When You Need to be Needed

File_000 (22)

We all need to know we’re needed and when we don’t feel it from someone we love, it can get to us in the most tenderly painful way. It happens in grown people and babies alike.

It’s such a gift to see the useless feeling in another human being and know we’re not alone, especially in the vulnerable tears of a baby.

My toddler likes to insist on keeping her own little responsibilities at home. Especially when it involves something small and simple that she can do all her own, like throwing away mommy’s trash.

I changed her diaper one afternoon and when big sister took her job of trashing the diaper, she threw herself on the floor with the biggest tears. Her job that made her feel so important and useful to me was gone and she wasn’t able to offer her help to me the way she hoped to.

I saw her crying on the floor and while normally I would have been frustrated that she reacted so dramatically to something so small, that day I could relate to exactly what was happening inside her heart. I wanted to feel needed too…

File_000 (21)

That morning, with an earnest longing inside me, the question had found a place in my heart. God, do you need me? How can I truly believe that I matter to You if You’re so self-sufficient that You have no need?

I wanted to find healing from my hurts and look at the ways I mattered, the ways I was needed. For how can I matter if I am not needed?

That day God showed up for me in the tears of my little girl. Her tears spoke truth to my heart that I needed to see and feel, not just hear in words.

I spoke over my little girl who she was to me, and God spoke over me who I am to Him.

If this topic speaks to you, I think you’ll enjoy hearing this month’s audio story in the “Notes to my Shy Self” series. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen.

If you’re already subscribed to the series you’ll receive the audio in your email just as before or you can sign up below.

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Where Truth is More Than Words

File_002 (1)

Eliab had harsh anger stirring his heart when he spoke the words to David.

“Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” (1 Sm. 17:28)

Pastor Jeff read the old story of David and the giant his last Sunday preaching for us, and this was the verse that got my attention. Eliab speaks just like the voice in my head.

Take one step toward the giant, and though you lifted your foot to take that step in faith that God could use even you, by the time you set that foot down, your enemy hurls these same thoughts at you.

Why have you come down? He questions your importance and the value of who you are to take that step.

With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? He identifies your role as small and unimportant and accuses you of failing to be responsible even in that role.

I know your presumption and the evil of your heart… He accuses you of taking that step with a heart of wrong motives that only wants recognition for yourself.

For you have come down to see the battle. He finds a specific accusation to try to dig his foot into, even a weak spot where you have struggled with desire before.

Yet, met with these accusations that can tear people apart, David met his brother with a few short words and continued on in the same determination. Though he was called conceited, David pressed on to ensure that this giant who challenged God’s people would see the power of the God he was fighting against.

What makes a heart so confident in the belief that He will be used by God?

File_000 (19)

David’s legacy has lived on most in those dozens of prayers found in the psalms. A man of honest, heartfelt prayer, David let his feelings pour out before the Lord. He prayed his anguish and his hatred and his brokenness. And his prayers always brought him to knowing the place he truly stood before his God.

He prayed his feelings… “For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs on my head; my heart fails me.” (Psalm 40:12)

He lets the feelings pour out before the Lord, and as he pours them out God meets David with hope in his very own words of prayer…  “As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” (Psalm 40:17)

Just a few lines after giving his honest plea from his heart that feels so broken, those feelings have led him through that sweet communion to the truth God had for him to treasure in that moment.

May we know, just as David, that these feelings are not unwanted in God’s presence but welcome. May we bring the feelings so often to God that we are rooted in the truth of who we are even as the enemy throws those accusation at us.

In prayer, God teaches us to not just hear and know truth, but to feel it with our hearts.

Truth becomes more than words, as we pray from the feelings inside us. As we pray each unimportant feeling, He fills that place inside us with the confidence of who we are in Him. As we pray our useless thoughts, He meets us there and lets us know inside our hearts that we are useful.   

In prayer, we do not just know, but we can feel the truth of this…

I am His valuable bearer of fruit right here, right now.

