Whispers in the Dark

Imagine stepping into a windowless room where the walls are painted black. As the door shuts behind you the darkness closes in on you. Reaching out you can’t feel anything. The room may be as large as football field for all you know. The darkness is heavy and even though you are seemingly suspended in space, the lack of any light induces a claustrophobic feeling.

Standing in the vast darkness you may as well be drowning. Your heart pumps faster and faster, and the breath in your lungs is labored. It’s as if there’s oil moving through your veins. The more you try to break free, the further you seem to fall into the void. It feels as if you’ll disappear in this place. No one will remember to look for you, and how could they possibly find you when you can’t seem to find yourself.

If only you could just remember to open the door.

The image created above is a very real reality for some. I painfully understand as I’ve been there myself. My childhood was spent in a twisted, dark reality. Engulfed in despair and grief I felt like I was nothing. To me, God was just a benevolent fairy tale character. The stories were nice, but I definitely wasn’t being rescued. Instead I lived with the devil himself. Every creak of a stair and soft click of the bedroom door was the Satan himself cackling with glee upon my torment.

Lost in the darkness I continued to wander. It festered and turned me into a snarling, wrathful creature intent to hurt easy prey. Even though I was a tiny little thing, I was a vicious bully. Hurt had been building within me, and Satan was whispering that there was no escape.

God found me submerged in grief, and in my brokenness He called me his daughter. I am proof that the light defeats darkness… ALWAYS. My story is just a drop in the bucket.

God wins every time.

The enemy will do his best to convince you that your grief will swallow you whole, your anxiety will defeat you, God has forgotten you, God has turned from you, you deserve the pain, your abuser is just lying in wait.

These are all malicious lies. If you need proof turn to God, and if you’re having trouble hearing his voice read his word. Go to the quiet place and speak to the one living within you. If God is within you, Satan cannot have you. YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN CLAIMED. The darkness is a liar.

In the absence of God there is only darkness, for He is the light. Those who know God just need to block out the noise of the enemy. We can feel forgotten by God because we are focused on the noise being thrown at us, and believe me when I say I truly do understand how difficult this can be.

The reality is that we live in a broken world full of pain, discomfort and overwhelming grief. Having an intimate relationship with God doesn’t keep us from feeling these things, instead it allows us to overcome them. Jesus took on all of our pain and grief through a very public, torturous death. He then went on to defeat death.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Through Him we can overcome whatever Satan tries to craft against us. If God has overcome the world and he lives in you, it stands to reason that you can overcome anything because the power of God resides within you. He equips us to fight against the darkness.

When Satan tells you God has forgotten you or left you, call him out on his lies. God is within you! No where in the bible does God describe his love as conditional. Satan is right that we don’t deserve God’s love, but the incredible truth is that God gives us his love unconditionally anyway. He loves us not because of anything we have done, because we cannot ever do enough to earn it, rather, he loves us because we are his and He gave the ultimate sacrifice as proof.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

He already took our pain and grief. Jesus wears it so we don’t have to. Rest in God and He will carry you through what feels like endless darkness. Let him be the beacon guiding you home. Eventually we’ll be called home and He will call us by name. That place is void of pain, grief, discomfort and darkness.

Slow down, block out the noise, and find God in the stillness. He will give you rest. He will give you peace. He will comfort you as you weep. You only have to find a crack in the darkness to defeat it. Let God lead you to the fracture in Satan’s lies and He will help you break free. In order to do so you have to focus on the unassuming fissure and ignore the oppressive, deafening darkness around you. God is quiet but mighty. Jesus took your pain. Let Him carry the weight of the world for you and find peace in His arms.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30

God of the Mountain

These last few weeks have been different. Even as I type this, I am not sure what I’m going to say.

A huge driver for this ministry is to humbly stumble through life, so that others can see Christianity does not fit into a perfect package of good deeds, going to church, and reading your bible. There is definitely space for those things, but if we’re honest, choosing to live a life reflective of Christ and setting our eyes on something far above this world we’re living in is messy.

