Category Archives: Christ

The Author of My Story

Truth: I really didn’t want to go to church this morning. I got woken up early this morning and by the time it came time to get ready for church, all I could think was how much I didn’t feel like being around people. I’ve been in a slump lately. It’s been a crazy roller coaster of ups and downs and it has left my emotions feeling strung out and tired.

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So I went to church anyway. I sucked up my anxieties, packed the kids up in the car, and we went. I sat in the same spot I always do and I stared down at my phone in my lap in hopes that no one would try to talk to me. My motto: don’t make eye contact with anyone.

Then we started singing. Worship always softens my heart. It’s impossible to honestly worship God and NOT feel something.

“Lift us up, for we are heavy laden,
only need and brokenness we bring.
You alone can rescue us falling
We are weak, but You are strong
Lift us up.”

Those words rang so true in my heart as I sang them. I was singing out to a mighty God to lift me up. I often feel like I’m falling, like I’m going to crash and burn in the rubble of my sin and I know that only He can lift me up.

My pastor is doing this series through Galatians right now. Last week, if I’m totally honest, I didn’t go to church because I had read the passage that he was going to be preaching on and it was so very applicable to my life that I REALLY didn’t want to hear the sermon on it because I knew it would leave me feeling convicted about my secret sins. So this morning’s sermon was titled “God Centered Story” and one of the first things he asked was, what centers us and guides us? (I’m paraphrasing from my notes, of course). Clearly, the good, Christian answer to that question is God…and that’s what I wish my answer was. But if I’m totally honest, what centers and guides me in life is my desire to avoid dealing with or feeling my emotions. If I’m totally honest, I don’t really trust God with my life.

We all have different stories. We all come from different backgrounds and have different biases, but for believers in Christ our stories all share one very big similarity – we were wrong and God intervened. God is the author of our stories. He is writing a beautiful story from the ashes of my life.

My story began almost 27 years ago. My story has taken me through joy and grief, happiness and sadness, blessings and curses. My story has led me to do whatever I could do to find immediate relief from my pain. But one big lesson I have learned is that Jesus is WAY better than any of the immediate relief that I have searched for. Jesus is so much better than trying to bury my emotions deep inside my heart. Jesus is infinitely better than any of the “quick fixes” that I come up with on my own. Jesus is so much better and I am NOT the only one who struggles to trust Him.

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God knew me before I was born…I really struggle with this concept. I have always wondered, if God really knew me before I was born, if He really knew my life before it happened, then why did He give me life knowing how much pain I would experience. But I am not God and who am I, as the created, to question the Creator. He chose ME! Me, a broken and wounded sinner – He chose me. He knew that I would walk away from Him and deny Him on countless occasions, but He still chose me. He called me by His grace. I have nothing to bring to Him, just like the song says, “only need and brokenness” I bring. But somehow it pleased Him to show me grace.

You see, if you’ve followed this blog for very long or if you know me at all, I’m sure you know that I tend to shy away from asking for help. I tend to convince myself that I can make it through life on my own accord without God’s help…now, clearly, we all know I’m wrong. Doing life on my own leaves me dead and isolated in my sin. I get scared and trapped by the shame and guilt of my past. But in His infinite grace and mercy, He searches me out and saves me every time (see Luke 19:10).

I get frustrated with God quite frequently because I don’t think my story looks the way it should. I don’t like the way my story has been written. But God didn’t ask me for my editing suggestions.

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I am still in the middle of my story. Pastor Dave used the analogy of doing a flip-turn (as in swimming). Being that I am a former swimmer who loved doing flip-turns, I very much loved this analogy. My story is still in progress. God, the Author, knows how it will end. My choice at this point is to trust that He loves me. This is where I can make a flip-turn and trust His grace. This is where I can let the love of Jesus direct me through the rest of this story.

On my own I am nothing, I have nothing. But with God, I need nothing. With God, I am much stronger than I think I am. I can quit turning to those things that have kept my secrets hidden. I can bring my secrets into the light and let God use those as a part of my story. He can, and He will, use my story to bring others to Him.

Like Joseph said Genesis, what you meant for evil, God will use for good. God never wastes a hurt. He is spinning all the ugliness and hurt in my life into a beautiful story centered on His grace, mercy, and love.

