Where is God? Encouragement for the Confused Heart.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”- James 1:2-4

This God. This God whose ways are not our ways. This God, who can be perfectly good yet allow horrifically evil things to go on in the world around us. This God who has complete, perfect purpose in ISIS, in earthquakes, in riots, in cancer, in disability.

“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”- Job 1:21

Yesterday morning, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of women who have been studying the book of Job. As I was telling them pieces of our story, God’s glorious details being poured out, His purposes still somewhat hidden, I explained to them that about six months into our family’s realization that God was doing something completely different in our family than we had planned, I knew I had a choice. I was confident I could say the first part of this verse alongside Job- that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Yet, could I speak the second part in the depths of who I was? Could I bless the name of the Lord in the middle of something that was so “other” than what I would have considered good?

I am not even remotely saying that a, “yes” to this was or is easy. I am saying that it has been pivotal to the joy I have experience in the months after.

I would say the same to you; to each and every member of society in the midst of each and every individual circumstance, every various trial if you will.

Let me make something clear: Morgan cannot make any good out of the chaos ISIS is breeding throughout the world. Morgan could not even begin to bring purpose out of cancer, natural disaster, disability, riots, accidents or the like.

There is a very human side of me that still looks at these stories in disgust and wonders what in the world God is doing.

Yet, as I look at His Word, He has made it very clear that while His ways are mysterious, the things He allows or does not allow have reasons unseen; yet His purposes are always good, He is always working, and He is in control over all things.

Many would say that a good God would not allow this world to remain so very broken.

I would like to gently say to those of you who speak that do not know the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some might say that these acts are acts of evil that God has nothing to do with- something He did not have control over.

I will tenderly explain to you that if God is not in control of all that goes on here on earth, than how in the world is He sovereign and how could He possibly bring good out of all things?

He arranged for the Savior of the world to be born in a filthy barn in the skin of a tiny, human baby. He brought good out of the gruesome, bloody, inhumane, pain-filled, seemingly unjust death of His only Son on the cross.

Obviously, God has a mind of His own.

Even more crystal clear, He knows what He’s doing.

His Word makes it very clear: page after page explaining to us that in this world, we will have trouble.

This is not a possibility, it is a promise.

And while I cannot even begin to comprehend some of the things people around the world or individuals reading this blog have walked through, what I can assure you is that the same God that has carried me through these trials with our girls is the God that is intimately, Spirit on spirit, walking each human being through whatever He has allowed.

He doesn’t just give the enemy permission to test us and then leave us there.

He fights the battles for us.

He doesn’t just show up in the aftermath.


He that breathes the very breath into our lungs lights the way for us and promises to not allow affliction to go on one millisecond longer than it has to in order to fulfill the purpose for which it was sent.

Very literally- you are not alone in your suffering if you have Christ.

The trials may be various but the goodness of God in the midst always stands firm.

I know, I know. It is easy to look at whatever is going on in the lives of those around us, or, at times, in our own lives, and think, “How in the world is this producing steadfastness? Testing my faith- absolutely. I can wholeheartedly agree with that part. But bringing steadfastness? Really?”

I have been there, even this week at times- so many moments where I feel anything but faithful and cannot imagine how specific moments of our story are making good.

Yet God.

This God whose ways are simply not our ways.

This God who is never intimidated by our questions and always open to our wrestling.

The same God who created all things-to Him, for Him, through Him- the God who took away the one kind of suffering we truly had to fear-albeit, being cast away from God- He urges each of our hearts to not look at individual circumstances and instead look to the One who formed the individuals.

This new piece of our journey has been full of long nights, tears, new questions, weary emotions, layers of grief I didn’t know existed, and trying moments.

Yet, as I have had to remind myself over and over and over, I ask myself once again to bless the name of the Lord; not because it always feels good but because I know He is worthy.

There is so much comfort in recognizing that He is mysterious in His doings, because it gives us the freedom to admit to Him that we have no idea why He has done the things He has done at times! We can respectfully and graciously give Him glory in speaking His truth back to Himself,

“God, You are so other than me. I cannot begin to fathom some of the choices You have made, yet this I know: You are good. Your ways are perfect. You have purpose in all things and the glory is coming. You have the victory already and one day, the veil will be removed and we shall see things for how they truly are, the fog lifted and the blinders removed. Until then, blessed be Your name. Today, I choose to trust You not in spite of my circumstances but in the midst of them. You are God alone.”