Christianity is amazing, eye opening, and life changingly beautiful.

It’s also often hard and gut wrenching. It completely wrecks you from the inside out.

These last few weeks have been an interesting journey. I have been through a lot of hard things through my life, and at some point I can elaborate on that. Right now though, I share that I have dealt with a lot of really difficult things because through these experiences I have learned to put on a brave face and barrel through the storms.

I have been climbing my current Mr. Everest for the last two years and was just about to arrive at the peak.

For those who hike the real Mt. Everest, it is a lengthy and costly venture. Many don’t even finish climbing to the top. They stop at a base camp, or worse yet, some succumb to the elements of nature and fall or freeze to death in their trek. While reading a story of a woman who has conquered the mountain nine times, she mentioned how common it is to see bodies along the mountainside, some even have been named as a twisted kind of landmark. There are far less who manage to climb to the peak and go on to tell their story over those who call it quits. Those who continue climbing are reminded of the risks with each frigid arm or frozen foot they see protruding from the snow as they take one more labored step.

Everything works against the traveling troupe. It’s a grueling trek up the mountainside. Hikers are at risk to be caught in an avalanche, fall, suffer from cold weather induced health complications and even become delirious from lack of oxygen at high altitudes. Frankly, nothing about it sounds appealing. For some reason people keep trying, despite the odds.

Why is it that some people choose to do hard things, when most of us would rather do anything but? Often the answer is pretty simple… to show they can.

God assigns us mountains. What do we do with them?

Most of us turn around before even taking a step. I tend to climb, and up until the last few weeks I was steadily climbing, when all of a sudden I lost my footing. I flew down the side of the mountain and landed in a broken heap. I’d been climbing bravely, only to realize that I didn’t want to get back up and take another step.

I felt so incredibly guilty and spent the next few days repenting on my selfish desire to stop moving forward. I completely broke and felt like Elijah under the broom tree, asking for God to just make his hardship stop. I hated myself for not being able to bravely face the storm in front of me.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.1 Peter 5:10

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

My brokenness is not due to fear. I am not afraid of what’s to come because I know who’s really in control. Even with that knowledge, I gave into my fatigue. I am tired. It wasn’t until I stopped to actually acknowledge my selfishness and cry out to God that he began to fashion me into what he needed me to be.

Thy will be done.

Just before Jesus climbed his Mt. Everest, with a cross on his back, he came to his father with a confession. Matthew 26:39 states that Jesus fell on his face in sorrow and prayed, “My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.

Jesus, knowing the outcome, knowing he would rise up from the tomb, had weakness before climbing his mountain.

The peace comes in relinquishing ourselves completely for our God. Not my will but yours.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you. 2 Corinthians 20:17

It wasn’t until I gave God complete control, that I began building a quiet strength. I have moved from the hurricane to the eye of the storm and stand here at the base of a looming mountain knowing my God speaks and storms cease, waters still, and mountains aren’t only moved but are thrown into the sea. There is nothing too big for my God.

I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I do know that God will use it for His good. I am here for His good, and when I see him face to face He will call me by name and I his. What a beautiful name it is and what a gift I have in being tasked to fight the good fight.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28


We took our Christmas tree down on Saturday. While I love the twinkling lights and cozy, festive atmosphere I am not crazy about the clutter.

Every year we are usually the last family within our friends and family to put up the tree and decorations. The running joke in our home is our smattering of Charlie Brown Christmas trees. We never quite know what poor tree will end up occupying the space of our already modestly sized living room. My husband likes to save money, and by that I mean he’d really prefer to never spend it. His frugality is actually a necessary quality since it balances out my Oprah like spending tendencies. I love to give and our bank account would prefer if I just simmer down a smidge on the generosity.

Each year Jeff heads off to a tree lot, (or a few), with at least one child in tow to select the coveted greenery. We never know what we’ll end up with. Will it be short, skinny, fat, lopsided, sparse, flat on one side? One thing I am sure of is that my husband takes pride in his ability to find the best, reasonably priced shrubbery and waiting to wrangle the imperfectly perfect tree gives him some peace.

