He Covers

He Covers

As I laid in bed with my daughter telling her stories before bedtime, we could hear the thunder getting louder. At first it was so faint, she was unaffected by the distant rumbles.

A few minutes later, the claps of thunder got closer and louder. She stopped for a moment and held still, realizing a storm was beginning to pass over us. “Can you get closer to me, momma?”

A couple more booms and she interrupted our story. “Momma…can you get your arms and hands and hold me?”

I moved as close as I could to her and wrapped my arms around her, holding her head close to my chest. I could feel her nervousness in the tension of her little body. I hated that she so scared, but I loved being right there with her—guarding over her, wrapped around her. We finished our story and I sang our nightly lullaby. Ever so slowly her breathing softened and her muscles relaxed.

Even after she fell asleep, I laid there for a few extra minutes absorbing the sweetness of my girl’s words—“can you get your arms and hands and hold me?” I loved that I was her security. I loved that I was the one that brought her comfort and peace. I loved it because sometimes…I just need that too.

Whether it’s been one of those days, or I’m in the thick of a really challenging life issue, there are times my heart begs God, “Can you please just get your arms and hands and hold me?” Some days I just need to feel that comfort and security wrapped around me and covering me completely.

God, can you please just get your arms and hands and hold me?

God’s Word says that he is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1), our rock, fortress, deliverer and shield (Psalm 18:2). The entire book of Psalms is overflowing with people’s pleas for God’s rescuing, as well as declarations of God’s faithfulness.

After I lost our first baby six years ago, I laid in an ER bed trying to process the emotional and physical brokenness that I had just endured. The chaplain walked in to talk with us. He laid a mint green shawl down the length of my body, covering me. It was crocheted by a hospital ministry and given to mommas who had just lost a baby. Over the next few weeks, I held it, I wrapped it around my, and I covered myself with it. And every time I physically covered my body with it, my heart was being covered too.

As humans, we all have this need to be covered in different ways. We need shelter to cover our families. We need clothing to cover our bodies. We need bandages to cover our wounds. Maybe you’ve even heard the expression, “I’m covering you in prayer.” We are all in need of covering.

Even now, as I pray at night, I ask God to cover my life and everyone and everything in it. Cover it with his protection, his blessing, his anointing.

When it seems like darkness is swallowing the world, He covers.

When evil threatens the security of our hearts and minds, He covers.

When anxiety attempts to steal our peace, He covers.

It doesn’t mean that the pain dissolves—but He promises to cover you with comfort. It doesn’t mean that brokenness disappears—but He promises to cover with restoration.

Our God is a God who covers. He sees and knows and covers. His love covers you and it destroys fear. His light covers you and it drives out darkness.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

Something Bigger Is Happening

Something Bigger Is Happening

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I am not an avid news watcher. Hours of death, destruction and hatred—then at the end, throw in a story about a squirrel that can water ski to lighten things up. I’m sorry, but there aren’t enough water skiing rodents in the entire world to lighten the burdens of the evening news. I just can’t do it. But whether or not we actually sit down and watch a news broadcast, the many devices and social platforms we have definitely keep us plugged into worldwide happenings the instant they occur. There’s really no escaping it.

My family and I went to lunch the other day. And about 5 minutes after we sat down, our waitress asked, “Did you hear about the shooting? My sister just called me and said there’s an active shooter near the hospital.” Her next question was, “And what would you like to drink?” And in one of those weird moments where you say something you never thought you’d hear yourself say, I replied, “Oh my goodness, I haven’t heard anything about the shooting…and…umm…I’ll take a Coke…”

My husband got on his phone and sure enough, every local news station was covering the story but very few details were available. We just sat there, unsettled by the fact that there was a shooter loose in our city.

And this story isn’t isolated. My newsfeed and heart have been completely overwhelmed lately with horrendous stories of a pastor’s pregnant wife being murdered in their own home; crowds of innocent people being targeted with bombs; families being driven out of their towns, forced to leave behind everything they know. My mind can’t comprehend the pain, devastation and brokenness that other humans are experiencing at this very moment.

And sometimes, I have a really hard time with it all.

Lord, how does this happen to the innocent? To people who love you? To children? None of it makes sense.

