Showing posts from 2020

We Made It

Here we are, the end of 2020. We "made" it. Some may be limping in to 2021, and others are running.  Some welcome 2021 with great expectation and full of hope, and others step into 2021 carrying the same heaviness and heartache from 2020. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, we're still here, and I think that in and of itself is cause for a celebration - even if it's faint and small. We don't celebrate the hardships and tragedy. We don't applaud the lives lost and the suffering. But we can outwardly express gratitude for the life we still have today. We can lament, mourn, and grieve and simultaneously pause, look up, and consider the good things we have experienced. It's possible to hold both tensions authentically. They are not mutually exclusive. It's not one or the other. We can suffer well. We can live a better broken.  While we cannot change our circumstances or the landscape, we are not left powerless. We did not choose the events of 2020.

Amazing Grace

Grace is jaw-dropping scandalous and ridiculous. It will leave you scratching your head and left in awe and wonder. No mind can fully comprehend it, conceive, or perceive it. You can't adequately explain it or articulate it. You can only receive it, experience it, live it out, and freely extend it to others. That's how grace works.  We cannot earn, manipulate, manufacture, or strive for it. We don't deserve it. It's no wonder it's called amazing grace - unmerited favor. And this amazing grace is available to all - through the Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to Earth to make way for us to receive this grace through a personal relationship. On that first Christmas over 2000 years ago, grace in the form of a baby came to be our Rescue. He would live a perfect life and die a violent death so that we may have access to grace and live. This invitation is for all people - everyone is welcome.  There is hope for all the heartache and challenges of 2020, and His name is J

Song: Love Came Down

If my heart is overwhelmed And I cannot hear your voice I hold on to what is true Though I cannot see If the storms of life, they come And the road ahead gets steep I will lift these hands in faith I will believe I'll remind myself Of all that you've done And the life I have Because of your son Love came down and rescued me Love came down and set me free I am yours Lord, I am forever yours Mountains high or valley low I sing out and remind my soul I am yours I am forever yours When my heart is filled with hope Every promise comes my way When I feel your hands of grace Rest upon me Staying desperate for you, god Staying humble at your feet I will lift these hands in praise I will believe I'll remind myself Of all that you've done And the life I have Because of your son Love came down and rescued me Love came down and set me free I am yours I am forever yours Mountains high or valley low I sing out and remind my soul I am yours I am forever yours I am yours I am yours All


The faithfulness of God marks my life. Through all the seasons, I see His commitment towards me, even when I was not sure I wanted to remain faithful to Him. If I can be completely transparent and vulnerable, I have to admit the journey has not been easy or comfortable. Living a life of surrender and obedience is far from glamorous. Quite frankly, it is costly. It will cost you everything. To the logical, it makes no sense, but that is the mystery and miraculous power of the Gospel. That is the beauty and wonder of Christmas, and in reflecting on my story and journey thus far, could it be that my story is not too far off from the first Christmas story. Perhaps, I find my story in that very first Christmas account, and God is divinely weaving my life into this amazing story.  Jesus Christ, who is God, left heaven and came to earth. His arrival was humble and anything but glamorous, but yet it was purposed-filled. He left the comfort of heaven to enter into my uncommon world to bring me

Jesus Over Everything

It's a beautiful time of the year with the lights, the colors, the smell, and all that is beautiful and bright sparks joy and a sense of hope. There is a sense of anticipation and expectancy for many: newness and freshness, a time to start again and to keep forging forward. And for others and their reality, there is a sense of sadness, disappointment, and even dread. We carry, juggle and toggle between the tensions of what was, what is, and what we wish. It's conflicting - pulling us in different directions. It takes work and effort to keep plowing forward. We're not trying to maintain an image or prove anything; we're just trying to take the next breath, do the next right thing.  We're trying to navigate this one life. We want to show up and be present, and do it with joy and gratitude. But too often, the messiness and complexity of life attempt to snuff out the life in us. So, where does that leave us?  What do we do?  How do we shepherd our hearts in this season?

