I Am Not Content. And It Wounds The People I Love.

I have more material possessions than 95% of the current human population on this earth.

Continue reading I Am Not Content. And It Wounds The People I Love.

9 Lessons I’ve Learned In 9 Years Of Marriage

Let me just tell you that when I fell in love with my husband I fell HARD.

Like I lost my mind.

My grades dropped. I barely slept. I couldn’t get enough. I was basically obsessed. Continue reading 9 Lessons I’ve Learned In 9 Years Of Marriage

When Sorry Isn’t Enough: A Christian’s Response

I remembering telling someone once to stop saying sorry to me because they didn’t mean it. And I was tired of hearing it every day.

That simple, childhood realization was the first time I remember distinguishing between an apology and a repentant heart. I didn’t know what to call it. I just knew I was being lied to. Continue reading When Sorry Isn’t Enough: A Christian’s Response

What Healing Really Means

Do you know what it means to be healed? It means you are free. It means your shame is so far behind you you can barely see it when you look back. It means there is freedom of emotion when you walk beside the Lord step by step through a valley and come out into open, wide plains.

Psalm 34 says, Oh TASTE and SEE that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit…He REDEEMS those who serve him.

Emotional healing is not a singular event. It’s a journey. And it is OK that it’s a journey and it is also OK for your journey to be unique and sacred in the ways that God devises for YOU. We love and serve a God who loves and serves us in individual and personal ways.

And it’s OK when you struggle. It doesn’t mean that you haven’t healed or that God is failing you or that depression is winding itself up to overtake you. It just means there is more to be healed. That’s it. There’s more. And that is OK too.

Oh friend…here’s to you! And here’s to all the bravery it undoubtedly will take to step toward wholeness. May you find all the joy as you walk your healing journey. And be encouraged, dear one – there is much ahead for YOU. There is joy as bright as ten thousand radiant suns…

When People You Love Fall Apart

Winter 2018 has been super heartbreaking in a lot of ways.

Someone I love is addicted to drugs, and watching them lose everything and waste away has been tragic in ways so deep I’m not sure there are words to describe how I feel…anguish??

Someone I love has cancer.

Someone I love is grieving the death of her only two grandchildren.

Someone I love is dealing with an incredibly stressful domestic abuse case.

And God is there in it all.

And God is there beside us through it all.

•••

A few months ago I came home from a long, rough, emotional day. I hugged my husband and then I said something I’ve never said before, “Let’s watch funny YouTube videos!”

Ummm…what??

Two hours before I’d been holding a dear hand and crying with a broken soul.

Laugh?

Yes. Laugh.

And for the next hour we sat and laughed until our cheeks hurt. And you know what? It was just the best.

Because I know who holds the future. And I know that grief isn’t just a steady incline to the mountain peaks…it’s also the rest along the way…the view of the valley. The small victories.

Yes, sometimes grief is the grey cliffs and the rocky terrain. Sometimes you get lost entirely.

But sometimes, after a little while of the darkness, you find that grief offers us glimpses of joy and peace and rest. That’s called mercy: compassionate care for those in distress.

Grief is an ebb and flow.

•••

God is there beside us through it all: the despair and the joy.

Someone I love is being relentlessly pursued by God.

Someone I love is being surrounded by the people of God who stood up to Love Well even when it’s hard and it hurts and you risk your own heart to do it because you might actually lose them and it never occurred to you before.

Someone I love is becoming a Grandparent all over again and God is there in all the sorrow and the mix of the wrestling with joy and grief, but mostly grief.

Someone I love has been given a new, safe home.

God is in the highs and lows. He is in the weight of loss and in the joy of newness. He doesn’t leave. He’s not afraid of brokenness.

And he is certainly not afraid of your brokenness…

From Victim to Healed: The Journey of Lament

No matter your story, no matter the type of abuse or level of abuse you might have endured, all sin wounds. And simply because all sin wounds, there is grief in the world.

Here it is: the truth about pain: it must be grieved before it can be gone.

