Processing and Praising Jesus

I am a slow processor. Sometimes I overthink things, sometimes I avoid thinking on all the things, sometimes I’m just procrastinating. But one can only procrastinate for so long before the words just need to come out.

I’ve been reminded time and time again this week (and last week) that my God is a personal God, a personable God, and a Sovereign God. Salvation does not lead us to need to do more, but it is an opportunity for God to shower us with even more gifts. My relationship with God is not based on anything I do right, or wrong. It is based on His faithfulness, His righteousness, His goodness and mercy.

And while my life sure has not been perfect this week (hello, parenting teenagers… hello, selfishness… hello, over-scheduling… hello, anxiety), time and time again, Jesus shows up and shows off. It started with these random flowers in the middle of a pile of dead weeds in my yard, blooming way in advance of any of my purposefully planted daffodils, and completely different. Showing off in their tiny size and stunning, two-color display, just smiling at me. I don’t know where they came from, but they sure put a smile on my face and reminded me of my Creator, who loves me and gives me good gifts—He created all things and holds them together, even in a seemingly random way in my backyard.

When I look back on my week, I see the gifts in abundance and I am reminded of the importance of remembering and giving thanks. I’m thankful for a walk with a friend, for a view of the city, for trees in bloom in the valley, for a perfectly timed sunset, wild turkeys up close and personal, for homemade iced coffee drinks, for endless supply of books (libraries are a wonderful thing), for hugs from my kids, good conversations, hard conversations, loving correction from my other half, homemade pizza, fellowship with the body of Christ, the opportunity to pray on behalf of others’ needs, Jesus—always Jesus.

My friend encouraged me to “Stop and smell the flowers,” so I picked up a $4 bouquet at the grocery store. One of the great podcasts (#HumanHope with @loswhit) I listen to reminded me to “Lower the volume of life,” so I’ve chosen silence while driving more often these last few days.

And when I make space, and read God’s Word, and pay attention to the gifts around me, I give thanks. I give thanks for the the way God is gracious. And faithful. And holy. And just. And full of loving kindness. He gives His children many good things, we just need to keep our eyes open to see them.

So when I’m overwhelmed by my sin and by the sin of the world around me, I run to Jesus and I rest in His forgiveness. I look for the ways He shows up. I count my blessings. I repent. I accept His grace. And I shout His praises to those around me.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name.

Psalm 119:132

#HopeWriterLife #SoulStruggle #amwriting #writeyourheartout #justwrite #JesusOnlyJesus #1000gifts #ChasingOutTheDark #TheMinistryofPayingAttention

Write my way to Truth

When I write, I am a better me.  When I write, I take the time to process the hard stuff, to acknowledge what’s right and wrong, to remind myself of truth, and to pay attention to the good God gives. When I stop to write,  my mind does what David’s did when he talked himself out of the stinkin’ thinkin’ and talked to God in prayer.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted in me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him”. ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭42:5‬

The weather has me down in the dumps today… it’s a lovely, dreary, gray March day. Tomorrow’s forecast doesn’t look much better. And it’s easy for my mind to focus on the negative, and when I keep it mental that is exactly what happens.

However, when I take the time to write down and name the negative stuff, I naturally shift toward taking the time to combat the negative with truth. I can’t explain it, it just happens.

So I remember that my soul is cast down, but it doesn’t need to stay there. I can hope in God. I continually use foggy days to remind myself that God came down. He came to earth to walk among us, to show us The Way, to pay the atonement for our sins. I can find the pictures on my phone of last week’s sunrise and remind myself that the sun rises every morning and God created all the seasons for our enjoyment.

I can remind myself and you that Jesus laid down His life for my sins and I don’t have to live in defeat because we already have the victory.

Sunday’s coming!

#HopeWriterLife #HolyWeek #Godwithus #HeavenComeDown #ChasingOutTheDark #writeyourheartout

The Weight & Wait of Holy Week

I’m having a hard time stringing words together these days. I’ve seen some beautiful sunrises. Winds and rains have blown through and knocked down some very dead trees (there’s a lesson in that). The birds are singing, and in the valley I’ve spotted the spring flowers blooming. But my heart is still stuck in winter, my soul is stuck in short dark days. 

I’m overwhelmed with the dailyness of life.  Parenting teenagers has me questioning all my life choices. I don’t know how to re-enter life, church, family, friendships, etc. I don’t want to write, but I’m sad when I have not written.

I say I don’t have time to write, but it’s also that I’m not making the time. I look for inspiration and I come up wanting. I’ve forgotten how to look for beauty, to pay attention to ordinary things, to find hope and joy in the blessings I am taking for granted.