Friends, may we simply make the choice to believe what God’s Word says. May we cling to His promises both in our joys and in our pains. And, when we are surprised by the details or the events around us, may we lead one another to the truth that we serve a God who cannot and will not be surprised.

His Love is abundantly and perfectly steadfast in all things.

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

“For great is Your steadfast love toward me; You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol”.- Psalm 86:13

By His Spirit Alone.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”- Hebrews 12:1-3

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The night before the girls’ surgery, I took maybe a hundred pictures. Between nerves of what could happen and simply wanting to remember the way things were, I wanted to capture every detail.


I would love to tell you that I have felt at peace from the hand-off on; but the truth is, my emotions have swung the opposite direction. I have known from the beginning of His Hands, His Feet, His Heart that God was calling me to be authentic- gut-wrenchingly real- with you, as the readers- and the honest reality is that the feeding tubes have brought up a whole new layer of grief inside this momma.

“When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who know my way.”- Psalm 142:3


I remember our neurologist telling us in the beginning of this journey this statement:

“They say it takes a village to raise a child. It’s going to take you guys a whole city”.

I laughed, but I don’t think I realized how true this would be. I literally cannot account all the people who have been His hands, His feet, and His heart to us. Between physical and emotional exhaustion, hospital stays can bring out the absolute worst in me. I am scattered at best, irritable at worst; and having to split my heart into two rooms side by side brought out a whole new crazy. There’s your honesty.

“Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.”- Ecclesiastes 7:20

Thank you, wisest man who ever lived, for reminding me this truth in some of my worst days. It is truly in Christ and in Christ alone that we are saved.


(Someone even had a fireworks show for us. Just kidding; but it did happen and it was a nice God-wink).

So, back to our village. I will never be able to verbalize and account for each act of love that has been shown to us the past two years, but I would be amiss if I didn’t try. The million meals, coffees, hospital activity kit for the girls, books/verses/prayers sent, gift cards…all too many to count. The friends (yes, I’m talking to you, Hannas!) who continue to take our dog for an unknown period of time, this time on the rainiest week of the year. We even had a guitar serenade the first night the girls were out of surgery. The Walls came and played worship music, and while the girls’ screamed their heads off in pain a lot of the time, there was a calm that came for a few minutes during this time. My mom, who leaves her husband and drops everything else she had planned to come stay with us for a week and serve in whatever ways we need (and deals with Hugh and I with grace as we are tired and not the kindest spirits in the aftermath). The amazing co-residents who not only bring us meals, but then work for Hugh the following day (thanks, Shelly! You are awesome). Each of you deserve acknowledgement; but I hope you know that we could not do this life without you. In fact, you are His gift and His provision for us in this life He has called us to live.


My sister is one the best listeners I have ever known. She is also someone I got to when I need to flesh out some of the emotions that fester within me. As I was talking to her yesterday, she reminded me of the fact that in this life, God has told us we are running a race. Now, it has been a while since I have run any distance of any kind, but back in the days when running was a part of my lifestyle, I can remember at times feeling worn out at different stages of the race. There were moments in which I thought, “I don’t know if I can finish this.” Yet God. He weakened my feeble knees each time, and suddenly, I was stronger again. More determined than before.

“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning…”- Ecclesiastes 7:8a

I ran a half marathon (many!) years ago, and I remember being at around mile 7, feeling like I was ready to give up, when I saw a child in a wheelchair holding a sign that said, ‘I wish I was doing what you are doing now!’. That was all it took to keep pushing, pushing, pushing, toward the finish line. The closer I got, the more convinced I was that I was going to make it.

I am so weary in this leg of our journey, and there are moments where I think, “God, are You sure about this?”

But I know what I know what I know; and as someone wiser than me once said, “When you do not know what to do next; simply do what you know and wait for God to show up”.

I always pray that my writings would be a truth-filled yet human-written reminder that He meets us in all things. He is not surprised by any of the miles of each of our journeys. If you are not a Christ-follower, I pray that you read these words and grasp the truth that Christians are not good people doing good things in their own strength; rather Christians are people who have trusted in faith that there is a good God who can be trusted with all things in this life and the next, even salvation itself.