The role He has given me to play is an essential part of His kingdom, and He calls me faithful.

The imperfect steps I take to offer what I can are the sweetest of offerings in His presence.  

My past mistakes are not a hindrance to His ability to use me; it only makes his light shine more brilliant through my darkness.

Teach us to pray as David, that we may feel with You through our hearts, all the way to the heart-deep hope You store for us there.

File_006 (1)

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

When life asks us who we are: An Offering




Life has its ups and downs and the downs can have a curious way of getting our attention. Sometimes it starts with a life-shaking circumstance, but more often it’s much smaller than that. The feelings find us when we’re doing life happy, sure that nothing can deter us. Out of the big world around us, they surprise us with thoughts that make us feel a need to pause. They ask us if we really are doing this right, if there’s something wrong with us. At least that’s how it happens in my world. Maybe you know those times too.

I was in that place the evening it happened. Coming from such a great day, I sat with a group of women. Feeling an urge to reach out to the one on my right, I tried to make a connection. Once then twice, I tried. But the first time, right as I opened my mouth she had a sneeze attack that required a search for tissues. Then again after that settled, I spoke up at the same moment as the lady on the other side of her who had a louder, more noticeable voice than mine. Then the tide of the room changed.

In the midst of group conversation, she opened up deeply and shared some hard hurts and criticisms she had been dealing with. She was trying so hard to do what was best and felt so much criticism from the people she loved. I wanted even more to connect and offer what I could to encourage her. I had to let her know that I believed her, that though there were so many ways people could judge, I knew she was simply trying to do the best she could.

When the conversation quieted down, I reached for her arm and gave her the first words that came to mind. It felt a little awkward coming out, but I offered what I had to give. Though she didn’t quite know what to say in response, she was kind. She walked to the other side of the room to grab something after that. And though we were in the same room the rest of the evening, we didn’t speak any more to each other that day.

It was such a small encounter, and she didn’t do anything wrong or unkind, but that night I felt so many questions rise up in my heart. What did I say wrong? Why do I have so much trouble connecting with people? What’s wrong with me? Why do I always say things at the wrong times and in such awkward ways? Why do I have to be so quiet? I felt like I was failing so much to be useful to my God and I ended up traveling through the memories of some of my most inadequate moments and some of my worst failures…

File_000 (15)

Maybe you’ve had interactions that felt so similar, that made you feel your own questions and travel down your own memories. Maybe you can relate, and if you can I have something I’d like to offer you in the best way I can right now.

The encounter I had that night ended up being such a sweet journey. It led me through the crushing I felt and to a place of looking up where I shed so many grateful tears for what I could see because of it all. I’d love to live it with you more than just what I can say in a blog post.

With the help of my husband’s audio work and his beautiful guitar picking, I’d like to speak these next words to you, to tell this story in another way that will help you feel the beauty of it more closely.

I hope you can listen to these four minutes with your cup of coffee or your morning walk… whatever your quiet moments look like. And I hope they speak sweet love into your heart for the moments that felt as if they wanted to threaten who you are.

To receive the audio in your email, simply scroll through the next picture and sign up below.

Love and grace to you sweet friend,

P. S. This is the first in a monthly audio series. By signing up you will receive this audio as well as one audio in your email each month. You may unsubscribe at any time. I respect your privacy and will never share your email. By signing up you are offering your support for my writing in a non-monetary way and I so appreciate your sweet encouragement.

File_000 (9)

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

When life hurts: the binding secret

File_000 (8)

Sometimes an old pain echoes back through my mind. Sometimes I want to bring out my claws and growl and let the hurt rebound out from me to cause more hurt. It can feel that to put down my claws is to say that nothing unjust happened to the people I care about at all. It can feel that to not fight back is to give up on the hurting people the situation still represents to me.  

Yesterday, the question of my heart was “how?” How can I carry a burden for a group of people without carrying bitterness for those who can appear to stand against that same group?