I think of the weight and the wait of Holy Week, of all of lent. And I am always reminded of Hope. Hope in tiny, little flowers. Spring will come again. Friendships will evolve, change, grow. Children will make me laugh …and cry, and grow. Jesus rose from the dead. God and the truth of His Word changes lives. God is faithful, even when I am not. The sun shines. Some day I will hug my friends and family again. When I don’t understand, I just need to remember God is in control. God is directing my steps and the steps of those I love.

Sunday’s coming.

#HopeWriterLife #SoulStruggle #amwriting #writeyourheartout #justwrite #ministryofpayingattention #itssimplytuesday #TuesdayYouAintCute

Jesus Makes All Things Possible

Do you know what is possible with God? Stubborn people can be saved. Relationships can be restored. Healings happen. Blessings come in abundance. All things.

Psalm 103 reminds us that Jesus forgives my sins, heals my diseases, redeems my life from destruction, crowns me with loving kindness and tender mercies, satisfies my mouth with good things, renews my strength, executes righteousness and judgment for the oppressed.

Sometimes I just need to write that list out and personalize it for myself. Perhaps you need the reminder, too. Writing it with actual pen and paper settles it into our hearts and minds in real way. Writing out Scripture, writing out prayers is something that I’ve gotten away from in the busyness of this season. But I’ve been reminded.

Because that’s what God does. He lovingly, tenderly shelters us as a mother. He teaches us the same lesson over and over (Hello, Israelites and disciples). He shows up and shows off and shows me that He loves me personally. He created me intentionally. And He has a plan for my life (and it’s better than my plan).

This weekend was full of a variety of situations that didn’t fall under “my plan.” I didn’t respond well in most of those. I may have had a minor breakdown. If I’m being honest the whole past year has been quite the drift from my plan. But God is not surprised. And He uses all these things for His glory and for the good of those who love Him.

So as I look at this photo I snapped Sunday morning, with the intention of writing that day, I’m reminded that God brings beauty in the starkness of winter. The sun still shines. The sky is brilliant blue. The shadows and highlights display His creativity. That tall pine tree stands tall and firm. Even dead trees have an odd stark beauty about them.

I’m reminded that He gives me words when I take the time to sit still and listen and write. He gives me sunrises and sunsets. He gives me laughter with my kids and the hard conversations. He forgives my impatience and helps me seek forgiveness of others. He gave me a place of employment that talked me through my oven connections (I think I even learned something about flare union adapters and NPT threads). He gives me delicious take-out options on the days I live in my car. He provides neighbors willing to help and give me tea. Phone calls with friends, dark chocolate, coffee. Good books to read. Hot showers. Chiropractic care. Rest. And all of this is over and above the gift that is all I need.

Jesus. He makes all things possible. What do you need to ask God to show you today? What has God done for you that you need to acknowledge and give thanks for?

#HopeWriterLife #FiveMinuteFriday (on Tuesday) #fmfparty #writingprompt #writingcommunity #possible #JesusOnlyJesus #juliesmonthlyspot #onceamonthspot #frontdoorview

Take a walk and look for Jesus

I took a walk this evening. Same walk I took almost 5 months ago, when I tripped over a wrinkle in the sidewalk and bit the dust and broke my hand. It was dusk, probably not the wisest, but I put my phone away. I wore my actual sneakers. And I paid attention to the rise and fall of the sidewalk.

It’s good for me to walk again. Winter and busyness and life stress has not been kind to my eating or exercise habits. I needed to know that I can walk and it’s good for me. My hand has not returned to full strength. It still hurts when I cut too many veggies, write too many words, carry too many groceries, stir dinner soups for too long. And sometimes I’m afraid it will never be what it once was.

Sometimes, it’s the simple processing of hard moments, life-altering events, the “getting back on the bike” moments. Other times, it takes a bit more. Like when I think that exactly one year ago, I was having coffee with a friend, we talked about the virus buzz, we talked about church and Jesus, we talked about teenagers and parenting, we talked about friendship. I’m pretty sure that we did not talk about online church or wearing masks or virtual school. I miss coffee in actual coffee shops with friends.

And one year later, I think of all the things I miss, how desperate I feel to return back to life as it once was, and it’s easy to focus on the things lost, the events cancelled, the schooling struggles, the grief. But I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned and I know that God has given us much more than was taken away.