Song: The Evidence (Josh Baldwin)

[Verse 1] All throughout my history Your faithfulness has walked beside me The winter storms made way for spring In every season, from where I'm standing [Chorus] I see the evidence of Your goodness All over my life, all over my life I see Your promises in fulfillment All over my life, all over my life [Verse 2] Help me remember when I'm weak Fear may come, but fear will leave You lead my heart to victory You are my strength and You always will be [Chorus] I see the evidence of Your goodness All over my life, all over my life I see Your promises in fulfillment All over my life, all over my life [Bridge] See the cross, the empty grave The evidence is endless All my sin rolled away Because of You, oh, Jesus See the cross, the empty grave The evidence is endless All my sin rolled away Because of You, oh, Jesus [Chorus] I see the evidence of Your goodness All over my life, all over my life I see Your promises in fulfillment All over my life, all over my life, yeah I see the evidenc


Advent. A time of waiting, coming, the arrival of the long-awaited Messiah. Our Savior, our Rescue, our reigning King. It is also a time to pause and remember. To deliberately and intentionally slow down. To command our soul and our hearts not to rush, fret, or strive. But to be present at this moment and lean in. To look and see all of the ways God is speaking to us. To be filled with hope again. To remember who Jesus is. And because  "in him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:4-5.   Regardless of how dark, bleak, or dim things may get, appear, or seem, it will not overtake us. We may feel overwhelmed at times, but that which overwhelms us cannot overcome us. Jesus is  over everything. And He is our Emmanuel - our God WITH Us.  With all that we have experienced this past year, there is still reason and cause for us to approach this Christmas season and New Year with joy and hop

Grace + Truth

I was reminded recently of the power of grace + truth. You must have both. And what binds those two together, bringing transformation, bearing fruit, and distinguishes us as Christ-followers, is love. I heard a recent message, and the pastor states grace without truth leads to relativism. Truth without grace leads to religion. We need both in everyday living - grace that saves us and truth that sets us free. Grace saves, truth frees, and love is what binds it all together with a spirit of humility and servanthood. All throughout scripture, that is the image and picture we see in how we are to live as Christ-followers. We extend grace towards one another, and we speak the truth in and with love from a posture of humility and servanthood. Finally, we cannot neglect the necessity and power of prayer in our daily lives, decisions, and relationships because we want to be led by the Spirit of God and not our own understanding. 

Know Yourself

Get to know yourself. And know your worth. I'm not talking about being a diva, self-centered or self-absorbed. It's actually the opposite. We lay ourselves down or the image of who we want to be or project to be. We can only fully know ourselves - the truest and purest version of ourselves by and through the one who created us, spoke our life into existence, and continues to speak life into our spirit. We can only know our worth when we look intently into the face of the one who is alone worthy of all honor and glory.  With all of our seeking and searching and running, the Father says seek me, search me, and run into my arms to be known, to be seen, to be heard, to be found. The beginning of knowing ourselves and becoming who God has created us to be is the beginning of the end of the self pursuit. And now, the pursuit of Christ. To seek Him and to know Him is to find ourselves in Him. Completely and wholly and securely identifying with Jesus Christ and carrying the identity of


There is truly no safer place than in the Presence of God Almighty. To be found in Him. Hidden and tucked in the shadow of His protective and power wing, abiding in His Word, and cleaving to Him alone. There has never been a time where many are seeking protection and peace—the assurance of something greater than ourselves and our ability to take care of ourselves.  I am so grateful that God is my hiding place. And in my weak moments when I feel like giving up, He never once has given up on me. He's holding onto me -- and as I set my gaze and heart towards Him, He'll lead me to paths of peace because He goes with me.  God is my covering, and I daily choose to submit and surrender to His Lordship. It's not restrictive and limiting but frees me to truly live, not in fear. It's actually a beautiful exchange --- everything that is less than for everything that is more than enough. 