I couldn’t sleep last night and two words kept singing to my heart… love believes…

File_000 (10) 

File_000 (12)

Bitterness cannot live towards a person when you are believing in the beautiful creation they are. Love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:7) When we love our neighbor we believe they are created in the same image that we are. We believe in the image of God inside them.

The question posed back to my heart today… Even more than carrying your burden, do you carry the love of Christ for the people who may not share that burden at all? Do you believe in them?

We are all people who are broken and make mistakes. Yet, we are also all people who seek to be honest, who want to give the best to our families, who want to play a useful part in this world. While that desire may not be apparent in every life, I believe that somewhere in the heart it’s what every soul wants. We are all people who are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are people who are made in the image of the same God of love. (Gen. 1:27)

We have different ideas, different views and faiths, different cultural identity, different pasts, different personalities but we are all more alike than we are different. Love sees his neighbor and love believes. Love sees that you’re the same more than it sees that you are different. And when love does see where you are different, love doesn’t see a threat, love sees someone searching for the same place that it has searched for – the same place where you are known and loved and welcome.

Love looks at his neighbor, whatever life he may come from and says you are just like me. Whatever differences stand between you love believes and love sees someone just like them.

Isn’t that the encouragement we all look for to help us live the life we’re made for? I think it’s what we all want. For someone to care to step into our world against all odds and say ‘Friend, I believe in the work being done in you.’

It’s so easy to see the things that divide and hardly notice the things that bind, when the binding part is what we need.

When I see the dividing lines first, I feel rejected and the insecurities rise. And from that place, love is hard to welcome. But with eyes on Jesus, I see the One who binds with His own life, and from there my eyes open to the binding all around me.

From His own binding, flows the love that believes and binds across the differences and we find ourselves seeing each other the way we want to be seen – with the identity we were created for.   

So today, may we keep our eyes on the One who believed in us enough to die for us and bind our own wounds and from this place, love will flow and create binding places in this broken world. Love will flow out from us as we believe in the ones around us just as the Savior has believed in us.

Love believes. And the believing binds what once was broken.   

File_000 (9)

File_000 (11)

File_000 (6)

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

When you wonder why you’re made that way

File_000 (3)


Sometimes my prayers look like questions. When I feel like I could be more useful as the girl who could connect with people deeply and quickly, but no matter how I try it doesn’t seem that is the person He made me. When I want genuine conversations to be a normal part of life but instead they come slowly and take much more time. Sometimes the prayer is why did you make me this way?

I’m glad to read about Moses who only stood before Pharoah with his brother to speak for him, and I’m thankful for Paul who wrote strongly in letters, but trembled to speak in person. It’s beautiful to have a Bible that shows me God using all kinds of people with all different personalities to carry out the story of His kingdom.

And this past weekend, the scene of the cross brought me here, where believers played purposeful roles in this story that took on all different forms.

File_000 (2)

Peter was passionate. He was rebuked for wounding a soldier. And after fighting for his Lord, he hid in the shadows and denied knowing him. We don’t know just where he is when his Lord is on the cross, only that he is remorseful of the person he’s been during these hours. And three days later, when told the tomb is empty, Peter is the slow runner who bounds straight into the empty tomb of Jesus. He is the one abandoning ship and diving into the water when he sees Jesus on the beach.

Mary Magdalene valued presence. She is one who stands there at his death. She valued presence in His last moments. She valued what she could offer his dead body. When she saw the empty tomb, she ran to the ones who would care, then she came back to the tomb. She was the first to see her Lord risen. Though by his direction, she had to go on without his embrace.

The thief was the one who stepped into heaven as the empty-handed criminal who had no good works to his name. He died next to Jesus on the cross and asked simply to be remembered. And for two thousand years, his simple story has been one that testifies to some of the sweetest mercies of Jesus and brought so many lost souls to the cross themselves.

