My Personal Testimony

This year marks 25 years of me walking with Jesus. Surrendering my life to Him is hands-down the best decision I have ever made. And I have been thinking a lot about Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

Am I ashamed of the ways we, as believers, can twist Scripture and misrepresent Christ? Absolutely.

Am I ashamed of the atrocities that have been done in His name – horrendous acts that do not line up with His ways or His Word? Goodness, yes.

Am I ashamed of the ways I myself have mishandled the gospel over the years? Without a doubt.

But I am not ashamed of what I believe to be true – that salvation is through Christ and Christ alone. Not because I say so, but because He Himself said so. (John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”)

Someone recently asked me about my testimony, and I realized I have never shared it here on the blog. So I am pulling it into a new post today. I’m not going to do a bunch of editing because this is what poured out of a pure place of love and gratitude when I officially wrote it out 13 years ago. I loved Him then. I love Him now. And I pray this post speaks to someone’s heart and lets them know they are loved by Him and invited near. His hope is for everyone who will accept it.


What follows is my declaration of how giving my life to Jesus has changed me. It is my frank admission that I do not ever, ever, ever want to go back to a life that Jesus is not a part of. This is my story, and it is precious to me.

I grew up going to church. It was what we did. We went on Sundays. My parents dropped me off on Wednesdays. I learned my Bible stories. I even got baptized. I did not realize at the time that I was just playing church. I did not really understand what it meant to have a living, breathing, vital relationship with the Lord.

By seventh grade, I was fed up with pretending to like church. I thought it was full of a bunch of unloving hypocrites, and I wanted no part of it. I pulled away completely from God and anything that had to do with Him.

And I was a mess. I was one great big aching hole asking for someone to fill me up with love and approval. I tried to earn love in so many ways. Get good grades. Be a good girl. Do well acting, singing, whatever would bring accolades. But none of those satisfied.

Unfulfilled, my quest for love went further. I looked to guys to make me feel loved, and instead of walking away with more worth, I walked away with no worth whatsoever. Shame coated me, covered me, weighed me down. I was so good at pasting on a smile, but inside, I was filled with self-loathing. I could certainly never be called a good girl ever again. I was ruined… or so I thought, at the time.

And then, I met Jason. Jason is my husband. We worked together at a retail clothing store. We became fast friends, which led to dating, which led to his proposal. My heart was overjoyed. Someone wanted me. ME! I could not believe it. What I did not realize was that there was Someone who wanted me even more – Jesus.

In order to get married at the church his parents attended (Jason was not walking with the Lord at this time either), we had to get premarital counseling. I agreed, simply because I wanted to be with Jason. But something started happening during those sessions. A tugging at my heart. Truths I had once known were being spoken over my life again. I knew I needed Jesus. I knew that if my marriage was going to last, I needed the Lord back in my life.

It was while Jason and I were on our way to the Columbia Zoo that I surrendered my heart to Christ. I confessed that I believed Jesus had died on the cross for my sins and that He rose again from the grave. I asked Him to forgive all of my sins and help me live my life for Him. A small moment… just me, Jason, and Jesus. How simplistic it sounds, but it was the most important moment of my life. At that moment, Jesus welcomed me with open arms. My sins were forgiven. The promise that I would now get to spend eternity in heaven was sealed.

But my salvation was not all that He wanted for me. My heart was happy just for that. What more could I ask for? But He wanted so much more. He wanted to heal me. To heal me from my insecurities. To wash away the shame that I had carried for so long. To help me see that I am beautiful… not a word I ever used to describe myself!

Oh, friends… I don’t think there are words to describe what these past 12 years have been like. I was unclean, and He touched me! I was unlovely, and yet He wanted me! I was dirty and tattered and torn, and He has washed me clean and is mending me. He calls me lovely. He calls me beautiful. He says I was worth dying for.