I’m not perfect. I struggle daily. But the Author of my story knows what He’s doing and I will trust He knows more than I do.

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7-in-7 Day 5: Almost Within Reach

I want to tell a story
Of the power of grace
You may not believe it
But I’ll tell it anyway
At one time I thought
I could be good enough by myself
I didn’t need Jesus
Or anyone else

You see, not long ago
I was lost in this world
Broken by shame
I was a scared little girl
A smile on my face
Would tell the world I was fine
But the shame in my heart
Would tell me that I’m lying
I had endured abuse
And tried to take my own life
I had heard talk of God
But didn’t believe the hype
If He was so great
Why were my arms lined with scars
If He was so loving
Why was I falling apart

So I just kept on reaching
For the next thing I would need
To be happy, find peace
As I watched my soul bleed
At some point I would find it
Joy, love, and peace
If I would only try harder
It was almost within reach

“Almost within reach”
That’s a funny thing to say
It means the same thing as
“It’s too far away”

My mind was convinced
That I could fix all my problems
I didn’t really need to face it
In order to solve them
I could push them away
And ignore the burning pain
That rose in my heart
With the break of each day
It was almost within reach
I had almost achieved it
I was almost enough
I really couldn’t believe it

“Almost within reach”
Means I’d still fall on my face
When I jumped out to grab it
I’d land in a pool of mistakes
If I had only tried harder
If I had just been better
I’ll reach it one day
I’ll just try over

What was I reaching for?
What did I want to achieve?
Every time I thought I made it
I still landed on my knees
Peace, that’s what I wanted
Peace in my heart
Peace that would stay
In spite of my scars

That’s when I met grace
It was “almost within reach”
Almost, but too far
So God reached out for me
He said, “this is yours,
Stop trying to earn it.
Let me love you where you are
And you can have it.
You are a sinner
You can’t be good enough
But if you’re willing to see it
I’ll show you true love.
Look at the cross
And the love that was shown.
My Only Son gave His life
To make you my own.
To you, new life is given
It is freely yours
Only because Jesus died
To conquer the war.”

New life, grace, mercy?
What exactly did that mean?
Could I really stop trying?
Could I really “just be”?
The answer was yes
That’s all He wanted from me
God simply wanted
To give my soul peace

“Almost within reach”
Was always a lie
Peace couldn’t come
From clinging to my life

I don’t pretend to understand
Why God is who He is
I can’t fathom His greatness
All I need to know is this –
I’m not who I was
His grace changed my heart
Jesus loves me, He saved me
And He’s healing my scars
Day after day
His mercies renew
And day after day
I find peace in the truth


My Ankle Hurts: An Analogy for life

It’s 1 am and I am wide awake…so I’m going to tell you a story. The story I want to tell you is about my ankle. Bear with me for a minute, even at 1 am, I know that probably sounds crazy…but I promise, I have a point.

For nearly my entire life, my ankle has been weak. But where did that begin? I’m really not sure. I don’t remember the first time I twisted/sprained it – I just know it’s ALWAYS been that way. Over the years, my ankle got more and more out of whack, but my body learned to adapt. So now, after many years of learning to adapt to life with stretched ligaments in my ankle – I’ve gotten used to it. It’s part of my life and part of who I am. My body still functions just fine and it doesn’t really prevent me from doing the things I love.

Until now.

Last week I went to the doctor for a severe pain in my calf. There were a few different possibilities for what it could have been – popliteal artery entrapment, compartment syndrome, or pulled/torn muscle. I never really gave any thought to my ankle being the root of the problem. As the doctor examined my leg, he also looked at my ankle. As he turned my ankle, a look of deep concern came across his face.

“Does this hurt?” He asked as he turned my ankle further than it should go.

“No. Should it?” I answered. “My ankle has always been that way. I hurt it as a kid and I have stretched ligaments in it.”

The doctor looked at me with a bit of frustration and relief. He chuckled as he said, “You know that’s something you need to tell me.”

“Yeah, my bad,” I laughed, “I’ve just always had a crap ankle, so I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just kind of a part of who I am.”