Thomas was the doubter. Again we don’t know just where he was when Jesus was on the cross, though we know he was one of the twelve who were closest to Jesus. And after Jesus rose and witnesses testified, he said he would not believe unless he had the physical proof of Jesus standing before him and could touch the scars in his hands and side. Because of Thomas, we see the mercy and love Jesus showed to a doubter.

Nicodemus had been a Pharisee who had visited with Jesus in the dark of the night. And though he had been one in the group that had it all wrong with their rules and religion, he loved the Lord and he was there to tend to his body after he died. The man who had first given his life to rules denying grace, now came to the body of the one who gave his life so even he could know that grace.

Joseph of Arimathea had been a believer in secret. His love of Jesus was not something many knew about, but at the death of Jesus he came forward and asked for the body. And he provided his own tomb as a resting place for the body of his Lord. Though he had been so private about his faith, he played a major role in this story. His own tomb was where the resurrection happened.  

John, the disciple that Jesus loved, was the only apostle we see in the Bible being there at the feet of Jesus at his death. He was by his side at his last supper, one of the ones closest to him during Jesus’ prayer in the garden. With the rest, John had fallen asleep when Jesus told him to watch. With the rest, John fled when Jesus was arrested, but at the cross he was there. He was addressed by Jesus from the tree, entrusted with the care of Jesus’ mother. At the scene of the tomb, John was the fast runner who arrived at the tomb before Peter and stopped in his tracks at the site of the empty tomb.

Mary was the mother watching the torturous death of her own son, watching the very body that was formed and nourished from her own be destroyed. The heart of her own heart beat it’s last before her very own eyes and she lost the son that was promised her as a young girl. She was the confused mother, who didn’t know how to understand the promises of God right now when her son was supposed to be the Savior. In Jesus’ dying moments, some of His last words, he reached out to make sure she was cared for.

The death and resurrection shows us Jesus loving people from all walks of life. Both the lowest of the low, and the one who had been highly esteemed for all the wrong reasons. Both the ones who failed Jesus again and again, and the ones who were there by him the most. The one who doubted, the one who denied him, and the one who had followed him in secret, they all played a role in making the story what it is.

And no matter who we are, what kind of role we play in this life today, He gives every child the joy of being a part of His kingdom in their own special way. He uses the failures, the insecurities, the personalities, the love of each and every one of His children and He treasures them as they are. He receives love from each of us given in the way we know how to give it and He values and redeems each and every part.  

File_000 (4)

File_000 (5)

File_000 (1)

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Life is not an impossible climb


I think I was fourteen. She was pointed out as a such a strong Christian who did so much for Christ, who heard God’s voice, who followed His lead. While I wanted so much to be like her, somehow, I felt so small inside.

A year or so later, a girl I knew asked me if I had ever heard God’s voice. I didn’t really know how to answer that. I was afraid to say no because perhaps that would make me less of a Christian. So I answered yes. Yes, I had.

Not long after that, I sat with a friend and expressed what was, in my mind, my concern over some girls I knew, but deep down I knew the words came from a place in my heart that I didn’t want anyone to see.

I wanted to be what they all called a strong Christian but more than seeking the God who is Love, I was afraid, afraid I could not live up to the expectations. So often, more than Love, I had fear.

I didn’t want to give in to the idea that I didn’t have what it takes to be a spiritually strong person. The idea scared me and I fought against it with Bible reading, and ministry opportunities. I gave my greatest effort to fighting against this fear of mine.

And as I kept fighting it, instead of feeling better about my own spiritual condition, I only felt smaller and more afraid that people were going to see through me.

Friendships, marriage and motherhood brought me face to face with my inability to be strong. One thing they taught me was how much I could hurt people. And it felt like I had no choice but to give in. Maybe I never could be strong spiritually. Maybe life is designed to point us here.   

Because we are not made to live as people who fight to hold a spiritual state. We are people made to be free, made to freely delight in the graceful One who delights in us and calls us His own beautiful sons and daughters.