The first year of our marriage, there may have been some huffing and puffing on my end regarding our tree. Since then I have grown to not only love our misshapen trees, but am always excited to proudly display our awkward little trees, front and center in the living room window for the rest of the neighborhood to admire.

Soon after Christmas, I am ready to tear the beloved tree down and clear the clutter. Like I said earlier, I am not clutter crazy. In fact, I have a visceral reaction to clutter, especially in the kitchen and living area.

Our home is pretty small, and while we love our space it can become full of clutter quickly. In no way am I a nut about cleaning all the time, however, on any given day you can find me hovering behind various family members asking them to put something away, usually phrased as, “where does this live?” followed up with a piercing glare.

Clutter drives me mad. It gives me anxiety and causes unnecessary stress. This year, I was momentarily sad about taking down the tree because I love the glow of the lights at night. That lasted about 10 minutes and I had the tree down so fast that by the time my husband asked if I needed the tree taken outside I was already covered in sap and sweeping up the needles that fell from dragging the small, rotund beast to the curb myself.

With everything put away for next year and a quick tidying I stopped and took a deep breath, letting the comfort and peace of an open space wash over me.

How do you feel about clutter? Does it give you anxiety like me, or do you hold onto everything as if it’s coveted treasure? Some of you may feel indifferent but are hard pressed to remove the clutter when time comes.

Right now is about the time the New Years resolution squad start to fall apart. Some are holding fast, others are finding excuses, and some have already thrown in the towel entirely. One of those recurring resolutions is often a pact to declutter or jump on the ever popular minimalization train. What seems like a simple task is often difficult because that possession in question has become more than just a thing. We tie emotions, events, and people to those items making it difficult to throw or give away because we think we’re throwing them away with it. Or we rationalize the usefulness of an item, because we might use it later. (Those jeans you’ve kept since high school can be donated. Here’s your sign to let them go.)

We don’t need things. That snow globe from your great aunt Esmerelda is great, but it’s not her. It’s just a thing and sure things are fun. It’s not the thing that’s the problem, its the power we allocate to it. At some point we have to stop letting all the things of the world clutter our hearts.

So many of our hearts and our faith have become cluttered with not only things, but outside noise of the media, politics, illness, hardship, trends, social media, etc, that we are crowding out what we truly need. Our world is full of anger, anxiety, stress and frustration because we’re allowing the world to clutter our lives and crowd out the peace, comfort, and hope God has already given us.

But just for a moment we’re distracted by the twinkling lights. We find temporary comfort in things, media, politicians, and like minded hive mentalities.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

Everything of this world is temporary. There is only one constant and that is Jesus Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit. No matter what this life throws at you, no matter what or who fails you, even if you lose everything tomorrow, one thing never changes. God is with you always. Everything else is noise.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23: 1-4

If you remove the clutter, what remains? If taking the clutter out of the picture gives you anxiety, I challenge you to consider why. Stop giving that item, person, or outlet power because when push comes to shove, it won’t remain standing in the end.

My living room may look empty to my Christmas loving friends, but I have space to live in again. We cannot possibly have room to grow in a place we’re continually filling with junk, nor can we think clearly if we’re submerged in incessant noise.

I hope you can have the courage to clear out the clutter and breathe again.

He is already here

Another year has come and gone. Since my last post, we have celebrated the birth of Jesus and welcomed in the new year.

The last time I settled in to write, I spoke on the dangers of anger and here I sit, anger gnawing at my throat. The last few weeks should have been joyful and celebratory… of which they were… but I have also felt this incredible weight of disappointment which has often spilled over into an irritating anger. I wish I could say it’s a righteous, godly anger, but I honestly am not entirely sure.

I haven’t been able to write because I have been so concerned about sending the wrong message and not delivering the words God desires me to speak. After much prayer and lamenting with God himself, I need to share that I am imperfect. I fail. I screw up on an epic level sometimes. Far more than I would ever care to admit. These last few weeks have presented challenges I didn’t think I would ever necessarily face.

