Hurting and still hungry.

Last weekend, I made a three-hour drive to Cider House orchard & venue to speak to women hungry for the Lord. And it stirred some needed encouragement in my bones. The same bones that feel bruised these days because so many are grieving.  Every day, I hear of new pain. This year, my close friend…

I need You, Jesus, because they need You, Jesus.

I could tell you my personal testimony about my journey with Christ. I could tell you that I accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior at age six. I could tell you I’m thankful to have been reared by two Jesus-loving parents. I could tell you those parents raised me in church. All thanks be…

Let this life get you ready.

A few years ago, Mom came limping into the room, leaning on her new walking stick. It was the first Easter after being diagnosed with an aggressive neurodegenerative disease, and she was trying to make the best of it. Just months prior, she had driven her car for the last time. The woman who spent…

You want to find yourself?

You want to find yourself? The world is urging you to do so. As if recreating and controlling your life will bring you peace. It won’t. You want to find your life? Then lose it. Lose every inch of it in Jesus Christ. That is where your freedom is. Because egos buried in Christ cannot…

Another day to walk with Christ.

It’s just a square on a page of a calendar with a number in it.  But it was my first birthday without her.  And on that calendar square, there’s something about the silly cheering our moms do for us. I could be fifty and still expect her to be tooting my horn the loudest. It’d…

Christmas While We Wait: Day Twelve.

DAY TWELVE A glimpse of the glory to come. I had another dream about Mom. Awaking heartbroken at 2:00 a.m. makes for a heavy next day. She was radiant, and it’s a glimpse of her completeness in Christ. I wish I could put my arms around her. Christmas has left me longing.  This is an emotionally charged season. When everything is…

Christmas While We Wait: Day Eleven.

DAY ELEVEN Helping another is my healing. The loneliness in pain can be weighty, but for every inch of loneliness is miles of fellowship. Because now you know more about suffering than you ever have. And that means you’re more connected to humanity than you’ve ever been. You are softer. You are relatable. You are a resource for God’s work in others’ pain. …

Christmas While We Wait: Day Ten.

DAY TEN The humility of neediness. Months ago, a friend called and was feeling the weight of my pain. She went on to say that life was going mostly like she wanted, and how easy it would be to feel guilt over that. She instead concluded that the reason she can be strong for me…

Christmas While We Wait: Day Nine.

DAY NINE The pit of self. I walked into my house a couple months after Mom died, unintelligibly exasperated with life. Everything felt hard. Even the rudimentary task of deciding what to eat for dinner felt debilitating. I kicked one of my kids’ toys, causing me to lose my balance and whimper in pain on…

Christmas While We Wait: Day Eight.

DAY EIGHT The paralysis of regret and dread. Sometimes grief is feeling everything at the same time. The paralysis in loss is palpable. I want to ignore the fact that the holidays are coming, and I want to control every detail of the holidays to avoid surprise. I feel the misery of staying stuck and…

Christmas While We Wait: Day Seven.

DAY SEVEN Am I making this harder than it needs to be? For months straight, our closet lightbulb was burned out. We live in an old house, and removing the globes on our ancient fixtures felt like an undertaking. As annoying as it was to navigate our closet in the dark, my husband and I…

Christmas While We Wait: Day Six.

DAY SIX The new thing. I remember another mother giving advice about how to manage the day-to-day circus of restless kids. She advised that when children become restless, it’s helpful to change rooms in the house. Something so practical became a profound staple in my parenting toolbox. I wonder if we’re feeling restless as we…

Christmas While We Wait: Day Five.

DAY FIVE When grief sounds like envy. Seeing a mom and daughter together can thrust me into the blur of what should have been. The holiday season is replete with reminders. The complicated pangs of grief too easily twist themselves into envy and bitterness. Why do they get that life, and why do I not?…

Christmas While We Wait: Day Four.

DAY FOUR Progress is Messy. We have been doing a laundry list of home improvement projects, and the mess of remodeling has persisted for months. I find the chaos of house projects unnerving and some days, I’m on the brink of quiet implosion. Stuff everywhere. Dust everywhere. Tools everywhere. Why can’t I get perspective? Progress—we…

Christmas While We Wait: Day Three.