The doctor’s original orders were to rest my leg for two weeks. No running. No working out. I had to take a break from running and Insanity classes – those were the only outlets I had for my stress and frustration and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to punch the doctor in his face for that.

It has now been a week since I saw that doctor. In this past week I have seen two other doctors, had an MRI done, worn an ankle brace, and seen a physical therapist. The final decision: the calf pain is still a mystery, BUT everyone is fairly certain that the root of the pain is the weakness in my ankle.

After 15+ years of living life with a weak ankle, my calf has learned to overcompensate and to support and stabilize my leg in ways that my ankle should be doing. In most people, this extra usage of muscular energy would be painful, but for me, it’s become normal. Really, at some point I just started to assume that my ankle would just always be that way, nothing would make it better, and I would just need to learn how to live with it. When I started running and doing Insanity classes though, my calf decided it couldn’t handle the extra work anymore and it started hurting.

Now, I get to pretty much live in an ankle brace as I go through physical therapy to strengthen my ankle and help take some of this pressure off of my calf. Wearing this ankle brace at all times, hurts! My ankle has been so used to being in a stretched position, that now it actually hurts for it to be in the anatomically correct position. And sometimes, the pain makes me want to give up this whole thing. But, I am frequently reminded that if I quit, I will go back to having that same, sometimes excruciating pain, in my leg. My ankle needs to heal CORRECTLY if I want it to function properly.

If you have stuck around and actually read all about my ankle/calf, you are lucky enough to find out WHY I wanted to share this story.

Because this is almost a perfect analogy for the “Christian” life.

Two years ago I was an unbeliever. I thought I was living my life the best I could. I thought I was free to do as I pleased. I thought I was just fine even though I was not very happy. I don’t really know exactly where the unhappiness began, it just seems to have always been there. Sexual abuse. Eating disorder. Self-harm. Abortion. Alcohol and drug abuse. Perfectionism. People pleasing. Control. It’s all just been a part of who I was. I hadn’t enjoyed it, but I had found my identity in it. The only choice I had after that was to cope – to adapt.

But then Jesus came into my life and flipped it upside down. Just like the doctor who looked at my ankle, Jesus looked at me with deep concern. Just like that doctor, Jesus needed me to be honest with Him about my past in order to heal me in the present. Just like that doctor, Jesus wanted me to get better so that I may live a full life. Just like I didn’t know my ankle needed healing until the doctor told me, I didn’t know my life needed healing until Jesus shined His light on it.

I fought at first; I was angry. I thought my life was just fine. I wasn’t happy, but I had learned to adapt. I had learned how to live my life with many spiritual, mental, and emotional wounds. Just like with my ankle, it wasn’t ideal, but I had gotten comfortable. I had learned to adapt because my wounds were just a part of who I was.

Luke 19:10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those who are lost.

I was lost, and when you’re lost – you want to be comfortable. But Jesus came to find me and now that He had found me, He was telling me it was time to leave my comfort zone. He told me that it was time to quit living a life that I had just adapted to and that it was time that I learned to live life abundantly – something He promised He can give me. Everything I thought I knew up to that point didn’t make any sense anymore.

I felt like I’d gone too far. Jesus still reached out for me. I had trust issues. Jesus wanted me to trust Him. I had abandonment issues. Jesus wanted me to accept His love. I was scared. Jesus wanted to give me courage. I felt alone. Jesus wanted to be with me. I felt trapped. Jesus wanted to set me free. I felt weak. Jesus was strong.

It didn’t matter what my excuse was, Jesus had an answer for every single one. He really wanted me to let Him heal me, even though it was going to hurt. He promised me it’d be worth it and He promised me that we were going to do this together. He would be with me every step of the way – even when I want to quit. And in those times, He’ll remind me of why we are doing this – why the life He wants me to live is better than the life I was living.

Over the last two years, Jesus and I have fought, quite a bit, about whether or not I am letting Him heal me. And in case you are wondering, He always wins. He has given me a “treatment plan” and tells me to stick to it, to follow His direction and I will get better.

But, you see, my problem is this thing called stubbornness. I am stubborn and I DON’T like being told what to do – even when I know it’s what’s best for me. I often fail to follow His treatment plan and I go off and do my own thing. It never takes long though, for life to start hurting again and for me to go running straight back to Him.