I am still such a work in progress. Old lies rear their ugly heads. Insecurities still take over at times. But I am learning. I am learning to sink my roots down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. (Ephesians 3:17, NLT) I am learning to look to God and not people to meet my needs. I am learning to use God’s Word to find out who He is and who I am in Him – fighting the lies with His truth. He encourages me daily to draw closer to Him instead of running from Him when I feel ashamed or afraid. He is teaching me how I can better love others when I fully accept love from Him.

Isaiah 61:10 says, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.” He has called me His beautiful bride! He has given me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness! (Is.61:3)

I know this is long. Yet this barely even scratches the surface of all that Jesus means to me, of all He has done. He is my Healer! He is my joy! He is my peace! He is my hope! He is my very present help in time of need! (Psalm 46:1) He is everything to me! And the fact that He wants ME…well, that still melts my heart.

I pray that you, too, know His love, His forgiveness, His freely offered salvation,

Discovering the Beauty of Holiness


Depending on our spiritual backgrounds, we may have differing reactions when we see that word. I confess my feelings toward it for most of my life wouldn’t qualify as “warm.” I have always pictured a stiff, starched white shirt held perfectly in place – no wrinkle, no spot, no getting too close because you might muss it up and mess it up. It’s the kind of view of holiness that makes God wholly unapproachable.

(And truth be told, apart from our salvation in Christ, He is. It is because of Christ’s sacrifice that we can draw near to Him.)

But I am seeing where I have too long viewed His call to be holy as He is holy through eyes of unhealthy fear – where He is the distant dictator, and I am just the forever failure. Graciously, He has been helping me see that His holiness is one of His most beautiful, becoming, and inviting qualities He has as my God and my Father.

In Jackie Hill Perry’s book “Holier Than Thou,” she writes – “If God is holy, then He can’t sin. If God can’t sin, then He can’t sin against me. If He can’t sin against me, shouldn’t that make Him the most trustworthy being there is?” (pg.2)

And then this – “God’s holiness is essential to His nature and fundamental to His being. His holiness is what makes Him good and loving, kind and faithful. Without holiness, God wouldn’t be beautiful, and so because of it, He is eternally attractive.” (pg. 8 )

She also says that as we trust in Him and our faith in Him grows fruit, then, “Holiness shows up in us, making us trustworthy, honest, self-controlled, gentle, wise, pure, and more.” (pg. 4)

How eye-opening for me! Holiness isn’t rigidity. It is true freedom, unending faithfulness, and pure beauty. True holiness doesn’t make us harsh or hateful. It makes us safe. It makes us more like God – good and loving and kind and faithful, trustworthy and honest and self-controlled, gentle and wise and pure. All things I want to be!

All unholiness, all sin is damaging. It ultimately brings with it pain, death, and destruction. Yes, holiness comes with pain. We must, by the enabling of the Holy Spirit, crucify our flesh as we cooperate with His work of sanctification. Even Jesus told us we must take up our cross daily to follow Him. But we are asked to endure that pain because He sees the greater pain we will cause ourselves and others in our sin. Holiness pleases God, and quite honestly, true holiness makes us more pleasing human beings when we cultivate it within ourselves. What a gift we give to others when we live trustworthy lives. When we live by His Word. When we surrender to God’s discipline so that we can share in His holiness. His call to holiness and His enabling us to walk in it is actually an act of kindness toward us and those we do life with.

Why wouldn’t I want this? Why wouldn’t I want to be trustworthy? Why wouldn’t I want to be good and kind and faithful and loving? Why wouldn’t I want to be holy as He is holy… other than I am just so caught up in my love of sin and self?

THIS is loving God. THIS is loving our neighbor. THIS is even loving ourselves! When we ask Him to help us become holy as He is holy.

Yes, Lord. This is what I want.

{Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Matthew 16:24; Galatians 5:16-26}

May we see His invitation to holiness for the beautiful gift that it is,


The Protection of Rightly Placed Affection

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wreck my own life. I want the soundness of heart, peace of mind, stability, and security that are found in Christ alone. If that’s your desire, too, I would love to share something with you this morning. It may raise a few eyebrows, but I can’t shake the pull to type this all out.

