Transition, Transition, Transition

Today’s Coffee of Choice: Post Alley Dark Roast blend from Seattle’s Best Coffee (to give a strong push to my day and to help me get back to a regular blogging routine)

Today’s Scripture: He would speak the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand. And He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, He would explain everything to His own disciples. – Mark 4:33-34

It’s been a crazy season of transition for yours truly. My family and I are now located in a different part of the States. Boxes are still being unpacked after almost a year in a new home. Stress levels have been tested in the midst of a hectic summer. A new school district, a different job market, and a different routine are prevalent in our lives. It has been through this season that one thing has remained constant to me: The faithfulness of God in the midst of seasons of change.

I’ve been thinking, once again, about a term I was introduced to in college at a Cru leadership conference: Agape love. Honestly, in the season of stress I’ve found myself in, I’ve been shocked at the lack of faithfulness that can sometimes exist within a Christian church culture attempting to ooze answers to the general public. However, I think I am just relearning what it takes to be truly committed to following the example of Christ. I’m also rediscovering what His agape love for me is all about and learning to depend on him alone in the midst of life’s challenges.

For those of us who are Christians in more ways than church attendance and verbal affirmations, the friendship and love demonstrated to us by Christ’s life is vital to our personal growth. In a world where any excuse is found to demolish what real love and commitment should look like, it is essential to cling to the principles taught by Christ before His death and resurrection. I think that’s why, in the midst of major upheaval, I find myself reading through the Gospel of Mark once again. Mark has a succinct way of presenting the facts of Christ’s teachings. His writing also has a direct way of transitioning between events and parables… something I’m enjoying in the midst of a season where indirectness and foggy ideals have threatened to steal whatever joy the stress of the move has not touched yet.

The changes the disciples and Christ experienced in their own lives are highlighted throughout the book of Mark by simple descriptions and basic explanations that reflect the agape love Christ had for his closest followers. Today’s highlighted Scripture from Mark 4 references the immense care Christ took with those who stuck by him throughout the transitions of his own life. He taught with a method all of us love: Storytelling. He also took the time to explain the various metaphors and often complicated imagery contained in some of his parables to those who traveled with him. I believe he does the same with us in the midst of seasons where we are uprooted and planted elsewhere. In my case, he continues to use everyday lessons and parables to display his agape love and faithfulness despite the confusing examples I’m often presented with by those claiming to be his followers.

It is my prayer that, if you are in a season of change, you rediscover the faithfulness and care Christ has for you. Please comment below if you would like me to pray for you. Blessings!

Leaving It All Behind

Today’s Coffee of Choice: “Jamaican Me Crazy” freshly ground beans from Village Street Cafe

Today’s Scripture: It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. – Hebrews 11:27

Have you ever had to leave something or someone you loved behind? Whether it was for a brief time or an indefinite period, the process of leaving is not easy.

Glendale2015Recently, cancer once again forced me to experience separation from individuals I cared about. In the recent months, I’ve lost two more friends to the disease. The shock I faced in 2010, when cancer worked its way through my family while also facing the sudden deaths of several friends, was revisited. (Click here to read my thoughts surrounding funeral four of six during that time.) One of the recent individuals I lost served as a mentor to me as a young Christian and is still one of the main examples of faith that propels me forward in leadership roles I carry in my current season. In tandem with the loss of my friends was tragic news of the deaths of two young children of a dear couple in ministry in North Carolina. Learning of it made me hit my knees so hard on their behalf I think the carpet prints are still there. Then, there is the beautiful friend who succumbed to the choices she made while living ALL the aspects of a model’s lifestyle in Europe…. The devastation of it all can be so overwhelming sometimes.

Grief is tricky. Unless you have suffered a great loss, you cannot understand the mixed emotions or sudden tears that can often interrupt a day. Grief is also not limited to the loss of a loved one. It can happen with the loss of a pet, a marriage, or even a change in where you live. I can’t help but think that the Israelite nation faced grief as they stepped away from everything they had ever known, despite the pain they endured as slaves while living in Egypt, and pushed forward toward the land they were promised.