On this side of Heaven, I will never be perfectly healed – but Jesus is continuing to heal me a little more every day…as long I’m willing to come to Him.

I’ll be going to physical therapy for the next 4-8 weeks in order to get my ankle back to where it should be.

Just like physical therapy for my ankle, I need to choose to go to Jesus, every day, to get my life back to where I should be – to where He made me to be.

It’s not easy. It’s painful. And some days, it just plain sucks. But it is my ONLY option if I want to actually live my life instead of just surviving it.


No Looking Back

When I became a Christian, I wanted nothing more than to leave my old life behind me; but my old life was holding onto me with a death-grip. I really didn’t want to leave my past behind me though; after all, it was fun and I was in control, so what was the big deal? The big deal was that I was living behind a mask. I didn’t want my Christian friends to know about my struggles or the very “un-Christian” aspects of my life.

But apparently, God wanted me to trust Him and allow Him in to those scary, untouched parts of my life. He wanted me to share my life, my hurts, and my struggles with other believers. At the time, I thought this was the most ridiculous thing God could ever ask of me.

Nearly two years and lots of tears, emotional meltdowns, sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, and fear later – God had brought me through so much and it is safe to say that I am no longer the person I used to be. I have been set free from self-harm, depression, a love and relationship addiction, and the effects of abortion and sexual abuse. God has proven Himself, over and over, in my life. He hasn’t failed me yet; but somehow, I still struggle with letting God into all parts of my past.

Recently, I have begun a new phase of my recovery. A phase that, in all honesty, I don’t want to go through. I want change, but I don’t want to do the work required to change. I don’t really want to change my behavior, rather I’d just like to change the pain I feel while still doing what’s bad for me. Yes, I am fully aware how illogical that sounds. But that’s the problem, when our minds get distracted by things of this world and we lose our focus on God, things start to get illogical.

In the midst of my shame, guilt, anger, and self-pity, God gave me a beautiful gift today. He gave me a reminder of where my hope lies; a reminder that He loves me, that He cares about me, and that He will calm my fears.

I walked outside this evening and I was immediately blown away by the beauty of the evening sky – the way the light shined through the clouds and the sun’s rays beamed…it was, for me, just a small slice of what Heaven must be like.

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But in that moment, while I marveled at the beauty of God’s creation, I turned around. That’s when I saw the darkness of the storm clouds behind me.

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Standing in the same place, I could see two totally different perspectives – if I looked ahead of me, I saw light, hope, strength, and beauty…but behind me, there was sorrow, pain, and darkness. I saw all these things without moving an inch, it only depended on which direction I choose to look.

This is, basically, the exact definition of my life right now…I can look ahead at the light and hope that God offers me or I can look behind me at my failures and pain and be stuck in the darkness. I don’t have to move to be able to see the light, I just have to choose to look at it, it’s my choice.

You see, for the last few weeks, I’ve been looking back; looking at the depth of my sin and the greatness of guilt and shame. Looking back into the darkness had drawn me away from the light and the things I know to be true. I have felt like God was distant from me, and now I ask myself – who moved, God or me? Clearly, the answer is me.

I moved away from Him because I wanted control in my out of control life…even though I have a pretty long track record of not being able to control anything in my life and just creating an even bigger mess than when I started.

I don’t want to give up the facade of control that I convince myself that I had (even though I KNOW that’s a lie). I want to do things on my own without facing the pain. I don’t want to do what’s right because, right now, what’s right is also what’s hard…and I don’t want to deal with the hard part.

So here’s, yet another, giant leap of faith on my road to recovering from my past. I know that God knows better than I do; He knows the master plan while I can only see the small space that I occupy. I know that this new phase of recovery will be painful. It will hurt, but I’m trusting that it will be worth it. God hasn’t let me down yet, I doubt He’s going to start now.

I’m tired of looking at my past and feeling discouraged by the darkness that surrounds it. I will CHOOSE (yes, it is a choice…a painful choice…but a choice nonetheless) to look ahead of me, to look at God and seek the light. I will CHOOSE to keep moving, even when it hurts, trusting that Jesus is right there next to me. I CHOOSE to not beat myself up when I fall (because I’m sure I will fall along the way). I CHOOSE to place my hope in my Savior and not in myself. I CHOOSE to celebrate the little victories and not get caught up in the set-backs.