Psalm 119:165 tells us, “Abundant peace belongs to those who love your instruction; nothing makes them stumble.” (CSB)

Let’s quickly define a few words:

Peace – שָׁלוֹם shâlôwm, shaw-lome’; or שָׁלֹם shâlôm; safe, i.e. (figuratively) well, happy, friendly; also (abstractly) welfare, i.e. health, prosperity, peace. (Used in Scripture for completeness, soundness, welfare, peace)

Love – אָהַב ʼâhab, aw-hab’; or אָהֵב ʼâhêb; to have affection for (sexually or otherwise)

Stumble – מִכְשׁוֹל mikshôwl, mik-shole’; or מִכְשֹׁל mikshôl;; a stumbling-block, literally or figuratively (obstacle, enticement (specifically an idol), scruple)

So, with those definitions, one way to paraphrase this verse would be, “There is an abundance of soundness found within those who have a great affection for Your Word. They do not fall for the siren call of idols. They do not stumble, bringing their lives to ruin.”

I know the definition of love may throw us off a little. But what I think about is what my pastor teaches about physical intimacy between a husband and wife within the covenant of marriage. The depth of that exclusive affection can provide three things: pleasure, procreation, and protection. In a spiritual sense, this verse reminds me that intimate one-on-one time with the Lord in His Word – where my heart is just for Him, my focus is just on Him, and my adoration is for Him alone – offers these same things.

Pleasure – I delight in Him and His Word, enjoying His presence and His affection toward me and pouring my love back out on Him.

Procreation – Time in His Word gives us life and births good things in us and through us. Wisdom, knowledge, insight, fruit that will grow.

And the main focus of today…

Protection – When I recognize all that I have in Him, when I am loved by Him, when I find my satisfaction in Him, and see how I am incredibly cared for by Him, why would I turn to anyone or anything else and forsake Him? Time with Him equips me to better recognize and resist the siren call of idols.

A deep affection and commitment to spending time with the Lord in His Word and living out His Word brings peace and protection to our lives. I’m not saying hard times won’t come! I’m saying we are less likely to bring them on ourselves. As His Word lights our way (Psalm 119:105), we are better able to see and avoid the stumbling blocks that lead to our ruin. As we lean into Jesus, we are less likely to fall into sin.

I’ll end this with a prayer:

Lord, where I place my greatest affections matters. It impacts the whole of my life. Help me love Your Word more and more. To see the benefits of it. To look forward to meeting You in it. To delight in it as I fully focus on You. I want Your Word to be fruitful in me. I want the settledness and peace that come from loving, learning from, and living out Your Word. I want the empty idols of this world, the ones that only lead to destruction, to lose their allure because I know You are infinitely better. Grow in me a deep affection for Your Word. Help me guard my life against ruin. Amen.

Blessings, dear friends,

Move the Immovable (Especially If It’s Me)

Where is God trying to lead you that you aren’t sure you want to go?

The story of my life seems to be finding out, again and again, that His plans are infinitely better than my own.

One example is how I met my husband at a job I very much did not want. I had other plans. Workplaces that looked more fun and exciting. But that was the door God opened, and I am forever grateful He led me where I didn’t want to go.

Another example, quite honestly, is the church where we are right now. Jason and I, separately, yet simultaneously, felt the pull to come to this church. It did not make a whole lot of sense in our minds. We weren’t just leaving people we loved. We were leaving a long history with non-denominational churches to step back into a denomination. There were people who thought we were crazy. I’ll just go ahead and call our hesitancy out for what it was – denominational snobbery. (Sadly, this exists not just between non-denominational and denominational churches but also between Christian denominations. Oh, that we would have hearts of humility as the body of Christ.)