We are made for this… “Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” (Mt. 5:3, GWT)


FullSizeRender (41)


Maybe we can delight in Him most freely, maybe we can enjoy fellowship with each other most freely, from this place where we see that we are all spiritually poor people who get to receive the gift of being His and being used of Him in each small, unique way He chooses to use us.   

Maybe it’s not as much about how much of my Bible I read, but more about my soul desperately longing to hear the truth of it’s words because I am in need.

Maybe it’s not as much about ministries people see me involved in but about my heart desiring to work in step with the Spirit because this is what I was made for, whether it be in the quiet of my home or with my children at the library or in the home of the neighbor down the street.

Maybe it’s not about climbing a spiritual ladder, but about finding anew each day that I am more and more in need so there is more space in the soul to receive more and more grace.

And the one ladder I know of in the Bible that went from man to God, did not involve the man Jacob climbing up to God, rather it involved God pouring blessings of promise down on Jacob. It was not a ladder that was climbed by man, but one that man stayed at the foot of to receive from God. (Genesis 28)

Maybe the point of us here on earth is not to climb a ladder towards our God, but to receive the graceful place where we know we only fail at climbing the ladder and He says He’ll climb it for us. Where we don’t try to climb any longer, but sit at the bottom of it all and receive grace from the hand of God.

Life is not an impossible climb.

Life is a journey of receiving the grace that Jesus made the climb for us.

And the small feelings that I thought were foe point me to this sweet place, where grace is not something I have to strive to give enough of, but something that I need most to receive. For when a soul is filled with how very much she has been given, that grace overflows in her and multiplies beyond the one, and on to the ones she sits with.   


My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

How Pocahontas helps me see grace in confusion

My Amayah and I watched Pocahontas together this week. I hadn’t seen it since I was a child. But watching it with her touched some of the deepest places inside me. To me, the movie spoke to so many aspects of my own heart.

Growing up in one culture of people, and loving someone from another, brings all kinds of feelings to me as I try to make sense of life in all of it. Perhaps we all know these feelings in a way. Perhaps, whether it has to do with skin color or not, perhaps we all experience the confusion of seeing life from one place, then seeing it from another and struggling to make these very different things we’ve seen make sense in our hearts.

Photo by Aaron Burden. Used with permission.

Whether or not the Pocahontas movie is historically accurate, I love it for telling the story it tells. When John Smith, in love with Pocahontas, accidentally calls her people savages to her face, it tells true stories of people loving each other beyond the fears that have kept them apart. When his friends believe that her kind is not trustworthy and when her father worries that his people are not trustworthy, they are really both friendly people who want the best for their families. They can’t get along because they are afraid the people with different skin mean them harm, when really they are so much more alike on the inside than they know. When Pocahontas and John Smith find their people at odds with each other, they are find confusion in their story. Pocahontas struggles with doubting herself. But when an act of her love spreads peace in a time of division, it finds me where I am.
I do find myself confused by my story. Trying to see the world as someone who grew up one way and deeply loves someone who grew up another way, makes the constant struggle for peace between peoples bring that much more ache to my soul. Seeing the world through so many stages of life, can try the soul, no matter who you are or what your story is.
Sometimes my heart aches to find the end of confusion, and I want it all to look as simple as when I had only seen it from one point of view. But I would not trade the beauty of the love I have known for all the simplicity in the world…




And the truth spoken through John captures me today. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