So, how do we deal with grief? I once had a conversation with the author of The Mended Heart, Suzie Eller. She shared her thoughts on the grief that often occurs within abuse survivors, and a cancer survivor who was seated at a table with us shared her perspective as well. Until that point, I had never considered grief as a response to abuse or living through a terminal disease, but it made sense to me as we all talked. The conversation was one of those I will never forget where time stopped and sisters in Christ were encouraged by each other in a way only God can make happen. One of the main conclusions we all came to is that you just have to let grief work its course in your life, not fight the emotions, and surround yourself with safe people while doing so. We decided that:

Truth Breeds FreedomAnother way I’ve discovered to help process grief is to cling to the wisdom found in Scripture. This helps negate the lies and negativity often found in the world around us. In Hebrews 11:27, we see five keys to follow when facing any major challenge… including the unpredictability of grief:

It was by faith (#1- HAVE FAITH!) that Moses left the land of Egypt (#2- Choose to leave the “Egypts” in your life behind you.), not fearing the king’s anger (#3- Don’t fear.). He kept right on going (#4- Don’t EVER give up.) because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible (#5- Keep your eyes fixed on Jehovah Jireh, your provider.).

May God bless you if you’re in the throes of grief during this season of your life. May you find His great peace in the midst. Please comment below if you would like me to be praying for you.


Choosing to Suffer

Today’s Hot Drink of Choice: Starbucks Breakfast Blend

Today’s Scripture: By faith, after Moses was born, he was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn’t fear the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasure of sin. For he considered the reproach because of the Messiah to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since his attention was on the reward. – Hebrews 11:23-26

If you’re like me, the title to today’s blog makes you cringe. All of us have different levels of pain tolerance, and most people don’t want to choose to suffer. Some consider a remodel or addition to their home excruciating, while others endure unspeakable horrors at the hands of monsters and wonder if they have the right to admit to how much they hurt. It’s true that some people can’t help the suffering they endure because of circumstances beyond their control. Despite this, within Scripture we see examples of people who chose to leave riches and comfort behind while taking the harder, but higher, road.

Moses is one of these people. He was adopted into royalty and had all the riches and power of ancient Egypt at his disposal. He chose, however, to pursue the harder road of helping those of his biological heritage escape the desperate trap of slavery. He gave up everything he ever knew to follow God’s specific will for his life: To be a voice and a vessel of deliverance and direction for the nation of Israel.

Throughout the Bible we see amazing examples of those who consciously chose suffering for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ is the most powerful example of this. Imagine having all of the resources of Heaven at your disposal and choosing a humble existence and brutal death instead of living it up! I’m pretty sure I could never make that choice.

So how do we live out this often misunderstood, but essential, aspect of commitment to God in today’s distracted world? I believe there are three key ideas that can help:

1. Focus on the FACT that God will never leave you or forsake you.

I cannot tell you how many times my confidence in God has pulled me through situations that seemed impossible. God and I have a solid track record. He has saved me from some really nasty stuff, and I know I can count on Him. However, my confidence in his faithfulness would be easily shaken if I didn’t practice number two….

2. Make prayer and study of Scripture a daily priority.

We live in a crazy world. There are people saying and doing all kinds of things in the name of religion. To know the true perspective of the God of the universe who sent His son to die for all of humanity it is necessary to invest one of the most precious gifts we are given in this world: Time. Being committed to prayer and reading the book God penned through amazing people throughout Christian history is vital to staying on track in this lifetime.

3. Surround yourself with Godly people who live the kind of life you desire while emphasizing holiness and self-control.

Not everyone is who they say they are. It often takes effort to discern sincere people versus those who are great communicators yet low on morality. It is wise to surround yourself with those who have proven they are sincere in their faith and are more experienced than you are. If their Christian walk looks like you want yours to look in a few years, then it’s good to examine the positive aspects of how they’re living.

For more on the topic of suffering and Christianity, check out this great book with some thoughts from some of modern Christianity’s examples of spiritual giants:


Living a Legacy of Faith

Today’s Coffee of Choice: Starbucks French Roasted, Extra Bold

Today’s Scripture: By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, “bowing in worship over the top of his staff.” By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions about his burial. – Hebrews 11:21-22

My favorite story in the Old Testament is the one about the life of Joseph. Maybe it’s because I long to be the type of person that overcomes tremendous obstacles with excellence and unwavering faith. Maybe it’s because I know the deep pain and lasting hurt that comes from being betrayed by loved ones. Whatever the case, the story of Joseph is a wonderful saga of heartache, perseverance, and redemption. You can find the entire epic tale in Genesis 37-50.