But I can’t stop pouring out my gratitude to the Lord for moving us. I can’t begin to put words to the treasures He has had for us these past six years – the personal and spiritual growth, the relationships, the opportunities, the humbling our own hearts desperately needed.

And this is what I want and need to remember: God’s will for us doesn’t have to make sense to us for it to be good for us.

He. Is. Good.
He. Is. Wise.
And He can be trusted.

So, I’ll ask it again…

Where is God trying to lead you that you aren’t sure you want to go? What are you maybe even snubbing your nose at that may hold incredible blessings for you if only you would surrender?

I’m over here praying for us both. That we won’t be wise in our own eyes. That we won’t stay stubbornly or even sentimentally stuck. That we won’t miss out on the good He has for us, if only we would trust His heart and follow His lead.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

The word for “straight” here is – yâshar, yaw-shar’; to be straight or even; figuratively, to be (causatively, to make) right, pleasant, prosperous. I love that. He has good things, things that will lead our souls to prosper, on the other side of hard moves. We just need to stay movable.

Lead me, Lord, and help me live a life of surrender. I want the good You have for me. And I even want to bring the good You have placed in me as You position me to be a blessing to others. Your ways are higher. Your plans are greater. I surrender. Amen.


He Is Worthy of It All (Lessons from the Life of Mary of Bethany)

Worship at church recently has just been phenomenal. I am not sure that I can even put words to it. Lifting praises to our King has just been sweet and powerful. But I left incredibly convicted by it a few weeks ago. As much as I love belting out the phrase “You are worthy of it all” to Jesus … do I live that way? Do I sincerely live each and every day like He is worthy of all of my time and all of my resources and the laying down of any and all of my plans? Do I live like He is worthy of ANYTHING He asks of me?

This is when shame could easily settle in because I know myself. I know my fears and my hesitancies. But instead of shaming myself, I am reminding myself that I need to check the position of my heart and life. I recorded a short Facebook live on this years ago. So, I relistened to it and wrote it all out to look back over again. I know this is long, but I wanted to share it with you today. Because maybe you want to be someone who lives like He is worthy of it all, as well. It is written from the perspective of a woman, but you fellas, you can live this way, too. ❤️


When Jesus poured out everything for us, He held absolutely nothing back. He gave His all for us. I so want to be a woman who does the same thing. I want to pour out my best for Him daily. I want to give Him my all and live like He is worthy of it all. I want to be a woman who doesn’t let fear or selfishness cause me to keep anything from Him. Not the gifts and the abilities He has given me. Not the life and breath He has given me. I want to give it all back to Him. I want to be like Mary, the sister of Lazarus.

We find part of her story in John 12, where we read, “Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume,” (John 12:1-3).

This moment is so beautiful. So intimate. So powerful. Mary doesn’t worry about who is watching. She doesn’t worry about how much the ointment cost, though it is said to have been equal to a year’s worth of wages. Instead, she pours every drop out on the One who would be her Savior, her Messiah – going even so far as to wipe His feet with her hair.

How does a woman get to a place where she is willing to do this? Where she is willing to pour out her best for Jesus? No thought to the cost. No consideration given to who might be watching. As I was pondering this one day, the Holy Spirit reminded me that this was not the first time Mary had been at the feet of Jesus.

Looking back at Luke 10:38-39, we find, “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.”

So, the first instance of Mary at His feet is her in a posture of humble and grateful listening and learning.

Then, after the death of Lazarus, we read in John 11:32-33, “Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.”

This second occurrence has her at His feet in a place of deep grief and disappointment.

These two passages of Scripture reveal that finding Mary at the feet of Jesus was not out of the ordinary. Being at His feet was a natural position for her, both physically and from a worshipful place deep within her heart. So when she anoints His feet, she is anointing the feet she has already been sitting at to learn – putting all else aside to hear from Him. When she anoints His feet, she is anointing the feet she has already fallen at grieving and weeping – the feet of the One she ran to in the midst of her deepest disappointment.

