“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.
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
Throughout the past few months, I’ve sensed the Lord expanding my initial direction for my blog. When I started blogging in 2015, I was processing my mom’s traumatic death and needed to record God’s work in my broken and tender heart. I had a desire to help others dealing with grief. I was learning to trust God’s goodness and sovereignty.
It’s been five years since my sweet mom met Jesus. . . and although there are days when I grieve intensely, God has brought so much healing into my heart and life. He has continually whispered His grace into my grief and brokenness.
Not only have I discovered whispers of grace in “God’s classroom of pain and change”, but I continue to experience those whispers of grace in my everyday life. Sometimes He whispers grace through a song. Sometimes it’s through an article or book. Other times, He whispers grace through a shared meal with family. This morning, my heart was encouraged with His grace from a podcast.
I experience whispers of grace in exploring His beautiful Creation. He whispers grace in a conversation with a friend. Often, He whispers grace through my husband and children. My time in the Word is rich with His whispering grace.
God, in His abundance, loves to whisper grace into my heart. Often I fail to recognize those whispers because my heart is not in tune to listen or observe! With His help, I’m seeking to purposefully listen for His whispers and take notice of His daily grace in my life.
Since moving to CO, I have been taking regular walks through my neighborhood. I’m in love with the “no humidity” here! I often stop along my walk to sit on a bench that overlooks the mountains and the Denver skyline. The views are just gorgeous!
I use this time on “my bench” to pause, pray, and praise. Today, as I sat listening to worship music and reading an article for teenage girl moms, I felt surrounded with whispers of grace from God. Through the song, He reminded me that nobody loves me like Jesus. I am deeply loved by the God of the universe!
As I read the article, I was overcome with humility that He would trust me to parent a teenage girl. I was led to pray for my teenage daughter as she continues to adjust to new CO cultures and surroundings . My eyes filled with tears as I reflected on God’s work of grace in her life. God continues to answer so many prayers for my children.
In looking at the creation around me, I was reminded that my God is in control and all-powerful! He made the mountains. He made me. He takes care of both! I can trust Him with my life.
For those few moments on the bench, I paused to dwell on Christ and His work all around and within me. As I praised Him, I also felt the Lord tell me to share. To share with my readers the various ways God whispers grace to my heart in everyday life. God’s goodness is meant to be shared!
So in humble obedience, I plan to begin sharing Wednesday Whispers!
Wednesday Whispers will feature various articles, songs, Scriptures, podcasts, recipes, pictures, books, and sites to explore. . .in hopes that God will whisper His grace to you as well.
I am so excited about this! If you’re not an email subscriber, you may want to sign up now!
Happy Wednesday, friends!
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
It’s been 5 years today. FIVE crazy years! In some ways, I can’t believe it’s been that long. In other ways, it seems like an eternity. I still think of her daily because my heart loved her so much.
Life changed immediately for me. I was suddenly thrust into a horrible situation that began to unravel me in ways I could never have imagined. All of a sudden, I found myself on the most insane roller coaster that has seemed never-ending.
Grief has to be one of the wildest journeys known to man. The ups-and-downs of the grief journey have taken me to the lowest valleys in my life yet also to the highest peaks in knowing God’s love and grace. I have been forced to “hang on for dear life” to the truths of Scripture or else be thrown off the coaster into the depths of despair and sorrow.
I still have a hard time believing it all happened. It seems crazy and bizarre that my mom would make this choice. It feels so uncomfortable and shameful. Never in a million years would I have dreamed this would be my story today.
But it IS my story. It is the story that God knew would be mine one day. It is the story that God sovereignly planned to draw my heart to His in unexplainable and unimaginable ways. My story that would shape my heart to become more like His. My story that is helping me make different choices today with my own children, my own mental health, and my personal need for true Biblical community. Continue reading This I Know
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
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.
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
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