“Be who you already are. Be Free– because you already are free. Your enemy is dead–so silence the lies in your head. No enemy can imprison you–because your Savior empowers you. Nothing can hold you in bondage–because you are held by him. Not one thing can hold you back– because his arms are holding you.
The greatest lie of the pit is that you have to prove yourself.
The greatest truth of Christ’s reality is that you are free– so live free. Be who you already are.
You are always free from something–to become free for something.
This is what the realest love does–it frees you from slavery and frees you for serving. From slavery to the dark to serving in the kingdom of light! From slavery to meaningless pain–to serving for the most meaningful purpose.” Ann Voskamp (foreward in You Are Free)
These last few months, God has taken me on a journey. A journey of walking in freedom. A journey of discovering my calling. A journey of exploring my weaknesses and strengths. A journey of healing from years of shame. A journey of leaning hard into His strength.
Continue reading You Are Free
I’ve not written many personal blog posts recently. It’s not because I haven’t had the time or wanted to write. Honestly, I just haven’t known how to put my thoughts into words or turn my words into sentences for everyone to read. Since moving to CO, I feel I’ve been processing so many emotions, thoughts, feelings, and circumstances of my last eight years. Now that I am away from the place that held so much brokenness (SC) for me, I have fresh eyes and an open heart to release, receive and rest. It’s been a hard few months. It’s also been a good few months.
Now that we are somewhat settled from the transition to CO, God has purposefully given me a new season of slow . . . of calm . . . of waiting. Until Jason and I go through church planter assessment in March 2019, we have been graciously given a season of recover, rest and renewal. The present ministry expectations are few, undemanding and refreshing. Our eight years in SC were without a doubt the most challenging years for our personal lives, marriage and ministry. So what a blessing this season has been as we gear up for a very demanding season of church planting in the months and years ahead!
However, I’m in this strange and weird season of expectantly waiting for what’s next. I’m living in the “in-between, but not yet” season of church planting. Jason and I know we were led to CO to partner with Storyline Fellowship. We know God has called us to ministry. We know God has clearly given us a burden and desire to church plant. But so much of our future is still unclear.
“Where will we plant? Will we rent or buy a house? Where will our kids go to school? How will God provide financially? Who will God lead to partner with us? What is the timeline for our church plant? Will people even come to our church? Can we do this?”
So many questions exist in the wait. So many doubts creep in during the wait. So many emotions overwhelm in the wait. So many feelings constantly change in the wait. So many frustrations are exposed in the wait. So many buried hurts and longings are revealed in the wait. So many deep heart issues are coming to light in the wait. Continue reading Whispers, Waiting, & Worship
In the summer of 1998, Jason and I traveled together on a college ministry trip to the western part of the US. During that trip, a God-given desire was birthed within us to return one day to the West and church plant. We began praying then that God would clearly guide and provide us with this opportunity.
After college, we served 11 years in the Raleigh, NC, area in Jason’s home church. Those years of ministry were very sweet and taught us so very much. Looking back, we recognize that God softened our hearts for all people and allowed us to clearly see a pastor and his wife love God, each other, their family, their church, and the lost. Those years of ministry were relatively easy, life was predictable, and our families were close by.
Just shy of nine years ago, our family moved to Greenville, SC, in August 2010. We planned for Jason to complete his seminary degree in a few years, then we would head out West to plant a church. God’s timeline has been very different from ours. These nine years in SC have been anything but easy, smooth, and predictable! Through the past several years, God has humbled our hearts in so many ways, given us new understanding of His grace and goodness, and strengthened our desire to serve Him. We have been through the fire but He has walked with us each step of the way. . . often carrying us when we had no strength of our own. God has been abundantly faithful in every circumstance.
It’s been 20 years since that college trip. . . and it’s been 20 years of waiting! Waiting on the Lord to fulfill our desires. Waiting on Him to give clear direction. Waiting on God to answer our prayers. Waiting on God to provide opportunities. Continue reading Waiting
Discouraged. . .”to be deprived of courage or confidence, disheartened.”
I have found myself there repeatedly in the past week. The tears have flowed freely. My emotions have seemed faithless. My heart has questioned the Lord in so many ways. I have lost sleep. I have snapped at my husband and children. I have completely lost it in the grocery store. I have wrestled with the goodness of the Lord. I have felt like a complete failure in parenting. I have failed to see the beauty of the Lord in this season of my life. I have wanted to curl up in bed and hide my head under the pillow.
I’m sure I’m not alone. If we allow ourselves to be honest, we all would have to admit we struggle with discouragement. Life is hard. The days can seem so long, the mess we find ourselves in can seem overwhelming, and our hearts can feel so disconnected from those we love.
I am always blown away with the faithfulness of God to lead my heart to His truth when I so desperately need it. Even as I am running away from Him, He is always running toward me. Pursuing my heart. Leading my heart to His.
