When it Rains

Have you ever had one of those weeks where every single thing manages to go exactly as you want it to? Where you get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, work runs smoothly, devotions are deep, your family is well, you get together with friends, and you end the week doing whatever your favorite end-of-week activity is? Yeah, me either. And this week is definitely not one of those weeks. Let me tell you about it.

On Tuesday, I found out that one of my very good family friends from PA had had a stroke. She is only in her forties I believe and a pretty active and healthy person so I was really shocked. Praise God, she has recovered very quickly and is expected to keep doing so but it was still hard to take in.

On Wednesday, our church got the news that one of our dear elders had been taken to the ER for Acute Myeloid Leukemia. They had just gotten the diagnosis that day and needed to start treatment right away. As we were told, I looked katty-korner to the pew in front of me and saw his sweet, elderly mom sitting there with red and teary eyes. As I gave her a tight hug, I couldn’t even find any words to say. We just cried together.

And on Thursday, as I sat in a ladies Bible study I got a text that told me one of our campers from Insight camp (for kids who are blind or visually impaired) had passed away on Sunday. He was 15 and one of the sweetest guys- always had a smile for everyone.

Gosh this life is too much for me to handle. Sometimes the weight of everything really gets me down. And last night I realized I was struggling to hold onto Jesus and that’s when I remembered that isn’t what happens. He holds onto me. My aunt sent me this song a few months ago and as I listen to it, God calms my heart and reminds me that he is my strength, not me.

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Posted by on January 12, 2018 in encouragment


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Cool Runnings Conundrum

Have you seen the movie “Cool Runnings?” If not, you should get it right now and watch it because it’s a classic and everyone should see it. There is one scene in the movie where the Coach is talking to Derice about winning and he says, “A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” Derice then comes back with, “How do I know if I’m enough?”

I think that’s a question a lot of people are trying to answer. And everyone thinks that if they just get the right job, car, spouse, or you-name-your-thing, then they will be happy and feel fulfilled. Sometimes you might even be doing this subconsciously and don’t even realize it until you get the thing you SO desired and realize you still aren’t satisfied.

You know, I’m a huge fan of Paul. If I had to pick someone in the Bible to sit and have coffee with, he would be at the top of my list. I just finished reading To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain by Matt Chandler (which is a fantastic book, by the way) and in it he does a compacted biography of the life of Paul. I’m not sure I ever grasped before how quickly and drastically this man’s life changed All. The. Time. I think it’s because you have to compile all his writings to get the full story and our Bibles aren’t really laid out that way. He seriously went from being on top of the world one day to being mostly dead the next from the moment of his conversion!

You have this man who goes from hunting down Christians to being one and it radically changed him. From then on his life is full of extreme ups and downs: from him beholding God’s miraculous works and seeing whole families converted to being shipwrecked, stoned, and beaten. One moment he’s casting out a demon from a slave girl and the next he’s being tortured in prison. This was his life! And yet you read in Philippians 4:11-13:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

And this is what Chandler says (pg. 200) “Do you see now how Phil 4:13 is not about chasing your dreams, following your passion, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, accomplishing anything you want with God’s help? It is instead the testimony of those who have Christ and have found Him supremely valuable, joyous, and satisfying. In a life constantly marked by these extreme highs and lows, Paul has found the great constant security, the great centering hope: Jesus Christ Himself.”

And I say AMEN! That verse is SO misused and it’s about time somebody said something about it!

So to answer Derice’s question at the top: “How do I know if I’m enough?” I don’t really think that’s the right question to be asking. Because if you try to place your value or focus in anything besides Jesus Christ, you will never be enough. We were made to be with Christ so without him you will always feel a void and emptiness.

The question instead for you and me is: is Christ enough for you? Is he the ‘Great centering Hope’ of your life? If everything else was gone, could you say that statement with Paul? If you have everything you want and need, could you say that statement with Paul? That is my constant prayer- that I will be fully satisfied in Christ.

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Posted by on January 5, 2018 in contentment


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Refining Gold

I always tried to be a helpful child when I was younger. I liked to make people happy so was usually eager to be accommodating and obedient. Sometimes I took this method a little too far. For instance, when I was about 5 or so, I remember coming home from an evening church service with my family and I heard my Dad say, “Did I leave the stove on??” Always one to be helpful, I eagerly exclaimed, “I’ll check!” and placed my hand flat on the burner before anyone could stop me. Turns out, it was on and I burned my hand and learned a good lesson.