Philippians 3:13-14,16No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us…But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

I CHOOSE TO STOP LOOKING BACK!


All I Need

God is all I need; I know that. But I am still scared of this world. I am tired of this world – the pain, heartache, sickness, and death. I’m ready to go Home, to my eternal Home where death is no more.

Sometimes life seems so surreal. It’s so hard to fathom the things that happening right now. We always think these things can never happen to us – until they do. My family shed many tears in the last 36 hours with the diagnosis of my sister’s brain tumor. We are all scared and wondering why and how this happened.

I can’t answer any medical questions. I don’t know why and I don’t know how. I don’t know what the outcome will be and I don’t know how we will all hold up through it all. All I do know, the only thing I have to hold on to when life hurts this much, is that God is with us. He is here. He has a plan. And He is active through all of this, even though we may not see it.

I need grace for every day. Some days I need more than others, but He ALWAYS gives me exactly what I need to keep on keeping on. So yes, I am scared, terrified even, of what the future of our family will look like, but I am trusting the One who holds my heart. I trust that no matter what happens, His grace will always be enough.

All I Need
In times like this when I can’t see
All I have is hope in Thee
I’m letting go and falling hard
I need to know You’ll catch my heart
I’m trusting you to be right here
With your love to calm my fears
I need Your arms stretched out to me
Embrace me now and let me see

Walking blindly through the rain
The grip of love holds my pain
I’m scared, I’m desperate, I’m confused
Waiting to see what You will do
The only One who’s conquered death
Gives me hope for every breath

Life is hard, I want to flee
And all I have is rest in Thee
I lay my life here at Your cross
And trust in You to find the lost
Fighting this world all by myself
Leaves me crying out for help
I’m exhausted of all my strength
And trusting in Your priceless grace

Walking blindly through the rain
The grip of love holds my pain
I’m scared, I’m desperate, I’m confused
Waiting to see what You will do
The only One who’s conquered death
Lifts me up to give me rest

Hear me now, hear every plea
All I want is peace in Thee
In the chaos of this place
Help me now to seek Your face
Your love all I’ll ever need
I’m crying out on bended knee
Though it seems like it’s the end
You are there at my defense

Walking blindly through the rain
The grip of love holds my pain
I’m scared, I’m desperate, I’m confused
Waiting to see what You will do
The only One who’s conquered death
Gives me peace, He’s never left


Stay the Course

Do you ever think God isn’t involved in or doesn’t care about the small details of your life? You know, the things that are seemingly insignificant, that don’t really make a big impact on life (or so you think)? That is where I experience God’s love more than anywhere else.

I am impatient. I want what I want and I want it now; a result of growing up in a culture of instant gratification. I often expect God to do what I want Him to do, just because it’s what I want Him to do. I don’t give a thought to whether or not it is the best thing for me from God’s perspective. When God doesn’t do what I think He should be doing in my life, I find myself getting frustrated and doubtful about whether or not He’s active in my life at all. But in my doubt and in my frustration, God proves Himself over and over again as He shows me who He is and how He loves me with small, unnecessary, movements.

Now don’t get me wrong, God has worked in and through me in huge ways that I never knew were possible; and that simply amazes me. The changes that God has made in me, never cease to show me how much He loves and cares about me. But those are the big things, the obviously broken parts of me. Somehow, I seem to often forget that God also cares about the little things, like how far I run, the books I read, the time I go to sleep, the timing of the sunset…and the list goes on.

Let me be honest, until now, I’ve really never given my all, all my energy, strength, and heart, to anything I’ve ever done. But now that I finally see that I really can do anything, I also see that there is only One who deserves my everything because it’s only through Him that I can do anything.

God has shown me magical things lately…things that prove His love for me in unimaginable ways.

A few weeks ago, I was out for a run and still trying to decide how far I would run, when my music stopped, there was God to tell me to slow down and take it easy, not to do too much, too fast. In that moment I was awestruck by God’s overwhelming love for me in things that don’t really seem to matter.

