Saturday, February 24, 2018

He is Good

I put all my hope on the truth of Your promise
And I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I'm bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy
Because You are good to me

These lyrics are from the song "Good to Me" by Audrey Assad.  They sum up so much of what I've been learning and experiencing the last several weeks.  Sometimes life is hard, and sin - my sin and the sin of others - makes things messy.  I can't tell you how many times I've allowed despair to rule in my heart.  I've chosen not to believe the promise of God's goodness, and focused instead on how much I don't deserve that goodness.

I've been working through how to deal with emotions lately.  Emotions like despair, hurt, and anger.  I most definitely don't have it all figured out, but through it all, God has slowly showed me how to steady my heart on the ground of His goodness.  How to grab hold of His promises even when every feeling inside of me wants to convince me otherwise.  His Word is Truth, and I can stand on it. The hard things and the negative emotions might not disappear, but the promises in His Word are mine to stand on forever.

God has brought the end of Psalm 23 to my attention through several different means in the last week. Verse six says, "Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life..."  Even in hard times, God's goodness is there.  Even when I sin, God's faithful love is pursuing me.  Even when I hurt and my emotions are all over the place, the truth is that I'm not left alone.  I'm not without His goodness and mercy and love.  That's where I can put all my hope.  And that's why my sorrow is not wasted and my joy is not stolen, because through it all, He is good to me.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Overcome: Five Minute Friday

Overcome.  That word used to fill me with motivation to do what it takes to fight sin and my flesh and live on fire for God!  I resolved to do better and try harder.  I would overcome.

But today when I read that word, I realized that Jesus already overcame, and trying to pull myself up to do something He already did is pointless. 

The actual process of living out that victory that He won for me hasn't looked like I thought it would.  Lately, it's looked like Him chipping away at my heart.  He's tearing down things that I found my identity in.  He's showing me my pride.  He's letting me see where I have believed lies and had an incorrect view of Him.  It doesn't feel a lot like overcoming.

But in the middle of all of that, He's showing me His love for me in a way I never knew before.  And it's a pretty beautiful thing.  Slowly but surely He's giving me love for Him that makes me want to live for Him because of how amazing He is, not so that I can somehow earn His favor or make myself look good.

Maybe brokenness has to come first.  But since He already has overcome, I can rest in that and trust that He will finish His work in me.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Story - Five Minute Friday

There are parts of my story that I don't like.  When I look at it from a completely human perspective, there are times I'm tempted to despair!  I feel like I've messed it up too badly for God to use.  I've made it about myself.  I've chosen sin instead of God.  I've failed to serve those around me.  I've missed opportunities.

But God.

My favorite words ever.  He is so full of grace upon grace.  Last weekend at a retreat the speaker said that God, who is infinite (without measure), counts our sin.  But because He is infinite, so is His grace.  His grace, without measure, is so much greater than my sin. 

All the missed opportunities or the times I've made this life about me can be forgiven and redeemed.  When He forgives, it's for real.  I don't have to allow guilt or shame to take over.  When He redeems, it's beautiful and to the praise of His glorious grace!

"Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him!"

Praise be to Jesus for His amazing grace.  Praise Him that He is the One writing and redeeming my story. 

(Join the linkup here:

Friday, October 6, 2017

Jesus Loves Me - And That Changes Everything

The Gospel changes everything.  Every part of my life is impacted by the fact that Jesus loves me and gave His life for me.  Because of the cross, I have my sin forgiven and I have the power to live a life pleasing to my Savior.  The Gospel changes me, and it changes the way I do life and interact with those around me.

Lately I've been thinking about how the Gospel informs the way that I interact with children.  Being a Christian means that the way I teach and love kids will look different than the way the world interacts with them.  My goal is not to teach behavior modification.  It's not to make them look like good kids so that everyone is impressed with how good a teacher I am (at least it shouldn't be).  It's not even to help them grow up to be successful in the world's eyes.  My goal is to point them to Jesus.

I want the kids in my life to know Jesus. Not a head knowledge, but an intimate relationship with Him.  I want them to know how loved they are by Him, and I desire that they grow in their love for Him. The point of teaching or disciplining them is not to force them to change their behavior and be "good" kids.  The point is to use each of those interactions to show them the Gospel.

This month's writing prompt over at Compassion is to share how being a Christian changes the way we care for children in poverty.  Compassion's goal is not simply to release children from poverty and educate them, but also to tell them that there is a God who loves them and died for them.

I love that I get to be a part of that by sponsoring a child through Compassion!  Carley gets to read letters from me that share with her how loved she is.  She gets to interact with my Sunday School kids and realize that there are other kids her age who love Jesus and love and pray for her.  It's a beautiful thing to get to watch as God works in her life, and I pray that she will learn to know and love Him!

Jesus loves me.  Jesus loves them.  And that changes everything!