I battle and I pray and still…I just don’t understand. I will never understand. And when all feels like chaos, I desperately cling to the truth that the only place my heart will remain secure is in Jesus. Even when I don’t understand why. Especially when I don’t understand why.

There is something bigger happening here. And I desperately long to perceive it on a deeper level.

In a heartbreaking situation where a man’s wife was brutally attacked then murdered in their own home, his reaction was one of forgiveness…and love. How can a man respond like that to something so hellish?

There’s something bigger happening here.

When bombs went off and the lives of thousands of people were forever changed in the matter of seconds, it would seem that was the end of the story. Yet numerous reports of kindness, selflessness and unity are surfacing from those unlikely moments of devastation.

There’s something bigger happening here.

People who are making their way across foreign lands—who have lost children, parents, and siblings because of the God they worship—refuse to forsake His name. They are struggling to just to stay alive, but will not reject the Savior they serve. He is all that they have. They’ve literally had everything and everyone they love taken away because of their unwavering faith. Yet, they hold steadfast in proclaiming His name.

There’s something bigger happening here.

With all of the fear that surrounds these evil attacks that have been carried out by evil itself, I know that peace—real peace—will come only from my Lord. And when the uncertainty of tomorrow is too heavy to hold, I will meditate on the One who is already there. When nothing can be trusted, I will place my trust in Him.

Because there’s something bigger happening here.

The continual existence of evil and the pain of the innocent still doesn’t make sense—but when the voices of the broken speak of things like hope and forgiveness and wholeness, it’s clear that something bigger is happening within the raw details and moments of their lives. And that bigger thing is the power of Jesus.

Blessed be the Lord!

    For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;

    in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;

my heart exults,

    and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people;

    he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!

    Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Psalm 28:6-9

Jesus Smells Like Lavender

Jesus Smells Like Lavender

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My daughter ran up to me this week with a big smile on her face, arms straight up in the air, one hand holding a small glass spray bottle. Its glass is a deep, transparent blue that makes it look like something that should be sitting in the window sill of a beach house. The handwritten label reads, Lavender & Rescue Remedy.

Momma, spway me, pwease!” Anytime I put on a body spray, she too needs to smell pretty. But this particular bottle is a cherished one and every drop of its contents considered valuable. It was given to me by our midwife after we lost our first baby. She came to visit a couple days after everything happened to check in and see how I was doing. She sat beside me, opened her bag and pulled out the blue bottle. She told me to close my eyes, breathe deeply and then began misting my face and the air around me with the delicate scent of tiny purple flowers. So now, whenever I smell lavender, my mind involuntarily transports me back to that time.

The fragrance carries me to a place half way between here and eternity.

When my soul is heavy with grief, the smell of lavender fills me with the intense power of His peace that surpasses all understanding.

When the ache of loss puts me in a sorrowful slumber, lavender awakens my heart and I sense the intimacy of His presence.

Lavender reminds me that instead of remaining shattered in sadness, His fierce love restored me.

Why does a scent hold so much power? Because to me, Jesus smells like lavender.

The air being filled with the holy aroma came at a time without coincidence.

April is a very emotion-filled month for me. The 13th is our first baby’s due date; the first baby that we lost. A baby’s due date becomes forever imprinted on a mommas heart from the moment she knows it. And being a due date that turned up empty adds to the sacredness of that day.

As I entered a month that brings along with it an ache and emptiness, my precious daughter was now covered in the very scent that brings me peace…that brings me Jesus. Without the pain and loss we experienced, we wouldn’t have the little girl that now skipped and played through the house, carrying with her lavender to every room. Lavender would be just another scent. I wouldn’t have been transformed by Jesus in the ways I have. I wouldn’t know Him like I do now. An idea I can’t bear to think about.

The Lord was whispering words of comfort to me, “I am still here, as close as the air you’re breathing.”

Maybe you’re in the thick of things and your heart throbs in agony.

Look around, breathe deeply. Do you sense the presence of Jesus? Maybe it flows in the scent of lavender, or maybe it’s in seeing a small green clover. Or perhaps it’s carried in a song or in a car ride through the country. Don’t overlook the tangible traces you see. Don’t quiet His whispers or dismiss them as coincidence.

