Friday, August 30, 2013


"There's no place like home, there's no place like home." I honestly think if Dorothy was less emotionally dependent on her little dog Toto, we could have been bosom friends. Oh well, but how I do love home, as there really is no place like it!

Today, I left home. (Or the house that my parents have lived in for the last sixteen years in the humble town of Blythe, California.) I am so blessed to have a home I like, not because of its physical presence, but because of the feelings of warmth it brings. Thinking of my home and my family make me feel safe, valued, free and loved. Home is much more deeply routed in the sense of security, significance and acceptance that a person desires, than the physical place.

The first time that I moved away from home was as a freshmen in college. I was so pathetically homesick. It probably had something to do with the fact that I wasn't prepared for everyone evacuating the dorms on the weekends. Commuter schools, for the win! However, in my homesickness, God met me in a deeper way. I had grown a ton in my identity in Christ in high school and while I was preaching truth to myself daily, I had yet to consistently stick in the routine of intentionally getting time in the Word with Jesus everyday.

That all changed as a freshmen in college. My daily time with Jesus was the only time that I felt at home. Early in the fall semester I came to John 14:23, "Jesus replied, 'Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.'" What a promise! I was sold. I was going to obey God by spending time with Him, and He was going to love me, come to me and make His home with me. And God has done exactly that during these last 8 years!

So this morning as I drove through the desert, I was blissfully at peace. God is going before me in the move to Davis, He has been with me all along the way, and because of His Presence I will always be at home.

Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness in making Your home with me, for continually meeting me and encouraging my heart in the ups and downs of life. I am reminded of Moses' words, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here." You go with us, even as the rains cover the desert. You are good.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Obedience is a word we often shy away from using. To many it conjures up severe resistance and people throw out "legalism" as though to feign away from simply doing what is right.

Lately God has been making a point, my job is to obey Him.

I was on a cruise to Alaska during the middle of July. It was a Christian cruise with lots of old people, old people who love Dr. Charles Stanley. Dr. Stanley's life motto is "Obey God and leave the consequences to Him."  For the follower of Christ this is essential, it is the fruit of a true lover of God. While Dr. Stanley mentioned it a few times, it wasn't really until I got home from the cruise that my time in the Word began to bring it to life a bit more.

As I was finishing up Genesis, I was struck by Joseph's obedience to do what was right, even when it did not benefit him, particularly with Potiphar's wife. Joseph went to prison because he refused to sleep with another man's wife and in her bitterness and rejection she lied about it. While Joseph clearly had God's favor in the prison and ultimately it allowed him to be made second only to Pharaoh when he was brought out, I'm sure it wasn't a fun place to be. He wanted out, telling the chief cup-bearer to remember him. And Joseph is a Christ-type, we see him show compassion and forgiveness to his brothers, we see God use him to save many lives. Joseph trusted God enough to obey Him and many lives were saved.

As I have been hitting the funding trail pretty hard the last three weeks, as one of my most beloved friends is suffering deeply, and I'm on this medical detox/diet (which is petty, but I have the least amount of physical energy I have ever had), obeying without getting the desired consequences seems really, really hard. I honestly don't want to obey if things don't change, but I cry out to God and He gives me the grace to obey.

I remember Jesus, and I think of Him on the cross. God's only Son, innocent, but punished to death all the same, accused, beaten, nailed to a tree, in full weakness and agony bleeding, and abandoned. In that moment Jesus was in full obedience to the Father.

So often we focus on the cross, and rightly so, but in our lives when we focus on our own crosses or trials, we can lose sight of Jesus's resurrection power. Maybe it is the impending nature of our problems or our sinful self-absorption that weigh us down so, but once through the trial life is always a bit richer for those who walk with Jesus through it. He is true to His Word, He strengthens us and helps us, He upholds us with His righteous right hand. Jesus obeyed the Father and went to the cross, in righteousness He conquered death and on the third day He rose again. Because of Jesus's obedience to endure the cross, our sins have been atoned for once for all, and now in Him we have the promise of the resurrection. Jesus in perfect submission obeyed His Father and many lives were saved.


Tonight there is another choice before me. To obey or not to obey? My dad asked me to do something that I don't want to do because of my selfishness and pride. I know my dad thinks I'm the more mature person in the matter, and so he's calling me to be the Spirit filled, new creation that I am. Why would I want to blast this person with my grievances anyways? Self-righteous pride is all I can come up with...ugh. And if I don't blast this person? If I let him continually blast me and impose himself and his ways, and choose to obey God's commands to love, what could the fruit of that be? Could it be the saving of many lives? Could the good news of Jesus reach other people by my choosing to love this person (whom I already love and am just frequently annoyed by)?


I'm reading a book for my training called "Training for Trainers: A Discipleship Re-revolution," T4T for short, and it shares some of the Kingdom principles that have been helping the gospel spread in really exciting ways around the world. One of the things it highlighted was that maturity for the Christian is not based on how much you know, but rather how much you obey. In America, we often focus on how much we know rather than having a fully yielded heart to obey God.