Friend: wherever you are, let this be healing balm for your soul: He not only will help you finish this race; in Christ, He is carrying you, carrying me, to the finish line.


In Christ, we can hurt without despair. We can grieve with hope. We can sense joy in the middle of pain. We can live-truly live- without believing the lie that this life is all there is. And, we can trust that whatever steps He has placed in our journeys; He is taking them with us and stepping out for us.

By His Spirit alone.

Friends, my prayer for you today is that He would seal this on each of your hearts. That you would see His footprints in all things, and that you would not panic when you are struggling to make it through the mile He has you on. Mile 8 is always coming.

Faithful One

“Behind the great darkness the stars ever shine. And the light of God’s heavens, His love will make thine, let no gloom dim your eyes, but uplift them on high to the face of your God and the blue of His sky.”- Streams in the Desert

I am convinced that my God will supply ALL your needs in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:19). All praises to Him today and always.

The Great Surgeon.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents…”- Hebrews 11:8-9a, emphasis mine


Tomorrow will be the first time our girls have had surgery. In the morning, we will wake them up, and they will gleefully be excited as we enter their room and pick them up, not knowing where they are going. We will arrive at the hospital, check them in; and, like other procedures, I am sure one of my least favorite parts will be what I call, ‘the hand-off’. Those of you who have had a loved one go through something similar know the protocol. I will carry my babies- one, and then a little while later, the other- and follow a nurse to a red line right in front of the operating room. “Alright mom,” she will say, “we’ll take good care of her”. And then, my sweet child will look at me as I pass her to the nurse as if to say, “Hm…didn’t see that one coming. What now?” I will hold it together as the nurse carries Ally, then soon after, Bailey Grace, into the operating room; and then hot, big tears will fall down my face. This time, it feels even more painful, because when they come out of the surgery, they will have two new things: a feeding tube, and then a scar from which a muscle biopsy will be taken. I dread this part so very much; and a lot of that has to do with the fact that their dad and I are choosing pain for our children in order to give them what we think they need. In ways, though, it feels like we are leaving them stranded and alone.

“…we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered”.- Romans 8:36

A dear friend of mine has a child who passed away at a young age after battling cancer. Yesterday, we talked of this ‘hand-off’ moment, and she shared stories of how the verses in Romans always came to her mind when her son would be led back to the radiation room. Like a sheep to be slaughtered.

“…Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”- John 1:29

The Lord is not a stranger to watching His children to suffer; no. Jesus, His only Son, spent his years on earth for that very purpose: to be led to the slaughter and, ultimately, to die so that we might live.

As I picture the surgery tomorrow, my vision goes beyond the surface and I see what is truly happening:

God is the surgeon.

He is the One who is working on all of our hearts.

There is no concern of liability; hence, He desires to be seen as responsible for He is fully confident that the surgery He is performing is going to produce exactly what He intends it to.

He is honest with us that yes, there are going to be scars- yet, He ties a promise together with those scars: that not a single one of them does not have purpose and not a single one of them is in vain.

There is a vast difference in what Hugh and I will do tomorrow and what God does each day in the lives of His children.

As earthly parents, we pray and hope we are making the best choices for our children. Thankfully, God in His wisdom and infinite power assures us that He will use all things for His glory, and we rejoice in that.

Yet, to be God and to KNOW that each and every detail of the things that happen to your children are not only your doings; they are producing something that cannot be shaken.

And, as His children, we are promised that He is the Ultimate Parent- the Sovereign One over all things- what comfort this brings me on this eve of tomorrow!

Our girls will not be alone. Our God will absolutely never leave their side.

They need His presence infinitely more than they need mine. 

He gives us confidence in His plans and His ways day by day, moment by moment. I am so thankful that in His mercy He leads us step by step. In this journey with our daughters, I am now positive that if God offered to, ‘turn on the light’ on the whole room of the life He has given me- all the details ahead in plain view- I would beg Him not to do so. I now know that I could not bear them all at once; and that I would not be able to enjoy a single one if I always had full view of tomorrow. Truly, the gift of the unknown is exactly that- a gift to be received with gratitude.