This morning was no different. A few months ago I had printed out a blog article from one of my favorite blogs-Grace Covers Me by Christine Hoover. Christine had written an article entitled “How to Diagnose Your Discouragement.” I found this printed article and began reading her words. . .
Continue reading The Struggle with Discouragement
From time to time, I will have people ask me for devotional book and Bible recommendations for children. There are MANY good devotional books for children and teens! These recommendations are some books and Bibles we have personally used in our family:
Ages: Birth to 5
1. A Child’s First Bible– Kenneth Taylor
2. The Beginner’s Bible– Zonderkidz
3. The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes– Kenneth Taylor Continue reading My Favorite Devotional Books for Children & Teens
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post expressing my heart’s desire for my children to treasure Jesus. I’ve definitely been pondering on my own thoughts in recent days.
Just this week, I was challenged and encouraged with these words from Marshall Segall. . .
“We are not called to execute a complicated series of steps that secures a certain outcome in our child’s heart. As burdensome and impossible as that parenting technique seems, our flesh foolishly prefers it to trusting Someone else with our kids. No, success in parenting is not found in meticulously performing a process. Real success in parenting is taking today’s step in steadfast obedience to God’s word, by prayerful dependence on God’s strength, with open-handed faith in God’s plan — always relinquishing the short-term and long-term (even eternal) results to God’s will.”
I ask you to read the entire article “You Cannot Guarantee Your Child’s Godliness.” It’s too good not to share with you!
Marshall says, “We all love the idea of open-handed faith in God’s plan — until it means our children might not believe in him. The irony in that tension is subtle, but thick. Do I trust God enough to let him decide what my child believes about God? As a father, if I’m honest, that feels even more intimidating than being tortured or martyred for my faith somewhere in the Middle East.
But if we are willing to trust God with our children’s futures, we can focus on parenting faithfully today, while pleading with him to move in their hearts and lead them to himself.”
May we trust God with our children today.
Last week, I had the sweet privilege to visit a new friend of mine. She has two young boys and shared with me her current struggles/prayer concerns about educational choices for her oldest. We discussed different options of education, challenges in parenting a strong-willed child, and embracing motherhood in its various seasons.
Later that same day, I was talking with another recently married friend who desires to have a family in the future. I found myself sharing with her from my own motherhood journey and encouraging her heart to embrace the struggles and joys that will come from being a mom.
I have been a mom now for almost 15 years, and am graciously blessed to parent 5 amazing children! Currently, I am parenting a busy freshman in high school, a middle school girl with changing hormones, a spunky 8 year old, and 2 munchkins learning to read and write in kindergarten.
At times it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the daily responsibilities of motherhood. At times it’s frustrating. At times I feel pulled in so many different directions. At times I fail miserably and lose my cool. At times I cry and laugh multiple times in just an hour. At times I wonder what in the world God is doing in all of our lives! At ALL times, I’m desperate for Jesus to fill us with His grace and love.
As a new mom, I can remember all the goals and desires I had for my children. I think of the goals and expectations I had set for myself as a mom . . . and prided myself on. In those early days of parenting, I could never have known how God would strip me of selfish desires, expose my “perfectionism” and performance mentality, reveal pride, and lead me to a humble dependence in Him alone. In His grace, He continues to change my heart as a parent and bring new focus on His heart for my children.
I’ve asked myself the question recently . . . “What do I most desire for my children?” Continue reading To Treasure Jesus
Oh, how I wish I still had it sitting on my kitchen table! Of all the vases that have graced my table, this beautiful red and yellow vase was my absolute favorite! The porcelain vase was delightfully shaped, vibrantly colored, and filled with a gorgeous collection of silk flowers. I loved the vase mostly because it represented my sweet mom. Mom had carefully chosen the vase for me as a birthday gift then filled it with beautiful red silk roses, brown twigs, yellow tulips, and other greenery. She was thrilled to present it to me as a token of her love and care! Little did I know at the time this vase would be the last gift from my mom before she met Jesus. After Mom’s death, I cherished this vase dearly and was reminded of her love each time I passed the kitchen table.
Continue reading A Fragile Clay Jar
2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, he remains faithful–for he cannot deny himself.“
As I read this verse this morning, my heart jumped a bit inside my chest. My eyes welled up with grateful tears. And I silently whispered a prayer of thanks to my Lord.
God is faithful. . .even when I’m not. His very nature is faithfulness. He promises to remain true to His Word. He never changes. He is always the same–yesterday, today, and forever.
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of remembering. Remembering His faithfulness to me in my 38 years of life. He has never failed me. He has remained faithful to me when I have run from Him. When I have broken His commandments. When I have doubted His love. When I have looked to other things for fulfillment. When I have chosen to walk in my own goodness. Continue reading He Remains Faithful