The Weary World Rejoices.


I remember the first year I stopped believing in Santa Clause. I was much older than most of my peers; not because the signs were not there but because I just didn’t want to give it up. In ways, it felt like Santa Clause represented an innocence that I could never get back; a sort of mystical virginity if you will. I felt like once I said, “Okay, okay. I don’t believe anymore.” – the magic would be gone forever. I remember the day my sister sat me down (I honestly might have been a six grader) and told me it was time. She took me to my parents’ closet, where many gifts were hidden. The next morning, I superficially said, “Thank you, Santa!” as I looked at every single present I had seen the day before. It was over.


Ever since we have had our girls, I have experienced the same emotions I felt the day I stopped believing in Santa on Christmas. Those of you who have lost a loved one or whose expectations for your family look differently than you anticipated know exactly what I’m talking about. The traditions might be the same, yet there is a magnifying glass on the fact that nothing is ever going to look like I thought it would look ever again. For people who have typically developing children, the opposite is true. You are able, if you choose, to go back to the Santa days as you vicariously watch your children experience the wonder of Christmas for the first time. While I love seeing our friends and family go through this process, if I’m honest, it stings a bit.

This morning, I looked back at a post I had written a year ago. I almost re-posted it, simply because some of the thoughts still ring true today, but again, authentically, I was saddened at how much more weary I feel a year later. I began praying for refreshment and asking God if every year was going to get more and more challenging; if each Christmas from now I was going to be more keenly aware of the reality that this world is not our home. Don’t miss the truth that while this is technically a good thing, the human inside of me would love to spend one Christmas blissfully unaware of that fact.

“The thrill of Hope, the weary world rejoices; for yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn.”

The weary world rejoices.

The weary-rejoice.

I get it, God.

Friends, you have heard it a million times. We all say it over and over again, as if saying it one more time will make it any more true in our hearts.

Jesus is the reason for the season.

But what does that mean?

Today, for me, that means that what I am celebrating tomorrow is the fact that God came down, still fully God, now fully man, in the form of a baby in a manger, so that all wrongs could be made right. It means that every single bad thought, impure motive, sketchy action, or shameful deed I have done both in the past, present, and future, when given to Jesus, is gone. It means that because of this scene in Bethlehem, the greater glory of Calvary and even more glorious beauty of the resurrection and, alas, the holiest of holiest of holy moments of His second coming will occur. This changes everything. You see, His birth had to happen for the rest of the story to play out. And, the rest of the story tells me that one day, anti-seizure medications will be throne straight to hell because seizures will be no more. There will be no more mysteries in our girls’ health, for they will be made perfectly whole. I won’t have to spend any more days fighting for joy and fighting to believe in what I know to be true in my spirit but can’t get my flesh to understand. I won’t wonder if we need to go to the Emergency Room on Christmas Eve Eve because of some unexplainable low and high temperature changes in both Ally and Bailey Grace. I won’t have to fight disappointment of timing and expectations and circumstances ever again. You see, because of Christ, today, it is well with my soul and one day, it will be well completely and perfectly and wholly. Friend, I don’t know where your heart is at this Christmas Eve. I know that many of you are walking through unimaginable pains. You are in the hospital. Your child is in the hospital. Your loved one has already left this earth or is on the verge of it. A tornado just ravished through your neighborhood and took everything you own. Cancer has reared its ugly head yet again and you are just not sure you are up for the fight again. You are completely alone and find yourself staring at social media watching everyone else make memories making your heart feel even lonelier. I don’t know exactly, but may I remind you on this Christmas Eve that Jesus-Immanuel- its meaning is exactly this: God is with us. He is with you. And- while the culture around us may tell you that tomorrow is about presents and people and food and merriment- I would like to say that for those of us who are weary- we should be celebrating all the more. He came for the weary. It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick (Mark 2:17). The thrill of Hope, the weary world rejoices…

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

May we rejoice in the truth that He is making all things new. May we celebrate- truly celebrate- His birth; knowing that its reality means everything for those of us who mourn or grieve or hurt or suffer; for the One whose name is Immanuel, God with us, is the same One who cried out, “It is finished”.

Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!- 2 Corinthians 9:15


Anything But Boring.


When you think about what it means to be a Christ-follower, what words come to mind?

Right after I began to understand there was a difference in simply saying, ‘God is God’ and having God as Lord over my life, I started looking around at the people who seems to have grasped the second concept. Sadly, I began to see Christ-following as the opposite of what it is: external appearances and routine versus an internal transformation.

At one point, I am sad to say I probably thought true Christianity looked something like a Friday night packaged with board games, off-brand soda, and a turtleneck to boot.

