My hope is that this blog will be a conduit for conversation between you and me, between you and others, and most importantly, between you and God. Experience has shown me that my best conversations with the Lord and with others come coupled with the stillness of morning and a cup of coffee. Whatever your experience has been, I hope you will join me as I share what God puts on my heart.

Friday, September 25, 2015

To look for the one.

I've spent the past couple days being overwhelmed by God's love for us. It sounds cliché. But for a performance-obsessed, results-driven person like myself, sobering reminders of God's intoxicating grace and undignified love for me stop me dead in my tracks.

That God would chase after us. 

Like a shepherd who leaves his ninety-nine sheep to look for the lost one.

Like a woman who loses one of her ten silver coins, but scours the house until she finds that one.

Like the father who compassionately runs to embrace the greedy son who squandered the father's property and returns empty handed to again depend on the father.

How can I not respond to the God who loves every one of us with this sort of reckless abandon?  

My fixation on this lately stems from a terrifying circumstance where a family member was on a seven-day hiking adventure in the mountains when he became separated from others at nightfall without any trace of his whereabouts. Our world instantly stopped as our family exhausted every means of finding the one we loved. During that time, nothing else mattered besides our search for the lost one

We found him. We found him. We found him. Like God finds us, we searched all night, relentlessly, unabashedly, illogically, at every expense, counting each minute, waiting for him. 

And I can't stop thinking about how this parallels God's love for us. The kind of love that's nauseating, scandalous, irrational, illogical, inebriating, consuming, and usually costly for the giver. 

Archbishop Desmund Tutu illustrated it best when he described our traditionally inaccurate church imagery of Christ carrying this pristine, put-together sheep back to the flock. In reality, that sheep is dirty, disheveled, scruffy, dishonorable, frightful, helpless, and terrified. We can imagine the sheep being anything but clean. 

I was and often still am that sheep. I imagine you can relate.

Praise God for graciously and gently reminding me of my disheveled condition, to ultimately remind me of His all-consuming and unchanging love for me in that condition.

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing." Luke 15:4-5 (ESV).

"Or what woman, having ten silver coins, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?" Luke 15:8 (ESV).

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him." Luke 15:20 (ESV).

Down the hatch, my friends.

Much love to you,


Friday, September 18, 2015

My advocate on high.

Christ is our advocate.

When we're wrongly accused.

When we want to defend ourselves.

When we feel mistreated.

When someone doubts us.

When someone speaks ill of us.

When someone misunderstands us.

When someone mistreats us.

When someone believes negative information about us. 

When we want to explain why we took a certain course of action.

When we want to persuade somebody to take our side.

When we're helpless.

Christ is our advocate always--incessantly working for His glorious purpose and our good.

I usually think of Christ as our advocate before God.  Lately, I'm learning Christ is just as much our advocate before others. 

God reminded me of this recently when I wanted to defend or explain myself, but felt God prompting me to let Him handle the situation instead.

There are certainly times we're called to explain or defend. But maybe there are also times we're called to be silent, instead humbly trusting our Advocate is at work. 

It's tough to discern those times and even tougher to be obedient during those times when I want to make my case. Trusting the Holy Spirit to make my case is getting easier as I understand what exactly that means.

Advocate (noun) - one that pleads the cause of another.

One that defends.

One that supports.

This greatly resonates with me because being an advocate is the central role of an attorney. In the legal world, there are certain names of successful attorneys you don't want to see on the opposing side because you know that attorney will kick tail for her client. I liken Jesus Christ to that successful attorney you don't want to see on the opposing side. But Jesus Christ is always on our side, working all things for His glory and the good of those who love Him. 

In my circumstances, I'm learning the Holy Spirit can often make my case far better without my voice. Sometimes this means relinquishing control of what exactly that case should be. Maybe you can relate.

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever. . ." John 14:16 (NIV).

"Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel." Daniel 1:9 (NIV).

"And we know that in all things God is working for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 (NIV).

"Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend." Job 16:19-21 (NIV). 

"You will lie down with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor." Job 11:19 (NIV). 

In lieu of coffee art, my husband forced me to rep his favorite team. This is a desperate plea for affection from a current football widow. Happy game day. ;)
Much love to you,


Friday, August 28, 2015

For the Lord.

It's freeing to remember who our boss is. 

Because if you're anything like me, you wrestle with a perpetual desire to please. This desire for approval, often insatiable and dangerously all-consuming, rears its ugly head in nearly all of my relationships and endeavors. And it does so quickly and quietly and mostly subconsciously.

But lately I remember:

Work willingly at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

I often associate this command with a call to motivate and persevere, a call to avoid apathy.