Joseph was more than worthy to make the larger-than-life list of heroes we find in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. However, I’ve often struggled with what is included on his plaque: His sons were blessed by his father, he mentioned the exodus of the Israelites at the end of his life, and he gave burial instructions. For someone who ended up second-in-command to a Pharaoh and saved a huge chunk of humanity using only his brain (not to mention his undying commitment to God despite being sold into slavery by jealous brothers, facing the wickedness of a lust-filled woman, and surviving the interior of a cell when wrongfully accused), you would think the writer of Hebrews would have mentioned some of his finer qualities.

Early 1900s Bible illustration of Joseph’s powerful position in Egypt courtesy of Wikipedia (public domain photo)

Instead, we get mention of a past event Joseph wasn’t personally involved in, a seemingly irrelevant detail about what graveyard plot he wanted to purchase, and the fact that his sons were liked enough by their grandfather to receive a blessing.

As I’ve dug into this Scripture, though, I’ve learned there is more to this small passage than meets the eye. In essence, we are getting snippets of three chunks of time as they related to the end of Joseph’s life: His past, his present, and his future. These verses are about legacy… and not just Joseph’s legacy. They’re about the legacy of God’s people. I think the writer of Hebrews is trying to make a point about how faith affects the overall portrait of our lives and how, though we have just one shot at each day we spend on this earth, we are intricately intertwined with the history of where we come from and the future days affected by the ripples we leave behind.

You see, Joseph’s life proved a point.

Joseph’s Coat Brought to Jacob – Giovanni de Ferrari c. 1640, courtesy of the El Paso Museum of Art, public domain photo (Find this part of Joseph’s story in Genesis 37:12-36.)

Victory can come from heartache if you place your faith where it counts. After years of separation due to thinking he was dead, his father was reunited with him. His father was then able to bless the next generation of his own (and God’s) people. At the end of his life, even with the majority of his life spent serving another culture, Joseph did not forget where he came from. He had confident faith that God would deliver his family to the land promised to them, and he wanted his remains to go along for the ride. (His burial instructions can be found in Genesis 50:25.) His faith continued to overcome fear and doubt to the very end of his days and even into the days of the generation that outlasted him. And, indeed, he and his legacy did make it to the Promised Land (see Exodus 13:19 and Joshua 24:32).

My question to you, and myself, is this: What legacy will we leave behind when we breathe our last?

Will our life be one of great faith? Or will it be one vaporized by vain pursuits and selfish longings? Joshua could have given up and given in at any point of his journey. He didn’t. He continued to have faith that he and his people would be restored. His faith did not return void.

These few verses aren’t just about one man. They are about two related men and a whole nation of people. The second relative is not who you might think. He would come thousands of years later, choose to wear a cross, and usher humanity into the promised land of God’s grace. That legacy of faith, Christ’s legacy, is one I choose to still follow today.

The Blessings of Children

Today’s Hot Drink of Choice: An early morning cup of Pomegranate Pizzaz Herb Tea to help start the day off on a reflective note (Sidebar: I proceeded to spill the tea on myself while it was still very hot. Just be glad you weren’t here to witness the note that whistled from my mouth at that point followed by a quick “Forgive me, Lord” because of one of the words I used. It’s just more proof that I haven’t arrived, and Philippians 3:12-14 is a good passage to define my life. 🙂 )

Today’s Scripture: 

It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. – Hebrews 11:20

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – Philippians 3:12-14

My kids are one of the best parts of my life. It’s funny because I’m not one of those girls who dreamed of getting married, settling down, and starting a family from the time she was old enough to think about such things. As a preteen, my head was often in the clouds. As a young woman, I was obsessed with excelling at collegiate sports and academics.

I remember having a poignant conversation with one of the camp counselors I served with at a Christian camp during the season of my life when I could drive all over the East Coast and hang out with teenagers whenever I wanted. (This was before I had kids.) She showed me a thick binder of all of the memories she was saving for her future husband and family. It was full of prayers and letters she had written for them and scraps of her life to that point.

For whatever reason, after viewing her masterpiece, I was numb. At first, I felt like some kind of failure to my gender. Then, I wondered if she was setting herself up for some kind of tremendous letdown if it all never happened. I got over it quickly because her love for, and hope in, people she hadn’t met yet was so contagious. It got me thinking, however. After that experience and a few other very motivating ones, I started to pray for whatever future family was in store for me on a daily basis.