I don’t want to forget the gift of endless family dinners with teenagers, family hikes, whole weekends in pajamas, technology to keep us connected, summer outside gatherings, library curbside service, processing hard junk, being more aware of social injustice, studying Lamentations, focusing on the attributes of God, flexibility of virtual school, 4-H zoom opportunities, ordering take out, still going to work every day in a safe environment, taking the time to read more.

I’m thankful for the things I learned while my hand was broken and for seeing God’s faithfulness in the way He provides. I’m thankful for hope, because that is what this year most needs. I’m thankful for Jesus because as I lean on Him and rest in Him, I learn His goodness, His faithfulness, His sovereignty.

I stop on my walk (full stop) to take pictures of the twilight hour. I come back to the car and wait some more and write with heart full of gratitude that He is with me, He gives me words, He never leaves me or forsakes me, He is always reminding me of his everlasting love.

As you reflect on the last year, because we will all reflect in some way, look for ways to give God glory, look for all the things we can be thankful for, look for the helpers, look for the blessings. What are you thankful for as you look back on the last year? Where do you see Jesus?

HopeWriterLife #amwriting #faithwriter #writeyourheartout #writeitgirl #JesusOnlyJesus #alwaysJesus #brokenbones #takeawalk #givethanks #1000gifts #gratitude #hardeucharisteo

When the words won’t come

I wrote for 28 days straight in February. Some of those words came easy and some I really had to work for. I needed the challenge, the accountability to stick with it. I work best with specifics, guidelines, a plan. I loved the commitment to sitting down every night and plunking out a few words and thoughts about life, writing, hope, and always Jesus.

And then I ran out of words.

But God is faithful…

Life seemed overwhelming. I’ve been processing reminders of grief, pandemic anniversary emotions, teenager angst and hard conversations, regular life, and continued unknowns about the future. There were no word prompts to give me a starting point for the blank page. I struggled with the frustration that at the end of the day, at the end of the writing challenge, I am right back where I started. The things that I wanted to write about and process were not for publishing, and I haven’t quite figured out how to write just for me (journaling has never been my jam).

But better writing only comes through practice, through a devotion to the craft, even if it is just a hobby. To being okay with writing short essays and sloppy essays. To writing consistently even if it never sees the light of day. To never, never, never, never give up. To be who God created me to be.

My thoughts are all over the place. So I reign them in and remind myself that God remains faithful. Always faithful.

God has come to give us abundant life—in Him. My joy and contentment isn’t found in social media, my children’s life choices, being a published author, not even the weather(although sunny days sure do help). My abundant life is found in Jesus, only Jesus. Joy is found in living in communion with God and His Word, in living in community with the body of Christ, in giving glory and praise to the Creator of the universe, and in pointing others to Him.

When I’m reading God’s Word, those words will flow out in my writing so that I can encourage others. And the lesson here is for more than just writers. In anything you are called to do, it can only be improved by the time you spend with Jesus. So I remember His faithfulness and pay attention to the ways He continually draws me close to Him. And I read His Word. And I write. And I daily remind myself that He can be trusted with all the unknowns and He’s not finished with me yet. He’s not finished with YOU either.

#JesusonlyJesus #sunshine #Sonshine #HopeWriterLife #FindYourVoice #amwriting #writingcommunity #justwrite #writeyourheartout #writeitgirl #instawriter #faithwriter

Finding Creativity in the Winter Blues

Today, my creativity is all dried up. I’m seeing the world in dusty grays and faded whites, and the dreary weather matches my mood. I have good intentions in my writing challenge, in writing to find my voice. And then I procrastinate and scroll social media, I go do more laundry, I read the same paragraph three times in a book I want to read, I snack because I’m bored.


And none of it helps my creativity, none of it inspires me to write. So I stop and look out my front door view and take my monthly picture. A moment in time to pause and remember and reflect. And I stare at what looks like a black and white photo because the sky is so gray and I can’t find the sun—in my days or in my heart.

I know the season is just that—a season, and the sun WILL shine again, the clouds will give way to blue skies, and some of the trees will grow leaves again. The snow will melt, the grass will be lush and green, and the birds will perch in the branches of the tall pine tree. But part of the routine of taking a monthly photo is to be present in the moment, to appreciate the ups and downs, to find the creativity even in gray, even in the sadness.

Sometimes art is quiet and subtle. Sometimes beauty is barren tree silhouettes against a gloomy winter sky. We give thanks for the snow as we watch from our warm windows. We remember that even gray winter skies can be pretty. Creativity is the landscape of sloping hills, rocks, and trees.

When you don’t feel creative, it’s okay to read a lighthearted fiction when you can’t get through the philosophical non-fiction, or watch a movie with your kids. Creativity is remembering that God is with me when I can’t shake the blues, and every day is not wrapped up in a pretty bow. His mercies are new every morning, and sometimes the mornings feel as dark as the nights. But still He is holding me. 