While out on a different run, at 2 miles in, I was feeling tired and I wanted to quit. When I ran by this church in my neighborhood (which I didn’t know existed until then).

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I was breath taken by God’s activeness in my life. The words on that sign spoke so deeply to me, it was as if Jesus, Himself, was standing right there speaking to me. It was unlike any feeling I’ve ever had before.

So when I start thinking that God is silent, that He’s ignoring me, or that He doesn’t care…I can think back to that sign.

“Stay the course. God’s timing is perfect.”


A Runner’s Prayer

Running has changed me and it has changed my life. It has challenged me and helped me to see that I can do so much more than the small limitations I place on myself. I really can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It has changed how I view God and has given me more clarity to hear Him speak to me. Hearing Him more clearly had given me a deeper desire to speak to Him more honestly.

So this is my prayer for every run and every runner.

The Runner’s Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for this day
For giving me this desire
To start running Your way
I step out on the road
One foot, then the other
I can feel my heart pounding
And my dreams are uncovered
Thank You for strength
To push on through the pain
Thank You for courage
To step into the race
The sun on my cheeks
The wind in my hair
Lets me feel alive
When life’s just not fair
When it’s hard and I’m hurting
You send me a sign
That tells me to keep moving
With a strength that’s not mine
When I feel my heart beat
I feel You moving in me
And with each rush of wind
You are setting me free
So run by my side
And guide my each step
Be my motivation
With each and every breath
As my feet hit the ground
Your stride matches mine
And You’re one step ahead
To be my guiding light
I give you this run
And I’ll give it all of me
I’m running to Your love
And You’re setting me free.
Thank You, Father
For the rush in the run
It’s in Jesus name that I pray
I love You. Amen!


Am I Too Independent?

Independence is generally considered a good thing in our culture; to be able to do everything on your own without the help of anyone else is generally praised. But let me explain why I have a problem with that.

I spent most of my life not asking anyone for help because I thought I had to be independent. I thought I had to do things on my own if I wanted success. And where did that get me? That got me no where except filled with anger, bitterness, and sadness. I never felt like I could depend on anyone, nor did I ever feel like anyone cared. Trying to do everything on my own got exhausting and at a young age I was stressed and weary. But at the time, I had no hope or faith in an all-powerful God.

Isaiah 40:28-31 –
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

I can’t do life on my own. I wasn’t created to do life alone. First and foremost, I need to be dependent on God. This world is a scary place and it’s a constant fight. The more I fight to be independent, the more I throw myself into self destruction. God will give me everything I need to make it through this life, if only I’m willing to suck up my pride and ask him for help. Who am I to say that I can navigate this world better than He can, when I’m the created and He’s the creator?

Ephesians 6:10 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

A few weeks ago, in a conversation with a dear friend, out of the blue she said, “You need to depend on God more.” When I heard those words, I lost it. The day had already been rough and emotional, and her statement had me bawling like a baby because she is right. I depend too much on myself and on other people. Without even realizing it, I fall back into the “I can do it” train of thought and I don’t realize it until I crash and burn or someone points it out to me. I get so frustrated and angry with myself when I realize how little I depend on God because I know better. I know the miracles He has done in my life. I have seen His power before my very eyes. I have felt His love and grace in every area of my life. And yet, like the Israelites, I still fail to trust Him even after all I’ve seen Him do. I am all too human.

Psalm 18:2-
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I want to put God first in every aspect of my life. I want Him and my relationship with Him to be the number one thing on my priority list. But I all too often fail Him. I am so thankful for His grace and mercy when I do fail Him; He continues to still love me and pick me up from the mess I’ve made of my life and guide me in the right direction. He is so faithful to me and has given me way more than I will ever deserve.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – 9 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. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God didn’t create us to go through this world on our own and He often shows us His love for us through other people. I know that’s what He did for me. I had never seen true, Christ-like love until I met my Celebrate Recovery sponsor. She was the first person to show me what true love looked like and because of her I have been able to receive the love that others have shown me and love them in return. We need each other. We need to love each other and walk through this life together, serving and caring for one another.