Fast forward about fifteen years, and I find myself thankful I started praying then. I can now understand one of the points the writer of Hebrews makes in Chapter 11 about Issac’s blind trust. Being a parent requires an ridiculous amount of faith. We live in an insane world. Promising blessings to the young souls entrusted to you for a time requires a heck of a lot of courage.

It’s a journey worth fighting for, though. And it’s one I’m glad I’m on. I wouldn’t trade the drama of changing hormones and the sometimes sloppy, snot-filled kisses for anything. God has promised blessings to all of us, and it’s amazing to watch Him work in and through the lives of my own kids.


Examining a Sacrifice of Radical Faith at Christmastime

Today’s Hot Drink of Choice: Starbucks’ Christmas Blend

Today’s Scripture: By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. – Hebrews 11:17-19

I’ve been on an extended hiatus from blog writing. It’s now Christmastime, and I’m back!

Before the break, I was examining Hebrews 11. I left off with the above passage. This week I’ve again been thinking about what it means to have the kind of faith that leads to incredible sacrifice. We see this kind of faith in Abraham and Isaac’s story. We can also draw some easy parallels between it and the story of a baby king.

Many Christians are in the midst of celebrating the season of advent. Christmas Day is just around the corner. We’re in the midst of a time of year when hearts and minds are focused on the joy associated with the birth of Christ. The more I live my life as a Christian, however, the more I’m convinced there is a certain measure of personal sacrifice required to help recognize the reality of the true joy we celebrate this season. As I’ve been reminded again this Christmas, receiving a gift means something, somewhere was spent to make it happen. Abraham was prepared to spend the life of his own son. God made sure he didn’t have to by giving the gift of a ram instead. Years later, God would make the ultimate sacrifice of a heavenly son so that all of creation could be reconciled back to himself.

The way God writes His love story to humanity has always amazed me. Nowhere else can you find so many unexpected twists and turns as a mere boy defeats all odds to walk the earth and become one of the most intriguing and celebrated individuals of all time. Christ’s story of crazy love for those who then killed him by one of the most horrific methods to ever exist speaks of supernatural perseverance and unconditional passion. It speaks of deep humility that could only have been born in a manger. We have many examples throughout Scripture, such as Abraham laying his son on an altar, of what it means to have sacrificial, radical faith. However, I have discovered only one perfect plot to emulate… and it began to the tune of donkey brays and angelic hallelujahs. The life ushered into this world by such an unusual musical score would look and sound even odder as it matured. Jesus Christ of Nazareth would walk this world embracing rejection and sacrifice at an inhuman level; his love for those around Him unwavering in its purpose.

As we enter into this holiday season, let’s look toward the awesome example of a God willing to be made into flesh to inspire our faith. It is my prayer this Christmas that the reality of Christ’s example would deepen your faith and that you would have a peaceful, joyful time of celebration with those God has placed in your life. May you be inspired by the baby boy born so long ago to enter into the new year braver, bolder, and more committed to knowing God on a personal level.

Christmas Blessings,


Looking for a City

Today’s Coffee of ChoiceVanilla Caramel from Newman’s Own Organics

Today’s Scripture: Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that–heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them. – Hebrews 11:13-16 from The Message

This week, I’m going to do something different and look at the sermonette in Hebrews 11:13-16 through music. I’m dedicating the songs in this post to some lesser known heroes of faith who have already gone home. I’ve been inspired by all of them in many ways, and I’m so glad they were a part of my life… if only for a time.

In honor of Irene, whose example and words of encouragement spurred my life forward.

I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me (Watch it on

In honor of Mavis, whose joy and sense of humor I hope to one day attain a sliver of.

You Hold Me Now by Hillsong United (Watch it on

In honor of Dad, who gave me a love of music and pointed me toward Heaven with his life. I’ll always remember the way he sounded when he sang this song.

Looking for a City by The Gaithers (Watch it on

In honor of Aunt Louise, Aunt Doris, and Grandma P. Their love and life stories are proof to me of the truths in this song.

Revelation Song by Kari Jobe (Watch it on

The following link is for all those I know who have overcome adversity and are celebrating both here on earth and in heaven: (A special shout-out in honor of Heidi, who, like Dad, Aunt Doris, and Grandma P., lost her battle to cancer WAY too soon.)

Inspired by Their Obedience and the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study Blog Hop,