He is near. The evidence is all around you.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Grieving Good Friday

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Good Friday.

The day Jesus died.

We know the story. And we know what happens 3 days later.

For years, I read through the story of Jesus’ crucifixion in a steady rhythm with the resurrection already in my mind. It eased the sting of the words. It made it a little happier to read. I resisted soaking in the visual of my Savior being mocked and tortured…for me. My stomach churned to settle into that place.

Oh yes, Sunday was coming. But Friday came first.

The explosion of Christ’s glory was coming. But his blood came first.

I wonder how “good” the day Jesus was crucified looked to his followers.

Their King, their Savior, was betrayed, captured, mocked, spit on, tortured, then crucified. That doesn’t bring the word “good” to mind.

It looked like it was all over. It looked like darkness had won.

The Messiah; the one they had hoped for, the one they believed in, the one they gave everything up for; was now hanging lifelessly on a cross.

The forehead that wrinkled in empathy for the hurting and the lost; the forehead that crinkled when he laughed and smiled, was now wrapped with a crown of thorns. Blood poured out, streaming down the length of his mangled body.

The strong arms that had embraced little children were now stretched out. The same rough, carpenter hands that touched blind eyes to give them sight and that washed the feet of his disciples, were now nailed to the cross.

The feet that had walked countless miles to bring hope to the hurting were also now nailed together.

The voice that commanded the winds and the waves, “Peace! Be still!”; that called into the tomb, “Lazarus, come out!”, was now crying out from the cross, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

We have come to call today Good Friday. We call it good because that day changed everything.

On the day He died, we were brought to Life.

My heart and mind settle into that raw place of his crucifixion. My stomach still churns knowing He took the punishment I deserved. And my heart aches with raw gratitude knowing how desperately I need his salvation. It breaks me. It brings me to tears.

Chants of victory are coming…

…but groaning cries of bitter mourning came first.

So today, allow yourself to grieve and feel the weight of that day – the day that changed everything.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

To Love the Unlovable

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I recently watched a very complicated situation unfold. I wasn’t directly involved- more of a bystander. But a friend I love dearly was in the heart of it, so I got an up close view of the whole thing.

A close relative of my friend was injured and needed to be cared for during their recovery process. In the best of circumstances, her relative could still easily be defined as “unlikable.” So throw in a traumatic experience, unstable emotions and a resistant attitude, and you’ve got someone who makes it miserable to be around (to put it nicely).

Throughout the recovery process, nothing seemed to go smoothly. There were physical setbacks, unexpected financial blows, constant opposition and emotional outbursts.

And that was just the surface of the situation. There were layers upon layers of emotional scars that ran deep, adding to the messiness of it all. The person who had inflicted those scars now lay in a hospital bed, unable to do basic things for themselves.

My friend, who could have been justifiably angry from a lifetime of pain, chose to bear the scars with mercy, and love someone who didn’t deserve it. Once broken and fragile, my friend now embodied strength and restoration. She had found healing, peace and redemption over the years. That’s what happens when Jesus gets involved in our messes. Sitting in that hospital room, she poured out grace and love without restraint.

Now before I go on, let me just say, having boundaries is a very good thing. I don’t think the “right thing” or “loving thing” means to keep going back to an unhealthy or dangerous situation or relationship. Sometimes, staying away is the harder thing to do. Sometimes, it’s best to get out of a relationship completely because it’s physically or emotionally dangerous. Other times, love can only be offered through limited interaction like short conversations or through prayers for the person. But other times, love physically comes face to face with the unlovable.

That is the love I saw. Given freely and unconditionally. I watched as the emotionally wounded chose to love the wounder over and over.

She made the decision to love.

It wasn’t the feel good kind of love that’s filled with hugs and rainbows and bunnies.

It was the raw, messy, pain filled, undeserving kind of love.

It was Jesus kind of love.

And it shook me.

But if I can be totally honest, I don’t know if I would have loved as well as she did. If put in that situation, I hope I would love well. I desperately hope I would. However, there were numerous times I watched her be horribly mistreated and my heart thought, “She should just walk away. It’s not her responsibility. She’s the one who has been hurt. Her relative is just finally reaping what they sowed for years. They don’t deserve such a love. It isn’t fair.”

