My Tilted Halo.

I have been dreading writing this post for about twenty four hours.

I woke up yesterday morning and already knew it was going to be written, and haven’t gotten it off my mind ever since.

I’m not quite sure why the calling the Lord gave me was to air my dirty laundry on the internet.

It’s certainly not comfortable– but needed. Goodness, it is needed.

There are too many Christians that present the Spirit in them but hide the flesh. They may speak about the sin in them but it is vague and often talked about in past tense. Through the years I have desperately, desperately needed Believers to step up and be real about their struggles- to speak to those of us who are being sanctified, who love Jesus deeply and seek Him authentically, but continue to wrestle with real, tangible, “it ain’t pretty” sin.

And really- isn’t that all of us?

I am going to warn you that for some of you, my halo is about to become a lot more tilted.

I have attempted to rationalize with myself why I shouldn’t have write this- how my witness would be tainted, how I might be seen differently to some- yet each and every reason put more weight in what man thought of me than God.

So, here we go.

Earlier in the week, I went to dinner with friends, and I point blank drank too much. Like, way too much. Not just a tinge of a headache. The kind of drinking that the Bible would signify as drunk. It was sinful, it was ugly, and it absolutely happened.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This has happened plenty of times in my life. It was a HUGE struggle of mine when I first became a Christ follower. But, it has been years and years and years since I crossed the line. I have walked through a million times why it happened- and then- I began to get more disturbed not at the sin of drinking too much but in my pride and shock of the sin itself.

The things that were running through my mind went as follows:

”A thirty-year old woman with twins with special needs who are currently battling illness? A blogger and writer in the name of Jesus that encourages others to turn from sin and turn to Him? Isn’t that a baby Christian kind of sin? Really?”

(Spoiler alert: there isn’t such thing as a baby Christian kind of sin. Sin is sin is sin.)

The Enemy was feeding me all sorts of lies- yet, hadn’t I sinned the day before, too?

Why was I taking a sin and basing its level of forgiveness on the consequences of it?

Why did I feel as if a sin that the world might name as bigger was actually greater in the kingdom of God?

The truth is- my righteousness has always been and will always be based in the name of Jesus.

No matter if I am standing in front of group of women preaching His faithfulness or drinking that extra glass of wine with friends- my standing with God is consistent.

As I look at God’s Word, turns out that most of the people He used were the broken who knew their need of a Savior; not the ones whose records appeared crystal clear.

And after all, God keeps no records of wrong anyway (1 Corinthians 13).

There will be some reading this that think, “See, this is why I don’t agree with this whole Christian thing. They feel guilty about having a good time!” – and for those of you who think that, let me let you in on something crucial:

I don’t want to stay away from sin because of some kind of moral standard. I desire to stay away from sin because the more I know God, the more I am aware of the death and pain that sin brings. The more I know God, the more He satisfies me and the less I desire to sin. It’s not a, “I shouldn’t do this”- it’s a, “I don’t want to do this because I want God more.”

But sometimes, as I recognized more than ever before, my flesh gets in the way.

There will also be some who read that have never had a drink in their life and think differently of my faith. For those of you who, if you are honest, feel this way, I want to gently ask you to think about how God would see you if suddenly tonight, you went out and drank too much. Would God see you differently? Would your righteousness be any less? If in your heart you can’t answer this with a resounding, ‘NO’… I encourage you to spend some time studying God’s Word and what He says about where our good standing with God comes from.

Friends, I’m sorry. I’m embarrassed and feel silly and I hope it never happens again. Yet- it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance, and sometimes, I think we need a good reminder of all that He has saved us from. The truth is, whether I understood it or not, that night is not what made me sinful. I have been sinful from the beginning, and until I meet Him face-to-face, this truth still stands.

“What shall we say to all this? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace (favor and mercy may multiply and overflow? Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?”- Romans 6:1-2

Friends, I am writing this because I want to speak to those of you who might see someone like me, someone who is writing about faith in the midst of suffering, and assume that I don’t struggle with real live sins. For the person who thinks that Christians only sin through a little gossip here and there, a lack of patience every now and then- here you go. I seek Jesus daily, He is what I want my life to be about- and I am still a mess if not but for the grace of God. I am writing this for the person who feels like they have to get their own act together before they come to the throne. Forgiveness from God came before repentance- He forgave us when we were still in our sin- and being a Christ follower is all about recognizing the fact that He is the only reason we can come to God. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Christ didn’t come to save a certain type of person- He came to save all who would come to Him in faith. He came to save us from all our sins- both the ones that feel forgivable and the ones that don’t. He is our judge- there is freedom in being able to confess our own sinfulness and still receive unconditional grace from a Holy God who has freed us from that we could not free ourselves from.