I have found myself growing increasingly angry, not just at the world around me, but specifically with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Christmas arrived and it was as if someone picked up one of those sad noisemakers, blew the tiny paper trumpet, and immediately moved past, checking one more thing of their list of Christian to dos and onto Christmas lists, checklists, Covid, politics, weather, family gatherings, Target runs, ANYTHING except the incredible gift that was bestowed that night long ago, among the fragrant livestock and prickly hay.

“For unto us a child is born… and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6

I’ve been looking around like I’m on an episode of Punk’d. Does no one understand the magnitude of such an event?! How are we not worshiping relentlessly??

Instead I am surrounded by people irritated by any number of things, generally due to a slight inconvenience they’re currently experiencing on or around the holiday. I see those I love dearly focused on their own self interest and forgetting why this time is so gloriously remarkable.

On a night that was so seemingly unremarkable, a woman gave birth to a child that would go on to give his life for ours. Mary and Joseph were most definitely inconvenienced on a massive level and they instead rejoiced with their newborn son in a bed of hay, surrounded by manure and stinking, loud, braying animals. They went on to raise that boy, watch him do magnificent things, endure torture at the hands of men and eventually murdered, only to find the tomb empty and Jesus Christ, their son and the son of God himself save the world.

We should not be worried about inconvenience. We should not be worried about what is outside of our control because God is in control. Let me say that again.


Lately all I seem to hear are prayers regarding physical healing or stopping illness. I know and hope these stem from good intentions, however, it seems many around me are misguided. I see overly expressive tragedy masks covering the faces of those lifting up mournful prayers, but we cannot continue to hide behind our fears, discomfort, and anger around our own self interest.

What is your motivation? What is your intention? When you boil down the why of who and what you’re praying for, you’ll soon identify if it’s somehow missing the mark.

I am in no way saying we should stop praying for healing, but we often forget that healing doesn’t always come in an earthly form. In fact, the ultimate healing happens when we return to God’s side. I understand praying for afflictions to cease. Believe me, I am SICK of covid just like everyone else, but we are not promised anything other than eternity past this broken world, and part of that brokenness is sickness, pain, and discomfort.

Please do not think this is in any way advocating for masks/no masks, vaccines/no vaccines, quarantines, social distancing… any of it. If that is what the take away is here, I have seriously failed in what I am trying to say.

Friends, this life is hard. I don’t know your hard, but I know difficulty. I have experienced terrible things. This world continues to fail me every day, but there is one constant, and that is who my father is. He is the wonderful counselor, prince of peace, mighty God, King of creation, the great I Am. He is my constant, He is my healer, He is my confidant, He is my peace, my refuge, my savior.

Stop turning to the world. Stop putting your faith and trust into people and put them in God. We will all fail you, again and again. I am proof of that, your spouse is proof, your parents, friends, children, neighbors, pastors, church body… we will screw up and hopefully we’ll all continue to extend grace, compassion and forgiveness, but He will not fail you.


Stop treating Emmanuel as if he is a magic genie granting wishes. Stop spewing hate at those around you because they are providing a minor inconvenience to you already scheduled programming. I hope you begin praying to a God who has your back, rather than begging him to show up.

He already has your back. He is already there. He is with you every second of every day. Stop treating him as if he isn’t God.

I have been angry at those who treat our God as if he lives to serve us and I clearly need to work through that with Him. Please, I beg you to reconsider how you speak to and about our mighty God. We live to serve him and we are fortunate to have an intimate relationship with him. He desires our intimacy and amazingly we don’t have to earn his love. Why are we trying to make him earn ours?

I pray everyone experiences such a revival of spirit this year. Much love and blessings to everyone reading this and thank you for continuing to show up as we walk through a messy journey of faithfulness alongside each other.

Anger births wickedness

Weeks have passed since my last blog post. If I’m completely honest, I have sat down to write a number of times and just haven’t been able to find the words to adequately address where I am at right now.

