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

Month: January 2016

My Two Fathers


One night twenty years ago I was driving home from my job at Dillard’s department store. I wasn’t looking forward to going home. In fact, I was dreading it. But it was late and I had nowhere else to go.

I was still many miles from home when I heard a distinct voice say, “I am a Father to the fatherless.” At first I thought I’d imagined it, but then it repeated two more times. Then nothing. And I started to cry.

I was twenty-two years old and living at home with my parents and kid sister. My dad and I hadn’t been getting along. We’d never really gotten along–my dad was a difficult man and our home life had always been less than functional. A year before, I had been away at college, but I had sunk into depression and as a result was failing — not just at school, but at life. My dad had come to get me, telling me to come home and rest, promising that things would be different. I wanted to believe him, and I just wanted to rest, so I dropped out of school and moved back home.

Things had been better for a while–about as good as things can get when you’re living with an alcoholic who needs to be in control of everything and everyone around him–but then old patterns began to repeat themselves, and home ceased to be a peaceful place. I became depressed again, and knew I had to get out. It was way past time to move out on my own. But my dad had other plans. He wanted me to stay there and go back to school at the local community college, but I wasn’t yet ready to go back to school, and when I was, I knew I wanted more than the community college had to offer.

So we fought. A lot.

When I heard that voice as I was dreading driving home for what would surely be another round with my dad before I could go to bed, I believed that God was telling me that He saw my situation, and that He was with me, and He would get me through it. I took comfort from that.

And then, a few days later, my dad was driving home from work when his truck veered off the road and hit a bridge abutment. He didn’t survive. Suddenly I was literally fatherless.

Today, as I write this, is the twentieth anniversary of that fateful morning. I remembered that voice, and what it told me, when I received the news, and I’ve thought about it often since then.

And do you know what? God is a father to the fatherless.

It’s taken all of these twenty years for me to come to a place where I can truly relate to Him and trust Him as my perfect Heavenly Father. My earthly dad inflicted a lot of spiritual and emotional scars, but God has been faithful to heal them, one by one. Only recently has He brought me to a place where I’m able to have complete confidence in His love without the shadows of the past casting doubt over my faith.

But more than that, He’s healed my memory of my dad. Of course I still remember what an angry, broken man he was. But I’m able to look back on him, and on our relationship and our time together, through eyes of compassion, and realize that he was broken and hurting, and his ability to love, and to express it, was also broken.

It’s taken twenty years, but I’m finally able to forgive my dad, and to remember the good things about him. That he was a dad who would drop everything to drive 300 miles round trip to collect his hurting daughter and bring her home. That rain or shine, if I was in trouble of any kind, I could always call him to come get me. That he liked to pile the family into the car and go on long Sunday drives and longer road trips. That he was a voracious reader and loved small children and making them laugh and liked to tell off-color jokes. That he was often a difficult customer at restaurants but he was ALWAYS an excellent tipper. That he was a faithful provider, and although we were far from rich, we never did without anything we truly needed or wanted.

It’s taken twenty years, but thanks to my Heavenly Father’s faithfulness and love, I’m finally able to say to my earthly father,

I love you, Dad.

And I miss you.

4 Things to Remember When You’re Too Weak to Pray


Lying in bed, I stared at the ceiling in the dark, too tired to sleep.

Have you ever been there?

You’re so worn out that you can’t wait to go to bed, sure that you’ll pass out as soon as your head hits the pillow. But instead of slipping into blissful unconsciousness, your mind decides to start running a marathon, going over (and over and over) every worry, every hardship, every doubt, every item on your never-ending to do list.

It was 2013 and our web design business had gone belly-up. Business had simply stopped coming in, with people deciding they’d rather save money and buy a pre-made template than shell out for a custom website. To make matters worse, the web design agency I contracted with decided to switch to a content management system I was unfamiliar with, and decided to let me go rather than train me in how to code for it.

We’d never been wildly successful to begin with. Although we made ends meet, we didn’t have a safety cushion, and my husband’s income wasn’t enough to cover the bills and living expenses on its own. Desperate, I began looking for a full-time job outside of the home, but interview after interview resulted in disappointment and closed doors. Our ship was sinking fast, and we didn’t have a life preserver.

By this point, my husband and I were no strangers to hardship. We’d already had a string of bad years that included me getting laid off from a good job with good benefits, two miscarriages, the passing of both of my inlaws and of two pets, and there had been very little time to recover in between all of those battles.

So when I say I was tired, I don’t mean that I was worn out from a hard day. I was feeling beaten down and defeated from what had come to feel like a hard life. I was weary in my soul, not wanting to face another day, fearful of what new hardship it would hold. I knew I should pray, but I couldn’t. God felt so distant, and I just didn’t have the energy. Even if I did, I didn’t know where to begin.