And, I refuse to care more about what my neighbor thinks than my Savior.

My prayer is that someone is reading this that desperately needed to know that you can come to Him and find forgiveness in the midst of all your junk. I pray you would be drawn more to the Love of God than the things of this world, and that when you fall short (as we all do each and every day) that you would come quickly to the throne of grace to receive full forgiveness from The Father- all in the name of Jesus.

Beloved: You are forgiven if you but ask.

All glory, and honor, and power to the One who set us free from death itself.

Only He is worthy.

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”- 1 Timothy 1:15

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”- Hebrews 4:16

The Freedom to Feel Disappointed.


Ally has a cold.

This may sound like nothing to some of you.

Just a cold, right?

In our house, “just a cold” looks like inability to eat.

It looks like attempting to cough up mucus, dehydration, and lots of vomiting.

It looks like putting her in our bed because of very rational fears of aspiration.

It looks like hospital grade suction machines and syringing pedialyte into a feeding tube ever so often in attempts to get a wet diaper and lower a heart rate.

It looks like me sitting in my couch starting at 5 this morning, reading, praying, and typing in between helping her elevate enough to cough.

It looks like Hugh and I having casual conversations of a game plan if we end up having to get admitted, as if we are talking about the weather for the day.

Just a cold.


“You should be exceedingly glad on this account…”- 1 Peter 1:6

Not only is this the girl’s birthday week, it is also a week that we have some fun things planned. Today was supposed to be our last meeting with the girls’ Early Intervention team- a group of people who have entered into our home and done therapy with the girls since they were less than a year old. I was even going to get my hair done tomorrow. #firstworldproblems I know; but I can really begin to throw a pity party when it seems that these things always happen just when I feel like I’m able to come up for air. As a parent of children with special needs, it’s not that you get used to watching your children suffer. It’s heart-wrenching every time; but there is a level of desensitization that has to occur in order to survive the day-to-day. I remember the first time I watched the girls get shots. It felt like the worst thing ever. I cried and cried in the car on the way home, barely able to keep it together in the doctor’s office. These days, if I cried every time a doctor or therapist did something that made Ally and Bailey Grace upset, I would spend most of our days in tears. If I lost it each time Ally struggled through a coughing spell, I wouldn’t be able to be the mom she needs me to be in her sickness. There is a level of momma turns caregiver that has to occur in these times; and I’m thankful for the grace God gives to help me do so. But, exceedingly glad?

“Set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ the Messiah is revealed.”- 1 Peter 1:13

You see, you either follow Christ or you don’t. There aren’t versions of being a Christian, or levels of Christianity, or radical versus not radical. You either set your hope fully on the grace that is coming or you don’t. Period. Sure, there are denominations and differences in theology and interpretation, yet the Gospel is the Gospel and whenever we try to add anything to it, we are substracting from the very truth of the Word of God.

Does this mean that we don’t get disappointed on this side of heaven?

No, no, no.

Look at David- he was considered by God a man after God’s own heart- and the Psalms are full of moments in which he felt temporal frustration. Having faith doesn’t mean you never experience disappointment on this side of heaven. Having faith means that you can confidently and authentically take your disappointments to the One who promises that One day, He will repay double for all the disappointment.

“They shall possess double what they had forfeited.”- Isaiah 61:7

Think about Job. After losing basically everything, he came to a deeper realization that while he may have lost it all from an earthly perspective, he possessed all he needed- namely, the friendship of God. And, Job 42:1 and 12 both claim that the end of his life was more blessed than the beginning. God outrightly says that. Now, I don’t know how this could be true in light of all the losses Job had, but I don’t have to understand it to trust it.

Friends, today I am extremely disappointed. I wish this sickness never had to enter our family but if it did, there are several other weeks I would have chosen for it to come.

But God.

I’m resting fully on His promises- like the deer that pants for water, I come to Him thirsty for the truth that He will fill these weak and hurting places and grant us the peace that only He can give.


And, when circumstances and situations and timing leaves me wanting- I can breathe deeply in the promise that says that this world is not my home and greater things are coming.

We are not called to rejoice in the circumstance itself; we are commanded to rejoice in Him in the midst of the circumstance. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

But God.

Only God.

Today, whatever disappointment you are carrying- lay it down.

Cry out to Him and beg Him for the mercy to believe and hope and trust solely in the Greater Reality that is Jesus.

Today, in the Cheek home, it is Friday.

But, Sunday is coming.

All glory to God from now until forever.


The Perfect Spouse.

I have to laugh sometimes at the things God puts on my heart to write about. There I am, folding laundry, in the midst of what I would call, “(No)-Sleepocalyse 2016”, when I sense God whispering (not audibly, mind you- I am sleep-deprived not delusional), “Write about what it’s like being the perfect wife”.