DAY THREE The Chip on My Shoulder. Two days after Mom died, I walked aimlessly around Costco, dizzy with shock. Whose life is this? I found myself in the refrigerated produce section lost in a fog, blocking traffic. You’re supposed to go the other way, another customer instructed. I mumbled an apology. Can’t you see…

Christmas While We Wait: Day Two.

DAY TWO Can I skip this year? It was an early snow this first year without Mom. She loved the change of seasons. Once the snow hit the ground, its pristine white took on a golden hue because of the pigmented Fall leaves still covering the ground beneath. –As if Fall was saying, I’m not…

Christmas While We Wait: Day One.

DAY ONE Why am I so upended? I wonder if you’ll set his place at the table –even though he’s gone. And I wonder if you’ll play her favorite song –even though she’s not there to dance. There isn’t a right answer, and I hope you’ll let yourself hang in this place for a moment….

Christmas While We Wait: An Introduction.

I N T R O D U C T I O N. This blog series arose out of the dread I feel for the holidays. It’s our first Christmas without Mom, one of my closest people. Putting that in writing makes it all too real. Can we skip the holidays this year? Not necessarily, but we can use pain to cut loose…

Christmas While We Wait: 12 Devotionals for Holiday Grief.

A Note to Readers— Dear friend, if you find yourself dreading the holidays, I hope you know you’re not alone in this place. This is our first Christmas without Mom. It pains me to see those words on my screen. I started writing a Christmas devotional for you, but somewhere in the middle—I realized I…

If you find yourself discontented.

If I’m bent out of shape because something’s not going my way, that something’s likely out of order. Because if that something is ordered under His Lordship, then my Peace remains unaffected by results. If you’re straining toward something and can’t have enough, there’s likely something deeper here for you. Something you’re not finding in…

The license to stop living paralyzed.

This is for the perfectionist. I may not know your specific struggle, but we can probably come together on how we think. The enemy wants you to focus on your flawed self so much that your obsession with “holiness” mutes your effectiveness. This self-fixation is a dangerously sneaky form of pride. Part of becoming mature…

Hold on, dear friend.

If you’re floundering in pain today—don’t you dare let go. In Jesus, today’s pain is tomorrow’s power. The power to comfort others because God comforted you. (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.) The power to shine Light in darkness because Christ shone Light in yours. (See John 8:12, Matthew 5:14.) The power to hold fast to Jesus…

Fight hard for it.

You may experience some genuinely joyful moments amid your grief.  These are gifts from God.  Don’t be surprised when the enemy tries to rob you of this Joy by warring on your mind.  He’ll probably speak his native language: lies.  (See John 8:44.) Lies intended to distract you from the goodness of God that outshines…

Edge me out, Jesus.

Some days, I think I’m great.  Some days, I think I’m disgusting. Both days, I‘m stuck on myself.  I used to equate pride with making myself too big. But making myself too small can be equally risky if it causes fixation on self.  Pride is self-preoccupation. And we’re told this precarious position never ends well. …

Blind to loss, blind to Hope.

Over a year ago, I was driving to a funeral with my sons. My preschooler kept asking where we were going, and I told him I had a meeting. I didn’t want to explain. My heart was heavy in this season, for my friends burying a loved one, and for my own unrelated sorrow. My…

We’ve lost much.

If you settle on the far side of the sea.  If the darkness tries to hide you. If you can’t tell which way is up. His hand still holds you fast.  (See Psalms 139:7-12.) If the height is unscalable.  If the depth is unsearchable.  If the loneliness is inarticulable.  His love still finds you there. …

For the Overwhelmed.

If you’re overwhelmed, this one’s for you.  This is not a post about a solution. The solution is always Jesus. If it sounds cliché, that’s only because we’ve become a bit too casual about His powerful Name.  This is a post about some tools to complement the essentials (prayer/scripture/community). 1. Find somebody walking closely with…

Change us again, Lord.