Sometimes beauty is barren tree silhouettes against a gloomy winter sky. #write28days #creativity


#Write28Days #Creativity #FrontDoorView #onceamonthspot #juliesmonthlyspot #ministryofpayingattention #ministryofordinaryplaces #JesusOnlyJesus #winterblues #soulstruggle

Be awestruck by God

“Do not be awe struck by other people and try to copy them. Nobody can be you as efficiently as you can.”

Norman Vincent Peale

You were made for a reason. You are unique and you have something to offer the world that no one else can provide. God created you and placed you in this timeline surrounded by the people that need you most. Don’t try to live someone else’s life. 

It’s easy to be enamored by famous people, those who seem to have a fairy tale life, who have it all put together and have perceived success. We put athletes, actors, pastors, writers, other moms up on a pedestal, but it is important to remember that God created you for YOUR purpose and for your life.

Don’t be awestruck by people, be awestruck by a God who loves you unconditionally, who created you in His image, and gave you all the feelings and skills and even limitations to live a life to bring Him glory. Yes, He created you with what you need and gave you everything you need for life and godliness in His Word. He wants you to live an abundant life with the power of Holy Spirit living in you, not in your own strength but Christ in you.

Be awestruck by a God who never changes, and showers us with an abundance of beauty in creation, in nature, in the people that we live daily life with. Be awestruck by a God who heals, who sees, who is just and holy. And be awestruck by the gifts and talents He has given to you and use the opportunities He gives you to love others.

#Write28Days #HopeWriterLife #Awestruck #writeyourheartout #soulwrestle #JesusOnlyJesus

Chasing the Moon

I chased the moon rise last night, out after dinner, chauffeuring the kids, and gave thanks for a warm car, and the design of God’s creation that gives the gift of a full moon on a regular basis. I watched the sun set in the rear view mirror.


I chased the moon set this morning as I rushed off to work and gave thanks for the beauty of power lines and morning skies and bright moons. For a job that is full and fun, and again for a warm car. For the reality that my phone camera will never catch the full beauty of the experience.


The design of God’s creation reminds me of God’s personal hand in my life. He goes before me, He comes behind me, He is with me when I rise and when I sleep. He is ever-present. He designed my family, my path, my story. He gives good gifts to show His love. He gives hard gifts to show his glory.


God is all-sufficient, all-knowing, righteous, just and merciful to name a few. And His master plan is one worth chasing. In the busyness of life with teenagers, a job, dreams of being a writer, and desires to live better in community, may I remember that God’s design includes rest.

#MayYourKingdomCome #sabbath
#HopeWriterLife #JesusOnlyJesus #FiveMinuteFriday

Fix it, Jesus

God can fix it all. He can fix the stubborn teenager, the obstinate toddler, the irritating coworker, the unfocused primary student, the crazy politician.

There are some days when I just want to fix myself. I feel broken, bruised, unfocused, and yes—so selfish. The writing is sparse, the spiritual disciplines are weak, the patience with my children is thin, the communication skills—the listening part especially—are lacking.

I want the easy button, to just be consistent, to be better, to always respond right, to listen and understand and respond with grace. But the good things in life aren’t easy. The caterpillar doesn’t become a butterfly through an easy, soft, simple transition. It takes work. The seed doesn’t sprout without the hardship of rain and dark places and hard sun. So in the Christian life God uses the struggles to develop the strength and habit of relying on God in all things.

God can fix it all. He can fix the stubborn teenager, the obstinate toddler, the irritating coworker, the unfocused primary student, the crazy politician.  But most importantly He can change YOUR heart so that your response to those prickly people in your life is one of grace and an overflowing of Christ’s love at work in you.

So often my focus is on fixing others, fixing my surroundings or circumstances, fixing perceived offenses against me; but my focus should be on fixing my own heart, my own thought patterns, my own habits and responses. And I am reminded all the time (and it’s hard when people speak into my life and are right—but I need it), that change comes through Jesus and time spent with Jesus, in His Word.

Today, I remind myself, and you, of the importance of being in God’s Word… not just biblical commentaries, and ancient theological writers, and fluffy Christian self-help books. But reading God’s word for yourself and letting His alive and active words speak to you and your heart. It’s not a change that happens overnight and sometimes we (And I mean ME) get discouraged by God’s timing and our own propensity towards sin. But God does not give up on you and He loves his children unconditionally. Read His Word and be the Jesus you want to see in the world today.