Say what?

Those of you with creative minds out there understand what I mean when I say that once He places this idea into my head, folding laundry turns into frantically finding paper and scribbling out random sentences that don’t quite tie together but will be laced intricately as only God can do.

It’s very therapeutic, this fleshing out of soul-manna.

Back to the perfect wife thing. This was comical to me for two reasons: one, our current reality didn’t seem to fit the theme He was going for- I was picturing something more along the lines of finding rest in Him or hope for the weary or something more timely. Two- and probably most important- I was feeling anything BUT like the perfect wife. Weeks like the past few Hugh and I have had leave us feeling like excellent teammates. I believe God has given us a unique ability to “work” together in our home. Being a really great co-worker, however, doesn’t allude to be an awesome wife. In fact, I would say that, “Loving Hugh better” has a permanent post-it on my prayer wall. But here’s the thing: I cannot write unless it’s His and not my own. Truly. My own thoughts and muddled sentences do not form anything inspiring or encouraging or truth-filled; it is only when He speaks to me that I can overflow to pour out.

So, in light of that, I want to take you on a quick journey.

It’s 2011, and I have plans of being the perfect wife.


Now, mind you, I should’ve known how bogus that was, considering I had fallen quite short in the perfect girlfriend department (and, let’s be honest, all other departments as well). But ladies, (and gents), you know exactly what I mean when I say that I was attempting to be all that I thought Hugh wanted me to be. I went hunting with him and killed a deer because, you know, #outdoorsygirl . I had perfected the, “No-make-up” make-up look (don’t even act like you don’t know exactly what I mean). I had cooked him a handful of meals that took more time and more money than the past year of dinners probably have. I was going to be passionate about my home AND ambitious about my career, balancing both with ease and intelligence. And, when we had kids, I was going to put them in their perfect little place within our perfect little puzzle and continue my superhero abilities at being everything for everyone.

This all worked out great until I got married.

Suddenly, the picture I had in my head was not the reality I was seeing on the day to day.

It didn’t matter how much I prayed or how much I tried, I couldn’t get it down.

My weaknesses and quirks began to come out, and my plans of being exactly what Hugh wanted slowly began to unravel. I went from this:


To this:



“Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than the one named after the order of Aaron?… for the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son wo has been made perfect forever.”- Hebrews 7:11, 28


Turns out, Hugh doesn’t need me to be perfect.

Our culture has twisted marriage and turned it into a selfish playground rather than the holy covenant that it is. We have treated it like it’s a happiness factory, and when the happy stops coming, the product must be broken and we move on to attempt to manufacture another. We say things like, “I just want someone to complete me” when another human being was never meant to make us whole in the first place. Friends, only Jesus has been made perfect forever. Only He can satisfy those deep unspoken needs within us. My weaknesses- our weaknesses- should not terrify us. They should not be things that we sweep under the rug or attempt to package up with a pretty bow; rather, our weaknesses should be the very things that speak this truth to our spouses:

Only Jesus satisfies.

When we begin to look at our own imperfections and the faults of those around us as more proof that we desperately need a Savior, we can love more freely instead of shaming and blaming and becoming discontent.

The truth is, even if you were in a different factory, the product flaw might look differently but it would still be there.

And- instead of trying to be everything for our spouses- why don’t we start leading them more fervently to the One who CAN be?!

Isn’t that true love?

The most sacrificial and compassionate act within a marriage is not sex, or dirty dishes, or laundry, or dinner- it’s leading our partner to the One who says never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.

Marriage is amazing. I love Hugh deeply and I am so grateful God put us together in this life- yet- let us be reminded it is a shadow of greater things to come, not the thing itself. When we realize this, it actually allows us to love each other more, not less. It takes away the expectations for our spouses to be something for us and instead, lets us simply live and love and serve alongside one another. When we ask God to fill up our cup with Himself, we don’t spend the day walking around with an empty cup asking those around us to fill it- we simply let the love He’s already given us overflow. This is true love. This is Jesus. Perfect forever.

I don’t know where you are at in life- single, dating, engaged, married. Spoiler alert: you are not going to be anybody’s perfect- you were never meant to be- yet you can lead them to the One who is. There is freedom in throwing in your, “trying to be something for everyone” towel and simply being who God created you to be. He is not surprised by your weaknesses and a spouse who knows their Creator won’t be either.

Today, may we love more fully on the basis of knowing we are fully loved. May we give ourselves and those around us the freedom to be human; and may we gratefully embrace the God who reconciled our weaknesses through His Son. Perfect forever. May we love our spouses not based on performance or expectation or personality but instead, on the basis of Whose they are and Whose image they are made in- weaknesses leading us to more of Him and His strength. His grace is enough.

