Oceans Deep

Finding & Following Jesus in the Deep End of Life

Category: Life (page 2 of 2)

Pregnant Pause

Well, dear readers, the time is drawing very close for this baby girl to arrive … thus, it’s also time for me to take a step back, close the computer for a bit, and focus on enjoying and surviving the intense, beautiful time that follows the arrival of a new baby.

I’ve written before about my struggle with accepting limitations, and a part of me senses those same old feelings creeping up now.

I want to be super woman: I want to keep writing every week, keep the household running, keep homemade meals on the table, keep my home clean, etc. etc. But after two experiences of attempting such an endeavor, I’m choosing to be wise and learn from the past … I simply can’t!

And that is perfectly fine.

I have so enjoyed this season of writing over the past year. It has been a short but fantastic season and time with the Lord—in the midst of the chaos of raising Irish twins, He provided time each week to meet with Him and organize a few mostly-coherent thoughts. It has been a stream of refreshment in the midst of the sometimes-parched land of mothering young children.

And now I have a little perspective—now I know the time for regular writing will come again. Schedules will eventually even out and align, a new routine will eventually be found, my brain cells will eventually recover from hormones and insomnia and sheer exhaustion …

But I’ve also learned that the tiny, precious cause of such hormones and insomnia and sheer exhaustion will pass as well—quickly, far too quickly, really.

And so I want to soak up every minute with this new baby—every minute of the thrilling, exhausting ride. I want to clear my plate and focus on my babies, my gracious and selfless family who will be here helping us stay sane, and whatever lessons the Lord has to teach me in this third round of new motherhood.

I have poured out, and now is a time for God to pour back in. I have spoken, and now is a time to listen.

Sometimes, we must put one dream on hold to attend to and fully enjoy another … writing will always be a dream and always be a part of my life. Yet these babies are also my dream come true—God’s promises fulfilled, in the flesh, in my weary arms and bursting heart. I recently saw a quote that read:

Don’t forget the days you prayed for the things you have now.

Such true and poignant words. Such a necessary reminder, as we each carry around in us remnants of our Israelite spiritual ancestors. We have inherited their restless, desert-wandering tendencies that sometimes render us seemingly incapable of remembering God’s provision and deliverance.

I don’t know about you, but I long to learn from their example. I long to have a thankful heart, and one with a sharp memory that will recall all of God’s promises fulfilled, even when my fallen self tends to forget.

So as I press “pause” on the blog, I am filled with a peace and steadiness, because I know the words of Psalm 138:8 are true:

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of Your hands (NIV).

This promise is true for you too, sweet reader—is there something in your life today to which you’re holding on with an iron grip?

Are you afraid to lay down a dream today? For a husband, a child, a calling, restored health, healed relationships, relief from seemingly unbearable circumstances?

Let me encourage you to lay it down—let go of that dream and take hold of your Savior’s Hand instead. He will hold your dreams. He will establish your ways.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite verses from the Psalms, one that I pray over this dream of writing … and I pray it speaks to your heart today and becomes a promise to which you too might hold:

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the works of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17 NIV).

I can’t thank you each enough for reading, commenting, and encouraging me over this past year as I’ve poured out my heart on the pages of this blog. Lord willing, “I’ll be back” as the good ‘ol movie quote goes …

But until then, grace and peace be with you, dear reader … we’ll chat in this space once again, one day.

In the meantime, be blessed!

Much love,

Mere copy

Pain & Purpose

I saw her in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. In that small, fluorescent-lit room full of nervous energy and quiet, patiently waiting patients, she came in crying.

No, wailing. It wasn’t a gentle cry, but one of a deeper, desperate origin.

She was in pain—an agony that appeared to far surpass the basic stimulation of sensory receptors. The sound of her voice, the crease in her forehead, and the way she weakly held onto her partner signaled something far deeper than a mere physical injury.

In that moment, I felt paralyzed by her presence, and everyone around me appeared paralyzed too. As if in unison, we all looked down, looked away, pulled out our phones or magazines, and tried to politely ignore the scene unfolding before our eyes.

What a helpless feeling, I thought. This woman, this stranger, was so clearly in a state of desperate agony—and in the discomfort of a public place, no less. I longed to do more than simply stare at my phone and pretend not to hear or see her. I wanted to jump up and give her a hug. And after a cursory scan of the faces of those around me, I’m certain I wasn’t the only one with such thoughts.