I feel like an outsider looking in. Here I sit, in my very own snow globe of sorts. The peace of the Holy Spirit settles over me, and yet I am watching nothing but chaos outside of my perfect little bubble. The world is angry. With a single utterance of just a few words, I could easily incite rage in a friend, family member and especially a complete stranger. Vaccine, Covid, pandemic, pro life, pro choice, president, tolerance, God, faith, U of M, Michigan State…. (Go green!)

Are you angry yet? Did any of those words make you shift uncomfortably in your seat, or cause the corners of your lips to tug downward? Is there a rage bubbling under the seemingly cool and calm exterior just at the mere mention of those words?

They are just that… words. They are ONLY words and yet we allow them to become weapons.

Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Satan’s favorite weapon is anger. He plants seeds of irritation within our hearts, and we nurture them through festering animosity. They take root and wrap themselves tightly around us as we pour more of our misguided affections into cultivating a disgusting bitterness. We justify our seething rage with self righteousness and the greater good, until all it takes is a single word to tear into a complete stranger on the street, especially so when hiding behind a screen.

I am not perfect, and I struggle with anger myself. In fact it is a battle that I face in a much different way than most. I experienced some really awful traumatic things as a child, which is a story for another day, but due to that trauma I had to learn how to face negative feelings in a healthy way rather than fall into a destructive, blackout rage. Over the last few weeks, I have also been equipped with the enemy’s artillery and argued with loved ones, as well as a few I have encountered in mundane, daily to dos.

It is easy to listen to the lies being whispered into our ears. It may feel good, great even, to tell someone which lovely cliff they can leap from. You will walk away telling yourself you did the world a favor for standing up for [insert group here]. A momentary high will propel you to keep spreading that fierce energy, and eventually you’ll fall over the other side of the mountain you’ve climbed so incredibly high onto, and hit the ground HARD. Interestingly enough, Satan told you which lovely cliff to jump off of and you hit the ground running up that steep mountainside, swan dove over the peak, and broke nearly every bone down as you pushed away your neighbor, friend, mom, cousin, aunt, child, person in front of you at Walgreens, and the man halfway across the country whom you’ve never met, but needed to inform him exactly why he’s wrong about xy and especially z.

Don’t get me wrong, anger is not always a terrible thing. Biblical anger is real and warranted. The problem is that we allow the enemy to tell us too often he’s working on God’s behalf. God himself gets angry, but could you imagine a world where God reacted first in anger, just as we do here? You can try, but I would go out on a limb and say that if He reacted as we do, the world would have been wiped away long ago. He would have given up on us in the garden with Adam and Eve.

It is really hard to pray for our enemy, and to love on those we disagree with, but I would challenge you to open dialogue with those on the other side, rather than spit hateful exchanges. Try to understand the why behind their stance, or choose to just love them anyway. Fear, lies, and anger can really do a number on any person. Not everyone has the same tools, knowledge, or even support that you may have.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8

God is patient and slow to anger, Satan on the other hand is looking to devour anyone he can.

Anger gives birth to wickedness. It places you on the seat of judgement. It rears it’s ugly head when you smile at your neighbor only to spend the following passing minutes lamenting about the way they tend their lawn. It’s in the glare you send over to the unmasked patron in line behind you.

Anger fractures relationships.

Anger is the enemy prowling the streets, devouring whomever he can get to buy into his lies.

A few weeks ago, he casually strolled up to a boy and whispered violent, repugnant lies into his ear. Satan, under his cloak of hatred and rage placed a gun into that boys hand, and in just a few moments changed his life and the lives of the children, community and world surrounding it forever.

Instead of choosing anger, choose love and forgiveness. Pray for the children lost, the families, the community, and while it may seem impossible, pray for Ethan Crumbly and his family. No one is too far from God’s grasp. I pray they experience a revival like no other and use the remainder of their lives to spread the good news throughout the enemy’s breeding grounds.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it only tends to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. Psalm 37: 7-11

Light in the darkness

This past week has been uncomfortable. Without going into any details for the privacy of those involved, there have been many heated arguments and increased animosity between family members on all sides. In these volatile situations, I am often seated right at the center, regularly as the mediator, whereas I would much prefer to turn a blind eye and let everyone fight to the death themselves.