A lack of peace is always caused by fear. And it is love that breaks that fear.
When Pocahontas threw herself in front of the weapon meant for John Smith, love broke fear in the hearts of so many witnesses. The story that day was changed by love.
When Jesus took the shame of our worst darkness, love broke fear in the greatest way, changing our own stories. And love breaks fear every time we give on the love He gave us.
And the story is confusing sometimes, but it doesn’t have to make sense to be a part of the beautiful love I’ve been given. And the thing that confused me becomes something that breaks fear in my heart and by grace on from there.
Even when it is confusing, sharing the story is sharing the love. I can testify to the times people have shared their story with me in confusion and in doing so they poured love into me.
For my own story, watching Pocahontas makes me remember what a blessing I experience in my own love story. It makes me want to say thank you. This country has been one that intends to strive for the equality of people. And there have been so many triumphs. We have walked away from slavery. People from all different backgrounds and cultures can vote today and be voted into office, actions that flow from beautiful triumphs. Different races now share the same schools and bathrooms. In 1958, Richard and Mildred Loving were thrown in jail for the “crime” of getting married across cultures. And today just fifty-nine years later, my husband and I are blessed to enjoy our own union at no threat of the law.
Today, even though it can take on so many differing forms, we see Americans from all viewpoints striving for equality. So many Americans strive for equality of the unborn. So many Americans strive for equality of immigrants and refugees. So many Americans strive for equality of the belittled and underprivileged. And with grace and love that carries beyond what our own eyes can see, Americans can strive for equality of all.
On the inside we are all in the same image, with the same feelings, the same struggle with fear, the same longing for love. We are made able to see each other with love, no matter what differences stand between us, and we continue to strive for that love.
We may be confused by the story, it may make us feel so many doubts and questions, but may we befriend the way it feels in the presence of Christ and tell the story still. This is grace: we do not have to understand everything about our stories, in order for God to use the sharing of them. When we share the story God is authoring in us, we share the love we’ve been given – love that breaks fear.

FullSizeRender (39)

FullSizeRender (36)

FullSizeRender (33)

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Even in a Whisper: For souls who thrive in the quiet music of God’s glory


IMG_2508 (1)


My soul thrives in the smallest whispers of glory, in stories told by grandpa and the rag doll grandma made, in a friend who gave their lunch hour to sit with me, in conversations that may not sound revolutionary, may even sound insignificant, but are spoken with grace and love.

These whispers can sing a sweet music to my soul that a shout doesn’t do.

And these same whispers are what my soul thrives in singing itself.

But when the loud shout of it all is what I hear, something in my soul hears so many questions. Where the world feels as if it sings it all in wonder, the heart inside me feels a silent joy that wants to wait in the whisper. The questions that come in the waiting ask why the shout doesn’t sing the same song in my soul. They ask what’s wrong when I don’t thrive in the shout as so many others seem to do. I want to sing the glory of this moment too; the shouts look so normal. I can find a quiet rejoicing knowing others are blessed by the shouts, but I need to hear the whisper…



FullSizeRender (23)

Today, in cups of coffee, in new kittens and old screen doors the moments whisper to my soul the sweet reminding truth that speaks grace to me. That maybe I struggle to remember we’re all made differently.

These questions felt as they are, teach me things about myself, about how I was made. Without them the whispers wouldn’t be on my mind today. Without them I wouldn’t hear the voice that tells me where God places me right now.

Maybe the moments where my soul feels out of place, are the voice of God telling me where He has made my place…

Where perhaps He’s here whispering a message I truly need. That people I love will thrive in the shouts and I may not always understand, but God has them where He has them and His story is good and these people are beautifully made by Him.

When I don’t feel like I can join in the shouts with the people I love, that is fine and good. For today, my place is finding beauty in the quiet and speaking God’s glory in the quiet myself. I can trust that this place is good, that there are other’s like me who hear the beauty in the quiet too. Maybe you are one of them and we need each other to be okay in the quiet because in some of us, this is where God speaks the words that reach to hearts, from me to you and you to me.

So today, when life makes us feel small, we will listen for the whisper speaking through. We will live the small words and the tiny steps that the Spirit wants to give through us in our own little way. There is a reason He wants to say it in us. There is a grand purpose behind the whipser that we cannot see. But we can trust that it’s there.

His power works best in weakness. When I can’t see it, I can trust the promise that is so empowering. His power works mightily even in my quiet personality, even in my flaws, even in my quirks. When I can’t see it, by faith through grace, his power flows through even me. Even in a whisper.    