Friday, February 24, 2017


Years ago I read the story of Amy Carmichael.  She sacrificed so much to go live in India and rescue little girls from a life of terrible slavery.  I was so inspired by her story, and reading about what she did in India only increased my desire to go there someday.

Over the years, I've learned that the slavery that Amy fought is still going on today.  It's something that I sometimes just push out of my mind, because the knowledge of what so many girls are going through is too much to bear.  But I don't want to push the thought aside anymore.  I can't just sit by and let it keep happening.  Amy made a difference for so many girls, and we can do the same.

This month's writing prompt at Compassion Bloggers is "why".  Why do I sponsor a child, and why do I want to use my blog to advocate for needy children around the world?

The reality of human trafficking is a huge part of why.  Without intervention, so many children who live in poverty will end up living as slaves.  They will be treated as less than human and abused in ways that I can't even imagine, unless someone steps up and does something about it.

Sponsoring a child offers him or her the tools needed to leave the life of poverty and slavery behind.  And even more, it gives so many opportunities to share the love of Christ and point them to the One who loves them and died to save them from sin.

When I went to India three years ago, I saw firsthand the difference that Compassion is making in the lives of children.  Those kids had hope, because they were being pointed to Jesus.  They had hope because they were being given the tools that they needed for a better future.  

That's something I want to be a part of, and I hope you do too.

Check out Compassion's website to learn more about how you can change a child's life!

Also, check out this website for information about modern day slavery and what you can do about it: 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Life You Have

God has given me the gift of today.  He has blessed me with so many good gifts, but sometimes I'm so distracted by what He hasn't given me that I forget to be thankful for what He has.  I've been thinking about how to learn the secret of contentment.  I want to embrace the life that God has given me today, instead of choosing discontentment.

How do we learn this secret?  Sometimes it's easier said than done, but here are several ways to embrace today:

 Remember Who God Is

In my first grade Sunday School class, we've been learning some of the names of God.  It has been so incredible to meditate on what His names tell us about Him.  The last couple weeks, we've been learning that God is Jehovah Jireh.  He is our God who provides.  We can trust that God is going to give us every single thing we need.  For me, this is hard when I look around and see people who are enjoying a season of life that I wish I could have.  But that season is not what God has given me, so it's not what I need right now.  And during this season that I'm in, He is going to be enough to satisfy my desires and provide for my needs.  I have a sign in my kitchen that says, "And if not, He is still good."  Even if He chooses not to give me what I long for, He is always, always good.

Remember the Gospel

I've been challenged lately to preach the Gospel to my heart every day.  Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, our biggest need has been taken care of.  No matter how hard life is, if we have trusted Christ for salvation, we have fellowship with the Creator of the universe.  We know that someday, we will live with Him forever and He will wipe away every tear.  That is what should bring comfort to our hearts during the hardest days.  And that truth will motivate us to embrace today, trusting that He is going to use it for good.

 Serve Others 

It's hard to sit around and complain about life if you're serving others out of a heart of love.  God has called us to put aside our own desires and needs in order to serve those around us - especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Choosing to trust that God is going to provide for our needs will free us to focus on showing love to others.  I've been challenged lately to serve joyfully even when I don't feel like it, and to make sure that my service is done in love.  I've found that my love isn't sufficient. I may serve, but I'm tempted to do it with a complaining heart or a proud attitude.  I've been asking God to change my heart and give me His love for those around me.  Embracing the life I have now means embracing and serving those that God has put in my path, and doing it with a loving heart.

Be Thankful

God has called us to be thankful in every circumstance. No matter what is going on in life, we can choose thankfulness.  This means taking our eyes off of our difficulties and putting them on our Savior.  When we get lost in how beautiful and glorious He is, we won't be able to keep from praising Him.  Our hearts will be filled with thankfulness for Who He is and what He has done.

So let's embrace the gift that today is, resting in Who God is and what He has done, and serving others with a thankful, joyful heart.  Because His mercy is new every morning, this is how we can live.  

Monday, October 24, 2016

Though You Slay Me

This song has been on repeat lately.  I've been seeing God answer my prayers that He would help me to be broken before Him.  He's answering the prayer that He would do His work in my heart - no matter what it takes.

In the midst of lost dreams and unfulfilled longings, I've been discovering joy that I couldn't even imagine.  It's a struggle to fight the lies and refuse to give in to bitterness.  But in the middle of it all, God is showing me His love and faithfulness.

From a human perspective, it doesn't make sense how someone could have joy while experiencing hard things.  But that does happen, as soon as we begin to value Him above everything and everyone else.

The first prayer in the book The Valley of Vision says it better than I could:

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty
thy glory in my valley.
If the valley is what it takes for me to know God better, than that's what I want.  I want to learn to exult in my Savior rather than finding comfort in my circumstances.

"Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation."
Habakkuk 3:18