More recently, it's been about God freeing me from myself.  My results-obsessed, competitive, and achievement-driven self. The self that wants to please and exceed others' expectations. The self that is never satisfied with the results. The self that is convinced perfection is attainable. The self that always could have done better. The self that is worn slick from these lies.

Two things I know: We work unto the Lord. And our Lord's yoke is easy and burden light.

If what we do, if who we are, is genuinely for the Lord, the efforts that flow from a heart attuned to God must be sufficient. If this is true, it is the ultimate vindication because our pursuit of God, and not whether we perform or obtain approval of others, is what we can control. We need not live life exasperated by our failure to please or obsessed with our success at it. This is particularly so in light of the fact that we've already pleased God because Christ stands in our place.

In sum, working for God not only motivates, but liberates. 

God is freeing me from this approval addiction, and I pray that's true for you.

"Work willingly at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." (Colossians 3:23 NLT).

"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30 NIV).

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade." (1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV).

I have a serious, serious case of the Octobers. 

Much love to you,


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Higher, deeper, longer, wider.

I'm so relieved to remember God is not limited by our limitations.

Why is this good news?

Because we live with a laundry list of limitations.

Limitations you put on yourself.

Limitations you put on God.

Limitations you were born into.

Limitations you later developed.

Limitations related to your physical, emotional, or mental state.

Limitations on time.

Limitations on talent.

Limitations from your spouse.

Limitations from your bank account.

Limitations from your boss.

Just to name a few.

I've recently felt the weight of my own limitations--the weight that these limitations could foreclose God's plan. My thinking goes like this: If X can't/won't/doesn't happen, then how will God's plan unfold because I know X is necessary for God's plan? 

This is dangerous thinking.

When I frame it that way, I'm actually inviting three nearsighted results: an act of rebellion*, bitterness, or apathy.

It does not take a specific, preordained set of circumstances to enable God's plan.  Put another way: a limitation precluding a specific set of circumstances cannot prevent God's plan.  

God's mysteries are higher than the heavens above, deeper than the depths below, longer than the earth and wider than the sea.

God is the most creative Being to ever be. The onus was never on us to accomplish His plan. The idea is quite laughable, really. The God who creates and sustains us is surely great enough to work within the parameters we experience, and great enough to exceed or even shatter them.

At this point in my life, I'm experiencing some palpable limits. And I refuse to be surprised when God works them for His glory. So here I remain: living with boundaries I trust our great God to use and exceed. 

[*sidenote* I'm not proposing an act of rebellion can never be part of God's plan; it certainly can be, particularly when the alternative means compromising Christ. But our small thinking should not mandate this result every time--whether God's best or not.]

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea." (Job 11:7-9 NIV).

chug-a-lug to you.

Much love to you,


Thursday, August 6, 2015

The danger of a God that's too big.

What is just as dangerous as making God too small?

Making God too big.

We often emphasize the problem of making God smaller than we should. But what about when we perceive God as too great for life's boring or trivial problems? The problems that worm their way into our day-to-day routine and make themselves at home there. They're not seasonal and debilitating, yet they're equally threatening to our pursuit of Christ. They center on the minutiae of life, so we self-manage or quickly dismiss them, ultimately considering them unworthy of prayer or God's attention.

I would say we're selling the work of our God short, but in this case we're selling it harmfully long. It's an awkward, if not impossible, concept to say the least: God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-present. God will always be bigger than we can imagine. And this is likely what makes this specific limitation particularly dangerous; we never realized this limitation even existed. At least this is true for me.

(In reality we can't make God anything--whether big or small. In this instance, I'm not referring to God's qualities, which are unchanging and wholly independent of our response. I'm instead referring to how we perceive and limit God's work in our lives.)

I'm afraid I've incorrectly perceived God as too big to be personal or concerned with the details of my life. Maybe you relate. So let me remind you: God is just as much a God of the micro as a God of the macro.

We serve a Savior who daily bears our burdens.

We worship the Lord who demonstrated mindfulness and care toward us when He made us rulers over the work of His hands.

We pursue the God who commands us to cast all our cares on Him regardless of degree.

Right now, God is exposing and freeing me of limits on my faith. I pray this is true for you.

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens."  (Psalm 68:19 NIV).

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them  rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet." (Psalm 8:3-6 NIV).

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7 NIV).

My current obsession. Who doesn't love a blonde? ;)

Much love to you,


Friday, June 19, 2015

When our love abounds.

Waiting on an answer from God is surely one of the most painful processes. At least, I make it so because I generally want God's answer yesterday.  And I want that answer to include a dramatically defined change in my position or some measurable progress that fits the parameters I gave God.

There are times that I've received a definitive answer from God, and there are times the answer has been uncertain. But the more I experience God, the more I learn it is less about the answer and more about my heart.

Even when the answer remains unknown, God's response is always clear: abide in Me.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God.

