Posts

Beauty For Ashes

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  “...to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…” - Isaiah 61:3 CSB When you feel like your sin will define you forever, trusting that He will make beauty for ashes is difficult.   I grew up in Washington State. A few years after the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens, I saw the devastation that still remained.  Ash everywhere. Fallen trees. Destruction.    Yet, there were shrubs and green leaves popping through the piles of ash. Life amid destruction.   There are people who come to Mount Saint Helens and remove ash from the area. They put it through a refining process and create hand blown ornaments full of color and beauty.  If you were to see an ornament, you would not even realize the ash was in there.   That's what God wants to do for you.   Maybe you are in a situation where the pressure of poor choices has created an explosion that threatens to choke the life out of you. Perhaps remnants are still falling. Piles are still smoldering.  All you can see around you is los

Healing & Rest

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Maybe it's trauma from the past, maybe you're in the thick of a trial, or maybe the two have collided, but healing is complicated any way you "slice the pie." One minute you think you have a handle on all the things and the next you are trembling and wondering if you'll ever feel "normal" again. Healing can have so many layers. It's messy and confusing. It fools you into thinking you have jumped over the toughest hurdles before dropping a boulder right in front of you. Just as you begin to feel you are nearing the path of freedom, a chasm opens up and liberation seems further away than ever. The layers seem unending. The pain seems unceasing. The agony seems relentless. Friend, show yourself grace. Healing is hard. You are doing a great job. Oh, I know it doesn't feel like it. I know there is frustration at yourself. Fear as you fight off lies. Disappointment when you realize that your "good day" was disrupted by emotions that you canno

Reveal Your Identity & Share Your Story

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He appeared to be having an identity crisis. This boy of mine, with a spirit full of joy and an imagination full of superheroes. He looked at his too big shirt and proudly proclaimed, "I'm Superman!" A plastic mask gave him an even braver heart as he yelled to all who would listen, "I'm Ironman!" I snapped this picture and told my bold boy it was time to get in the car. He took off his mask, looked me straight in the eyes and said, "You don't want Superman. You don't want Ironman. You always want me!"  Always, sweet boy. I always want the unmasked you. The one who looks cute in costumes but cuter without. The boy who displays the same excitement for life out of character as he does in character. The little guy who knows that high-fiving and fist-bumping a stranger is more important than flashing superhero symbols. Oh, yes, I always, always want you!  This boy. He is a special child. Created by God for a purpose that far outweighs what

Sometimes I have to Check My Heart

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"For they loved human praise more than praise from God." - John 12:43 I had to check my heart just now. It's the whole reason I was just reading the Bible. It's the reason I stumbled upon the above verse. God is opening up doors for me to do minor work in ministry through writing and sharing my testimony and it is thrilling to my soul.  One of my key verses throughout my struggles has been:  "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." - 2 Corinthians 1:4 There is nothing I desire more than to proclaim what God has done and share with others so that they will find great hope in Him in their own struggles. But opportunities to be a guest writer on a couple websites and an increase in followers on Instagram and suddenly I am dreaming and scheming of BIG ministry. You know...ministry that includes popularity, speaking engagements for large crowds, and

Can I Carry You To Jesus?

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It was one of my darkest moments in residential treatment. Hope seemed lost. I was certain I would die from my eating disorder. I thought my faith was gone. Then, I had a phone conversation with Lois. A beautiful, faith-filled woman of God who reminded me of the Bible story of the man lowered through the roof. He couldn't make it to Jesus on his own. He was too sick. Too burdened. Too weary. His friends had to physically assist.  “They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus” (Mark 2:4, CSB). Lois told me all I needed to do was start reading my Bible and that she and the many others who were praying would be sure to get me to Jesus. I hung up the phone and did as she said: I read my Bible. The next day, I read it again. Then, the next day. Each day reading stuff that barely made sense to me at that time. Every day, while I was reading, people were praying

For the Weary on Mother's Day Weekend

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T he first phrase that comes to mind when I think of Mother's Day is "ugly-beautiful."  Christian author Ann Voskamp refers to this as when something beautiful comes out of something hideous, dark, and overwhelming. The ugly-beautiful. It's why I tolerate Mother's Day, and why I hate it. Hate is a strong word suited only for those things we detest the most. Hate is fitting for this. Because while I'm celebrating the beautiful, someone else is wrestling with the ugly. Someone is facing the loss of a child. A miscarriage, a stillbirth, a death of one who breathed on this earth...it's all just LOSS. Someone is throwing a pregnancy test across the bathroom and when it falls to the ground, it's as if another piece of her heart falls right along with it. Someone is trying to navigate this journey of life without the unconditional love of a mother because for some reason her mother's love is conditional. Someone is grieving the loss of her own mother, lon

The Ultimate Referee

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Several weeks ago, my boys were wrestling with each other. As tends to be the case, the wrestling got a bit too harsh and I knew in a matter of seconds a child would be crying out in pain. Me: "Boys, you need to be more careful. Be gentle." My youngest: "Why do you ALWAYS have to be the referee?" Ever feel that way? Ever feel like your "fun" is being spoiled by others? I reluctantly listened to a sermon from Dr. Tony Evans yesterday where he stated this about sin:   "You're in charge of it one moment and then it's in charge of you the next..."  Reluctantly listened, not because I don't enjoy his speaking, but because it was forwarded to me by someone who had just called me out the night before about something that has potential to be an idol.  I was already irritated because during my Bible study time this morning, my daily reading led me to verses about casting down idols and then, this... "You are not thinking about God's c