I was thinking about that story recently as I heard someone referencing a verse in the Bible that talks about God refining us. There are actually quite a few verses on the topic and I got to wondering how hot a refiner’s fire was anyway? I’ve been around a lot of fires and sometimes I turn my oven up pretty high…how hot does a fire have to be to melt metal? So I did some research. Turns out that to melt gold a fire has to be anywhere from 1600-2000 degrees F. Whew! (Guess I won’t be doing any of that in my kitchen…)

And the more I thought about it, I realized the huge significance of those verses. One of my favorites: “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” Prov. 17:3 The parallel drawn here is pretty clear as the author compares the method of refining metal to how the Lord tests and refines our hearts. Suddenly it became apparent to me that it’s not a pleasant parallel. The more I read about refining, the more I realized that I didn’t want that done with my heart! It’s hot and it hurts! It’s not a fun process and that’s why it’s so important to have God’s perspective and not ours. Right now, I just see the temporary pain and loss but according to God’s Word:

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:3-7

All that to say this: every year I pray for a specific thing that I want God to teach me that year. In 2016, it was compassion and we all know how that turned out. This year, I prayed for the Lord to give me a richer prayer life. You know what happened? I moved to an apartment by myself, I was under rest orders from my doctor, and wasn’t even able to read my Bible for a while. My only resort was to talk to God.

I know what I want to learn in 2018 but I am actually terrified to pray for it. I have truly seen that God answers prayers but not in the way I expect and I am afraid for this one. I’m not sure I’m ready for the heat of this fire. I want to learn true and full contentment in Christ. I want him to be my life and the fulfillment of it. Right now, I often feel restless and discontent because I want my life to be how it was before. I want my old life back and the more I realize that isn’t going to happen, the more upset I become and I don’t want to live like that. I want to embrace the life God has given me even if it’s not what I would have chosen for myself.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions but on January 1st, that is what my heart will be crying out and what I will continue to pray for the entire year. Would you pray with me?

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Posted by on December 16, 2017 in contentment


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When You Don’t Feel Like It

Warning: Honesty Alert! This post may contain elements of honesty that are unfamiliar to regular church goers and may come as a shock to you.

When I was about 10-11 years old, I started doing devotions on my own. My family did devos together but suddenly one day, I decided to do my own also. I grabbed my Bible and my Lisa Frank notebook, sat down, and started reading. I read through Genesis in 5 days. If you don’t know, Genesis has 50 chapters. Not bad for a kid, right? I loved it and was hungry to learn about the Lord and read his Word for myself. So I kept going. For years, I read through the Bible in a year and in multiple versions to compare them. In the last two years my devotions have taken more of a meditation aspect.

But recently, I simply haven’t felt like doing devotions. (crowd murmurs) I really don’t think this is an uncommon problem in the church; I just think that most people aren’t willing to admit it. After all, it sounds terrible. How can you not want to spend time with your Savior, the One who gave his life for you?? I’ve been a part of my Young Adult group for over 4 years now and every week there is always at least one person who asks for prayer that they make their devotions a priority. But they make it sound like their schedule is so busy and they just need to set aside the time. I certainly have the time; but no motivation.

So what do you do? What do you do when you wake up and literally don’t want to do your devotions or pray? I think the temptation is that you shouldn’t force yourself to read God’s Word. Tell me you haven’t said to yourself before, “Well I’m not going to get anything out of it anyway.” And we use that as an excuse to go about our day without spending time with Jesus.

Let me ask you something. Do you believe that God’s Word is living and active? Do you believe it can work even when your heart is cold? Trust me, I know the heartbreaking feeling. You sit down with your Bible and feel nothing. You don’t want to read it, you don’t want to talk with the Lord. But you want to have the desire to do them!! I have literally sat and prayed, “God, I don’t want to do my devotions today and I am so sorry. Please forgive me for having a cold heart. Please, PLEASE, help me to learn something from your Word anyway.”

I think there are benefits to doing your devotions, even if you don’t feel like you have an amazing time with the Lord every day. I also don’t believe our faith is based on emotions (thank the Lord!) and if you decide not to do your devos just because you don’t think you will learn anything, you’re probably playing right into Satan’s hand. It seems to me that most of the things that are good for us in life are difficult at some point and take work, such as exercise, healthy eating, or perfecting any skill.

So my advice (to myself) is this: don’t give up! It may be hard for a while. It may feel forced for a while. No matter what you are feeling, tell God about it. Pray, pray, pray for God to give you a fierce love for him that drives and motivates you!

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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Devotions


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Giving Grace

If there’s one thing this last month has taught me it’s to give more grace to others. When someone speaks to you in an angry tone, give grace. When someone lets you down again, give grace. When someone does something that you think is weird or odd, (mind your own business and) give grace. Why? Because EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. is going through something that you know nothing about. You have no idea what is going on in their life or what just happened that may be affecting their behavior.

Speaking for myself, (for better or worse), I’m one of the best fakers out there. My head could be about to explode, but I can still smile and ask how you are doing. And I’m willing to bet a lot of us are like that. Much of our suffering, whether it’s physical or emotional, isn’t seen by others. Now, we could probably save ourselves a little bit of trouble and tell a few certain people how we are feeling but you certainly can’t tell everybody.