I think that’s probably the sentiment we all share though. Who truly enjoys to sit among misery? It’s honestly exhausting.

What I have been struggling with the most through it all comes back to the same types of questions. “Am I doing the right thing?…Did I handle that right?…Was that the right thing to say?… Should I have done more?”

I have been so heavily convicted with my actions through all of the messiness around me, because I know I am not always acting or responding in a way that brings God glory. I am trying so hard to encounter hard things like Jesus would have, but I feel like I just keep missing the mark. There is no way to please everyone, and sometimes God did not need me here in this moment to save them all. I have a hard time remembering that God is doing the heavy lifting. I need to continue to reflect Him in all I do, and pleasing people isn’t exactly what Christ’s M.O. is.

That is exactly the type of toxic thought that trips me up. Who am I trying to please here? God or man? When Jesus walked this earth he was an incredible man. Exalted high by his followers, but crucified by the majority. He was rejected and attacked because he went against the teachings of both the culture and government leaders, many times religious leaders. Even those who claimed to be followers of God rejected his son and lived by their own rules rather than set their eyes on God himself.

This cycle continues throughout history. Today we live in a world where the humble servant of God is a minority. Instead we live in a world, similar to the one Jesus walked through in sandaled feet. Between cancel culture, woke-ness, racial divides, politics, idolatry, and misguided Christians, (to name a few), our world is set up on being a very specific kind of person.

Our world calls us to put ourselves first. Love yourself first. Treat yourself! Even if it means financial burden or continued indulgence in your own behalf rather than help a struggling neighbor. You are what matters. Your needs matter… screw the rest! We are called by this world to worship ourselves rather than the creator.

Just as in Jesus’ day, Christians are continually missing the mark. The world has successfully influenced many Christians with their self serving world view that it has allowed us to manipulate God’s word into something it’s not, in both conservative and less conservative views, which manifests into a judgmental believer and WE begin determining what sins are bad and what WE can tolerate.

We are taking on a responsibility that is not ours to shoulder. Our responsibility is to live as Jesus did, the best way we can, and we will continually miss the mark just as the people did in Jesus’ time. Every time we trip, we have to look to God for direction. If we look to the world we will be trampled under the feet of the enemy.

Jesus carried the weight of our stupidity on his back and died knowing that we would never become what He called us to be. He loves us despite the fact we fail him every single day. Sin is sin is sin. There is no better or worse, and its not our place to judge others on the weight of their transgressions. God calls us to live a life reflecting him in a world so focused on shutting him out.

This past week I have been living amongst misery. So many around me are angry and resentful. The good news is that light ALWAYS wins. You can break every bulb in a room and brick up all the windows, but it only takes one storm to knock the walls down and let in the light. We are called to reflect that light, so that in the darkness there is hope for those that are lost.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10: 30-33

Gracefully messy

I can’t seem to catch up. Each week I sit down with my planners, (yes I have more than one), and I attempt to sketch out my upcoming week. A part of that practice is listing out a lengthy to do list. Somehow, as I put a satisfying swipe through the items on my list post completion, I notice the list almost always ends the week much longer than it began.

Without my planners, I struggle. I will most definitely forget something, if not many things without the aide of my trusty calendar and to do lists. Most people tend to back away slowly when I casually mention how many planners I have in rotation, let alone the reaction I receive when they find out I decorate them as well. I may as well channel my five year old self by walking around in a tutu, adorning myself with sparkly stickers, and telling people I have “this many” planners while holding up the respective number of digits covered in peanut butter and jelly residue.

I figured out a long time ago that cramming all areas of my life in one small book just put the chaos in a compact form rather than help me filter through the mess, so I divided them up to specific areas. I have one for my mother’s information and care. She has Alzheimer’s and so I am responsible for ensuring her bills, insurance, doctors appointments, etc. are being managed. I have another for my classes and current job, as I am currently working through my pre-nursing courses while still working myself. Then I have another for daily to dos, which encompasses all things motherhood, family related and volunteering at church. Between being a student, working mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and active within our church family, there are A LOT of things to keep track of.