So, tomorrow, as I walk to that red line and pass my sweet souls to a group of people who I am trusting their little lives with, I want to be thankful for the blissful ignorance Ally and Bailey Grace will own. In ways, how would it benefit the girls if they knew what tomorrow holds? Turn that thought around to the person in the mirror: how would you benefit from knowing the details of the future?

Isn’t it blissful ignorance that often keeps us present? It is in absolutely living in this moment and trusting God for strength, peace, and His presence with whatever comes that we find true freedom. Having knowledge of what’s around the corner does not make us any more in control of it. Perceived control is not actually control at all.

Friends, God is our ever-present Help. He never leaves our side. He promises that He is with us- not just beside us, but with us- in all things. He can be trusted with the future. Where He leads, He will meet us. My prayer for you today is that you would be able to be ever-present in exactly where God has you. I pray you would not be fixated on the details of the future; and instead fix your eyes on the One who created all, see all, and knows all. Nothing surprises our God, and everything He does is good. May we all live TODAY in peace, with blissful ignorance about whatever tomorrow holds, trusting in an All-Knowing, All-Loving God.

The Sheep that was slaughtered was slaughtered so that you could be free for all eternity.

May we rest in that now and forevermore.


“I do not ask my cross to understand,

My way to see-

Better in darkness just to feel Your hand,

And follow thee.”- Streams in the Desert

A Word of Encouragement: For the Parent who Feels They just Can’t Get This Whole Parenting Thing Down.

Faithful One

“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”- Ecclesiastes 1:9

Yep, this is another one of those posts. You know, the one you click on and wonder, ‘Is that the one I read already?’ Yet, you click on it anyway and begin to read, hoping to feel a sense of relief as the words leave the computer and hit your heart. Why? Because you are weary. You are worn down. Forget the whole, “There’s laundry and toys strewn all over the house”. No. This is a whole other ballgame. Try, “It’s noon and we are all in pajamas and I haven’t done anything except check my facebook and feed the kids as they watched Veggie tales all.morning.long.” (And maybe did a little crowd control when the youngest began to get upset at the oldest. That’s disciplining, right?) If we are honest, there are some days that the motivation to do this whole parenting thing is absolutely gone and really, all we want to do is go back to the days that things were less about diapers and crumbs and stickiness and tantrums, and more about the equally complicated but more predictable person in the mirror: self. We all have these thoughts, and then we think about the friend who is struggling with fertility, or the friends who have lost children, and we instantly not only feel guilty but also unworthy of this whole parenting gig. Yes, there are days where we wonder what in the world God was thinking- or what in the world WE were thinking- when we got assigned to the task at hand: raising other human beings. The whole idea seems bogus if you think about it long enough. Me, a selfish, sinful human being given the job of raising another selfish, human being or five? Whose idea was this again? For some of us, we would see our friends with kids, glance over at our spouses as they interacted with the sweet, cuddly, baby, and think, ‘Aw…we could have one of those together! How romantic!” (When I see these subtle exchanges between newlyweds, I laugh to myself, knowing I too was there but that sometimes, ignorance is truly bliss…and is the very thing God uses to keep the human race going. Oh, if we only knew on that end what this end looked like some days).


(Who even is this person? She looks so rested, so alert, so carefree, so tan, so put together?)

Now, hear me. Parenting is amazing. It is a beautiful, humbling gift and not one of us would trade it if given the chance. But, let’s be honest in that most days, the gratitude sits in the distance with the overwhelmed heart in the forefront. And, as with other seasons of life, it never looks like what we thought it would- for some of us, it looks like something completely different than we could have ever imagined.

Before we had any inclination that the twins were going to have special needs, I had already begun reading parent discipline books. We had watched some friends before us raise their children up in the faith, and I knew that would be our desire as a family.

And then…

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And then, the Lord gave us these children, and suddenly, it was uncharted waters. Discipline was far from my mind, and survival became my motto. For months, Hugh and I have struggled with knowing how to raise children like ours up to know the love of God. Without scripture memory, vocal interactions, without an inkling of an idea of what they were thinking- how would we ever model and share our faith?

“For the wisdom of this world is nonsense in God’s sight.” -1 Corinthians 3:19a

“…truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”- Matthew 18:3

Suddenly, it hit me.

