Tuesday, November 17, 2015


It's kind of hard to believe it' been 18 months since I last typed out a few lines here.

Although a part of me wishes I could say I've spent the last few months soaring from one mountain-top experience to the next, the truth is, I've found it to be the case that most of the growth that's ever happened in my short life has happened somewhere in the valleys. 
Just please don't ask me all the ways I've grown these past months, because I don't know if I'd have an answer for that.

But the question I do have an answer for, is if God's been good to me. And He has. More times and in more ways than I can recount or fathom. Every gifted breath and every-beat of-my-heart kind of goodness. The kind that paints the sky a million brilliant shades, and hangs the ivory moon among the stars, each one named and known, just to see me smile... The kind of goodness that springs from the heart of a God willing to give up His only Son to a cruel death, so that a planet living in open rebellion would have a chance at eternity with Him. 

This time last year, I was living in a small peaceful town in TN, and now I live in a big city where there's a couple thousand miles and time-zones between me and my mom, brothers, and cat.

So a couple months in I'm still in the middle of figuring out this transition and half the time I feel like I'm muddling everything up. New state, new job, new everything. Change can be hard. And sometimes I ask myself how I ended up here. Sometimes I'm tempted to doubt if I heard God correctly, if I'm messing up His plan for me and most days I still feel like a little girl still learning to tie her shoes. I still doubt my nursing skills, still second-guess so many decisions and often feel inadequate. 

And I am. Inadequate. But that's the beauty of it. He makes up the difference. Every single time. 

One early morning a handful of weeks ago as I was walking to work weighed down by the reality of my stressful job and feeling anything but graceful or put-together and talking to God about it all, I came across a quote that stilled my troubled heart.

"In the matchless gift of His son, God has encircled the whole world with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air which circulates around the globe. All who choose to breathe this life-giving atmosphere will live, and grow up to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus." EGW

With the cool breeze on my face as I crossed the walkway a couple of stories above ground, the distant mountains still draped in darkness, that quote, it felt so incredibly real. It fit perfectly into a crevice in my heart I hadn't realized needed filling.

"as real as the air which circulates around the globe"-- I was feeling the air that I daily breathe in that moment. And God reminded me, His grace, even when I don't feel it, IS there. And it encircles me. Every day, all the time. 

All. the. time. 

So often I've heard about grace,and intellectually appreciated it, but sometimes my heart had trouble fully connecting. It's a word I often felt was overused/misapplied. But this quote, during this season of my life...it's an answer to a prayer I hadn't realized I had been praying.

His grace... Every day at work, I've seen it in action. Everywhere I go, I see it in places and in ways I've never before. And I'm grateful.

Even if the quote really isn't that profound, to me, it has been. Because now, at the most unexpected times or places, I think of grace. And now anytime I happen to feel the wind blow against me or hear it whispering through the trees, I think not just of the Holy Spirit, but also of grace. And of what it costs Him. 

"In the matchless gift of His Son."--that's what this grace costs Him. It costs Him everything. Present tense, not just past. 

I am so incredibly blessed to know about God, about Jesus, about heaven. To know that every good and perfect gift in my life is straight from His hand...to know that His unmerited favor will continue to surround me, even when I'm making a mess at life, even when life gets hard...Even until the end of the world. He is there bestowing grace upon grace. 

So many hurting souls still haven't been granted the opportunity to know Him like we do. We live in utter luxury (...but that is another topic, for another day...).

Anything that turns my eyes heavenward, anything that increases my appreciation for His immeasurable sacrifice, anything that centers me deeper into Him, anything that gives me a hunger for more of Him, may I always treasure it and never take it for granted.--So for now, in the midst of some weighty life seasons and transitions, I'm hanging on to this quote, and asking Him to continue to help me to "grow up to the stature" so that not only I can learn to live in the reality of His "life-giving atmosphere", but so that others too can come face to face with His eternal beauty and make Him their own. I want heaven to be filled to overflowing. 

And this little sliver of heaven? This second niece of mine? Ali Rose...she too speaks of grace upon grace. Clearer than most everything else.

 Little October-niece, how utterly grateful I am to be granted the privilege of being a part of your life. May every day you live bring you closer and closer to the One who formed you, and loved you before you were even a star in your mothers eyes. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Secret Waters

Trees and I, we have this thing...they, well, mostly they just grow strong and tall and I, well...mostly I just watch and admire them any chance I get--often inspired by them and always awed by them. The stories their varying shapes and hues tell reminding me of a gracious Creator-God who cares about my story as well.

And evergreens...I have written about them before, but here recently, I am once again seeking to learn the lessons held amid their limbs and leaves.  