And I believe Mary’s story holds wisdom for us on becoming those who are willing to pour out our all for Jesus.

First, it’s found in the dailiness – the daily sitting with Him, learning from Him, worshiping Him, and hearing His voice. Humbly and gratefully accepting His invitation to draw near. This is where we learn who He is and why we can trust Him.

It’s found in continually turning to Him – being those who run to Him and not from Him when we’re disappointed. Going to Him and pouring our hearts out honestly, saying, “Jesus, I don’t understand. I don’t understand because I know that You could do something. I know that You can change this. But You didn’t. You haven’t. Nevertheless, I’m here because I trust You, even though I don’t understand what You’re doing”

There is one more reason Mary was able to pour her all out for Jesus that we will look at together. If we read a little further in Luke 10, we find Martha very upset because Mary isn’t helping her: “But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her,'” (Luke 10:40-42).

Jesus was Mary’s portion!

My Bible notes connect this with Psalm 16:5-6: “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” Also, Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.”

Oh, how I love that! He is our cup, and our cup overflows. Mary wasn’t worried about what it would cost her or what other people would think of her because people and things did not fill her up. Jesus was her chosen portion, and He was enough.

May this be the story of our lives. May we be the listeners and the learners. The ones who run to Him with every hurt and disappointment. The ones who worship Him lavishly. The ones who pour out our lives for Him because He is constantly pouring into us, and He is more than enough.

Much love,

New Harvests Don’t Happen Overnight

My daughter and I found ourselves stuck in the same old kind of conversation in the car recently. One of the ones where she misunderstands me, and I misunderstand her, and our frustrations and voices escalate quickly with one another. After I dropped her off at her destination, I silently brought my disappointment to the Lord. Because I truly have been trying to change. I have been prayerfully working with Him on my areas of sinfulness in our relationship. I have been trying a softer approach with her. I have been trying to back up when everything in me wants to get my hackles up. Why were we here AGAIN?

And that’s when I felt the Holy Spirit remind me…

It takes time to reap a new harvest. Not just in our relationships but anywhere we are trying to make changes.

We reap what we sow, and when we have sown the same old unhealthy or just plain sinful stuff for years upon years upon years, we’re going to keep reaping those things for a while. Not because God is cruel. There is grace and forgiveness, and I believe He gives us more relief from our poor choices than we realize when we show up with sincerely repentant hearts. But we shouldn’t be surprised when what we sow does indeed grow.

And it might make us want to lose heart when we’re sincerely trying to change – to live differently and sow differently, to obey Christ faithfully – but we are still staring down and dealing with a previous season’s harvest. If we aren’t careful, we can start to wonder why we even bother. That’s why I want to encourage you today with truths I’m having to remember myself.

I don’t know where you are working with the Lord to make changes in your life. Maybe it’s in your marriage, your parenting, your other relationships, your health, your finances, your overall walk with Christ. Don’t give up. A better harvest is possible, but it’s going to take time. No one plants and harvests overnight. But because we know that we do reap what we sow, we can know a new harvest is coming. A better harvest. I’m not promising all of life will work out perfectly according to our plans. I’m saying things can’t help but change when we trust Him and do things His way. We ourselves change. And when there are relationships involved, it takes time for people to trust that we have changed, and it takes time for them to change, as well.

Stay faithful. Keep sowing. It takes time.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Love in Christ,

Preaching Peace to My Heart

Who among us hasn’t ever had a raging storm of fear swirling around inside of us? All of the “what ifs” crashing over us and leaving us gasping for breath.

We can feel like the disciples in the boat during a storm with Jesus in Mark 4:37-38, “But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’”

We know that Jesus is the Lord of peace Himself. (2 Thessalonians 3:16). We know that He told us He left us with His peace. (John 14:27) We know Colossians 3:15 tells us that we are to let the peace He has provided rule in our hearts. To let it prevail over fear and doubt, no matter what storms may come our way.