So, I mean really what this tells me is that I need more planners… obviously.

Now you can imagine that a person who is so reliant on a few stacks of paper may not fare so well when they are removed. That’s essentially how this past week began.

The last few weeks, I have been in constant motion. There have been some things that have popped up which needed to be remedied right away and as a result, cut into my normal flow of studiously checking off items within the to do list. So much so, that I wasn’t able to get to planning as originally scheduled this week. I put it off with the hopes of sitting down first thing Wednesday morning once the kids were off to school. I was feeling off kilter, but all would be well once I could put everything into order and step confidently into the following days, armed with adorable, (but functional), paper lists and colorful pens.

Tuesday night, my husband and I headed off to bed and both stopped in our tracks as we heard a barking sound from our sons bedroom. My first though was “Oh croup!”

My husband scooped up our son and headed out into the chilly suburban wilderness to comfort him and bring some relief to his tiny, inflamed airways. Meanwhile, I was inside setting up his breathing machine, because mama wanted sleep. After one snafu, my husband came to MY rescue and fixed the tubing on the machine so I could administer the medication to our son who was definitely receptive, and not at all screeching like a howler monkey while trying to escape. Couldn’t he understand that I was holding him hostage out of love?!

If you want to really understand what it’s like administering medication of any sort to a toddler, just watch an episode of The Crocodile Hunter with Steve Irwin. The only difference is that by the end I wont be laughing and talking about how beautiful my feral child is post attack. I’ll be in recovery with an IV drip.

Well fast forward 30 minutes and the howler monkey was subdued. We crept into his bedroom to lay him down and he immediately started coughing and gasping for air, so much so that he couldn’t muster up a cry. My husband buckled our son up in the car, I quickly smashed my feet into some shoes and out the door I went, praying and driving sideways to somehow watch both the road and my son as we headed to the ER. Thankfully we live very close to the hospital and got there within 5 minutes.

In I went, son in tow, looking certifiably insane. We pushed through the revolving door which moved at a glacial pace, my hair askew, wearing my most raggedy and comfy pajamas: a pair of sweatpants from my high school powderpuff game which had “seniors” written down the leg and “touchdown” across the butt, with a generous rip up each leg, and a Big Fall Thing 2 shirt from a fall youth group retreat, also obtained in high school. My feet were literally jammed into my sneakers and the tongues were stuck at the bottoms, exposing socks and naked laces.

It is important to note that I graduated from high school almost 20 years ago, so I sat there wondering if the staff would think I was a very young mom, or sadly holding onto my high school glory days…. neither really ideal, but also beside the point. When I went through this with my husband later his response to the young mom thing was hysterical laughter. Um, thanks hun.

Attire aside, we were taken back to the pediatric ER immediately into a room with Bluey on the television, one of my sons favorite shows, and he was instantly put at ease. He was given a steroid and sent home within an hour and hasn’t missed a beat since.

God was there every second. God was there when the coughing began. He knew the exact time Gus would need to go in and he paved the way. I did nothing other than provide apparent comic relief, but God was there even in the laughter. He cared for everyone in my family that night in such a glaringly obvious way, and he’s been carrying me on his shoulders every day since.

If I had to pick my favorite thing about God, its his grace. I can show up a hot mess in every sense of the word and he just hugs me closer. Today my prayer time was something along the lines of “Man God, I am so tired. Please care, comfort and heal…… etc… according to your will. I’m sorry I’m a mess, but you know my heart. Just lift it all up. I love you, thank you…. etc”

Just reading that is messy, but I can’t even begin to describe the comfort I felt in taking my exhaustion to God and knowing that it’s enough.