As I looked through God’s word, I realized that if what His words said were true, our girls might in fact understand the Gospel more than most adults. I was looking at understanding through the eyes of intellect, when in fact, God was reminding me that His wisdom has nothing to do with the world’s version of knowledge and everything to do with the understanding of the heart. Beyond that, when I realize that He is asking me to become more like the little children in front of me; maybe the task at hand was not as complicated as I was making it.


I share this with you, dear reader, because I know many of you reading have children that are not developmentally disabled. You are trying, with all your might, to raise children that grasp the love of God… and I applaud you for your efforts. Yet, I am here to gently remind you that it is not your might or your efforts that are going to get your children to be enlightened to the truths of God.

“…not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”- Zechariah 4:6

While the Lord is honored by all our well-intentioned efforts, I believe He wants to encourage us today that He’s got this. God is the ultimate parent who knows how to love each of His children perfectly. He knows exactly what we need in order to serve and glorify Him fully- which is what we want at the end of the day. He has entrusted these children to us but really- they are His. His responsibility. And, get this: He, in His sovereign and omnipotent wisdom, chose YOU as the best person to nurture and love them each while they are here on earth. You are His best for them.

From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.

If I had not been blessed with girls like ours, I am sure that I would already be caught up in so many things that I realize now, just don’t plain matter in the big scheme of life. I am not saying these things are wrong- I am just reminding us that they should never be the focus of our families.

And, knowing so many people who have lost children, and living alongside many other special needs parents whose goals and dreams for their kids might be simply life, we want to share something with you:

Anything and everything your child is doing is amazing. Their little lives in themselves are miracles, no strings attached, no performance or milestone required.

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I am preaching to myself, sometimes daily, that this is His story and these are ultimately His children. He chooses the roles we play, in His wisdom friends, and He has got this.

When the laundry piles up, when the dog is eating more of the food than the toddler, when the tantrums in the grocery escalate and the entire store is ready for you to get your box of cereal and leave, when the elementary student brings home a “C” when you pictured an “A”, when your son cares more about video games than the instrument you so wanted him to like, when your teenager seems to care about everything BUT the love of God, despite your efforts…


His timing.

His ways.

Dear parent: He cares about your children more than you ever could.

We teach our kids to sing that He has the whole world in His hands- but do we believe it?

We teach them that every color-black, white, even purple- the most unique of us all- are precious in His sight- but do we live that out?

Do we celebrate our children even when they don’t turn out to be mini-me’s of ourselves?

In the midst of so many different activities and assignments and struggles, I want to remind you, dear momma, sweet father, that He has got this.

I want to encourage you that when you feel overwhelmed, you need only look up and ask the One who created these children of His to give you the wisdom you need to help make them the best version of themselves. The One who gave you the very breath you breathe has equipped you with all you need to do His will. (Hebrews 13:21)

My prayer for you today is that you would not complicate this whole parenting gig more than He has required. That you would look to His strength, His comfort, His purposes, and find joy and peace to nourish your anxious heart.

And, when you find yourself having one of those, “Have we even left the couch?” kind of days… may you be more focused on the love you have shared than the pressures this world might put on you.

Love is truly enough.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”- John 13:34-35



The three of us lay on a blanket in their room, Sleeping Beauty preludes playing in the background. The color of the stars on the ceiling changed from yellow to pink to green to blue, and I could see why the girls were in awe. This simple scene felt much more than simple; it felt magical. Ally, who has just learned to clap, would give a formal, ‘clap,clap’ each time the color changed; as if we were in an auditorium and she was approving each note sung. Ally and Bailey Grace did not let their eyes veer off for even a second- so captivated by the light. It was a sweet, sweet evening.


We are all drawn to the light. Whether it is in the sun rising, the stars in the night, the flickering of a fire, or the flame of a candle- each of us longs for the light among us.


I, for one, love candles. You can find them in almost every room of our home. There is something about the flame that is comforting and securing to me- consistent. constant. brightens even the darkest room.

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.”-Genesis 1:3,4

From the very beginning, before He breathed us into life, the Lord provided us light. Although night is as bright as day to Him (Psalm 139:12), He knew in our humanity a distinguishing factor was needed.