The Fellowship of Suffering

The whole scene left me shaken and uncomfortable and thinking a great deal about pain. What is the purpose of pain, and what does it mean to walk with someone in his or her pain?

The conference we attended earlier this month focused a lot on story and the power our stories of hurt and redemption possess. To walk into someone’s story is to stand on holy ground—it is an honor to be invited into the middle of a person’s pain. To suffer with another is truly a privilege.

I used to scratch my head at some of Paul’s words regarding Christ and His sufferings. In Philippians 3:10, for example, he writes: I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings (NIV).

It wasn’t until recently that I realized Paul wasn’t expressing a desire to partake in Christ’s suffering simply for the sake of suffering—rather, he desired the fellowship that arises when we partake in another’s suffering. In general, we all love to blast our happy, polished, photo-shopped selves into the social media vortex … but our pain? Our struggles? Those things that keep us up at night? Those things that make us who we really are? Those we typically reserve for a very select few—those with whom we have real and genuine relationships.

Paul understood this, and he experienced firsthand the sweet, intimate fellowship that comes when we follow Christ in the dark as well as the light. None of us would choose pain, but the sweetness of sharing in each other’s suffering provides a soft cushion to ease our discomfort.

Driving Us to the Cross

The concept of pain has also been on my mind lately because I’ve experienced my fair share of it in recent weeks. Basically, ever since we returned from our trip a couple weeks ago, we’ve been hit with all kinds of pain: emotional, physical, and spiritual.

Our daughter breaking her arm in two places (I don’t have to explain to you how miserable ERs and X-rays and doctor’s offices are for toddlers!).

Old marriage and relationship issues bubbling up to the surface again.

A 3 ½ day long migraine that would not let up or let go, no matter what I tried.

On the third day of that monster migraine, I felt utterly wiped and exhausted, laid out before the Lord. I was desperate to understand why He would allow such physical pain—when I knew He could wipe it out in a moment.

I didn’t receive the answer I expected or desired (e.g., an instant lifting of the pain!), but as He so often does, God ever so gently reminded me of the immense importance and purpose of pain in our lives.

The simple, difficult truth is, pain—if we allow it—drives us to the foot of the cross like little else in this life can. In the shadow of the old rugged cross, we are stripped of our false sense of control. The illusion of self-sufficiency vanishes. Pride and false humility find their replacement in a spirit that’s genuinely still and humble before God. In this state, we are ready to hear God speak.

Pain of any type or magnitude is a pointed reminder of how much we need God our Father, who holds all things in His hands—and He wants nothing more than for us to run to and lean into Him. As Jesus so beautifully said:

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5 NIV).

Sweet Surrender

Birth provides a poignant metaphor for us all: without pain, there can be no new life. Life, breath, new beginnings … all of these glorious, desirable things are born of pain.

God used my pain to remind me that He is the giver and provider of new life and restoration—these are not things I can bring about in my own strength. He illuminated rough edges in my heart and reminded me of my utter need and dependence on His strength. Pain has an uncanny way of pulling back the curtain and giving us a peek at our own frailty.

What is God trying to teach you through your pain? If you aren’t sure, then ask Him. I believe He will be faithful to answer, every time we ask, because He longs for us to bring all our cares, pain, and suffering to Him rather than carrying it on our own as we’re so apt to do.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NIV).

Go to Him and surrender. Surrender your pain and surrender to what that pain has to teach you. As you do so, not only will you find rest for your own soul, but you will be far better equipped to walk with others in their pain.

Our Heavenly Father loves you, and He loves me. He jealously pursues us, sometimes through the difficult avenue of pain. Whatever He’s trying to teach you? Well, He’s not going to let it go, because He loves us that much.

Surrender into His loving arms, knowing that we never suffer in vain or without purpose. And as you wait in that place of surrender—in quiet anticipation at what new life can be born of your pain—may you feel the comfort of His presence in the very midst of your discomfort.

Making a Deal With the Devil

Hello readers! And may I begin by thanking you for the outpouring of love and congrats after my last post. Y’all know how strongly I believe in our need for community, and I’m honored you would share in mine. Within community, we find our joy multiplied and our sorrows halved, all by God’s good design.