The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom.

That we are able to discern what is best when our love [for Christ] abounds more and more in knowledge and depth of insight.

Our pursuit of God is the prerequisite to any answer or wisdom we obtain.  In that pursuit, the specific answer to my question loses significance.  That pursuit becomes the answer--and whatever wisdom we gain from God becomes the byproduct.

My fixation on the answer I'm seeking from God likely indicates my heart is in the wrong place--a place I've been lately. I want to care more about my pursuit of God and less about what I want from God.  I want this for you.

Whatever answer eventually emerges from the genuine and unfettered pursuit of God will undoubtedly be the right one because it was discerned by a heart bent toward a faithful God.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." (James 1:5 NIV).

"Where then does this wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell?...God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells...The fear of The Lord--that is wisdom..." (Job 28:20, 23, 28 NIV).

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ." (Philippians 1:9-10 NIV).

My pregnant friend and I recently discussed whether we are bad moms for drinking caffeinated beverages (in moderation) while pregnant (in her case) and nursing (in my case).  We quickly concluded no.  Which is worse: a caffeinated, but living, mom and a slightly caffeinated baby or a dead mom? 

Nevertheless, I introduce to you Peet's decaf coffee because it's a smooth one if you're into that. I'm obviously not. 

It's not you Peet; it's me.

Much love to you,


Friday, May 22, 2015

To be here.

Most of our lives, we're either entering or exiting a wintry chapter. If this resonates with you, don't let that chapter be in vain. As I emerge from my own fog, I fight feeling calloused, disoriented, or even purposeless.  

But I'm reminded of this: I'm still here

This reminder orients me to a God who has designed me for His specific purpose that He's accomplishing here and now.  My inability to presently perceive that purpose does not limit our boundless God. Because of our gracious God, that purpose is simultaneously for His glory and my good. 

To be here is to be Christ.

This is true for you. In your dark moment, amidst your confusion, despite your discouragement, please remember you're still here. 

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me." (Philippians 1:21-22 NIV).

"Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21 NIV).

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 NIV).

I may or may not select my coffee mug based on my morning mood. Today must be a good one. Merry Christmas in May, everyone.

Much love to you,


Friday, May 15, 2015

The name.

As you know, my recent blogs have centered on the hard season of late--a season that may be all too familiar to you right now. As much as I love empathy amidst my journey, I'm so sorry for your pain.

But this pain means learning the power of our Lord and Savior. For me, this revelation took root in my prayer life. And to my chagrin, it took me too long to learn this:

There is power in the name of Jesus.

If there is one thing this recent chapter has taught me, it's prayer--but a different kind of prayer, at least for me.

Day after day and often minute after minute, I prayed for my specific request. I would recite extremely detailed prayers ad nauseum. When I perceived my prayers were unanswered, I laid out the logistics of how my petitions should be answered--because surely the God who created and sustains me needed that. 

But my circumstances remained unchanged.

It was to my benefit that I eventually grew weary of detailing for God how my plans should unfold. It was as if I had a recipe for answered prayers--a recipe that felt like it was failing. If only I could say the right words, surely the Lord would hear and answer me. 

At my wits' end, at the end of my rope--I began to pray the name Jesus. Day after day, my prayers became grossly simplified: Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus. And at the point where I had no words, I was praying the most powerful prayer that exists--the name of Jesus. 

Do not be confused: our prayers are not about our words. Our prayers are everything about our hearts and the grace of a God that responds to us. But it took the powerful name of our Jesus Christ to set straight the attitude of my wayward heart. 

My circumstances did change--but had they not, it wouldn't have mattered because my heart had.

When I whisper the name of Jesus, I remember this precious name is the ransom for my debt. When I pray Jesus, I recognize that only He knows what is best, and my heart surrenders to whatever that looks like. When I say the name of Jesus, I invoke the power of a God that formed me from dust, pursues me relentlessly, and designed me for a specific purpose.

And this is equally true for you. And I could go on. And if I seem emotional, I am. When I whisper the name of Jesus, tears often form. 

My life has been changed. I want this for you.
"I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name." (1 John 2:12 NIV).

"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Acts 2:21 NIV).

"[T]hat at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth..." (Philippians 2:10 NIV).

This must be the coffee cup of a highly caffeinated mama with a five-month-old. I wouldn't have it any other way. Bottoms up, dear ones. 

Much love to you,


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How this ends.

I've written lately about the difficult season of life.  The season that feels unending. The season that leaves you dilapidated and numb.

I won't claim to feel the paralysis you experience.  I can't pretend to understand the isolation you feel. But I absolutely can remind you of what I know.

And I know how this ends.  

Because we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.

Because in Christ, we have life to the full.

Because God began a good work in us and will carry it to completion.