“…because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”- Luke 1:78-79

Sin entered the world through man- yet God- yet again, He brought us the Light Himself, through Jesus. Our eternal Light in the darkness.


“Measure not God’s love and favour by your own feeling. The sun shines as clearly in the darkest day as it does in the brightest. The difference is not in the sun, but in some clouds which hinder the manifestation of the light thereof.”- Richard Sibbes

As I type this post, it is stormy and dark outside- the day disguising itself as the night. My spirit, at times, could resemble this paradox this week, as we await the girls’ surgery.


“The Lord is my light…He is my salvation and my stronghold…whom shall I fear?”-Psalm 27:1

The girls will have surgery a week from today to have gastrostomy tubes placed in order to help with feeding. We are not the first to have this surgery, nor will we be the last. We know we are doing the right thing for our family- both for our marriage and for our girls- and my soul is at peace. Yet, no mother births two beautiful beings, nourishes them at her own breast, only to say, “I really hope they get feeding tubes someday”. In ways, it feels unnatural. In many ways, it is. I am thankful for modern medicine and for the resources at hand. I have often thought, through tears, of the many mothers in countries I have visited that would not have this opportunity- how a simple cold could mean death for their little one. Yes, we are graced with this option. Yes, this is the best choice. Along with these truths engraved on my heart, I grieve, I mourn, and I hurt that this is His best for us; for I do not see fully from His view- my vision blurred by this flesh I reside in. Yet God.

“And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”- Revelation 22:5

This God. This God that created the very light that brightens the sky- who provided the Morning Light for our souls- He promises that a day is coming where we say goodbye to night- both externally and internally. No more mourning, no more disappointment, our faith finally our sight. A day is coming when the suffering and the trials He has allowed will cease. No longer will we have to wrestle with trust-for we will see Him as He truly is and worship Him face to face. We will finally have the understanding that only He who sits on the throne holds. No more cancer. No more broken homes. No more suffering. No more feeding tubes. No more death. All under the perfect authority of the One who allowed it in the first place- the One who knew the exact reason why these things must be in the first place.

So, what do we do now?

How do we live today in a world that seems to carry unfortunate surprises around every corner?

How do Hugh and I walk our daughters to the operating room, blissfully unaware, and hand them off to a team of strangers, trusting that God’s plan for the surgery and the aftermath are perfect? How does a celebrity handle the cancer diagnosis of her mother? How does a friend survive the year anniversary of her baby son? How do classmates bury a friend gone, what feels like, too soon?


“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”- James 1:17, emphasis mine

This life is not a game of Jeopardy. We are not standing in front of a wheel, choices and fates given sporadically, based on chance and the luck of the draw. No. There is a God in heaven who has already intricately determined the pieces of each of our lives. As we sang on Sunday,

“From life’s first cry to final breath Jesus commands my destiny”.

He doesn’t just let it happen- He commands it. He knows the story through and through and this gives us the confidence to trust His plans and trust His heart.

Each detail of the story He is writing in each of our lives is a good and perfect gift from the God who urges us to remember that the darkness of the room does not change the brightness of the Light.

If anything, it enhances it.

Friends, I do not know what your week holds- but I do know who holds your week.

Lord, today, may we each trust You to be the Light in each of our moments.

May we hold on with an unabandoned grip to the fact that Your Light shines more powerfully than the darkest night; and that You have defeated darkness itself.

May we rejoice even in our mourning, knowing that the Light within is faithful to shine, shine, shine.

And, when we cannot seem to find our way to You, may we trust that Your faithfulness exceeds our feeble, weak knees.

May we simply choose to fix our eyes on Light Himself, no matter how dim our own light feels.

May we look forward to the day where Light meets light and we can finally exclaim with full confidence,

‘It was finished, after all!”

To God be the glory.

A Good, Good Friday.

“Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace.”- John 1:16

Faithful One

As the Israelites were traveling through the wilderness, there were times when, to put it bluntly, they were simply over it. Over the wandering, over the trusting, over the assuming that God was going to come through yet again.