But how? How do we do that when there always seems to be so much to worry about?

The “peace” in all of the verses I referenced above is eirēnē, and it means “peace (literally or figuratively); by implication, prosperity:—one, peace, quietness, rest, set at one again.”

But I want us to look back at the story of the storm told by Mark. In Mark 4:39, we read of Jesus, “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

The word for “peace” here is actually a different word, siōpaō. It means “silence, i.e. a hush; properly, muteness, i.e. involuntary stillness, or inability to speak… figuratively, to be calm (as quiet water).”

I love the phrase “involuntary stillness.” The winds and the waves had no choice! They HAD to obey. They had to still and be quiet at His voice.

Peace is so very different for us, though. We have a choice. We must choose to LET peace have the final say in our hearts. One of the best ways we can do this is to speak to our own hearts. We have to remind ourselves of why we can be at peace using the truth of who Christ is and what we have in Him. We have to choose to fix our eyes on Him.

Here are just a few truths we can preach to our hearts today:

– Christ has made peace for us with God through His work of atonement on the cross. PEACE to preach: Every day when I wake up, because of Jesus, I am already at peace with God. (Romans 5:1-2)

– Christ found us worth coming to earth and suffering and dying for. And He did not leave us as orphans but sent us His Spirit. PEACE to preach: I am fully loved and never abandoned. (Romans 5:8; John 14:16-18)

– Christ made all things and holds all things together. PEACE to preach: I can trust Jesus with any and every detail of my life. (Colossians 1:15-18)

– In Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and He has said we can come to Him for wisdom. PEACE to preach: There is never a moment Jesus doesn’t know what I need to do or doesn’t know what is best for me. I can ask Him for wisdom, and He will guide me in His perfect timing. (Colossians 2:2-3: James 1:5)

– Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. PEACE to preach: Every single day I wake up to holds His faithfulness, fresh mercies, goodness, and love. (Hebrews 13:8)

– Christ was and is and is to come. He is the beginning and the end. The Alpha and the Omega. PEACE to preach: He sees what is ahead and knows how to prepare me for the future and how to provide for me today. (Revelation 22:13)

What fears are overwhelming you today? Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of a truth about Christ that will speak PEACE to your heart, and ask Him to help you let that peace rule.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)

“Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].” Colossians 3:15 (AMP)

Love and prayers,

Hope for Those Feeling Gutted by This Year

Something that has long been a desire of mine is to be a “deep well” kind of woman. I don’t want to be a shallow pool that dries out when drought comes. I don’t want surface-level faith with a heart forever tossed about by life’s storms. I don’t want hope and wisdom and peace that run out quickly because there was never much to draw from. I want the story of my life to be depth. I want a heart that may get ruffled on the surface when hard things first come but that has deep waters circumstances and the enemy simply cannot touch or disturb.

And as I looked back over my posts from this year and all that the Lord has been teaching me and working deep into me over the course of a year that has felt challenging and draining, I was reminded that you have to dig wells. A deep well takes a whole lot of shoveling out. A truth that can give us HOPE in the face of all that leaves us feeling gutted, in all that has hollowed us out this year. If we look to Christ and His Word in the midst of all that guts us, HE WILL FILL US.

He will fill us with His wisdom.
He will fill us with His strength.
He will fill us with His hope.
He will fill us with His truth.
He will fill us with Himself and all that He is.

We don’t have to despise what gutted us this year. We don’t have to fear what is coming in this new year. What the enemy intends for evil, our God uses for good. Where the enemy of our souls is dead set on emptying us, he’s just making more room for the grace and goodness of Jesus.

What hollowed you out this year? What felt like someone had ripped you open and scooped all that was good right out? Hold those spaces out to Jesus. Ask Him to meet you in them. And let Him fill you as only He can.

This year may have tried to empty us, but we don’t have to come out on the other side of it empty. We will be deep wells of wisdom. We will be deep wells of strength. We will be deep wells of truth and hope. Deep wells of love and grace. All because of Jesus.