It’s a hard, miserable place to be. Maybe you’re there right now.

If you are, I want you to know that God is still with you. He hasn’t forsaken you, no matter how distant He may feel.

I also want you to remember these four things:

  1. God is praying for you. Scripture tells us that Jesus Himself intercedes for us at the right hand of God the Father (Romans 8:34). It alsy says that when we don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26). You don’t need to have the right words. You don’t need to know where to begin. You only need to call out to Him, and your Savior and the Holy Spirit will meet you where you are and take care of the rest.
  2. If you look for Him, He’ll be there. Jeremiah 29:13 promises, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Sometimes, all that’s required to seek Him is to simply be still and know that He is God. Just sit quietly, breathe out His name, and let that be your prayer.
  3. He wants to hear what’s on your mind. Of course He already knows, but that’s not the point. Phillipians 4:6-7 tells us to bring everything to God in prayer, with thanksgiving, and promises that if we do, we’ll experience His ultimate peace.Don’t be afraid to pour out your heart to God–all of your pain, hurt and heartache, all your frustration and anger, all of your worry, fear and doubt–all of the dark and ugly, even the stuff directed at Him. Believe me, He can take it. And as you pour out all of that heart-junk, He’ll be able to fill up your empty places with His peace that is beyond human understanding.
  4. Thanksgiving makes you stronger. I know you’re probably not feeling a lot of gratitude at times like these, but God commanded us to always give thanks for a reason. Part of that reason is that there is always something to be thankful for, even if you have to dig deep or go back to basics to find it–even if the only thing you can think of to give thanks for is that you’re still conscious and breathing. The main reason, though, is that focusing on what we have to be thankful for, instead of dwelling on what we lack or what we wish were different, cultivates a sense of contentment that produces joy. And God’s word tells us that this kind of joy — the joy of the Lord — is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

Give yourself grace, lift up your eyes and call out to the Lord, pour out your heart to Him, and focus on what’s good in your life, no matter how small. This is the recipe for spiritual strength–and there’s one more thing I want you to remember, sweet sister. YOU don’t have to be strong. HIS strength is made manifest in your weakness. God’s love for you isn’t based on your ability. His grace meets you where you are and makes up for all of your human weaknesses, frailties and failings. God loves you, period.

If you’re stuck in a place where you’re feeling too week and worn down to pray for yourself, let me know in the comments (anonymously if you want), and I’ll pray for you today.

In His love,




PS – This week I’m linking up with Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart and Faith Filled Friday at

Leaning Into God: A Year Without Fear


Happy 2016, Daydream Believers!

Despite some setbacks right out of the gate, I’m leaning into the new year with a sense of hopeful expectation. I have some big things on my plate this year, including the (re-)release of one book and the writing of another one, among other things. Some of those other things are going to stretch me way beyond my comfort zone, which is partly why I’m dubbing this year my Year Without Fear.

But that’s only part of the reason. The rest of the story is that 2015 was a big year for introspection and spiritual growth. Looking back over my life to see how far God’s brought me, I realized how so much of my life has been ruled by fear. Not just things like social anxiety and shyness, although that’s been part of it, but also things like imposter syndrome, fear of rejection, and fear that I don’t measure up. I don’t know how many opportunities I’ve let pass me by simply because I was afraid I wouldn’t be up to the task and people would regret taking a chance on me.

So as I lean into this year, my Year Without Fear, I’m determined to be brave, to lean on God and let Him MAKE me brave, to trust Him and walk in obedience and not allow fear to enter into any of my decisions.

This ties into my theme word for this year. I’ve signed up to OneWord365, which encourages forgoing resolutions and goal-setting and simply choosing one word to focus and guide you throughout the year. This seems to fit what God’s been doing in me to move me away from my planning and goal-setting addiction and get me to be more surrendered and flexible. I didn’t have a word last year, but looking back, “Surrender” was definitely my theme for 2015. When trying to choose a word to sum up my Year Without Fear theme, the word “trust” seemed the obvious choice, but after praying about it, the word that came to me was “lean.”

As in…

Lean on Jesus.

Lean on the Everlasting Arms.

Lean into what God’s doing in my life.

Lean away from fear.

Lean away from worldly solutions.

I could keep going, but you get the idea. Although I do have a list of what I’m calling “New Year’s Intentions” rather than resolutions, my one real goal for this year is simply to fearlessly lean into God and trust where He’s taking me.

What about you, dear reader? Will you choose to be brave with me this year?

Do you have a guiding word for this year? Have you set any goals or made any resolutions? Share what they are in the comments!

In love,

Linking up with Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart and Missional Women’s Faith Filled Friday.