This week, I find myself continuing to process what my husband and I experienced last weekend at The Restoration of the Heart conference we attended in Colorado Springs. Admittedly, I didn’t know what to expect going into this event, but I certainly didn’t expect what we encountered. You would think I’d have learned my lesson about expectations by now!

The weekend was essentially a two-day, crazy intense counseling session, and it was deep! Oftentimes, you can attend a conference and sit back, take it all in, and go back home feeling pretty good about whatever nugget of knowledge you learned.

Not so with this conference.

John Eldridge and Dan Allender have a God-given ability to point a spotlight into the furthest, most hidden recesses of your heart and soul, illuminating the broken places, for the distinct purpose of finding restoration.

The theme of restoration is key in the life of a believer, as it’s what God desires for our lives: restoration of the heart and soul, bringing wholeness to all the places that have been damaged over the course of our lives. God’s heart rejoices in and celebrates new life. It’s why He sent His son on our behalf!

Let’s face it, we are all damaged beings—some in “large” ways, some in “small,” but the ultimate impact is the same: our souls have been broken, and we’ve believed the enemy’s lies about ourselves and our circumstances. Our Heavenly Father longs to restore order, wholeness, and joy to our souls, and He can!

Over the course of the weekend, we camped out in a beautiful portion of scripture from the book of Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners … (Isaiah 61:1-2 NIV).

This passage so wonderfully highlights God’s desire for us: healing of our hearts, freedom from all that bind us up, and moving out of darkness into His marvelous light. I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly what I want for my life and the lives of my children!

An abundance of things threaten to come against establishing and maintaining wholeness and restoration, but the one that struck me most was the concept of making agreements. The speakers explained that we make an agreement with our enemy whenever we hear one of his lies and decide to believe it. It isn’t merely hearing the lie—it’s shaking hands with the enemy and saying, in essence, I agree with you.

And once we make that agreement? We’ve entered dangerous territory, for now that lie becomes our truth and the filter through which we view and interpret everything that happens to us. Our perspective is fatally flawed and will remain that way unless and until we take that agreement to the feet of Jesus and break it.

Over the course of the past several years, God has been working in me to identify and break many of the agreements I’ve made along the way, the chief of them being who I am is not enough. This conference was so powerful, and God used it to dig even deeper into that agreement and reveal new truth and life.

It is so hard to reach into our past and face the heartbreaking experiences we’ve had—our natural human response is to avoid pain, and we build walls to protect ourselves from ever experiencing those emotions again … but the truth is, what we build for our protection, the enemy uses against us. Rather than finding relief behind those walls, we end up isolated and so bound up that we’re unable to live the glorious life Jesus intended us to live:

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).

Dear reader, where has the thief stolen and killed and destroyed in your life? What deals have you struck with the devil as a result of your pain?

That you’re not good enough?

That God isn’t good enough?

That God loves others more than you?

That God isn’t able to restore?

There’s no end to the number of lies the enemy brings to our feet—and so often, those lies are tucked into our fears. This conference has opened my eyes to the reality that we are tempted to make those agreements nearly on a daily basis, and I am moving forward more attuned to the enemy and his schemes.

And that is my prayer for you as well. As hard and as scary as it can be, don’t allow fear to prevent you from diving into your brokenness and inviting Jesus into those places you have walled off, perhaps for your entire life. He is faithful and will reveal those agreements you have made with the enemy along the way … and when he does, break them then and there! Freedom and joy await on the other side of those agreements, more than you can imagine!

Wholeness is yours in Christ. Restoration is your inheritance in Him. Through Jesus, every single one of us has access to new, abundant life in the radiance of His presence. The only question is, will you join Him?

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9 ESV).

When Chaos Reigns

Hello there, dear reader. Today, I’m writing with a heavy heart—one weighed down by a hefty dose of disappointment and uncertainty.

This week, we received some icky news—our church’s beloved senior pastor resigned, our staff has essentially been gutted, and the future of our church body doesn’t look so hot from this vantage point. It’s one of those unfortunate situations where you do the math, but all it adds up to is loss, confusion, and a plethora of unpleasant emotions all around.

And, when such powerful changes and emotions take place within the church body? Well, you can practically hear the enemy dancing for joy. This is just the type of chaos in which he thrives.

And chaos it is, indeed. My heart aches for our pastor, our church body, and the difficult days to come as we sort through the upheaval and look for solid ground once again.