Anyone feel me?

As God has worked in my heart both through the study of His Word, the modeling of His children, and the best teacher- the trials and challenges He has graciously allowed in my own life- I am learning quite the opposite. True Christianity isn’t a comfortable, partially cheesy Friday night. Following Christ is an adventure from one faith step to the next; a journey of sweat, blood, and tears out in the center of the trenches of the spiritual battle.

If your version of Christianity is comfortable or boring, I want to challenge you that maybe it’s not Christianity after all.

Look at the examples of faith in God’s Word.

“…but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger, by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, by truthful speech, and the power of God; with weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open.”- 2 Corinthians 6:3-11

Sound boring to you?

I think part of our issue, if we are honest, is that we limit God. We try to put Him in a box and envision Him as a really great human. Our pastor, Matt Mason, said something along these lines a couple weeks ago: The bigger God gets in your mind and heart the more you will want to trust Him. The smaller your view gets will do the opposite. You will begin to tighten your grip of your life, because either He could do it or you could.

God is not someone we will ever grasp on this side of heaven; nor were we ever intended to. We are meant to view Him in Holy awe with understanding that He is much greater and bigger and wiser and perfect than we will be able to fathom and that is a good, good thing.

I also believe that we push the snooze button on truly following Him, because we are scared of what it will look like. We are afraid that if we say yes, He is going to send us somewhere completely different than we anticipated. Which also means, by the way, that we think we are the best determinant of what our life should look like. Spoiler alert: while He might send you somewhere completely different than you planned, His plans for you are infinitely better than your perfectly laid out best. When we push snooze to the adventure He desires to take us on, we are choosing the comfortable over the eternally significant.

What sounds more boring, micromanaging your life to the extent that you basically know what’s coming up next; or depending on God to the extent that He has to light each and every step as it comes up?

How can the Light shine in the darkness if you are constantly running away from the dark?

How can you truly know and trust Him if you are showing up with your own, manmade flashlight everywhere you go?

Friends, in 2016, God has pressed it upon my heart to truly view this life as what God intended it to be: an adventurous journey with Him in which the eternal can start NOW.

“Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”- John 6:54 (emphasis mine)

Not will have.


Life on earth isn’t a dress rehearsal. Eternity with Him can start today. I don’t want to get to heaven, and when I stand at the gates, simply say,

“I had a quiet time each morning, went to church on Sundays, volunteered occasionally, lived a moral life, and gave to a few Christian organizations every now and then.”


I want to kneel before the throne, my earthly life completely spent for the sake of the Gospel.

I want to live the adventure that God has called me to live in the here and now.

I want to see Him in every breath and every move and every soul He places in front of me.

I want to use every trial He allows in our life for His glory.

This world is much too big to center however many years I have here on me while claiming that eternity will be about Him.

Eternity begins NOW, and I want to live like it has.

Friend, I will share what this looks like for our family throughout the upcoming days, but let’s talk about you:

Has faith become mundane?

Do you feel like saying, ‘yes’ to God is saying, ‘no’ to excitement?

Freedom. Life. Light. Joy. Peace. Abundance. Provision. Kindness. Goodness. Love.

These are just a handful of the words that the Lord doesn’t simply exhibit. No. He IS the very nature of these things.

I can promise you one thing: while saying, ‘Yes’ to God will most certainly spur you on to make choices that the world might say are absolutely impractical or illogical or crazy; you will never look back and say it was boring. The more steps we take toward Him, the more we open our hands to whatever He desires from us and for us, the more we are able to trust Him in whatever comes next.

Friends, let’s wake up and begin tasting instead of simply drinking.

Let’s gulp- not simply sip- the wonders of the plans God has for each of us.

Let’s stop being bored and start truly living.

He’s taken the 99 steps, why don’t you just take the one?

What are you waiting for?


New Year’s Resolution: Indulge More, Not Less.


Holiday indulgences.

They seem to be around every corner.

We Americans are a bizarre people.

We celebrate all through December, eating cookie after cookie and sipping on punch after punch; but come January, we act like the whole thing was a mistake.

Suddenly, we go into detox mode and begin refusing all the things we so recently craved.

Turns out, too much of a good thing just isn’t a good thing.



“…His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’, says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him’.”- Lamentations 3:22-23


I am learning more and more about this word as time goes on; sensing that it is not a noun but rather a verb. Most words in God’s kingdom require action. The beauty of this is that almost every time, the doing is His and not our own. We cannot muster up the ability to be mercy to those around us; only God Himself is able.

