Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Month: November 2015

A Thanksgiving Prayer for the Would-Be Mamas of the World


Yesterday, I pulled up one of my favorite daily devotional blogs and read a post that was ostensibly about not letting perfectionism ruin your holiday. But really, what it focused on was creating good holiday memories for your kids. While I read the post, as still happens to me from time to time, I was hit with sharp pangs of envy, followed by a fresh wave of grief and disappointment that brought me to tears.

Don’t worry, reader, it didn’t last long. I quickly confessed the jealousy, cried it all out, and gave the negative feelings to God. He replaced them with His peace, and I was okay the rest of the day.

But I woke up this morning with a burden on my heart for all of the would-be mamas out there who are struggling to find something to be thankful for today after yet another disappointment-filled year has passed them by.

If this is you–whether, like me, you’re struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss; or you’re enduring the unimaginable grief of having lost a child; or you’re dealing with disappointment in the wake of a failed adoption attempt; or you don’t have the financial resources for either adoption or fertility treatments; or perhaps you long to be a mother but you’re still single, still waiting for God to connect you with your future mate so you can finally start building your family. Whatever your situation, for you mothers of the heart who lack living, breathing children of your own to pour your heart into, I want you to know today that you’re not forgotten. God sees you, and He knows. He collects every single one of your tears.

And I’m praying for you today. I don’t know your name, Dear Sister, but I know how you feel, and I’m lifting you up before the Lord just the same.

My prayer for is that your heart will be strengthened and encouraged today as God gently reminds you not only of the promises in His word, but also of all the times in your life that He’s proven His faithfulness and His unending love for you, and that your heart will be filled with thankfulness. That He will give you the courage to hope, and the patience to endure, and that as you wait for His best to be made reality in your life, He’ll create a renewed spirit within you. I pray that you’re able to surrender all of that grief and disappointment and envy and pain to Him, and that He will give you joy for mourning, and His peace that passes all human understanding will envelop your heart and mind today.

Have courage, Dear Sister, and take heart. You are loved, and you are seen.

In love,





{Linking up with Holley Gerth. Find more encouragement for your heart here.}

God’s Path to Success

Isaiah 55:8

I may be starting to sound like a broken record with today’s post, but God keeps drilling this message into my head (and my heart). I feel like it’s important, and so I’m going to keep rewriting and rehearsing it here until I can articulate it just right. Also, there might be someone out there who needs this message just as much as I do. That message is this:

God’s way is not the world’s way.

This applies to–well, pretty much everything. But the specific area of my life where I keep getting reminded to apply it is in the area of achievement. I’ve mentioned here previously that, as a kid who struggled in school thanks to undiagnosed ADD, I often got slapped with labels like “lazy” and “underachiever.” I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to prove that those labels don’t apply to me, before finally figuring out that I don’t have to prove anything to anybody.

But in all of that trying, I tried a lot of worldly ways to succeed. I adhered to societally-acceptable beliefs such as hard work and sacrifices will lead to success. Sounds good, but by “hard work” what’s usually meant is pushing yourself to the point of sickness and exhaustion, and by “sacrifices” what’s often meant is sacrificing time with family and relationships and other things that are necessary for a happy, healthy existence. I’ve tried “set concrete goals” and “always have a five-year plan.” I’ve done “Go after your dreams at any cost.” I’ve done life hacks and organizational and time management apps and tricks and I’ve read self-help books and listened to TED talks and none of it ever got me anywhere except exhausted and depressed and wrung out and feeling like a hopeless failure.

Now I’m trying it God’s way, which is, in summary, this:

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. –Isaiah 30:15 {NIV}

God’s way is saying, “Okay, God. What do YOU want for my life? What are YOUR plans? What do YOU want me to do? Where do YOU want me to go? Please order my steps and make things clear.” And then trusting that He’ll do that, and waiting patiently for Him to do it according to His timing, which is perfect.

It’s also trusting that His plans are better than yours. That His dreams for you are better than anything you could’ve come up with on your own.

And that when you surrender, when you seek to accomplish HIS goals, in HIS timing, you will succeed.

This is a difficult concept to grasp, because it feels so passive. We’re ingrained to believe that we have to take charge and actively pursue our goals. And surrender often feels like giving up. Waiting feels like being idle. And rest feels self-indulgent.

