Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Poem- "My Confidence"

This week I've had more time to just be still than I usually do... and to be honest, I kind of miss the busyness! As long as I'm staying busy with tasks and relationships God has placed in my life it's great, and He gives so much grace, but busyness can become an idol. Coming into this week I've noticed in my heart a definite resistance to the stillness. I've been praying about it a lot, asking God to strengthen my desire to just draw near to Him, and hating my own fallen, wandering heart which so often renders that prayer necessary. Last night though, God reminded me of the glorious truth that He doesn't change based on how I feel about Him. Feelings shift and alter, but He never does.

For a long time, I have struggled with legalism... and by that I mean the tendency to measure my relationship with Him based on my performance- how well I'm doing in living out my faith. It is right and biblical to pursue obedience and a deeper walk with Him, but my standing before Him is based not on what I do, but on what He did on the cross! This poem is something He placed on my heart as I was meditating on that this morning. It's kind of simplistic, but it's something I needed to remember, and I hope it's a blessing to you as well!  

"My Confidence"

No heights of joy or thankfulness,
No zeal to win the lost,
No grief over my failures,
No passion for the cross,

No amount of study,
Gleaning knowledge of His Word,
No hours spent in fervent prayer,
Heart bent before the Lord...

No endurance in great trial,
No faithfulness through pain,
No sacrifice or service
I might render in His name,

All good things which He desires,
But they are not enough
To gain a place before His throne
Nor win for me His love.

It's Jesus who has paved my way,
Through His obedience.
My hope is found in Christ alone;
In Him my righteousness.

So, though I pray that all these things
May be seen in me,
Only in His blood I gain
My true identity

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Changing Seasons

Today was, unless God does something I don't anticipate, my last official day of CYT/STP after 9 years there. 9 years of ministry, of growth... of family. It wasn't until I left the building and the door shut behind me that reality started to sink in, and I cried.

God has really grown me in my ability to handle change (just ask my mother!) but on days like this it can still hurt. New chapters mean saying goodbye to old ones, and the fact that I'm excited for what's ahead (marriage- WOOT!!) doesn't mean that it's easy to let go of what came before. I believe that the human heart longs for permanence, and that God gave us that desire so that we might seek it's fulfillment in Him. He is the only constant in this constantly changing world, and if we are His, then one day we will be with Him forever. No more changing seasons or goodbyes. Until then, the stability that is ours in Him keeps us anchored as we walk through this life.

Through all of this, God has been reminding me of just how temporary I am. These 9 years at CYT amount to a major chunk of my life thus far, but even if I were to pour into something for a lifetime, after a few years people probably wouldn't remember me. But if, but the grace of God, people are somehow pointed to know and pursue Jesus as a result of my life, then my life will have been worthwhile, even if no one remembers my name. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015


This blog has had a serious omission for quite some time now. A very important development in my life (and by important, I mean life-altering) has gone only vaguely hinted at for the last two years. I've had my reasons for not writing about it here, and though those reasons disappeared awhile ago, by that point I wasn't sure where to begin! But since it's Valentine's Day, now seems as good a time as any, so here goes...

Just over two years ago, as we sat talking on a bench outside Starbucks, a handsome and godly young man named Zack, whom I deeply admired, asked me to begin a relationship.

And on September 4th, 2014, that man asked me to be his wife.

I rather doubt that's news to anyone reading this, but sometimes I still look down at the ring on my finger and catch my breath in wonder, because I can't believe this is all real. For years I prayed for the man I would marry, and all the while God was shaping Zack to be that man. Our love story has been sweeter than anything than I ever could have imagined for myself, made beautiful by the Author of beauty.

Through the month leading up to our dating, one thing I prayed over and over was that God would not only bring about His plan, but that He would do it in His way, in His timing. This has remained my prayer through the course of our relationship, and it's one God has been faithful to answer. If I'd had my way and my timing, things probably would have looked a lot different! As it is, our relationship has included several very long periods of separation, and our engagement will last for well over a year.

Would I marry Zack tomorrow if I could? In a heartbeat! I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with this man! But if it came at the cost of the lessons that God is teaching us through the difficulty and waiting? Not a chance. God gives His best to those who trust and surrender to Him, but sometimes (often!) that best involves pain. As much as I ache to be married now, I recognize how desperately I need God's grace to be the wife Zack needs, and if the lessons learned in this season of waiting are His means of preparing us for marriage and drawing us closer to Him, then so be it.

Zack and I have seen the faithfulness and goodness of our Lord throughout the course of our relationship in so many ways, and perhaps in the future I will share some of what He has taught me along the way. For now though, I thank God for what He has given Zack and me, and pray that He uses it for His glory.

Before our first real date

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Counting the Cost

I journal. I have kept a journal more or less faithfully since I was 11. My early entries often make me laugh or groan at my adolescent foolishness, and leave me thanking God that He loves me too much to leave me the way I am! But honestly, my journals are a magnificent blessing in my life, as I look back and see God's amazing faithfulness through many mountains and valleys, and I'm reminded of so many lessons He's taught me. I was reading through some journal entries from just over a year ago, and this one in particular stood out. It's something I wrote towards the end of my visit with Vicky in the Philippines, and because it fit with some other things I've been praying about today, I thought I'd share it here....

"Vicky and I were talking about suffering over breakfast. On multiple occasions Jesus spoke openly about His upcoming death to His disciples, but they didn't get it, and when it happened, they totally fell apart. Jesus has spoken equally clearly to us, and told us over and over that we will meet hardship and trials. We know it in our heads, but in spite of that, we are so often caught off guard when suffering actually comes. Vicky said that when she and [her husband] came to the field they came expecting to suffer. It made me think of 1 Peter 4:1a: 'Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking...' 

"Arming yourself is something you do in preparation for battle. We have been called to battle, and we can prepare for it by expecting to meet hardship, because the One we follow endured it before us. That's not to say we should worry about it or anxiously wonder about what might happen, only that we should realize that it's coming so that we won't be taken by surprise when it does."

This expectation is something so lacking in American Christianity... and I know it is far too often lacking in my own heart. I don't know where following Christ may take me, but I pray that He gives me steadfastness, faith and courage to meet whatever does come. He gave everything for me.... 

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I must admit that I have been a very negligent blogger. It has been a few days shy of 6 months since I posted last. I'm assuming that anyone reading this has heard my rather life-altering news which has yet to grace this humble blog in any form, so I shall save that for another time. Perhaps next week? That's not a promise, but we shall see.

I'm writing right now to share something that God reminded me of last night. It was in the middle of my church home group meeting (I love my home group!) and we were singing the song, "Enough." Maybe you've heard it before. It's a song I love, and one that God has used to speak to my heart in the midst of many ups and downs. Here are the lyrics of the chorus:

"All of You is more than enough for all of me,
For every thirst and every need.
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough."

Familiar words to me, but as I was singing them last night, I was deeply struck by what it really means to say that He is enough. For me at least, it's easy to sing that song in times of difficulty and meditate on the fact that He is enough even in the midst of a need I'm facing. That's very true, but reality goes far beyond that. He isn't just a sufficient substitute when something else is lacking. He is most definitely not a mere consolation prize in the absence of some earthly happiness. He is sufficient. Period. Even when our suffering subsides... when we get that job... when we have that relationship... when healing comes... when that unanswered question is resolved... when that separation ends... fill in the blank with anything you wish- if our joy doesn't begin and end with Him, we won't have any.

I pray that, in every season, whether empty or full, I might say truly that He alone is everything to me.