Super Tuesday

God is still on the throne, and in Him alone, we trust. It's super Tuesday because Jesus is King, and He's got us. God holds us and the world in His hands. We can walk in peace and confidence in our great God and Savior. Scripture says it best, and here are a few truth and promises:   "You will keep the mind that is dependent on you  in perfect peace,  for it is trusting in you." Isaiah 26:3  "A king's heart is like channeled water in the Lord's hand: He directs it wherever he choses." Proverbs 21:1 "We know that all things work together  for the good   of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28   " We know that all things work together   for the good   of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." Matthew 5:9  "Many plans are in a person’s heart,  but the  Lord ’s decree will prevail." Proverbs 19:21 "But I promise you,  no weapon meant to hurt you will succeed,

Principles vs. Personality

In a current culture where it seems a greater emphasis is placed on personality versus principles, we must be cautious, especially when making decisions. Our decisions should be based on principle and value versus simply and solely on a personality or personality figure. Of course, personality may and does play a role and part, and there is an appropriate time and place for those types of situations. However, weightier the decision that has a long term or far-reaching effect should be considered and weighed through principles, and for me, biblical principles, values, and policies. Someone's personality is not necessarily the same or fully and completely reflective of their character - integrity, moral or ethical quality. While one can and may influence the other at times, one's character is the essence and core of a person, and personality is a persona that is often changed and adapts to meet whatever situation or group the person is attempting to appeal to, influence, or win o

Beautiful Things

There are countless ways - whether through words, adjectives, images, and probably to include a few hand gestures, grunts, and sounds (yikes!) to describe 2020. And I do think it's all valid and within reason, considering everything that has transpired and continues to transpire this year. However, as we quickly approach the holiday season and inch closer to rounding out this year, I cannot shake these words that are continually brought back to my remembrance. No matter where I turn, what challenge or uncertainty I face, how complicated the situation, and even for those moments of victory, ease, and rejoicing, I cannot escape these words, beautiful things. I keep running into it, as if I am marked and literally hemmed in from every side, from the top of my head to the soles of my feet and washed over and over again in the truth that God makes all things beautiful - in His time and in His perfect, good and sovereign ways.  In the natural, how seemingly oxymoronic or paradoxical, but


It's so vital to learn to trust God at work in us - the One who calmed the seas with one word, the One who heals, sets free, and delivers. Jesus Christ, the One who conquered sin and death and rose back to life, is the God at work in my life, and He lives in me. So while I do not put trust in myself, I can trust and honor the new creation in me that is being daily renewed through sanctifying grace. Because I am in Christ, I can and should have confidence in my decision making ability, my thinking, my convictions, my beliefs because all of that springs forth from my personal walk with the Lord. I should live firm and free, not because I have it all together or know all of the answers but because I am rooted in Christ, firm in His truth, and yielded to the work of the Holy Spirit. I can be confident but boast only in the Lord.   If I have learned anything from dysfunctional or toxic environments, the one marker is you begin to feel small. You feel less. You actually feel like you don

On Repeat

TO LOVE A FOOL . CORY ASBURY new album release. To say I love everything about it is an understatement. It's on repeat. The lyrics, the melody. It's timely. It's soothing. It's comforting. I can't help but feel seen, heard, understood. It's raw, real, authentic and refreshing.   Incredibly grateful for the gifts and talents God has given the Body of Christ. Thankful for the creative and vulnerable ways many use their gifts and talents to encourage and build up the Body. There is so much freedom in the Father's love.................  What if we wake believing we are loved. Go about our day reminding ourselves we are loved and choose to live and engage with the world from that place and truth. Then go to bed, laying our heads down thanking God for his unconditional, unfailing, unchanging, unending love. And put that on repeat. 

An Excerpt

"Uncertainty and change can be difficult and stressful. I often put pressure on myself to have every situation resolved quickly and every blank filled in completely, but I'm finding there is divine peace in acknowledging I don't have to have it all figured out. By surrendering, my worry eases, and the empty spaces are filled in better ways than I could have imagined.  Today I will surrender my empty spaces, and I'll offer the same peace to my loved ones. I trust things will work out in time; I can let go of the problem for now, knowing I am held in God's loving hands."  (Excerpted: Only Love Today by Rachel Macy Stafford) 


Sometimes all it takes is just one. The power of one word. One touch of God. One move of God in our direction. There is power in one because of the One in whom we have placed our hope, trust and life. If you are weary, discouraged, holding on by a thread, fatigued or still waiting on fulfilled dreams, hang on friend because you may just very be closer than you think. You may be one step, one move, one decision, one moment before the breakthrough.  Hold on friend. God has not brought us this far too abandon us. His word promises,  he who started a good work  in you [ a ]  will carry it on to completion  until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6) Remain steadfast in his love, his promises and in Christ. You are closer than you think. 