Happy almost New Year, friends. Our God is now and forever good, and He is working all things together for good.

Love and prayers,

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:28-29 

The Crimson Color of Christmas

I love the peacefulness of the nativity scene we set up every Christmas. Everything looks so holy and serene. But my mind keeps feeling drawn to the reality of that night.

Mary had no doctor. No doula. No professional deliverer by her side to help her birth our Deliverer. How painful was it when she bore down to bring forth the One who would one day bear the weight of all our sin? Blood and water surely flowed from her tender young body as she birthed Him, pointing so poignantly to the day when blood and water would flow from Christ as His pierced body made a way for us to be born again. (John 19:32-37)

What grace that she would willingly push through waves of pain to push out the very One who would push back darkness for us. And what greater grace that He would come to be with us. That He would be made like us. That He would be bloodied for us. Pushed out and then poured out. For us.

It’s so easy to picture a sanitized version of the start of our salvation. But there was nothing clean or pain-free about making a way for us to be spotless, about making a way for our freedom and the healing of all our pain. Not at the beginning in a manger and not at the completion on the cross.

Blood and water flowed. Tender flesh was torn. All so that we who were also born of a woman can now of the Spirit be born again. (John 1:12-13; John 3:4-8)

All praise to our Messiah who entered our mess so that we might enter His rest – rest from our sinfulness, rest from our striving, rest from chasing things that will never satisfy or save, and one day we will enter the rest of being fully and forever in His presence.

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:14-17

Merry Christmas, friends,

Give Yourself Time

I say I want to be done. Complete. Perfected. Through all of this growing and maturing stuff. Let’s just hurry this becoming more like Christ thing along, okay, God?

It’s a mixture of pride (wanting to be thought well of/not wanting to embarrass myself quite so much) and love (not wanting to hurt people as I’m still growing and learning and healing over here myself).

But He keeps reminding me over and over and over again that this work is s—l—o—w. It’s a word and a pace we don’t tend to like.

Why wait when we live in a day and age where we can manufacture things so quickly? We move fast. We build fast. I don’t know about your hometown, but we have neighborhoods popping up left and right overnight around here. But built fast doesn’t mean built to last. It doesn’t mean sturdy or steady or even truly beautiful.

One of my dearest friends did a good bit of world traveling over the last few months, and she sent pictures of some of the most breathtaking architecture from places like England and Turkey. Cathedrals and buildings that weren’t just thrown together as quickly as possible. They took time and strenuous labor. Great care and attention to detail. Quality materials that are known to last.

Her pictures were such a kindness to me from the Lord. They showed up in the shape of both encouraging and soul-correcting questions. What do you want, Kimberly? Do you want to be haphazardly thrown together, or do you want to be built to last? Do you want to be “fine for the price” – a home that will do for now? Or do you want to be built with glorious and lasting things – a temple of God that truly brings Him glory? Because if you want the latter, it doesn’t happen fast.

I don’t know where you are like me, and the slow pace of growth is leaving you frustrated. Or, maybe you are struggling with someone else’s slow growth. Don’t lose heart. God doesn’t do shoddy work, and sanctification isn’t an overnight process. It is slow work, but it is also GOOD work. Slow progress is still good progress. Maybe even the best kind of progress because it means you aren’t cutting corners or rushing through.

Keep showing up for the work and know that it matters. Keep showing up in His Word and showing up in prayer. Keep learning from believers who are further along, encouraging those who are a few steps behind, and serving wherever God leads. Keep surrendering to His plans and trusting in His love. Keep believing that He will keep His promise to complete the good work He began in you.

Keep showing up, and give yourself time. God certainly is. He loves you right where you are, but He also sees who you are becoming. And it is worth it. Not for your own glory, but all for His.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you iwill bring it to completion at jthe day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

“For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:9-16

He is doing a good work in you, dear friend. Believe it.