Tag Archives: truth

You Are Free

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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

Wednesday Whispers #4

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In the past few weeks, I’ve been praying for several friends who are currently on journeys of grief. One of my closest friends is grieving the loss of her dearly loved father-in-law, grandma and grandpa. Another friend is struggling to help her daughter deal with the loss of a grandparent. Change usually sparks a new wave of grief in my own life. So, these “whispers of grace” that I’m sharing today have either helped me along my grief journey or are current reads for me.

Grace Covers Me- By Faith Episode #7: Kathy Litton podcast

Kathy’s husband was killed in a tragic car accident. Her honesty about grief is comforting, refreshing, and encouraging. I’m so thankful for people like Kathy who honestly share their grief journey and how God sustains in our darkest of days.

Dorina Gilmore

I was recently introduced to Dorina on Instagram and have been reading several of her blog posts related to grief. She became a widow with three young children after her husband died from cancer. She offers several tips for navigating grief with kids on her website. Her  own story is filled with incredible Gospel hope as she writes of “chasing God’s glory through tragedy and triumph.”

10 Ways to Help Your Kids Grieve When You Are Grieving Too

Michelle Lazurek gives some great advice in this article. I definitely agree with her wisdom to “face the grief head on” and “give yourself (and your kids) time.”

Heaven for Kids 

Randy Alcorn’s book was a good read with my older children after my mom died. Focusing on the realities of Heaven was very encouraging and profitable.

Therefore I Have Hope: 12 Truths that Comfort, Sustain, and Redeem in Tragedy 

“Throughout the journey of my worst nightmare―my descent into a dark, sad valley―the Holy Spirit would remind me of truths that comforted my soul and sustained my life.”

After the sudden death of their three-year-old son, Cameron Cole and his wife found themselves clinging to Christ through twelve key theological truths―truths that became their lifeline in the midst of unthinkable grief. Weaving together their own story of tragic loss and abiding faith, Cole explores these twelve life-giving truths to offer hope and comfort to those in the midst of tragedy. 

I am currently reading this book and finding it to be raw, comforting, and truth-filled! I identify with his message that only God’s truths sustain and give hope as we journey through “our worst.”

Steven Curtis Chapman : The Glorious Unfolding and Beauty Will Rise 

Music brings incredible healing . . . and these albums have ministered grace to me in some of my darkest and lowest days. I’ve found much light and hope in these encouraging words written from Steven’s own experience with grief and pain. He ministers from a heart that has found Christ to be always sufficient and always working His good plan in our lives.

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Wednesday Whispers #2

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Out of the Ordinary with Lisa-Jo Baker and Christie Purifoy

Ya’ll. . .You guys (that’s what they say here in CO), the first two episodes of this podcast have wrecked me! I have listened to each episode at least three times this past weekend! Listening to this podcast was like sitting with trusted friends around the kitchen table. Lisa-Jo and Christie are a delight to listen to! Episode two specifically addresses one of my current struggles –being satisfied in this season of my life. . . it’s so easy to long for what’s ahead (the desire) that I fail to see what God has already done in the past and is currently offering to me in this season. I was so challenged with these two episodes and feel you will be too!

What to Do When Life Doesn’t Make Sense by Paul Tripp

“God has given us no sweeter, more beautiful gift than the gift of Himself. He is the gift that changes everything. His presence is what every sufferer needs, whether they know it or not. It is never more important than in times of suffering to hold onto and remember the theology of the Word of God. When you are suffering, it is vital that you preach regularly to yourself the truths that Scripture declares. It is vital that your thinking, feeling, interpreting, and craving heart is given the wisdom, guidance, and comfort that only the theology of the Word of God can give.” 

Paul Tripp continues to be one of my favorite authors and speakers. His words flow with such grace and consistently point to the Gospel and God’s heart for His people. I can’t wait to read his newest book Suffering which releases September 30, 2018.

Singing In the Victory by Austin Stone Worship

I often find myself singing or humming this song as I go throughout my day. As a believer, I’m so thankful for the victory that Christ provides for the battles I face each day! I am able to sing in the victory of the cross. To rest in the shadow of His redeeming love. To stand on the promise of new life. Because I am His forever, and Jesus. . .He is mine!

Pumpkin Crunch 

My mom used to make this recipe often in the fall season. It was a family favorite!  Each time I make this delicious dessert (or breakfast in my house), my heart misses her sweet presence and her yummy cooking. She was an awesome cook! Mom would leave the walnuts out of the recipe and just use pecans. And she always had Cool Whip or vanilla ice cream to serve on the side!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

 

Navigating Change

In less than 2 weeks, our family will drive away from this house and enter another season of change. You would think that I’m used to change by now. Truthfully, I feel like my life has been a roller coaster or ups and downs every since we moved to SC. But NO. I’m still not used to change. . .nor do I necessarily like it. . .nor is it easy!

I cried myself to sleep Sunday night. I woke up sobbing Monday morning. I cried driving through town on Monday afternoon. I’m just so emotional these days! A million crazy thoughts jumble up my mind and heart. “Are we crazy?” “Can we survive a cross-country move?” “Does God have good plans ahead?”

I struggle. I pour out my tears and heart to the Lord. . . just like I have so very often these past several years. I tell Him all of my fears, frustrations, and feelings. I’ve found He is the only one who truly understands and can bring peace to my chaotic thoughts and fearful heart.

Very gently and quietly, He reminds me of His goodness and grace. He begins to flood my memories with answered prayers, with enduring promises of Scripture, and kind whispers of grace. He holds me close and assures me that “Sometimes God allows change in our lives so we can have His presence like never before.” (Kristen Strong in her book Girl Meets Change) Continue reading Navigating Change

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

Good Words On Grief

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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!

 

The Struggle with Discouragement

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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 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

Love and Grace for a Grieving Heart

Just this morning I saw a FB article written by a recently widowed acquaintance. She lost her husband to cancer within this last month and has suddenly found herself on the grief road. Her grief is very real and consuming. Her days feel foggy and all out-of-sorts. She is struggling with new feelings, thoughts, and heartbreaks.

I know from my own experience that grief can suck the wind from your lungs. Grief paralyzes you. Grief makes everything 10x’s harder to do. Grief robs you of sleep. Grief steals much joy and happiness from your everyday life. Grief is just.so.very.hard!

The Lord brought to my heart and mind a few ideas for ways to extend love and grace to a grieving heart. Perhaps you know someone right now who is walking along the grief road. It may be your spouse, your child, another relative, a church member, or friend who needs your love and encouragement to press on and keep walking on this incredible challenging journey! Continue reading Love and Grace for a Grieving Heart