The whole situation set me to thinking about those things in our lives that seemingly come out of the blue: disappointments, changes in plans, heartache, pain, betrayal, the list could go on and on. When turmoil comes crashing into our lives, we have the distinct disadvantage of having zero notice.

And sometimes, it’s enough to make me a little jaded, a little pity-party prone … that is, of course, until I turn my focus to the fact that our God sees it all. Nothing is a surprise to Him. Nothing takes Him by storm.

Those things that rock us to our core?

He knew they were coming. And He still has a plan, no matter how unplanned and chaotic the circumstances may appear to us.

In seasons where chaos reigns, it’s critical to remember the omniscient nature of God. At all times, He is all knowing:

“Omniscient” is defined as having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things (source: dictionary.com).

When something or someone throws us off our axis and life feels out of control, we must rest in the truth that God is still very much in control.

In times of pandemonium, we must cling to the hope of His promises and His beautiful words of truth. Psalm 121 reminds us of our Father’s “I’ve got this” position:

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He Will not let your foot slip—He who watches over you will not slumber … the Lord watches over you … The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life;

The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore (Psalm 121:1-2, 3, 5, & 7-8 NIV).

I love the overriding message of this passage—that no matter what’s going on, no matter how crazy or uncertain or unexpected, God is watching you. And He’s watching me. He is sovereign in the chaos and the calm.

Psalm 34:18 tells us that The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (NIV).

Is your heart broken today? Are you feeling crushed under the weight of your circumstances? Take heart, dear reader—the Lord is closer to you than ever!

And the following verse says that A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all (Psalm 34:19 NIV).

In this season of uncertainty surrounding my church family, I’m counting on the Lord’s deliverance and provision for the future. I will rest in knowing that this change hasn’t taken Him by surprise and somehow, someway, He will weave the story together into a beautiful, redemptive narrative as only He can.

And the same is true for you and your chaos.

So let’s agree to band together against the schemes of the enemy. Let’s refuse to allow a root of bitterness to emerge in the fertile soil of disorder and disarray. Let’s take captive every angry, frustrated thought and scatter it to the four winds.

And let’s agree instead to hold fast to His Hand and allow ourselves to be carried until we can once again find our sea legs. I am confident it will be worth the wait!

Stones & Snakes

Hello, dear reader!

Today, I want to write about a tough subject: what do you do when you feel like God has abandoned or forgotten about you? I would venture to guess that if you’ve been a believer for any amount of time, you’ve run up against this awful, nagging doubt.

I know I have.

Some of the most “ick” feelings I’ve ever experienced have resulted from either believing or being tempted to believe the hideous lie that God has abandoned me. It’s a pain more intense than anything another human could bring about—we’re all fallen and imperfect, we know we’re inevitably going to hurt one another along the way.

But to feel that God has forgotten about us, His very own creation? That, my friend, is an ache too deep for the soul to bear.

It’s easy to find articles and posts about trusting God with all the little, annoying things in life—but what about when you’re truly struggling to believe and hang on in faith? In my experience, when those times come, it takes a lot more than a syrupy anecdote or flowery saying to lift my heart up and out of the pit. If you’re in that place today, I hope I’m able to imbue you with a little bit of encouragement.

Good Gifts?

As I’ve been marinating on and praying through some of my own difficult circumstances lately, I came across the following passage:

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11 NIV).

Though I’m familiar with this passage, two words jumped off the page at me: stones and snakes.

They punched me in the gut and left a lingering sinking feeling, because I had to admit that sometimes, it feels like I’ve been given stones and snakes instead of the good gifts for which I’d hoped and prayed. And I look at the circumstances of various dear friends and think, stones and snakes

That illness?

That marriage?

That infertility?

That loneliness?

That poverty?

When we find ourselves in these circumstances, it’s all too easy to sit down at the table and see a feast of anything and everything we never wanted. And as always, our enemy is all-too-eager to aid in encouraging that point of view, smoothly persuading us to believe that God has indeed left us with such empty fare, because—well, fill in the blank:

Because we’re not loved enough.

Because we’re not good enough.

Because we’re not significant enough.

Because we’re believing whatever heinous lie we’ve been told.

It all adds up and leads to that most dreaded of questions … Lord, why?

When you’re a toddler exploring your world, “why” is a perfectly reasonable and innocuous question. But when you’re an adult and you’re asking it of God? Well, that’s a different ballgame and one that carries unwelcomed implications.