When I think about 2020 and all that we have experienced and still experiencing collectively and individually, there are so many feels, words, emotions, adjectives. It's this ongoing story - the eventual sum of all events and moments that is telling a story that only God knows the beginning from the end, the details and simultaneously working it all together for good. I am confident that He is not caught by surprise. God is in control and sovereign. He indeed is orchestrating all things. It's in his hands. I'm in his hands.  Through a series of prompted but separate interactions throughout the day today, God keeps leading me and showing me one of the purposes for 2020. He's showing me it's been a year of awareness, becoming aware and more aware.  As I look back and trace the fingerprint and footprint of the Spirit of God, I do think that is the word for me.  For all that 2020 has represented and meant thus far, it's most definitely been a time of heightened awar


Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is rest. While the world says hustle, grind, push, strive, reach to constantly make things happen, I sense God speak to my heart yesterday that "sometimes the bravest thing you can do is rest." I read an article the same day and it talked about the current employment/hiring climate amid this global pandemic. Specifically, many companies will not be hiring; however, if you see these five qualities, consider hiring them immediately. One of the qualities was someone who demonstrates ambition. In other words, what have they been doing or have accomplished over the past few months.  I've been "doing" lots - maintaining our normal house routine, homeschooling and working full-time, and I've been doing lots of "resting" as well. Deep soul, sit at the feet of Jesus, think, write, ponder, talk with God type of rest. And while so many are taking this time to "do" lots and seize various tangible opportunities, I

Even If

"Even if He doesn't..." that line reverberates so deeply within my soul. I just can't get away from it. It's really good theology. Yes,  we reach for the stars, we pray and believe for audacious and ridiculous things in Jesus name all for his glory. Because why not? God is our Father. We have a present and gracious Father. And as sons and daughters, I can and am invited to come boldly to my Father with my heart, desires, dreams and longings. It's for the asking, so why not.  I can and am given permission to ask of my Father and I will trust in His faithfulness and wisdom to answer me in accordance with His good will and purposes.  In this season, God has been reminding, stretching and strengthening my core. He's helping me to ensure that my heart is continually fixed, steadfast and anchored in His love and goodness alone. So that if and when there should ever be a prayer or situation that God doesn't "answer" or "respond" in the way


If prayer were a "love language" (google it), that'd be hands down the way to my heart. If you want me to feel loved and seen, pray for me. Pray with me. For me, prayer is a powerful and priceless gift. Why? Ultimately because of who we are praying to. I simply want God's will to be fulfilled in my life. I want to experience and step into all that God intends and desires for me. I want to live victoriously bringing the Father much glory.  1. Prayer or intercession is where our petition and cries intersects with the heart and ears of God. I can't think of any other act of love or care than to offer up prayers and petitions on behalf of someone to the God almighty, who is the only one able to answer, change, and move things on earth as it is in heaven.  2. Prayer is the heart in action. You create time and space to pray for someone. You intentionally and deliberately consider the needs and desires of someone else. You demonstrate sincere care. Prayer involves your h


In case you didn't know or was wondering, the answer is yes. Yes, pastors have answered the call to serve God in the capacity of a leader, minister, overseer, pastor, teacher, shepherd and so forth. But we didn't somehow get zapped when we answered the call and some how are no longer human. Yes, w e are still humans - with hearts and all the feels.   We have feelings, needs, desires, wants and longings too. We are not immune to discouragement, criticism, isolation, weariness, fatigue, loneliness, rejection. We too feel pain, We too are human. We too are people. This is not a cryptic message of any sort. It's just the plain truth. If you are praying people, please remember to pray for your pastors and those who lead and care for your soul. Please remember to be gracious and grace giving towards them and their families. Please refrain from judging them and feel free to talk to them like normal humans and ask rather than assuming. Please fight the temptation to criticize and s