They prove to me time and again that circumstances ought not to be dictators of my happiness or success--at least the kind of success that God counts.
"The Christian is likened to the cedar of Lebanon. I have read that this tree does more than send down a few short roots into the yielding loam. It sends strong roots deep down into the earth, and strikes down farther and still farther in search of a still stronger hold. And in the fierce blast of the tempest, it stands firm, held by its network of cables beneath.

So the Christian strikes root deep into Christ. He has faith in his Redeemer. He knows in whom he believes. He is fully persuaded that Jesus is the Son of God and the Saviour of sinners.... The roots of faith strike deep down. Genuine Christians, like the cedar of Lebanon, do not grow in the soft surface soil, but are rooted in God, riveted in the clefts of the mountain rocks.

If the Christian thrives and progresses at all, he must do so amid strangers to God, amid scoffing, subject to ridicule. He must stand upright like the palm tree in the desert. The sky may be as brass, the desert sand may beat about the palm tree’s roots, and pile itself in heaps about its trunk. Yet the tree lives as an evergreen, fresh and vigorous amid the burning desert sands. Remove the sand till you reach the rootlets of the palm tree, and you discover the secret of its life; it strikes down deep beneath the surface, to the secret waters hidden in the earth.

Christians indeed may be fitly represented by the palm tree. They are like Enoch; although surrounded by corrupting influences, their faith takes hold of the Unseen. They walk with God, deriving strength and grace from Him to withstand the moral pollution surrounding them. Like Daniel in the courts of Babylon, they stand pure and uncontaminated; their life is hid with Christ in God. They are virtuous in spirit amid depravity; they are true and loyal, fervent and zealous, while surrounded by infidels, hypocritical professors, godless and worldly men. Their faith and life are hid with Christ in God. Jesus is in them a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Faith, like the rootlets of the palm tree, penetrates beneath the things which are seen, drawing spiritual nourishment from the Fountain of life." (The Signs of the Times, July 8, 1886)

I have one kind and patient Teacher, who uses something as "simple" as beautiful trees to teach me lessons about His steadfastness and strength against all odds, and about how I too might find the same strength from sources unseen.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Into Eternity

"Look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

Driving home, I'm gripped by this sky; gateway of hope... In awe of the One who extends such beauty my way in the midst of some dark and unsettling times, and grateful for the hope I see traced in heaven and earth alike... but most of all grateful for any chance at all for an eternity with Him.. A chance that He has made possible at incalculable cost to Himself.

And while a cloud of a thousand questions hovers over horizon and haunts my waking and my rising , I don't for a moment want to forget what it cost Him, and why I am blessed with the knowledge of this hope. The most treasured of gifts, the most invaluable,  this one out of all others must be shared, and who am I to attach a clause to my surrender, in how I might spend or be spent for those to whom I owe the knowledge of this hope? this hope of eternity, with Jesus--He who laid out all on the alter so that all eternity might be ours?

I don't mean to hesitate before Him, I intended to be strong and brave from the start...but as I gaze  up at the flag in the sky, I feel as if I'm looking at my heart, threadbare and exposed, one strong wind away from being whipped from its anchoring pole.

 ...Still I gaze...just long enough to look past and settle my eyes once again on the sky above... and I sense Him asking me to look up.

...Past the veil of the temporary, past the pain of the present, and into the future that kept His heart anchored.

 "What sustained the Son of God during His life of toil and sacrifice? He saw the results of the travail of His soul and was satisfied. Looking into eternity, He beheld the happiness of those who through His humiliation had received pardon and everlasting life. His ear caught the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.

 We may have a vision of the future, the blessedness of heaven. In the Bible are revealed visions of the future glory, scenes pictured by the hand of God, and these are dear to His church. By faith we may stand on the threshold of the eternal city, and hear the gracious welcome given to those who in this life cooperate with Christ, regarding it as an honor to suffer for His sake.

As the words are spoken, 'Come ye blessed of my Father,' they cast their crowns at the feet of the Redeemer, exclaiming. 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.... Honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever' (Matt. 25: 34; Rev 5: 12, 13). "

 ~ whiteestate.org ~

In light of the window of time that is left me...and in light of the immeasurable treasure I have in knowing Jesus as my personal Savior, how can I not willingly do anything or give anything if it might draw even one soul to Him?

To know Him, is to share Him...

And how He wants to be known...

So how well do I know Him?...

 Look up...

Look up...this is His repeated refrain to me here recently, Him knowing all too well that unless I continually look up beyond the earthly and into His face, one way or another, Satan will make sure the anchor of my soul doesn't hold. 

O Lord...May I not forget to look up, and only up...