As I looked up the definition of mercy, a synonym grabbed my attention.


This thing, this thing we always attempt to leave behind come January; it is a command of God.

The key is to indulge in that which doesn’t fade.

“But God, being rich in mercy…”- Ephesians 2:4


God. The Ultimate Indulger. The One who so freely gives and gives and gives some more. Mercy doesn’t stop and His name is Jesus.

In a few weeks, the decorations will come down, the familiar songs will cease playing on the radio, and many people will begin to make goals for the coming year.

My challenge to you?

Instead of giving up indulging altogether; begin indulging in the things that matter to God.

Indulge your mind, heart, spirit, and body in His Word.

Indulge others with the grace that only He can give.

Indulge your community with action as you become His hands, feet, and heart to a watching and hurting world.

Indulge the broken with words of hope and healing.

The truth is, when we consume ourselves with Him and His glory, we will find we are not consumed by trivial matters that don’t have eternal significance.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”- 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

In 2016, may we be a people that fix our eyes on the unseen.

May we indulge ourselves and the world with the grace and peace that comes through Christ and Christ alone. May we find ourselves filled to overflow, no detox required, as we embrace the adventure He has called each of us to live in the coming year. Verbs, not nouns, shining a Light that the darkness could not and can’t and will never overcome.

He is able.


 “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mudpies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.”- C.S. Lewis

What it Means to Rejoice.


The air was crisp and the water near freezing; yet the sun was shining, and so the conditions were more than tolerable.

As I practiced casting, the line flowing backward and forward…backward and forward…backward and forward… my whole being was fixated on exactly what I was doing in the moment.

As the line hit the water’s surface, I watched and waited for it to bob under, expectant that I would set the line at any moment. After all, the guide had walked me out to what he knew to be the best rock to stand on. While I had just met him hours before, I trusted his judgment on all things fly fishing- he was the guide after all. Sure enough, within only a few minutes, the fish began to come. It was the first day I can remember that I didn’t think about a single thing other than the present; and it was exhilarating and soul-giving.

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say it, rejoice.- Philippians 4:4

My favorite word in the above verse small and subtle: in. Rejoice in the Lord. Not, rejoice over the circumstances. Not even, rejoice in the past, present or future. No. Rejoice in the Lord.

I realize my presence on social media has lessened some in recent days. Some of it is circumstantial- between seizures and medications and sickness, my independent moments have been far and few between outside of personal nourishment from God’s Word. Another part of it has been intentional. I am really looking towards the next book- the ideas the Lord has weighed on my heart combined with study of Truth and what His Word really says. I also have really been asking God to show me what joy should look like in the life of a Christ-follower. I choose to be nothing but authentic both in my tangible life and on the blog as well; and obviously enough I am sure, my heart has been in a heavy place for some time now. Between David and Job, I believe with all my heart that wrestling with God and bringing all our emotions to Him is crucial for a healthy relationship with Him; yet, time and time again, God calls us to rejoice. So, what does that look like in the midst of trials and suffering?

It’s written nine times in the Bible, this word, rejoice. Outside of one command in Proverbs to rejoice in the wife of your youth, every instance is about rejoicing in God and His eternal plans; most of the exhortations in the midst of the hard.

Psalm 118:24 commands us to rejoice in that day that Jesus became the cornerstone of our faith by being rejected by man and hanging on a cross to die in order to be resurrected.

Psalm 16:9 mentions rejoicing because of the very fact that He is now at the right hand of the Father and has saved us from ourselves.

1 Corinthians 13:6 exhorts us to rejoice with the Truth and that alone.

Luke 1:47 gives us the example of Mary rejoicing in God’s plans for her in spite of logic.

2 Corinthians 6:10 shows us how many rejoiced in suffering because of Christ.

Romans 12:15 encourages us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, thereby putting others’ completely above ourselves.

Finally, Acts 5:41 displays the disciples rejoicing based on the sheer fact that they had been found worthy enough to suffer for the sake of the Gospel.

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice.

Never once does the Word tell us to rejoice in our circumstances, or in our personal sanctification, or even in our prayers that were answered in the way we had hoped. No. Rejoice in Him and His ultimate plans for His children.