Okay Even When It's Not

It's going to be okay even if everything is not okay because of Jesus. And because of Jesus, I too am going to be okay. Incredibly thankful for this truth that is clearly shown throughout scripture. But the only way that that statement "works" is based on how we define "okay."  We've got to define "okay" according to the scriptures. For those in Christ, we're not okay because our circumstances are perfect, free of pain and problems, hardships, heartbreaks, loss and disappointments and setbacks. No one is immune from difficulties. But even in the face of those challenges, our soul can be okay. Jesus offers his peace that the world cannot understand. God gives us his unconditional love. The Holy Spirit comforts us and intercedes on our behalf when we are unable. Our eternal inheritance and resting place is firm and secure. Death and sin has no hold on us because of grace. We are held by and held together by God. That's why it's going to b

Another in the Fire

Song: Another in the Fire (Hillsong United)  There's a grace when the heart is under fire Another way when the walls are closing in And when I look at the space between Where I used to be and this reckoning I know I will never be alone There was another in the fire Standing next to me There was another in the waters Holding back the seas And should I ever need reminding Of how I've been set free There is a cross that bears the burden Where another died for me There is another in the fire All my debt left for dead beneath the waters I'm no longer a slave to my sin anymore And should I fall in the space between What remains of me and this reckoning Either way I won't bow to the things of this world And I know I will never be alone There is another in the fire Standing next to me There is another in the waters Holding back the seas And should I ever need reminding What power set me free There is a grave that holds no body And now that power lives in me There is another in


Over the past few weeks, my kids have reminded our family of a timeless, classic and beautiful hymnal. The words are still true today and is very much relevant and applicable - Nothing but the Blood.." It has been a sweet and powerful reminder that truly if we have Jesus, we have every thing and every thing we need is found in Jesus and his finished work on the cross. Without the blood, I am nothing. I can do nothing. But because of the blood shed by the perfect Son of God, I can live in peace. I can sleep in peace regardless of the raging storm because I am covered and washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. I am protected from head to toe. Not only has the blood cleansed me, it's saved my soul and is continually at work flowing through me and sanctifying me by his grace, amazing grace.   The precious blood of Jesus that was poured for al is enough. It is sufficient to save and continues to rescues and is my victory.  What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; Wh


So may the words of my mouth, my meditation-thoughts,  and every movement of my heart be always pure and pleasing,  acceptable before your eyes,  my only Redeemer, my Protector-God. Psalm 19:14 Create a new, clean heart within me.  Fill me with pure thoughts and holy desires, ready to please you.  May you never reject me!  May you never take from me your sacred Spirit!  Let my passion for life be restored,  tasting joy  in every breakthrough you bring to me.  Hold me close to you with a willing spirit  that obeys whatever you say. Psalm 51:10-12 Over the past few weeks the verses above and various song renditions inspired by those scriptures has been speaking to my heart. The words that keep coming to mind are purify, pure, sanctify, clean, holy, true. It's a great season for introspection now it's time to do something about what God has been revealing and rise up and be the church - pure and holy. 


I realized today while at work, I am most impatient when I feel entitled, or feel the pressure to "perform" or "produce" due to expectations and demands, or simply the affects of technology gone wild (every thing should be instant and available 24/7, including my availability).  So I rush, fret, pace and go bonkers all the while I'm telling myself slow down, chill out, it's going to be okay. And I know that, I believe that but yet I still feel the pressure. Why? Because other people are involved, and sometimes they are quite frankly unreasonable, difficult or have loss touch with reality.  I can be proactive, playing offense and defense and in some situations and with some people, it's never going to be "enough." So I have to daily remind myself to simply resolve to do my best with integrity and diligence, stay focused on what is my portion and control what is mine to do. And not as a last resort but the posture of my heart is to trust God sees