Psalm 32:8-10:

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
    but the Lord’s unfailing love
    surrounds the one who trusts in him."

Lord, thank You for your all sufficient grace, and your complete work on the cross. You are counseling me with Your loving eye upon me. You have me right where You want me this summer as You break me of my own ways. I trust You, Lord, for You are good. I repent of my disobedience, of wanting to justify my actions, of wanting certain comforts more than wanting to love others. I come to You. Thank You for giving me the strength each day to do Your work. Thank You for my dad's loving eye on me, too. Thank You that my parent's living room for my bedroom during this two month stay as it has made me ever so excited to move to Davis. Thank You for all You do and provide. Help me to be more like You, Jesus.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Boxes of His Faithfulness

At times it can be fairly overwhelming to see God's faithfulness in your life.

This summer I am in the middle of a move. The first leg of that move is completed my apartment was successfully boxed away (a few weeks ago now). As I packed up my belongings, I was amazed.

When I moved to Arizona two years earlier, the only things I really brought with me were a desk, a couch, books, clothing and some linens. In the time that I lived there, God really blessed me with people giving me furniture, especially from different family members. And then it seemed like dishes and all the things I could use in a kitchen were also added to the mix along the way.

As I began to pack away these possessions, I was reminded at the timely provision of the different items. Where they came from, how they blessed my heart and allowed me to bless other people from the apartment. I remember finally feeling settled in February, and it was about a week later when I was unexpectedly asked to move for my training with The Navs. But as I packed away these boxes with a bit of sadness to leave this sweet place, God so gently reminded me of His faithfulness. So even in the monotony of taping, packing and taping more boxes, I just kept telling myself, "this is a box of His faithfulness."

Then a few weeks later I was reading through Genesis and 21:1 stood out to me. It says, "Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised."

As I moved to Arizona, God gave me promises to pray for myself and for others. I have had the joy of seeing His grace and his faithfulness as He has done what He said! I can't help but think of Sarah and the way that she laughed at God's promise to her, in her old age and still barren, but God in His grace is faithful, even when we feel like He has promised us and asked us to trust Him for the impossible.

Genesis 23:1 tells us Sarah lived to be 127 years old. That's old! I'm only 26 at present and can't imagine all of the ways Sarah saw God's faithfulness in annuals of her life!!

So as my earthly possessions are boxed in storage until September, all labeled and categorized, I can't help but think of my life in the same way. I have so many boxes of God's faithfulness stored away in my heart! Boxes labeled "His tangible provision," boxes of "His abiding Presence," "His direction and guidance," "His discipline and rebuke," "His abundant grace and forgiveness." Boxes of "answered prayers," "opportunities to serve Him and help others know Him," and the boxes just keep piling up!

I praise you, Jesus, for the lavish love that you pour out on us, for we are the sons and daughters of God! Lord, what joy it is to pause and remember all the ways You have led me and to know Your great faithfulness to me! May I be quick to declare You faithful! Quick to remind myself of the ways You have provided! You didn't spare your own Son, but God, You gave Him up for us all! How will You not graciously give us all things?! I rest in this truth. I thank You for providing a ransom for me! I am secure in Your grip.

Friday, July 5, 2013

4th of July - Blythe

I stood in line for the free Popsicle with my sister-in-law and we both had the odd feeling of being in our home town and knowing so few names of the people we faintly recognized. I guess that's what time away will do. 

As the program started my patriotic heart swelled and I began to get a bit misty eyed. A sweet six year old sung "You're a Grand Ol' Flag" in honor of her dad, who is currently deployed. Then the names and ages of the 19 firefighters who died in Prescott earlier this week were read, while the melody of "Amazing Grace" played. After a moment of silence and the national anthem, the show was to begin. And before a single firework went off I was thankful, thankful to be in Blythe, thankful for the small town warmth.

The fireworks began. Michael whispered from behind, "Don't you think there will be fireworks in heaven?" "No, we won't need them. We totally underestimate the glory of Jesus." "You're right." And as  the array of fireworks glittering through the night sky and the blanketing booms of the exploding color bombs continued, I was so excited - caught with the hope of the new heaven and earth bursting forth some day, the power of Jesus's resurrection fully unleashed!

As Frank Sinatra serenaded us with "God Bless America" my heart was led to prayer. 
Lord, would you return us to our former glory? To be a great sending nation? To see your gospel go to the ends of the earth? A nation's glory truly comes from declaring and demonstrating God's glory. 
O that we would wake from our slumber and walk in the light! 

I carry my sweet, tired, semi-scared, nephew back to the jeep. He grips so tightly to me. And in the back seat on the way home he holds my hand from his car seat, as leftover fireworks boom overhead. What a wonderful place to be! What a feeling to be looked to as a place of refuge by someone so meek and timid, and to confidently assure them of their true safety.

We celebrate freedom on the fourth of July, freedom from unjust oppression. I think of Jesus who came in the flesh, lived perfectly though tempted in every way, who died in my place to set me free from the power of sin and death. I rejoice! 