But during one of those thoughts, the Lord very clearly interrupted, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

The example of love I saw that left me in awe was human to human. Can you believe that there is a love even fiercer, stronger and eternal? I too, have been given a completely undeserved love by a holy God. I make mistake after mistake, but He continues to love me.

Is that fair? Not at all.

Do I deserve it? Absolutely not.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18

He is a perfect God loving a very, VERY imperfect person. Yet, He calls me His daughter, His beloved. He has not only cared for me when I was most unlikable, He died for me when I was most unlovable. He took the punishment of death that I deserved. Death. That is what I deserved.

How’s that for love.

Raw, messy, never-ending, undeserved love.

Freely given…

…despite mistakes.

…despite failures.

…despite resistance.

…despite messing up again…and again…and again.

…despite never ever being able to come close to deserving it.

It’s easy for me to accept something good that I don’t deserve, but the moment I see someone else given the same good thing, I quickly point out the injustice.

Oh, the love of Jesus!

Yeah, it’s not fair or just or deserved. And thank goodness. My life depends on it…and so does yours.

A Love Note To Who I Used To Be

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To the girl I used to be,

I know you lay in bed at night and cry. You are surrounded by people, but feel so lonely. Your heart feels empty, yet it still aches. It’s constantly seeking love, but only finds counterfeit versions and temporary highs that make you feel loved in that short-lived moment.

But you are loved.

You long to be cherished, but you think the only way that will happen is if you keep pretending, keep acting like the girl you wish you could be. You don’t show them the real you, because you are terrified that it’s not enough, that you are not enough.

But you are enough.

The idea that someone would embrace your quirks, your imperfections, the real you, almost feels like a silly dream. But still, you dream. You work tirelessly to be beautiful, because you desperately desire for someone to think that you are beautiful.

But you are beautiful.

You will give in to fear and run away. You will not finish your college degree with everyone and I’m afraid that’s something you’ll regret for years. But it’s ok. Because of that, you will learn to work harder for what you want. You will learn to appreciate time, money and perseverance much more. You will have moments of feeling like you’re not as academically smart as everyone else, but you will soon realize the truth.

You are smart.

While many others take the direct route in life, you’ve always taken the scenic route. It may not be like you imagined, but please look around and enjoy the scenery. Don’t get caught up on little details.

You whisper to God through your tears, “Why are You holding on to me so tightly?”

But He will always hold you tightly.

Sweet girl, life is going to get hard. There will be a time where your world falls apart. But I promise, it will be ok. You will feel like a wanderer, like you have no home. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. One day you will look back and see that it was those first painful steps that set the direction in your wild adventure. With every step, even the ones you hesitate taking or the ones that make you stumble, your legs will grow stronger, your heart will become braver and your spirit will feel freer.

He will always hold you tightly.

You will marry your best friend. Don’t panic about not knowing how to cook, he loves cooking and you will not starve to death. You will find out that marriage is hard, but so worth it. Fight for it everyday. Focus on Jesus and your marriage will be clearer too. (And keep doing your impressions and telling your jokes. He secretly finds them hilarious.)

You will have babies. You will lose babies. You have never known heartache like you will during this time. But remember, He remains faithful. You will be able to more fiercely love others who are hurting because you too bear wounds. You will experience the heart of Jesus in ways you otherwise wouldn’t have. And it will change you. You will taste bitterness, but you will also taste the sweetest of blessings. Your babies will teach you about yourself, about God, and unconditional love.

He will always hold you tightly.

No matter what, love Jesus. He is your compass. You will see His fingerprints all over your life. So stay close to Him. And if you ever need a reminder, just listen. The constant rhythm of His heartbeat echoes His steadfast love for you.

You are loved. You are beautiful. You are enough. And He will always hold you tightly.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”  John 10:27-29

…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

The Ache of Christmas Eve

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Do you want to hear a story of God’s faithfulness? This particular story happened one year ago today.

It’s an ugly & messy & painful wound. But it has become one of the most beautiful scars a woman can carry.