Maybe we could all try to give others a little more grace. Maybe instead of whispering about that frustrated and overwhelmed mom in the grocery store, you could walk up and tell her she’s doing a great job and ask if you could help carry her groceries? Maybe if someone leaves early from a party, they aren’t really being a party-pooper, but it took all their strength and energy to make it as long as they did? Maybe that person eating a granola bar in church is trying to keep herself from throwing up because of meds and it was a struggle for her to come to church at all? In these circumstances, will you (will I?) be the compassionate person or will you stoop to judging and mocking?

I’ve just come to realize through my own situations that I really only see a very little bit of everyone else’s lives. I want to be the person who assumes the best of people and shares God’s grace freely and abundantly.

Whether or not it’s deserved doesn’t matter because I certainly didn’t deserve it and neither did you. So why not look for some opportunities to give grace and show compassion?

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Posted by on November 22, 2017 in encouragment


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Defying the Doctor

As a kid, my stomach was upset a lot. Just ask my siblings. Pretty much any time I got excited or any big event/holiday came along, my stomach would churn to the point that I would throw up. If the stomach bug was going around, it was a guarantee that I was going to get it. Car rides- ugh. I was pretty well known as the kid with the sensitive stomach. And I despised it. I HATE throwing up or being nauseous. So it became my saying that I can handle anything except stomach issues.

A few weeks ago, my doctor and I both agreed to start THE med. This was the one we had been holding out on because of the side effects, even though it’s supposed to be one of the best ones out there. The two major side effects? Weight gain and hair growth. My doctor said weight gain wouldn’t be an issue for me but she dodged the hair question every time I asked it. So when the prescription was finally made, I decided to do some research for myself. Do you know what I found? I had heard things wrong and the side effect wasn’t hair growth but hair loss. As I was online reading story after story about the side effects, panic started to set in. How could I have made such an error?? I knew, of course, that in light of things, it was silly to be upset about losing my hair but I was upset. And I knew it was pride.

So, with a lot of praying about my attitude, I started the med and the first week I noticed a drop in all seizures and mild hair loss but other than that I was just super tired (that’s always a side effect.) THEN the second week came. Extreme nausea and stomach pain that never went away. Dizziness and weakness to the point that it worn out the muscle in my arm to brush my teeth. Something wasn’t right but I was confused because I had already been on the med for a week without all this stuff. So I played some phone tag with my doctor, got prescribed an anti-nausea med that didn’t help, and got some blood work done to check the levels of the med. And I waited.

For two weeks. The blood tests took five days to get and it ended up going over a weekend. As I laid on the couch that Friday, knowing I wasn’t going to get any results until Monday, I. Was. DONE. I had started to throw up and if you recall, I’m not particularly fond of that. There was no way I could make myself take that pill that night. So I broke every rule in the book and I didn’t. (I was still on two other medications so it wasn’t like I was going cold turkey or anything.) And I didn’t take it the next morning or night or Sunday and I felt SO much better! I prepared myself for a bad scolding from the nurse when she called on Monday with the results but it was more mild than I anticipated.

As I expected, the seizures came back but I would take them any day over the stomach stuff. So now what? New med combination, of course. That’s how it always goes. I’ve actually been on this one before and it was my idea to try it again with a different combination. We will see. Maybe this will be the one.

Yes, it gets wearisome. I have no idea how people go through this without Jesus. I’m so thankful I don’t have to.


Posted by on November 8, 2017 in epilepsy


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“Life’s Not Fair”

As I pulled back the covers and crawled into bed, the nearby ambulance was dispatched and the siren went by my window. It pushed my exhausted body and heart just over its limit and I started to cry. Suddenly, life didn’t feel fair to me.

I often heard that phrase growing up and I fully believe it and I think this may be this first time in the last 18 months that I have felt “injustice” in my life because of everything going on. I’ve had plenty of others tell me “it’s not right” and “you’re so young, you shouldn’t have to deal with this” but I just shrugged it off, thinking of how it could be worse.

But I always said I could deal with anything as long as it wasn’t stomach issues. And for the last 11 days, I have had constant, debilitating nausea. You can add dizziness, weakness, fatigue, and headaches to that mix too. I have practically laid on my bed or couch all day, and sometimes I’ve been unable to sleep at night because of the nausea. I’ve missed two important church events that I was really looking forward to. And for what? Side-effects of the new medication I’m on. (You may be thinking that my neurologist is a monster but I also haven’t had a seizure in 7 days so we are trying to work things out.)

I don’t often feel like my life is unfair. But that day was my birthday. I was miserable and try as I might to think about all the people who came around me and showed love and blessed me, I just needed to cry for two minutes and then I fell right asleep.

And I think that’s okay. I woke up the next morning, still feeling miserable, but able to thank God for all his blessings and appreciate my friends and family more. Life is certainly not fair, and I’m so thankful because I don’t deserve what I have.


Posted by on October 24, 2017 in blessing


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