In times like these, you need a Savior,
In times like these, you need an anchor;
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!
        The Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One,
The Rock is Jesus, The only One
Be very sure, be very sure, Your anchor holds,
And grips the Solid Rock.
        In times like these, you need the Bible,
In times like these, O be not idle!
Be very sure, be very sure,
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.
        In times like these, I have a Savior,
In times like these, I have an anchor,
I’m very sure, I’m very sure,
My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock. "

Monday, October 14, 2013

September 19th, 2013

Countless changes have come to our family in the past twelve months. Some quite expected and welcomed, others not so much, but through it all He continues to sustain and uphold and give only what's best and hands down the best gift ever this year? Baby Katie.

On the 19th, welcomed into the world four days shy of my own birthday, this September-niece of mine has birthed a whole new season for our family, and to say that we are over-the-moon excited to be aunties and uncles, grandma and parents would be quite the understatement.

Late September finds mami-dear and I flying out west to meet her, getting to spend two short weeks.
I hesitate to hold her at first, tiny drop of beauty that she is, sure I'll be clumsy and breathe too fast and one wisp of air might just make her disappear...but irresistible as she is before long I find myself waiting my turn with her again. And again.


Holding her in the early morning stillness while parents sleep, this little bundle of heaven, I gaze at her, want to memorize her face, want these moments to last forever...

I didn't know love so fierce was possible until I sit here and feel her breathe and watch her eyelids lightly flicker against the light of the rising sun. How I wish I could keep her from all harm and all darkness and all pain and all evil and  I hope that she sleeps this peacefully and safely every day of her life. This fragile feather of a child, how she has stolen our hearts completely and irreversibly.

Life will never be the same, as sister Susan said so well.

Watching skyline outside airplane window, across country and back, I realize again the weight of our life-choices, and how other lives are shaped for better or worse by our daily decisions. As a newborn Katie is dependent on those around her for everything, and as she grows up, we are the picture of Jesus that will frame her understanding of Him. How truly weighty all we do and say is. What a responsibility. Privilege, yes. To share Jesus with others is an incredible honor...but such a huge responsibility...and more than ever I want my heart to be centered on Him so that my words and my actions might reflect that union that my heart has with His.

When my time on earth is done I want to be able to know that I let Jesus live in me, that I didn't stand in the way of others seeing Him, that I didn't think so highly of myself as to mislead others into a false understanding of who He is.

My heart rejoices that my niece is among the privileged few who are blessed with two godly parents, both determined to do all in their power to raise her in the love that they have found in Jesus. Lord willing, she will one day in heaven look back on her family and know that it was because of their example that she too loved Jesus enough to choose eternity with Him.

Back in Tennessee,  I find myself whispering prayers for her throughout the day, this tender life. So young, so innocent, so moldable.

Another little life to love... Please, Jesus...May she find in You her hearts home, may we as her loved ones be not a hindrance in her walk with You, but a help.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Whole World

How I wish the whole world could read this post. First read it late Friday night and haven't had a chance to share the link until just now, but delayed as it may be, share it still I must...

I want to scream it from the mountaintops and tape it to every door and stuff it in every mailbox and wave it in front of every face and...

...but... maybe it's my selfish heart that needs this picture of what Christ and His heart-wrenching love look like more than any other?

Yes, my heart needs it most, and may I not forget.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

All I See

With pen in hand and journal in lap, I write out words to the Author of words.
I keep trying to absorb into my heart as the ink soaks into the page, the inexplicably merciful providences of this God who claims me as His daughter--This God who so generously orchestrated events as to place me in the path of a handful of the 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

I think back to the past few days, back to when I saw God's indescribably beautiful heart reflected in the lives of complete strangers.

And here is where pen stills, words fall short.

That He would so markedly reveal His purity and love through frail men and women? That He would take the dust of the earth, hardened hearts, and transform them to where their love for Jesus and those He died to save is unmistakably etched into their very person and where the weight of the world has no hold on them? That He can so captivate their hearts that they in turn can't help but selflessly seek out the hurting and fight for those held captive to sin? ...

O for athousand tongues...

These humble souls, they have stirred in my soul a deeper hungering for more of  Jesus. For if they are but a mere reflection of the One they love, how is it that I ever want to look anywhere other than into His face?

One day soon I will get to see the longsuffering and compassionate Savior, who can so beautifully transform a soul, face to face. With no veil between.

What a day that will be.

May Christ be all I see.
"One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple."
Psalm 27:4

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Only Hope

His words;"One thing is certain--He is calling you--calling you to give your all.", they say it all.

The lines blur as I read John Lello's words from March 2010. I can't help but weep...
Please, keep his family in prayer.

"Friend, will you lose your life for Christ? It’s your only hope of really living. Won’t you join us in answering God’s call? Perhaps He is calling you to give your life for the unreached. Maybe He is touching your heart with our mission to the Ama people and calling you to support us with your means and prayers. But one thing is certain—He is calling you, calling you to give your all. "--John Lello           

Your only hope of really living...

 He is calling.