I’m a bit wobbly at speaking up right now because I feel unqualified, unworthy, and complicit.  But God is not. So we invite Him to take over this post. *** Maybe God removed the scales from your eyes, and you’re uncomfortable and overwhelmed by your gaping need for grace & the work before you.  We,…

Keep the door open, the wall down, the line alive.

Some of you are hanging on to God by a fingernail.  Maybe you started your quiet struggle years ago and each year, you accidentally added another brick to the wall between you and God. All the while, you continued living the cultural Christian life while your heart gradually closed itself to God.  Years later, you…

Doing your part.

You’re drinking information from a fire hose these days.  You feel pretty paralyzed about it. You’re going to disappoint somebody.  But you can still please God.  *** As you’re working it out— It’s okay to gradually process and ask God for wisdom.  It’s okay to cautiously step while reserving the right to reverse course. It’s…

Some of you spend the rest of your life this way.

Some of you spend the rest of your life this way. —dreaming about hugging your person. . . .  The last time I hugged Mom was a silly Wednesday seven weeks ago.  The kids were losing their minds, and I was frantically shooing them out the door as I gathered my belongings. Mom’s fighting a…

You want to feel the love of God?

Having trouble “feeling” the stirring love of our Savior? Sometimes feelings evade us. A long-lived faith will undoubtedly experience dry times.  Of course, our journey with Jesus is so much bigger than a feeling.  But like any love relationship, we can do our part; we can fan the flame.  So if you find yourself in the…

You rose again.

When the Easter dress is on its hanger and the basket sits on its shelf. When the pantry doors are closed and the apron’s on its hook. When the traditions stay tucked in their drawers and the day feels unfamiliar. You rose again. When the chairs at the table are empty and we can’t get…

Three o’clock on that cross.

Lord, we’re as thirsty as ever, and only You will do. . . . And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Mark‬ ‭15:34‬ . . . For God so loved the world that he…

Right place, right time.

I’m here to rally for the person feeling stuck in the waiting. God has given you a glimpse of something He has for you. And if God said it, it’s as good as done. It’s only a matter of time. But you’re getting antsy and flexing your muscles and spinning your wheels trying to strong-arm…

He still is.

You’re trying to lift your hands in worship, but the weight of life has you pinned to the floor.  That’s okay; worship from the floor.  “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14 NIV.) “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among…

For the perfectionist.

This is for the perfectionist.  I may not know your specific struggle, but we can probably come together on how we think.  The enemy wants you to focus on your flawed self so much that your obsession with “holiness” mutes your effectiveness. This self-fixation is a dangerously sneaky form of pride.  Part of becoming mature…

Her blessing.

Her blessing makes me feel a bit sour, if I’m being honest.  I wish it didn’t, and I need Christ’s transformation in this.  Sometimes, we need to give ourselves a talking to about the tiny, quiet bitter feelings that accidentally become bitter walls.    So when we feel that twinge of heartburn, we give it…

Louder than our pain.

When the pain flows from your eyes onto your cheeks, let His Name flow from your lips. It may be mechanical at first. It may be a whisper. It may be through clenched teeth. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. He has an uncanny way of meeting us there in our desperate praises. Not because I said it….

Be at rest, my soul.

I‘m shoulder to shoulder with you in this muddy trench. I don’t know why life looks like it does today. But there are two things of which I’m sure— We are not alone, and we are not helpless. Faith itself is a gift from God, but we get to participate. So when the flames of…

God’s call should overwhelm us.

Has God called you to something specific? Are you suffocating under the weight of His call? Could you be trying to do it by yourself, in your own strength, on your own merit? His call comes with an essential component: dependence on Him. And I’m not just referring to His power that opens doors for…

The best you.

The best you is a you lost in Jesus.  Everyone you love fits into your love for Him, and they’re better for it.  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:…

Whatever it is—He is greater.

Whatever kept you up last night. Whatever has you feeling unsteady. Whatever is stealing your Joy. He is ever greater. Reach out for Him now— When I fear my wrongs separate me from You, Lord, Your perfect love drives out my fears. [1 John 4:18.] When I experience rejection, I remember You, Father, chose me.  [See…