Brokenness doesn’t go away. It must be forced to leave. If you let it, pain it will turn your heart to ugly stone. It will rot your soul until all that comes out of you is the stink of hurt.

Hurting people, hurt people.

If YOU are hurting people. And if you find that you cannot apologize or open your heart or show true emotion. If conflict follows you and relationships fall into the crevices of pride…if you lie a lot…then you have pain in your life you haven’t grieved and it’s eating you whole. It’s eating you a hole.

Maybe your grief isn’t that complicated. Maybe it’s impossible. Maybe you can’t even say what happened to you. Or maybe you’ve let fear own you.

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter even one second out of eternity.

Because Jesus already paid it all, didn’t he? And when he died the blood he spilled reached all the way back to the first light of the first start beam, and all the way ahead to the final light when the last beams fade.

God isn’t in time. He’s over time. So when God bled he covered all time.

And you…are…covered…too…

6 Thoughts on Young Shooters

It’s been a few days since the school shooting in Florida. The images are heart-wrenching. And honestly, I’ve barely followed the story. But I can feel the heaviness in the air and the weight of all the choices made that day and how they still linger.

A lot of people have a lot of opinions about young shooters (and just mass shootings in general)…and they should. People should think about the world and process the state of the broken and hurting in the country. Moments like this force us to ponder…

Here are my thoughts on the school shooting, but also just on young shooters specifically.

1. Hurting People Hurt People. No matter what, behind every abuser or killer there is a mountain of hurt and pain. When all that goes unseen, when entire generations overlook the broken, when ADULTS overlook the YOUNG…there is no where else for teens to turn but to hate. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. Remember? We learned this once, didn’t we?

Here is my question to you….how are YOU loving young people and teens and the broken and the overlooked? When is the last time you stooped to enter someone else’s world?

If your answer is never or rarely can I say with all the love in me that you are part of the problem.

2. Policies and Laws have never been all that great at keeping abusers from harming others; people are changed when other people invest in them. Believe me when I say, that I have seen firsthand how “effective” laws are at keeping victims safe. Believe me when I say that ADULTS really don’t want to hear about abuse…not really…because then you’d have to do something about it. You’d have to face it.

Here is my question to you…do you even SPEAK to young people at all? Do you invest in the lives of the young? Do you offer financial assistance to programs and churches and missionaries who are in the thick and in the mud and in the unbelievable darkness of the lives of teens?

You can walk into just about any youth group in America and there will be stories of rape, of physical abuse, of depression, of teen suicide, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and self-harm. It’s not new or shocking. You’ve just never looked.

3. Depression and stress are absolutely RAMPANT amongst teens. After five years of walking alongside youth in our community, and several years of Young Adult Ministry, and nearly eight years of consistent involvement in our church…I can tell you with confidence that depression is an enormous burden that many, many carry. If we struggle as adults and moms and spouses…how much more so must teens struggle?

No one can or should do life alone. Including you. Including them.

4. The church is on the front lines. If you’ve never been involved in church, this will seem odd to you. But the church has been, and is still, on the front lines of the battle for our teens.

In our small community alone, there are thousands of Christians who support, volunteer, and encourage youth. We still need more. We still need YOU!

Churches often have the gift of accomplishing much with little. Help a church in your community accomplish MORE!

But also know that the most impactful relationships are the ones forged in the day to day, over lunch, and alongside the ups and downs of life.

5. When you minister to broken hearts, your heart WILL be broken. My husband and I have cried for the youth in our church so many times. Our hearts hurt and ache when we see a student give up and start believing the lies that are literally dumped on them by our culture. When you love someone, you offer your whole heart to them. You cheer them on. You cry with them. Be that for someone.

6. This is absolutely a parenting issue. And love starts at home. Healthy homes do not produce hate and violence. And there might be very differing levels of parental responsibility case by case. But there is always an element of parental influence.

•••

You don’t have to be a pastor to make a world of difference. Just step outside your comfort zone and love on a kid with all your heart. And you will see the world change.