Finding Light in the Darkness

I realize I’ve painted a bit of a bleak picture above, but—if we’re honest—this is our reality sometimes, right? The walls feel as though they’re caving in, the lights have gone out, and God seems as distant as some far off planet.

Thankfully, all is most certainly not lost, no matter what our hearts try to tell us. You want to know the beautiful truth about these times, these circumstances?

This is where faith is poised to soar.

This is where we can dig deep, lean heavy into Him. This is where we can uncover those “treasures of darkness” (see Isaiah 45:3). Indeed, those treasures that will only be found in darkness.

And in the dark, their beauty shines all the brighter, all the more remarkable.

As hard and as scary as it is—believe me, I know, I’ve been there—these are the places where you have the privilege of discovering the Father on a whole new level. You are presented with the opportunity to know Him at a depth few people ever reach.

So in the words of Journey, don’t stop believin’.

Better yet, in the words of Hebrews 10:35-36:

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised (NIV).

When your banquet table is scattered with items you’d do anything to send back, don’t buy the lie that it’s Your Heavenly Father trading out good gifts for stones and snakes.

Trust His timing. Trust His plan. Know that He is working all things together for your ultimate good and His ultimate glory (see Romans 8:28).

I adore these poetic words from Habakkuk, and they have been a life raft during seasons of doubt:

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NIV, emphasis mine).

Today, you and I have the choice to see our circumstances with either spiritual eyes or with our own faulty human eyes. And if it looks like you’ve been left holding a stone today, take heart, dear one: God has you right where He wants you—ready to take your faith to the next level.

May we, like Habakkuk, cling to the truth of who we know Him to be, holding on in faith until we see what great things He has in store!

All These Things

Well, I may be a little late here, but allow me to wish you a very Happy New Year!

I imagine your new year is well underway by now, with school back in session and work back to the grind and that new diet or exercise plan driving you crazy already. I imagine you’re full of hope and refreshment and the ecstasy-like high that comes from dreaming about the future …

… perhaps, however, you find yourself in my shoes: tired, disorganized, and feeling a little bowled over by the new year already. Maybe your resolutions have lost their luster—or you haven’t even found the time to make them yet—and this new year is simply feeling like a continuation of the holiday chaos and exhaustion.

My year has not begun in quite the fashion I’d hoped: like dominoes, the adults in my house fell one by one, succumbing to some hideous stomach flu (hey, we got a jumpstart on that whole “new year’s cleanse” thing). My children have seemingly embraced the dark side of their toddlerhood, and I’m feeling the full force of the so-called “terrible twos” (the force is strong with those ones). And after two wonderful weeks, my mom flew back to Georgia yesterday, taking with her a huge part of my heart.

No, 2016 isn’t beginning as neatly and cleanly as I’d once hoped. There are still Christmas tree needles dotting the floor, the laundry is piled up again, and I have no idea what I’m feeding my family for dinner tonight. I have lists of the lists I need to make, and all the while, I can feel my as-yet-materialized grand resolutions slipping through my fingers.

But you know what?

Maybe that’s OK.

Ghosts of Resolutions Past

I’m one of those people who love to make resolutions. Every year since middle school, I’ve sketched out glorious, far-reaching plans to achieve all the things that would make the coming months fabulous.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I craft a colossal “to do” list at the start of each year, but I know I’m not alone in my striving. I believe we’re all aware, at least on a subconscious level, of the chaotic, relentless spinning of the earth … of the uncertainty presented by each day, week, and month.

That’s why resolutions are so appealing, in part: they conjure up for us the illusion of control. If I make my list, bolding and underlining my bullet points, then somehow that chaotic spinning feels slightly less frightening.

That is, until the wheels come flying off about mid to late January.

It’s perfectly normal and inherently human to grasp at something to help calm our fears of what the coming year holds. But I don’t believe our soothing can be found in weight loss goals, financial goals, clutter-free goals, or even personal improvement goals.

In all these years, my staunch resolutions have never served me well, nor have they accomplished their stated purpose. And as I stand facing a new year, no resolutions in hand, I’m seeing that God has me right where He wants me.

A New Focus

This morning, my reading came from Matthew 6, and in verses 25-34, Jesus delivers beautiful, soul-refreshing words regarding our tendency to worry—and the utter fruitlessness of doing so.