Because in all things, God is working for the good of us who love Him and have been called according to His glorious purpose.

Because God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. 

We know, we know, we know how this story ends.  Hold tight during this intermission. 

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."  (Romans 8:35, 37 NIV).

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV).

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 NIV).

"[H]is divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue." (2 Peter 1:3 ASV).

I'll leave this here for you. ;)

Much love to you,


Thursday, April 2, 2015

At His word.

It's been a tough yet rewarding season of late. It's been a season full of pain and fruit. It's been a season where I take God at His word when nothing around me looks like that word.

I won't pretend to be experiencing a life-threatening trial--I'm thankful to say I'm not.  But regardless of the degree of darkness, what I've learned is equally true. 

This challenging season has exposed a lie that pervaded much of my faith in Christ: I can claim God's promises while dictating how those promises look in my life.  And so it went--God is healer only when He heals me right now or how I want. God is present only when I feel spiritual. God loves me only when I feel holy. God is good only when everything is going well. 

Faith premised on these lies is really no faith at all. Until I addressed these lies, Christ's peace in my life was superficial. Yet these lies were so pretty and clean. Surrendering these comforting lies--lies that God's faithfulness and goodness should always look like I want them to look--meant genuinely accepting that God is accomplishing His work in ways beyond my glib notions, ways that often appear ugly and unmanageable.

We can only claim and expect God's word in the present if we relinquish control of how God's word is effected. If God's word is only true when God manifests Himself or works in the way we expected, we have sold God's work in and through us remarkably short.

I refuse to miss God's work and goodness because circumstances fail to align with my ideas.

God is still healer when I'm not yet healed.  God is still present when I feel empty or dark.  God still loves me when I am dejected.  God is still good when I am in anguish. 

Right now, I'm taking God at his word--and it looks vastly different than I initially wanted.  But I trust in and expect God's goodness because it is no longer bridled by my elementary ideas. Christ has supplanted my crippling expectations with hope in an ineffable God.

I pray this is true for you.

"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV).

This sweet little concoction is tried and true. And if you're feeling cocky, sprinkle some cinnamon on it. You can thank me later.

Much love to you,


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My inmost being.

It’s unsurprising that our expectations may differ from God’s plan.  I recently experienced this and wish I had handled it more gracefully.  While God’s plan and purpose are far better than mine, I silently carried around feelings of disappointment that I tried to ignore.  By failing to take those feelings to God, I began to own those feelings.   And those feelings began to own me.  My feelings of disappointment in and frustration with God—while inaccurate reflections of God—became misleading as if they were reality, producing confusion about God.

I hope you can’t relate.  But I suspect you can. 

You might be feeling disappointed with Christ right now.  Of course, Christ never disappoints—the Lord is faithful and true; His ways higher than ours.  So when I speak of disappointment or frustration, I merely refer to our carnal feelings and perspective—not reality.  But because these feelings of disappointment and frustration can be deceptive, they cannot remain unchecked.

My disappointment remained unchecked.  Instead of pouring these feelings out to the Lord, I told myself that God is sovereign and buried the disappointment.   Although I truly have no right to be disappointed in anything other than my own expectations that differ from Christ’s perfect plan, as my disappointment festered, it quickly birthed confusion and doubt. 

And when I finally poured myself out to Christ, my messy, illogical, irrational feelings became peace in the hands of Christ.  I want this for you.

I implore you to take the disappointment, the frustration, the confusion, the uncertainty, the fear, the chaos to God—even if you cannot articulate it, even if you cannot explain why, even if your feelings are petty in light of God’s sovereignty.  These matters of the heart matter to a God who has numbered the very hairs on your head.  The God who created your very inmost being cares about what goes on within.  Indeed, a God who invites you to cast your anxiety on him undoubtedly concerns himself with your feelings.

Please don’t drown in feelings that tell you otherwise.  Please don’t let your negative and confusing feelings guide your reality.  How dangerous it becomes to believe fleeting, illusory, or misleading feelings will remain mere feelings.  These unbridled feelings—feelings not cast onto and surrendered to God—quickly become beliefs that skew the truth of God.

And here's the truth: The Lord cares about every aspect of you.  The Lord is good and has good for you—even if that good is yet to be revealed or different than you imagined.  The Lord is in control and will accomplish that good in you.  But you're going to miss this if you continue to be dominated by the misleading feelings you refuse to relinquish.

I pray you pour out your chaotic, nonsensical, unfounded, bewildering, overwhelming, inarticulate feelings to God—the God who affirms you and replaces your feelings with peace.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 (NIV).

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  Matthew 10:29-30 (NIV).

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”  Psalm 139:13 (NIV).

 This is my story these days. And it's a darn good one.

Much love to you,