So True

I read this recently and it resonated deeply with me, "Sometimes our experiences don't fit with our understanding of what the Bible teaches..." That's only a one sentence excerpt of an interview but I find that statement to be accurate in describing how I feel at times.  The truth is this, every single word in Scripture is true. But that space between truth and our present reality sometimes feels really far and distant. And as believers, that is where faith comes into the picture, it bridges the gap. Hebrews 11:1 says, " Now faith is the reality   of what is hoped for, the proof  of what is not seen."  Now the distinction I want to make is this because I too am finding that I need to intentionally remind myself often that this faith is not a faith that I muster up in my own strength or will but it's a faith that intentionally puts, throws and casts my hope, confidence and trust upon the person of Jesus Christ himself. Jesus not only is the foundation, t

Philippians 2:13

For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose. (HCSB) For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose. (CSB)  God will continually revitalize you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases him. (TPT)  For it is God who works in you  to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (NIV)  Whichever translation you choose, it's all really really encouraging news! It's not all up to me and I'm not alone! Truly he is our help and our provider. God himself is working in and simultaneously willing, enabling, implanting in me the desire for his will and purposes but he will too act and carry out his good purposes and will in and through me. So if I just show up... if I have as small as a mustard seed... if I say "yes" even if a small, faint and whisper what can he not do and what will he won't do!?!  Surely God desires his good plans for our lives more th

Burn Out

The burn out rate for those in the ministry is increasing (understatement?) While I don't really have the actual statistics and data to back up my assessment, I'm sure it's out there somewhere for those who need a hard number as a point of reference. I don't bring this up to be discouraging or negative. I am also not hopeless for the state of the church. Scripture has already spoken to this deficiency and is pretty clear, "the workers are few."    So when I hear or read another person who has left the ministry or walked away, a part of me really wonders what happened? Why? Especially if it is a church they planted. I'm like, what changed? Did you do this, try this, consider this before walking away? Then the other part of me goes, sigh..... Sad but I understand all to well "what happened" and my heart aches with exhaustion and heaviness for them. I deeply empathize and really do understand. Ministry is rewarding but incredibly hard at the same ti


This year has been interesting, to say the least. It's hard to neatly describe or concisely summarize all that we've experienced because first, we are all still in the middle of it and second, we actually don't know when we'll come out on the other side of all this. Third, there is no "one size fits all" narrative that would adequately or accurately articulate each of our unique experiences over the past few months (and even for the months and years to come). Although there are similar and common symptoms, the virus physically affects the body differently from person to person and so each of our experiences will be varied as well. Among the many things this pandemic has highlighted and brought to the forefront, one thing that really comes to my mind is the important role that compassion plays. We need to be compassionate towards other people's experiences. We should allow and give people the time, space and freedom to share their story.  We need to honor a


The anthem of my heart is this powerful and unchanging truth that GOD IS GOOD . Regardless of the circumstances, in the face of suffering and pain, and seemingly unanswered prayers, GOD IS GOOD. And because he is good, all is well with my soul and all will continue to be well with my soul.  2020 has been an unusual year marked with uncertainty and wilderness like components. It's been such an interesting juxtaposition, so much feels fragile and flimsy but firm and solid at the same time. It's been an unusual and awkward but simultaneously sacred and holy. We're social distancing, on restrictions and somewhat isolated but yet it also feels intimate, freeing and connected. It's been a wild season! One thing that God is really driving home for me is relearning (discipline) of how to (practically) live in his daily presence.  With the current state of affairs, it's a bit challenging to plan for "tomorrow" not alone the future. And if it took a pandemic to help

Jesus I Need You

Song: JESUS I NEED YOU (Hillsong Worship)  Hope be my anthem Lord when the world has fallen quiet You stand beside me Give me a song in the night And Jesus I need You Every moment I need You Hear now this grace bought heart sing out Your praise forever Beauty for ashes You find the weak and contrite heart Shoulder its burdens And carry it into the light Jesus I need You Every moment I need You Hear now this grace bought heart sing out Your praise forever And Jesus I need You Every moment I need You Hear now this grace bought heart sing out Your praise forever Remember love Remember mercy Christ before me Christ behind me Your loving kindness Has never failed me Christ before me Christ behind me Remember love Remember mercy Christ before me Christ behind me Your loving kindness Has never failed me Christ before me Christ behind me Remember love Remember mercy Christ before me Christ behind me Your loving kindness Has never failed me Christ before me Christ behind me Jesus I need You Eve