But the truth is that there’s nothing passive about doing things God’s way. Surrender is a daily battle. Waiting produces patience, which leads to strong character, which leads to hope. Rest is simply being still and quiet and knowing that God is the one in control, not striving to make things happen on your own terms but trusting that they’ll happen on His terms. This time of waiting sharpens and refines us. Instead of actively pursuing some measurable milestone or achievement in our lives, as we wait we actively pursue becoming who God wants us to be–the person who is well and truly capable of handling what God has in store and ready to receive it.

And it doesn’t mean not working. I’m not talking about taking a vacation here. But it’s about trusting God to establish the work of your hands, to open doors and provide the work He wants you to be doing at the right time. It’s asking him to show you what’s required of you at this time, and being willing to show up and do it, and trusting that He’s big enough to take care of the rest.

I’ve tried (and tried and tried) to do it the world’s way. I’ve tried to do it my own way–which pretty much amounts to the same thing.

Now I’m doing it God’s way–and I have more peace, joy, contentment and sanity in my life than I’ve ever known. Even better, things are actually starting to happen. Doors are miraculously opening. A dream I’ve chased for decades is beginning to be my reality.

All that striving I did . . . the only good thing about it is that it brought me to a place where I was finally ready and willing to surrender. The world’s way broke me. God put me back together, and He’s still building me up. And His way is so, SO much better.

Sister, won’t you join me in trying it His way? I’m sure you could use the rest.

In love,





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When Chronic Illness Waylays Your Plans (…But Not God’s)


I have a confession: I haven’t been feeling so great lately. It’s why I haven’t been posting. I’ve been struggling with chronic issues related to PCOS, and while my issues aren’t nearly as bad as what some chronic illness sufferers face, it’s been bad enough. Bad enough to leave me feeling stretched too thin and exhausted. Bad enough to have to break promises and say no to things I’d rather say yes to and withdraw from the world a bit in order to clear some things off my plate and create the room my mind and body need to rest.

It’s been disappointing, I won’t lie. I’m used to feeling invigorated this time of year. I was so looking forward to the fall season, and I had so many things I wanted to do. Things I wanted to make, places I wanted to go, things I wanted to read, to watch, stories I wanted to write, people I wanted to hang out with . . . it’s a long list. But then the fatigue set in, and the brain fog, and this time around I’ve also got some chronic pain, which is new and not very encouraging, and suddenly my list, along with about 95% of my enthusiasm for anything on it, went out the window.

It’s tempting to become depressed when this happens. I certainly have in the past. I’d feel sorry for myself, and turn to junk food to give me momentary comfort, and give into the urge to curl up and veg instead of working out, both of which would just exacerbate things, and I’d be in a deep funk of discouragement and doubt.

This time is different. This time, I’m doing my best to keep taking good care of myself. Part of that is taking time every morning to steep myself in God’s word, and to just be still and know that God is, and He loves me, and He’s helping me through this, and that this, too, shall pass.

And He keeps sending me the message again and again–through my Bible readings, through daily devotionals, through conversations with my husband, through random Facebook posts–that that’s exactly what He wants from me right now. It’s meant to be a season of rest, and of waiting. It’s not a vacation (though goodness knows I could use one)–He’s still giving me work to do.

One of those tasks is writing a new novel (I’m nominally doing NaNoWriMo, though I’m moving at my own pace and am nowhere near the official word count). And there’s my freelance gig as a regular contributor to, and my editing and book formatting work. For a while those were getting overwhelming, but I prayed and asked God to set my pace, and now work is coming in at a steady, manageable pace instead of piling on all at once. Although I admit that part of that was my own fault–after a long dry spell I was fearful of another one so I was snatching up all the work I could get instead of trusting in God’s continued provision–something I had to confess.

And God’s been doing something that I can’t really talk about yet, but gears are in motion and this appears to be the beginning days of a new season of our lives. There’s a post in there about surrendering completely to His plan and just waiting to see how He’ll cause it to unfold. Heck, there might even be a whole book in there. But that’s down the road a ways. That’s one of the lessons I keep learning–not to look too far ahead. To just trust Him to reveal the next step, and then the next, one step at a time. One day at a time.

At any rate, that’s what’s been going on with me lately, and why I’ve been so silent. I’ve actually been a little better about sending out my bi-weekly newsletter, so if you’d like to stay in touch when I’m not up to blogging regularly, you can sign up for that here.