After detailing the futility of our human bent toward worry, He ends with these words:

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:33-34 NIV, emphasis mine).

And herein lies the guide to the New Year for all of us: with Jesus as our focal point, we are bound to have a good year. With our hearts and minds fixed on Him, we are better equipped to make sense of the coming months and to maintain a steady constitution rather than being ruled by chaos or fear.

I love how Jesus lumps together “all these things” about which we fret. All these things we find important, all these things we prioritize, all these things we pursue … all these things that feel impossible and unreachable to us are nothing for Him.

All our needs.

All our desires.

All our hopes.

All our fears.

Our loving Heavenly Father knows what we need and graciously stands ready to meet those needs—provided we don’t elevate the gifts above the giver.

Seek Him first … it’s really the only resolution we need.

Your Best Year Yet

I don’t know about you, but this resolution causes that hope and joy I’m so desperately seeking to bubble up within me. I don’t have to be good enough, motivated enough, or organized enough, and neither do you. We just need to seek Jesus with all our hearts, souls, and strength and let Him take care of the rest.

As we face this coming year, I don’t know what burdens you’re carrying into 2016 or what new burdens might find you and me. I don’t know what your “all these things” are. I don’t know what breaks your heart, keeps you up at night, or sends your soul soaring. But I do know that the God who created you and created me has a purpose and plan for each day of this coming year. And even when your world feels as though it’s spinning out of control, He holds you safely, securely in His palm. I daily need to be reminded of this truth, and maybe you do, too.

There’s nothing wrong with goal setting and trying to better ourselves, so go ahead and make that list, follow that exercise routine, and clear out your clutter. But as we enter this year, let us not sacrifice the most important thing for a myriad of lesser goals.

In the grand scheme of eternity, there is nothing better we could ever do with our time than to seek Him first. May this be a resolution that we keep all year long—and here’s to your best year yet!

Top 5 Posts of 2015

Hello, readers!

Well, it’s that time of year where we’re all scratching our heads and wondering how in the world another year has found its way into the books. Is the earth spinning a little faster these days? It certainly feels that way.

In between the Christmas chaos and soul-soothing time with family, I’ve been reflecting on these past 12 months, as I’m sure you have too. Overall, 2015 has been a quiet year for us: we didn’t move, we didn’t have a baby, and we finally feel as though we’re finding a rhythm in our California life.

It’s been a year of steady, quiet building: relationships, children, jobs, faith. I’ve seen my own faith molded and pushed and stretched in ways I didn’t quite think it could mold and push and stretch … but the results I’m beginning to see—peeking up ever-so-slightly from beyond the horizon—thrill my soul and encourage me to continue leaning into God.

The year has also been good for me as far as writing goes. This year saw me “buckling down” with this dream of mine and making a concerted, consistent effort to listen to what God whispers into my ear and find the courage and time to write it down. And Lord willing, 2016 will see more growth and consistency.

If nothing else, God has blessed me through the written words He’s inspired, and I’ve enjoyed looking back over the year. My prayer and heart for writing and publishing anything into the blogosphere is to encourage and uplift others in any way possible. I believe our faith walks were meant to be shared with one another, for we are all soldiers fighting the same battle.

So with that, here are the top 5 posts from this past year. I hope they bless and encourage you! Whatever your 2015 looked like—happy, sad, tumultuous, calm, or anything in between—it’s now time to close the door on it and move forward in faith, hope, and love.

May 2016 be a year of continued growth and victory over the enemy for us both!

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

 Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

Top 5 of 2015

1. What I Wish I’d Known Before Becoming A Mother

Some musings over the most surprising, challenging, and heart-warming aspects of motherhood. Probably my favorite post to write!

2. Decade

Reflecting on celebrating 10 years of marriage and all God has done. Marriage has been harder than I imagined, but God has done amazing things and continues to sharpen and refine me through this beautiful portrait of the gospel.

3. Finding God in the Spilled Milk & Temper Tantrums

For any of you in the thick of motherhood, I hope this post encourages you to keep up the high and holy work you’re doing in raising the next generation!

4. When Your Best Efforts Fail

Thoughts on finding strength and moving forward when your own efforts fall flat.

5. Loving Well

Encouragement for loving those people in your life who are just hard to love–something with which we are all familiar!

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