John 13:14 – If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Romans 12:16 – Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

My point in all of this is that we can’t do life alone. We can’t live independent of God and one another and expect to still live a happy, fulfilling life. It just isn’t possible. That’s not how we were made. I know, for me, I have to, daily, confess my dependence on God. Daily, I remind myself that I can’t make it through this world without Him and thank Him for the people He has given me to walk this scary road with me. Quit trying to be independent. Suck up your pride and admit your dependence on your Creator – I promise you won’t regret it.


Ripe for Harvest

Last night, I had a short talk with someone who talked about how, since he first gave his life over to Christ, all he’s wanted to do is share with other people and let others know how amazing He is. And that got me thinking, isn’t that what all of our lives should be about? I know that’s what I want my life to be about but I also know I don’t do everything I should to serve and share Him with those around me.

This morning, in my devotion, I came across Matthew 9:37-38 – He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” I’ll admit the reference to a field and harvesting here at first confused me a bit. But as I began to understand these verses, I was pleasantly surprised by what I was reading.

Jesus is referring to people as being ripe for harvest, meaning that many people are ready to turn their lives over to Christ, if only someone would show them what that looks like. So He tells us that we need to pray that God will call workers to reap the harvest, meaning that we’ll pray that more Christians will share their faith with nonbelievers. Something I think is important to remember though, if you’re praying this prayer for God to call more people to share their faith – don’t be surprised if He calls you. We should always be prepared, as Christians, to witness to others and help lead them to Christ.

I know, in my life, if it weren’t for two people in particular who, I believe, God had called to guide me to Jesus, I would have walked away from the church and never looked back. But God, knowing that and because He is faithful even when I’m not, called two people, my dad and my Celebrate Recovery sponsor, to serve Him and show me the Way.

My dad introduced me to his faith, he taught me what it was about, and showed me the unconditional love that goes along with it. I was angry at my dad and rensentful for his 23 years of absence, but God still called him to show me the way to the cross. All my early questions about why I should believe, what I should believe in, and who exactly Jesus was, my dad answered. He gently guided me to God’s Word and pointed me in the right direction. It is because of my dad’s guidance that I was led to get saved and baptized. He didn’t give up on me when I, literally, laughed at him when he told that Christ died and rose again for me and that He took the punishment for my sins. He kept trying.

Then there’s my Celebrate Recovery sponsor, next to my dad, she has done the greatest thing for me that any one person could do for another – she loved me through the pain of my recovery and showed me that I’m never too broken for Him to put me back together. She loved me through the shame and guilt of my past. She guided me to His Word when I thought I couldn’t keep going. She prayed for me and with me to make it through the toughest parts of my recovery. She didn’t give up on me or my recovery, even when she probably had every right to. But because of the love of Christ within her, she endured the journey with me even though it wasn’t easy – for that, I will be forever grateful.

My dad showed me how to turn my life over to Christ and my sponsor helped me learn how to, daily, turn my will over to Him.

My point is that if we want nonbelievers to believe and turn their lives over to Jesus Christ, then we need to be willing to share our faith with them and love them through the hard times. We need to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and bring Christ to places where His name has been rejected or misunderstood.

John 4:35 – You know the saying, ‘four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around, the fields are already ripe.

What Jesus is saying here is to stop making excuses. I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t go out of my way in some circumstances to serve others and share my faith because a part of me thinks that, that person(s) just isn’t ready to accept Christ. But that, my friends, is just laziness. Jesus tells us that people are ready to be harvested; all we need to do is open our eyes and look.

So let’s open our eyes. If our faith is as important to us as we say it is…then don’t be afraid to show it. What we are really talking about here, is the eternal life of the ones we love. Are we willing to leave that up to chance? Who knows, maybe you’re the one person God is calling to bring someone to know who He is and if you don’t answer the call, no one else will. Don’t be lukewarm in your faith.

Revelation 3:16 – But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

When we understand what He gave for us, we are willing to give all for Him. He came not to be served, but to serve. And that’s what He calls us to do. He wants us to serve one another with joyful hearts. What makes me joyful about serving, even when it’s something I’d rather not do, is remembering that in serving others I am actually serving Him.