Thank You, Jesus! May I be strengthened for the work ahead! May I help others know You and the freedom that the truth of Your gospel brings! Lord, we are ever desperate for You! Lord, so many are fools and say from their hearts, "there is no God," but we know it is not so. You are God, You reign even now! And we ask for You to turn hearts to seek You! Lord, strengthen Your bride for the task You've commissioned her to do, and wake her to walk in Your light! How beautiful You are, Lord! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Your way is holy

Tonight a dear friend had a beautiful, healthy, baby girl. Cause enough to rejoice is a new, precious, little life. But today I have to think of the details, the details of this pregnancy, of this mama, her family and the road they've been on these last months.

This fall brought news that my friend and her husband were once again expecting. However, with Thanksgiving weekend came the news that she had breast cancer. The days that followed included a mastectomy and chemo therapy. And four weeks ago Sunday my friend's four year old nephew, Jaden, suffered a traumatic brain injury. His mama, too, is expecting and late into her third trimester.

Shortly after her nephew's injury, my friend shared:

"Our family has dealt with a lot this past year. I believe that dealing with the breast cancer has enabled us to better deal with Jaden's horrible accident. I think of it like a mountain climber with a heavy load. The breast cancer helped us to build our muscles, so that when a heavier burden was placed upon our shoulders (Jaden's accident) our knees of faith did not buckle. Psalm 77 has been my heart:

'I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might, I yell at the top of my lungs. He listens. . . . I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord; my life was an open wound that wouldn't heal. When friends said, "Everything will turn out all right," I didn't believe a word they said. . . Once again I"ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I'll ponder all the things you've accomplished, and give a long, loving looks at your acts. O God! Your way is holy!' (The Message)"

I am so deeply humbled as I get text messages about Jaden and follow the posts and pictures on facebook. I am so thankful for the deepening faith my friends' have as they walk these roads, for the way that they find joy in Christ and the small victories He gives, even with great uncertainty ahead, because their eyes are on Jesus. 

He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith! We fix our eyes on Him! 

Lord, thank You for the ways that we can see and know Your faithfulness. Thank You for being ever faithful and loving in all You do. Lord, Your way is holy!! Lord, You work all things for the good of those who love You and are called according to Your purposes. You are achieving in us an eternal glory that will far outweigh our troubles. May we ever fix our eyes on what is unseen, and on You. Thank You for this sweet baby girl, may the legacy of faith that is so obvious in her family be strong in her heart all her days! May many praise You for the faithfulness that You have shown and will continue to show these beloved ones. May their weeping be ever turned to joy, may they go from strength to strength til each appears before You in Zion. Continue Your work of healing and restore Jaden to himself. Lord, heal his brain and allow him to gain back the simple life functions he had already mastered. I ask specifically that you would allow Him to swallow on command and with ease soon. Strengthen His parents for the days ahead.

And Lord, thank You for this gift on a day like today where the brokenness in the world hits us in our gut. Lord, I look to You. God of all compassion, I wait for You.

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness! I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'" - Lamentations 3:21-24

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I would not choose the circumstances that force me to lean into You, Lord, but I would choose knowing You in this way. So thank You for authoring the details of my days and making it so my heart will boast in You alone. You are my Rock, my refuge. You are my good and gracious Father. You are my Help, my Maker. I rest, surrendered to Your care.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

DIY Valentine's Shirts

I love Valentine's Day! (I may have even rambled on about it last year on Arizona's centennial.) I love love. I love celebrating! I love hearts. (They make me happy because they're symmetrical!)

This year, a friend and I wanted to do something sweet for our friends, so we decided to make them Valentine's shirts. And figured we might as well make ourselves some in the process, too.

In order to do this project yourself, you'll need:
-2 t-shirts per set (we used V-necks)
-Acrylic paint (We used hot pink, red, fuschia, pink, silver and gold.)
-Paint brush
-One plastic straw for each color used
-2 pieces of cardboard or poster board
-Drop cloth or plastic table cloth

In order to prepare your area, lay out the drop cloth. This project gets a bit messy so you may even consider doing it outside.

First, take one shirt and fold it along the v-neckline. Go along the bottom hemline of the shirt and fold it flush. Then place on piece of cardboard between the two shirt layers. (When the shirt is folded one sleeve should be in the center. See picture above, if you're confused.) Fold the same shirt in a similar fashion, but fold the v-neck so that it is facing the opposite direction. This way when the friends, or Valentine's, wearing the shirts stand next to each other, they will form a complete heart. ("Awwww!")

Super fun!!!
We used a paint brush and hot pink paint to make the base heart on each shirt. We then used the straws to splatter the other colors on the heart. If you just dip the straw into the paint and blow, there will be a pit of paint splattered. If you use a bit of suction on the straw in the paint, you will obviously splatter more paint, but it may get gloppy fast! Be careful and experiment to get the desired effect! And have fun! You're painting with a straw.
Your shirts are ready to wear!

Allow the shirts a night to dry before removing the cardboard. This will prevent the paint from bleeding through.

Happy Heart Day! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wisdom from my father:

"It is hard to fight when there are chocolate chip cookies in our midst."