgive a person wont have an impact on them, but I wouldn’t worry about it being your responsibility to change that person’s feelings. Yikes! That is way easier said than done. I have to trust that I am doing what I believe is right and God will take care of the rest. I’ve heard several pastors say something along the lines of how forgiveness is really for you, the person who is hurt. I think Joyce Meyer said once that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill the other person. Double Yikes! I don’t really think about that when I’m caught up in the anger I’m feeling or bitterness. Although, I bet poison tastes pretty bitter…

I’m a big believer in speaking the Word out loud. So, what do I do when I’m harboring unforgiveness and letting it eat away at me? I speak God’s truth out loud. Even if I don’t feel it, that doesn’t mean it wont


work in my heart. The Holy Spirit is the one who ministers to my heart. I particularly like Galatians 5:1

“Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you!”

I like this verse because it reminds me that I am letting unforgiveness make me a slave and I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I realize that I am letting Satan control my emotions. I am free! Woohoo! I don’t have to feel that way! None of us do. I’m going to choose that freedom. Even if it’s seventy times seven times or whobody knows how many times.