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(Photo by Stacy Richardson Photography)


“We are urgent about the body; He is about the soul. We call for present comforts; He considers our everlasting rest. And therefore when He sends not the very things we ask, He hears us by sending greater than we can ask or think.”- Richard Cecil

 “No soul can be really at rest until it has given up all dependence on everything else and has been forced to depend on the Lord alone. As long as our expectation is from other things, nothing but disappointment awaits us.”- Hannah Whitall Smith

Saturday night, I laid down in one of the softest beds I have slept in in quite some time. I closed my eyes, and was not woken up by screaming, or crying, or inconsolable pain from the room next door. Yesterday morning, I woke up ready to conquer whatever was ahead. It’s amazing what sleep can do for the body and soul.


In the world of special needs, sleep disturbance is a pretty common issue. So many people have it much more challenging than us- kids who are literally up most of the night, every night. It seems ours comes in spurts- the harder part being that Ally and Bailey Grace have yet to line up those spurts congruently. We were so grateful that our precious nurse, Amy, seemed to have an easier night while we were gone (to put that in perspective, I think she was only up a total of five times; with neither girl being up for too long when they did wake up). Last night, the tables had turned and while Bailey Grace was up some as well; Ally was now the one who seemed uncomfortable.


Last week, as I lay in bed around 3 am, contemplating yet again a medicine change or specific issue that could be the cause of the unknown, the Lord reminded me of two different seasons in this journey with our girls: first, He brought to mind the initial realization that our girls were unique. Then, He reminded me of our search for a diagnosis. What these two have in common is crucial: in the beginning of each, I prayed and prayed and prayed for both healing and answers. I wanted this whole thing to go away, and then, when it seemed as if God answered that prayer with, “Not yet”; I begged Him to at least give us more understanding on the whole thing. I realized that our night time debacles carried a similar theme:

“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips, when I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the watches of the night; for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.”- Psalm 63:5-7

Don’t miss that. The truth is, while Saturday night’s sleep felt amazing, it had nothing to do with true rest. What I really need- what you really need- is rest of the soul. Each of our bodies are fading and in their own time, they will be no more. The souls of men- this is what matters. As I marinated on these verses, it hit me: we have already prayed for the girls to sleep through the night, and while there is nothing wrong with this prayer; it seems we are getting another, “Not yet” from God. If that is so, maybe what we really need is not sleep but rest. And- rest is found when we fix our eyes not on the circumstance but on the God above the circumstance. You see, each and every time the girls have woken up in the past (almost) three years, I have felt the same sinking frustration. It felt like, yet again, God had not answered my request.

Do you ever feel like that?

Do you ever feel like instead of responding, God pulls the rug out from under you yet again?

You pray and pray for a child, and the pregnancy test has one line over and over and over.

You beg God for your spouse to grow in his/her relationship with God, and it seems they are falling even further away.

You seek the prayers of many for healing, only to find new complications arising.

Is God not hearing? Or-almost more hurtful- is He just not answering your cries?

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory…”- Ephesians 3:20-21

May we never believe the lie that His, “Not yet” or even, “No” is not His best for us.

Our perspective is imperfect and fleeting at best; His is eternal.

Might our prayers change from, “This is what I want” to, “Lord, show me what I need”.

May we look at our trials not crying, “Me, me, me”; but instead, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done”.

Because the truth is, what we really need is not for all our problems to go away. Deep down, our greatest need is that we would see our Creator above all that happens on this broken planet.

Until we begin resting in the truth that all He allows can be a good gift when filtered through the lenses of forever, we will be restless in the things that don’t make sense to our humanity.

Until we, as the Psalmist says above, begin to mediate on Him instead of our situations, our souls will not find satisfaction. Yet, in our darkest of nights, if we choose to see Him above it all- even the gates of hell will not be able to take away the calm He provides.


I wish I were someone who needed one lesson to learn the whole chapter- unfortunately, I’m a slow learner when it comes to this whole trust thing. That’s okay- there’s grace there. As I was awake with the girls last night, however, I smiled as He replaced my anxiety with more of His presence. I breathed in His promises and relaxed in the shadow of His wings, and reminded myself of all the ways He has shown His goodness to not only our family but also our brothers and sisters in the faith. I don’t know if we will ever experience sleeping through the night again, but this I do know: He is faithful. He is responsible. He is loving. Our rest comes solely from Him; and no night of sleep will ever provide the peace that trusting our God can. Seeing God in everything makes life one long thanksgiving and brings the greatest rest of all- rest of mind and heart and soul. May we cling to this today and always.

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”- John 21:25