“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.”- Exodus 13:21-22

God had promised it, and God was proving it, yet their humanity was not exactly thrilled to be a part of this, “just put one foot in front of the other” mentality.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”- Matthew 6:34

When the Israelites had crossed over Red Sea (you know, the time God parted the seas for His children and then put the sea back together again when Pharaoh and his people tried to follow?), it was time to camp out and rest for a bit. Moses informed the people that they were to gather a day’s portion of food, every day, no more and no less. If you know anything about the Israelites, you know what’s coming. Of course, there were some who listened. Others, in their nervousness about whether or not this manna would actually be given tomorrow, tried to store it up in their tents. Of course, Moses was angry, God wasn’t surprised, and the food itself just spoiled. The story goes on and on, same story different day. The Israelites just couldn’t quit wondering,

“Is it really the Lord among us or not?” (Exodus 17:7)

Now, we could read through the story page by page and wonder how in the world the Israelites could doubt, but let us not forget that they did not have the whole book in front of them. Are we really much different? Time and time again, God has proven that He is faithful. He has showed up that He shows up in the ways He wants in the time He wants and He does what He wants- and that it’s good. But, no matter what past experience has proven; when we are in the moment, the Light shining within but not without, it is easy to question His purpose and His presence. Within the blink of an eye, we can go from trusting His heart to doubting Him altogether.

The days leading up to Jesus’s death and the horrific scene on that very day appeared to be anything but good. Good Friday?! If the cross was the end of the story, Christians as a whole should be seen as barbarians for calling the day of anyone’s death “good”.

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And the stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him”.- Matthew 27:27-31

Mocked. Humiliated publicly. Wrongly accused. Stripped naked. Spit on. Bloody head to toe. You would think this would be the worst of it, but the physical and emotional turmoil is nothing compared to what happened next. Jesus had been silent up until this point, bearing the cross without any words, when suddenly, He cried out in a loud voice,

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? That is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”- Matthew 27:46

Translated: Lord, is this really you among us?

You see, up until this point, Jesus had felt and experienced the presence of God in each of these moments. He was fully man and fully God after all, and so physical pain and strife was something He did not fear. Yet being separated from God Himself- to be separated from the very Spirit within Him?


A moment later, or so it seems, Jesus yields up His Spirit and this seemingly disastrous day appears to be finished. But God.

He has a way of taking what seems like the end and turning it into a glorious beginning.

In the coming days, I am sure the disciples could relate to the Israelites as they wandered through the desert. I am positive that the hours before Jesus met them in Galilee for one last conversation on earth, they were full of thoughts and questions. They doubted. Was it really Him among them? It is sometimes hard to remember past promises when the present feels so bleak.

We do not have a pillar of clouds nor fire.

We cannot see the scars on Jesus’s wrists.

We have more.

We have His Spirit. We have the whole story, divinely written in front of us, page by page.

When it is dark, when it seems as if maybe we are making this whole thing up, we must look to His words and reach deep within and know that even a tiny flicker of light can overthrow the darkness. We must learn to be okay with a step-by-step kind of faith. There are some mysteries of God that we may never understand on this side of heaven, but the calling to live by faith and not by sight is not one of them. He has told us that this is the way to true life- trusting Him one moment and then trusting Him the next. And guess what?

He gives us grace in place of grace with every step.

In every twist and turn of this life, He promises to bring us grace to handle whatever He chooses to allow. We do not know what kind of grace we will need for tomorrow, and, praise God, we do not have to know! We must simply trust that He will bring it; and watch in amazement as He does. His hand has made all the places He sends us. What hope this brings to our weary hearts! What comfort this gives us when we are in our own garden of gethsemane, crying out for a new assignment, begging God to change the plan.

Yet God.

Nevertheless, not as we will, but as You will.

Thank You, Lord, that your eternal purpose for each of our lives always trumps our so-called plans.

Friends, on this Good Friday, may we gaze at the cross and be reminded that He is working all things out for His glory and our good. May we not be distracted by fleeting circumstances, situations, or trials, knowing that He IS among us and that whatever He sends is not just allowed but needed. May we not borrow tomorrow’s hypothetical sorrows for today; but instead fix our eyes on Him and what He is doing in the present. Oh, how I long to see the hand that I now trust. Beloved, truly, it is a good, good Friday.

“…and as your days, so shall your strength be.”- Deuteronomy 33:25

“A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way?’- Proverbs 20:24

No matter where you sit today, His heavens are higher still.