P.S. When I think of God working mightily through whispers, I think of my grandparents who both went home to Jesus this past year. I have paired my words with pictures of their home. I hope the whispers of glory lived there sing some grace to your heart as they do so beautifully to mine.     

FullSizeRender (28)

FullSizeRender (27)

FullSizeRender (24)

FullSizeRender (29)

FullSizeRender (31)

FullSizeRender (32)

FullSizeRender (30)

FullSizeRender (26)

FullSizeRender (25)

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

When truth is but a candle


Truth stands bold and small, a candle lit at the feet.

It bids the one its offered to follow its humble but trusty light that knows the path. Because Truth is the Way is the Life that gave first breath in a cattle stall. The Life that walked the path that knows struggle and victory, hardship and peace, bitter disappointment and unfailing hope.

His life is the gift that lights the candle at our feet, lays hope before our broken steps.

As sure as the candle stands, the questions come back to my head. I look down at my candle and I am distressed that I can’t see the road far ahead of me.

I look down at my candle and I feel fear to follow it’s light in a direction that I don’t know how to explain to the world around me.    

I follow it’s light down paths that feel sublime and paths that feel wounding and paths that I cannot understand.

When it hurts, I struggle to process the pain. I wonder how I should feel, and what to do when I don’t have an answer for what to do with all the feelings. It’s hard to embrace the gift of this next step. And when it’s wonderful, I struggle to receive the gift without feeling guilty for receiving something so good.

I try to filter my candle’s light, and I struggle to embrace it’s gift.



It was just before Thanksgiving when the Wilson’s showed up at the farm to meet a need we had. When my first reaction was guilt to receive their gift, it showed on my face and I struggled with what to say. And Mr. Wilson, told me straight, he wasn’t doing this to make me sad.

His words hit something inside me that went further than that day. If each step the candle lights for me is a gift lived for me by the Jesus I worship this Christmas, perhaps each step is given to be embraced. Perhaps He desires for me to really embrace the gift of these steps and not be so concerned with trying to filter the way I feel about each one.

To receive the steps of life that bring joy with abandoned celebration and to receive the steps of life that bring pain with abandoned grief. For it’s the raw feelings of these moments that give us the gift inside them and point to the God who alone makes each of them a beautiful gift.

With the changes of my year that have scratched on old wounds, the death of my grandma this summer, my cousin this November, my grandpa this Christmas, I have had a need. And trying to push pain out of my heart feels like trying to push God out of my heart. This year, meeting God means meeting the pain of these steps and letting them sit raw in my heart for all the gift God wants to give me.

And some of the truest beauty on earth may just live in the moments where life is received like a child who takes it raw and open and honest, where Job fell on his face and David tore his clothes and Ruth lifted up her voice to weep and Jesus was in so much “anguish” before his crucifixion that his sweat was like great drops of blood. (Job 1:20, 2 Samuel 13:31, Ruth 1:9, Luke 22:44)

We are made by a God who grieves and is angry and maybe we forget what image we were created in. (Gen. 6:6, Deut. 32:21, Gen. 1:27)

In a culture that may frown on outbursts of emotion, I quickly forget the beauty in the raw feeling of the moments I’m gifted.


This raw embracing of the step my candle offers, without seeing the whole path that it’s leading me down, makes me feel cracked and broken sometimes, like I am less than enough. And that is the beauty of it.

The Gospel comes to us wrapped in stables and mangers, cow dung and animal feed.

And brokenness is the stable through which He tells the story in you and me.

Good News is spoken through us in humble wrappings, in insecurities and pain, and when I don’t keep my composure, when I know I don’t have it all together, something beautiful happens. My own strength that never can measure up is released and His own strength carries me.

It’s how He wraps Gospel in us. It’s always wrapped best in weakness. No, my candle does not call me to despair or to anything less than hope, but as I embrace the steps it lights in front of me, I am revealed as weak and struggling and He is revealed as strong.