Please don’t mistake grace to be an excuse for poor behavior. We cannot live our lives however we choose and rely on the fact that God provides unending grace, because we do not deserve God’s grace. There’s nothing we can actually do to rightfully obtain it. It is grace because we do not and cannot ever do enough of the right things to earn it ourselves.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

It is the gift of God! Your mind should be blown! What makes it so incredible is that he gives all of us who belong to him his grace everyday, but especially so during times like these. The days that are messy and I am just focusing on keeping my tribe alive and not burning the house down he’s right there pulling me through it. The fact that I can snuggle up to God and know that no matter what, it will all be ok is extraordinary. He desires our closeness. He desires us to come to him for rest and rejuvenation.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30

My life from the outside is often heavy and difficult. I have peace and rest in my God who calls me to sit at his feet and rest in his arms. Friends, my burden today is light because I am not carrying it. God has called me to walk through hard things and I am imperfect and sinful by nature, so of course there are days where the burden is heavy, but those are the days I place it on myself rather than my Father. Give it to God and he will help you carry what is weighing so heavily upon you.

Find rest in the only one who can provide peace because he is the peacemaker. God is there. He is all around you and desires you to draw near to him, especially when you’re a mess. The world calls us to present ourselves in an unattainable way and God just wants us raw and uncut, imperfect creatures with a desire to love Him first. Embrace your mess and chaos, because God will sort it out.


He called and I went… eventually

Getting started is the hardest part. I re-typed that sentence at least 10 times. I tried something catchy, a witty intro, even attention grabbing excitement! I settled at the honest truth. Starting something new, (anything), is hard. We are comfort craving creatures, or at least I am. We would much rather take part in something we know than take a risk for fear of the unknown. If you need someone to hunker down and read through an entire book series, while wrapped in a fluffy cotton cocoon of blankets on a couch, surrounded by five decorative pillows my husband insists I don’t need while simultaneously refueling on coffee and Redbull, I am your girl! Starting a blog on the other hand…

Starting a blog is scary.

Starting a blog in 2021 when they’re seemingly a thing of the past is nerve wracking.

Starting a blog about my faith, shortcomings and failures is absolutely terrifying. When God calls you to move… run.

I should take my own advice. God called me to begin a blog a year ago at least…it may have been even longer at this point. I have stomped my feet, opened and shut my laptop more times than I could count, and made excuse after excuse. God called me and I didn’t just drag my feet, I went kicking and screaming.

“Who would want to hear what I have to say?”

“Why would anyone even care?”

“Who am I to give any sort of guidance for anything?”

“But I have too much going on already! It’s not the right time.”

“Why me? choose someone else.”

“I’m not good enough, interesting, funny, captivating… etc. (fill in your own adjective).”

The answer I kept hearing was, “Just begin.”

Just begin, just start, I will do the rest. I continued to hear the same consistent response.

God is not man, that he should lie, or son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19

God is intentional. His patience is incredible. His mercy and grace are unending. He asks us to have faith and calls us to lean into him. We have to have faith because we cannot see the full picture of God’s plan for us and those around us. Faith is uncomfortable. If it weren’t, faith itself would be unnecessary. Why would we need faith if we always knew the outcome? We have to step into what we cannot see and trust that God knows what he’s doing to truly experience how amazing God’s power is.

Out of nothing He created EVERYTHING. Out of chaos He created order.

My life is a series of chaotic events. I find myself in the eye of the storm far more often that I would ever choose to be. The truth is, we cannot always remain in a perfect, safe environment. Life will inevitably tear us up and spit us out if we give into the storm. If we allow the storm to ravage us, we cannot find the peace in the chaos. God never promised easy, but He did promise to give us strength to sustain us (Psalm 46: 1-2), fight alongside us and for us (Deuteronomy 20:4), love us when the world tells us we are unlovable (Romans 5:6-11), rest for the weary and heavy laden (Matthew 11: 28-30), and provide peace through the chaos (John 14:27).

My hope is that through this, all of us, believers and those living in unbelief, can come together through our own chaos and find peace and rest in the love our father provides in such a broken world.

I hope you can all be comfortable in your vulnerability here and not be afraid to ask challenging questions. I can’t wait to see where the Spirit leads!