Tag Archives: grace

Waiting

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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

This I Know

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.

Five years ago today, February 21, 2013, my mom made the tragic choice to end her own life.

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Gail, Evan and Lauryn

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

Joy in the Heaviness

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 Fragile Clay Jar

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.

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Continue reading A Fragile Clay Jar

He Remains Faithful

 

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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.

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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

Goodness and Grace in the Grief

imageToday, 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

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Surely Goodness and Mercy

 

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

Take Another Step

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

It’s Ok to Ask for Help

Since losing my mom, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made is to seek help from a professional Christian counselor.

God has used my counselor to speak truth into my life when I couldn’t feel or think truth for myself.

God has used my counselor to encourage my broken heart and offer hope for tomorrow when I felt there was none.

God has used my counselor to assure me that my feelings were normal and understandable in relation to my circumstances.

God has used my counselor to offer wisdom to me in seeking additional helps for healing.

In so many ways, God has used His people (my Christian counselors) to bring help and healing in my life. Continue reading It’s Ok to Ask for Help