What a beautiful gift to embrace each step, feelings felt and lifted up to the Father who carefully takes these most broken pieces of ours to wrap His most beautiful gift.   


My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

When you want a map for the path through hurt


There are hurts in life that are hard to put a finger on. It’s hard to explain them to a friend, hard to make sense of them in your own heart, and hard to learn to bring them to the God who authors the story and cares to hold the hurting heart.  

Maybe it’s the loss of someone you love. Maybe it’s your own inadequacies to meet the needs around you. Maybe it’s the discovery of waking up in a world that is different than you thought it was. Maybe it’s a big life change that leaves you unsure of how to find your footing again. Maybe it’s past rejections that you still don’t know how to move on from. Maybe it’s things in life that bring back painful memories that you just don’t know what to do with. Maybe it’s many of these things combined that make life look and feel foggy. Maybe the filter that you’ve learned to experience life through feels a little dusty. If you’re there, you’re in good company, because I’m right there with you, and I’ve been trying to write through it for weeks.  




Maybe you need time to dust off the filter, whatever that means for you right now, but it seems the time is scarce and there’s Christmas lists and people to care for and work to be done and laundry to do. And distractions too, lots of distractions that can numb it all for a little while.

Because there’s a desire to just move on and then there’s a questioning how. I like to try to patch my hurt right up, but patching isn’t always what my hurts need. Hurts come with so many questions, and when I patch the hurt I try to shove the questions right back in that little place they came from. That can feel smart because really, I don’t have the answers to all of these questions, and the inability to answer them can really put a sting in my heart. On the other hand, somewhere there’s a burning knowledge in my soul that those questions are there for a reason and that they are each sent to me to deliver a gift to my soul. There’s a need to let the questions come, because though they are hard, though they try me, though they burn things that have sat in my heart for years, they are sanctifying and they are gift.

Cousin Kenneth spoke it at Janie’s funeral this weekend. “God is here with us, He is weeping, mourning, and hurting with us in this time and place. He is here and He is encountering it all with His love, His grace, and His mercy… How do we move forward? We let ALL of these emotions, all of them, transform us, knowing that God is in control and that He is here with us.”

He spoke the reminding words that Jesus wept when death happend, Jesus threw tables at the sin in His Father’s house, and Jesus knew the feeling of being forsaken by God when He was at deaths door.

I have spent weeks looking for the answer to a question that I’m not really sure how to ask. How do I refuse to patch, how do I sit with the hard questions and be honest with them without giving in to the hurt they make me feel. How do I honestly feel the pain in my soul that I don’t even know how to put words to without giving up hope? How do I embrace the gift of all of the emotions while holding on to the love my God has shown me. What do the dark things I feel have to do with the God who I am loved by. How do I embrace the gift of them both simultaneously?

I’ve wondered if there’s some strange secret, some curious set of brain waves to travel to get to the end of hurt, some near magical combination of thoughts to reach all the way through the hurt and find the way through to the other side. No one has ever given me any secret recipe for that.

One thing Janie’s funeral is still teaching me in a way I haven’t learned it before, is that there is not a secret path for me to walk through the hurts of life; instead there is something much better. There is One who has already walked that path for me and has given me His own life to claim as mine. Because of the Gospel, I am loved as the child of the One, holding the hand of the One, filled with the Spirit of the One, who has already walked the hard path that all these questions take me on. He doesn’t give me the complicated roadmap all the way through a life of hurt and leave it to me to find my way through. He gives me something I can handle. He holds the roadmap for this path He has already walked through and He gives me this gift. I can boldly speak all the dark feelings at the foot of His cross where I am loved beyond measure and He tenderly lifts my foot in His own power to take that next step in front of me. Just one step at a time, as a beloved child of God, I walk through a world that hurts, by the power of the faithful love and victorious grace of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.         


My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.