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
Grief is a friend that I am well acquainted with and have much respect for. When Grief suddenly enters your life, you embark on this wild and crazy journey! Grief will change you in unimaginable ways and can shake your faith to the core.
This week, one of my favorite authors, Christine Hoover, interviews Kathy Litton on her podcast By Faith. Kathy’s first husband was killed in a tragic car accident 15 years ago. In this interview, Kathy honestly shares her grief journey. Her words are full of wisdom, truth, insight, and encouragement.
I found myself agreeing with her statement, “Suffering sanctifies us and sets us apart from this world.” It is so easy to become enthralled with “the now”. . .but suffering and loss have a way of drawing our focus to Heaven and our future with Christ. Heaven does become sweeter.
I encourage you, friends, to listen to this podcast and continue to walk by faith in your own grief journey. Share this podcast with a friend who is grieving. Find hope that Christ is with us in our suffering. Rejoice in the promise of Heaven!
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
This time of year gets hard for me. For the past five years, when my birthday rolls around in mid-November, I can begin to feel the shift. I described it a few weeks ago to my husband as this- “There’s just this deep ache within my soul that feels heavy. I’m not depressed. I’m not anxious. Yet, I feel as if there is something sitting on my chest and it’s not going away.”
I’ve learned that this deep ache is GRIEF. With the holiday season there comes a longing. . .a longing for the way things used to be. A longing for what I had hoped always would be. Continue reading Joy in the Heaviness
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.
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
Exactly four months ago today, Jason experienced a massive heart attack. Who would have thought that my healthy, in-shape, non-smoker husband would almost lose his life at 38 years old? Life can change so very fast! Each day we are given is truly a gift from God.
God has been very faithful to provide healing for Jason in the past few months. But his life has definitely been changed. My life has also held many changes. Our family has had to adjust to many “new normals.” Continue reading Learning to Trust His Heart
Today, February 21, 2017, marks 4 years since my sweet mama went home to meet Jesus.
In some ways it seems like just yesterday. In many ways it seems like it’s been forever.
There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think of her and long for her. We shared a very special relationship that I will forever cherish. We were best friends.
Grief lingers. Grief hurts unimaginably. Grief robs happiness. Grief separates friends. Grief brings distress. Grief changes us.
I can truly say that my grief has changed me in deep ways. I am not the same person as I was before. Through my grief, I have come to love Jesus in a way I had only longed for and imagined prior to Mom’s death.
I read this question this week from one of my favorite books, New Morning Mercies, by Paul Tripp -“When hardship comes your way, will you tell yourself it’s a tool of God’s grace and a sign of his love, or will you give in to doubting his goodness?” Continue reading Goodness and Grace in the Grief
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. . .” Psalm 23:6a
It was 12:30 am, December 12, 2016, when God’s Spirit reminded me of these verses. As I was trying to calm my body and mind, I began to quietly quote Psalm 23. My earlier evening had been spent at the hospital beside Jason’s bed . . . watching him breathe and constantly reading bedside monitors. Never would I have imagined that my 38 year old husband would suffer a life-threatening cardiac arrest and miraculously survive! (You can read his story here.) Continue reading Surely Goodness and Mercy
One of my favorite music albums is Steven Curtis Chapman’s The Glorious Unfolding. Steven writes these songs from his own raw, vulnerable, and painful suffering. He has walked the dark roads of intense suffering and questioning. He has personally experienced deep grief. And he has found God to be faithful and the hope of Heaven to be very comforting.
As I was listening and singing along to his song Take Another Step this morning in my mommy-van, I was reminded of several steps that I’ve taken along my personal grief journey. God has been so faithful to me as well and Heaven grows sweeter each day.
But taking another step in the middle of deep pain and suffering is not easy. AT ALL. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt that I couldn’t keep pushing through the fog. I’ve wanted to quit and give up on so many days. I’ve cried more tears than I ever dreamed possible. I’ve felt numb but yet so sensitive to people, places, and memories. Many days it has seemed near to impossible to crawl out of bed, take a step into my kitchen, or get dressed to care for my family. Yet, I am making it. . .one step at a time. I am moving from my emptiness to His fullness. . .little by little. And I am loving God more with each day. . .as I daily take steps into His light. Continue reading Take Another Step