I want to be a woman who rejoices well. I desire to find joy in the things that God finds joy in. If you are reading this, I have a feeling that somewhere deep inside, that’s what you want, too. Today, I want to encourage us that God is pleased when we simply choose to find joy in what He is doing both in our lives and in the lives of others. He is pleased when, even in spite of the tangible, we fix our eyes on the unseen. The beautiful part of this is that when we rejoice in what is seen with the power of the Holy Spirit, asking to see through heavenly lenses, our joy becomes more authentic and our faith more concrete; for we will begin to see things as they really are. Jim Elliot once said, ‘He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose’. Even the best of circumstances on this earth are fleeting. But God. His kingdom is eternal and when we are choosing to filter our moments through this reality, we will in fact begin to rejoice in ways that we never thought were possible. Today, in the midst of whatever you are walking through, I pray that you rejoice in Him and Him alone. He is the Guide who will never fail you. His vision is exact, His perspective wide, His purpose perfect. All glory be to Him today and forevermore.


What Christmas Looks Like.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas–


Everywhere you go.


I love traditions.
I love the spiritual significance as well as the cultural significance of “the holidays”.
There are still warm and fuzzy feelings I get when I look back on all the things that remind me of Decembers past.

The smell of Evergreen and cinnamon. The twinkling of lights on holly bushes. The cold air and anticipation of maybe a few flakes of snow falling from the sky. The music. The stockings hung just perfectly over the fireplace. The giving and receiving of gifts handpicked especially for each person at the table. The peppermint ice cream, the egg nog, and hot cocoa. All of these things stir up smiles within my heart.

I had never idolized what holidays with our little family would look like until last year. After all, the girls’ first Christmas, they were a mere 8 months old; still at the point where they were not expected to participate. The next year, however, as almost two year olds, their peers were beginning to engage in the “magic of Christmas”, if you will. Suddenly, the doors of my heart were opened and it felt like someone was pouring salt into an already opened wound. I would see toddlers their age jumping up and down to the music, trying a gingerbread man for the first time, or looking at presents with excitement; and it felt like I was back at square one for a grieving process that seems to never end. There are many sufferings in this life that improve with time, yet the hurts of a parent with children with special needs tends to be a chronic pain that ebbs and flows from tolerable to gut-wrenching. After all, typically developing kids are all around, and when you have a hurt, your flesh and the Enemy of your soul put a magnifying glass on the pain.

Hugh and I are determined that we are going to do everything we possibly can to help the girls experience this life to the fullest. As the four of us decorated the tree the other night, Hugh pulled Ally’s highchair up to the branches, helped her hold an ornament by putting his hand over hers, and carefully assisted her in hanging the ornament. He did this with Bailey Grace as well. Hugh did this over and over again a handful of times, the process not being short. I can’t think of moments that I love him more than when he works diligently at letting our girls experience life. We drank hot chocolate, and the girls were able to smell it. It would have to be thickened to even let them taste, but I put a little on my fingers and had them lick It, which seemed to grace each of them with glee. Times like these are stark reminders that our family traditions are going to look much different than most; and I would be lying if they didn’t tend to bring a lump to my throat every time.

new pics march 2014 042

The name Jesus means Savior. Time and time again, both in the Old and New Testament, these words are written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…” (Luke 4:18)

This is the reason for the season.

We say we know this. Yet, do our lives and our hearts reflect it?

I believe that Jesus loves the fact that we celebrate His birth in BIG ways. I think it pleases Him to see us gathered together and feasting in honor of our Messiah.
But, I have to ask us: do we really understand what we are celebrating?

Do trees in our homes and pies on our plates really celebrate Jesus in a way that shows a watching world why our Savior was born in the first place?
Sharing the Gospel with those who do not know, serving the widow and orphan and homeless- might this be our parameters for “beginning to look a lot like Christmas?”

The unique dynamics of our family have caused the truths of His Word to penetrate my heart like never before, and while my flesh still longs for those typical, culturally-sought-out moments- my soul is satisfied in meditating on the deeper things in light of the story He is writing in our lives; and for that I am thankful.

Today, I want to challenge you to find awe and wonder within the true Christmas story. This Christmas season, might we honor our Lord by being His hands, feet, and heart in a broken world instead of fixating on the passing merriments that seduce our flesh into settling and camping out in the familiar. God wants us to enjoy one another and to enjoy the gifts He has given; yet He desires much, much more for us than that. He has given us the opportunity to participate in the true Christmas story –the one that involves reconciling broken, messy people to a Perfect, Spotless Savior. And- as I look at the current season we are in and I am tempted to think it “just doesn’t feel like Christmas” in light of passing circumstances, might I turn my mind and heart to think quite the opposite- this beginning to look a lot like Christmas makes the most sense in the midst of the times that we see brokenness and ashes most; for it is those places that Jesus was birthed to transform.

All may not be calm.

All may not appear bright.

Yet- all is under the control of His sovereign and loving hand.

It is, in fact, well with my soul.

May it be well with yours, also; today and always.