I want to give Him my all because He gave me His. The transformations have already been great, but the best part is that He’s not finished with me yet. And if you think He can’t do the same thing in your life, you’re greatly mistaken. You are never too broken, there are never too many pieces, for Him to be able to put you back together and turn you into the masterpiece He created you to be. Finishing my Celebrate Recovery step study has placed a stronger desire on my heart to live my life for Him and to share His love , grace, and mercy with a world of broken people. Finishing my step study has taught me that if I want to keep all that He has given me, I need to give it away and not just when it is convenient for me. I’ve learned that God will use my biggest mistake/failure/heartbreak (whatever it is that has brought me the most pain in my life) as my platform to serve Him. And now, being set free of the guilt and shame I once felt, I am free to joyfully and lovingly do just that. It is my desire to dedicate my life to broken and hurting people. Why? Because He dedicated His life to me.


Loving the Unlovable

Let’s face it, we’re not very lovable. And by we, I mean the whole human race. We’re cruel, bitter, resentful, angry, hurtful, and whole other slew of adjectives that I could use to describe us. Even on our best days, we’re still pretty crummy people. Even when we think we’re pretty good, we’re not!

Isaiah 64:6 – We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

We are all sinners, I don’t care how good of a person you think you are, you’re still a sinner (I’m sorry if that sounds judgmental. I’m not judging, I’m just stating the truth). God is so perfect and holy that He can’t even be the in the presence of our ugly sinfulness. We all have days where everything is going right, we’ve done great, productive, helpful things, we’ve served others, and we feel like we’ve made a great difference in the world. And we need to remember, that even on those great days, we are still infected with sin and still not good enough to get into heaven.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying we’re all horrible people and there’s no hope for us so we might as well just give up now. On the contrary, what I’m saying is the exact opposite. What I’m saying is that we are sinners and without justification for our sins, we can never be right in the sight of God. That justification comes from our faith and belief in Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1 – Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In small group we’ve been studying 1 John and last night the passage really struck me. At first, when I read it I was thinking about how it really applied to some people in my life. But then, as we were discussing it I had a shockingly convicting realization that it applied to me as well (talk about a damaged ego and a harsh reminder of my selfishness).

1 John 2:9-11 – 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

So going back to my initial statement in this post, we are not lovable. I have quite a few people in my life who I tolerate and I “love” them when I have to. But it’s not real, unconditional love. It’s an “I really don’t know what to say or how to act because I don’t want to be mean, so I’m just going to pretend” kind of love. And I’m pretty sure that kind of love is frowned upon. We can say that we know Christ all we want and we can have a lot of really good theological knowledge, but unless we love others we are just blowing smoke.

Verse 11 sacres me, the thought of becoming so desensitized to my own sin that I can’t even see where I am headed…it makes me shudder. It’s really easy to convince myself that I shouldn’t have to go out of my way or be inconvenienced by loving someone who I can’t stand and who admittedly doesn’t want much to do with me. But that’s exactly what God calls us to do…and to be honest, I wish it weren’t so dang hard!!

Matthew 5:46 – For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

One thing that really struck me during our small group discussion last night was that it’s either love or hate. There is no grey area in this one. There are a lot of things that are not clear cut and black and white. I generally see this world as having a lot of grey area, so to acknowledge that there are things that are only black and white kind of scares me. Ultimately though, it’s pretty simple, if you are not loving someone, if you only “like” them or claim to be indifferent to them – you are hating them. If you are avoiding someone, don’t want good for someone, or want evil for someone, you are hating them.

We’re pretty unlovable, and yet God still love us unconditionally. So what’s stopping us from loving other people?

Early in my Christian walk, when I realized that I am supposed to love as Christ loved, I was really kind of offended in a way. I was angry that I was supposed to love as Christ loved because He was perfect and I am not so much, so how could I EVER be expected to love as He loved?

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I am not perfect like Him and I won’t be until He brings me home. However, it is no longer me who lives but He who lives in me. So where I once couldn’t do things like love others, I now can because of His spirit inside of me. I have the power to love people who drive me bonkers and to share Christ with people who I would really rather not. Why? Because He first loved me. I know enough about myself that I am pretty unlovable, and somehow, He loves me anyway. It’s not about me anymore, but rather about sharing His love with everyone else.

So what’s my excuse? Ultimately, I don’t have one. I am lazy and selfish…which is just another reminder of how much I need Christ.


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