After we lost our first baby on October 1, 2011, I wanted to find was desperate to find an ornament for our Christmas tree. Not any ornament, but one that would represent our baby. One that would remind us of God’s goodness & faithfulness. One that would tangibly tie our baby’s life into all future Christmases.

I told no one of my search. Only my husband & my God knew the importance of this simple little object that I longed to hang on our tree. I repeatedly asked God to lead me to my ornament. I went to countless stores trying to find the perfect one. But it was nowhere to be found. I would not buy an ornament, just to have one. I knew in my heart, when I saw it, I would just…know.

And then…

one afternoon, a small box arrived. It was from a close, “adopted” aunt. I opened the unexpected package & there it was. My ornament. My precious precious ornament. She did not know about my search. She did not know how many stores I had explored. She did not know how deeply my heart ached for it. And the moment I saw it, I knew…it was the one.

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My aunt mailed it, but my God sent it. And His words filled my heart.

“I see you. I hear you. I know this is important to you. And it’s important to me too. Here it is. I love you.”

Time went by. My beautiful daughter was born. And the Christmas season of 2013 had arrived. I was pregnant again. And Christmas Eve had arrived.

One year ago today, I was bleeding.

I walked into the same ER I was in when I lost my first baby. I walked by the very room where I felt His presence closer than the air I was breathing. That white-walled room that held my cries to Jesus, our prayers to our God & the realization we would not be bringing home our baby.

They admitted me to a room down the hall. Tests were done. Blood was drawn. Ultrasounds were taken. And it was confirmed.

I had lost my baby.

One year ago today, I walked through the darkness again.

I screamed. I yelled. I cried. I beat the floor with my fists in anger. I was not angry at God. I was angry at the enemy. This was personal.

But this time, my heart recalled memory after memory of God’s faithfulness through my first loss. The details were covered with His fingerprints. He was there. And he mourned with us. He showed us we were not alone.

So, I claimed His faithfulness once again. I clung tightly to Him once again. I entrusted my broken heart to Him once again. Because I knew it is only in His hands that my shattered heart can rest & be restored.

One year ago today, my husband & I left the ER & began driving home, where I would see our Christmas tree in the living room & my baby ornament hanging.

I told Jarred I wanted to stop by the mall to get an ornament for this baby. Tomorrow was Christmas & our baby ornaments could be together.

But as we were driving, I knew I was too physically & emotionally depleted to muscle my way through crowds of last-minute shoppers, so I told my husband to just head home.

We pulled up in the driveway. On our front step was a box. It was from my adopted aunt. I opened it & began to weep.

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The perfect ornament. It even looked similar to my first baby’s ornament.

My aunt mailed me this little box days before. Nobody knew I would spend Christmas Eve in the ER finding out that I lost my second baby.

No one knew…

Except for my GOD.

And so, today, one year later, I hold my 3 month old; I snuggle my 2 year old; & I stare at my 2 baby ornaments. I declare my God as faithful in every day, every pain, every joy.

He loves us beyond measure. He is so very present in this very moment. And I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness.

Merry CHRISTmas.

Beauty in the Brokenness

This was not how I thought I would be spending Christmas Eve. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of how I thought Christmastime would unfold this year.

I was excited for our daughter to be a little older around the holidays. She even picked out her own Christmas Eve pajamas this year.

But the days leading up to Christmas were not wonderful.

Only two weeks prior, my husband & I were surprised, but overjoyed to find out I was pregnant.

Because this lovely surprise was just that – a surprise, I immediately felt a peace & confidence that this child was supposed to be ours. That specific little life was destined to be a part of our family.

A few days after we shared the exciting news with our families, it became obvious that something was wrong. Because it was the weekend, my OB referred me to the ER but also told me that there really wasn’t anything that could be done since I was only 6 weeks along.

So I waited. And I prayed. Over & over & over & over. There was a constant battle in my mind. I have never been in a situation where waiting without answers tore so violently at my heart & mind. Hours dragged along ever so slowly.

I refused to give up. However, allowing my heart to stay hopeful was also very painful. I don’t quite know how to explain it. My heart was flooded with 2 extreme emotions that I wasn’t sure what to do with.

The next night, I knew the life that was inside of me no longer was. I was so angry. As I walked downstairs to tell my husband & my mother, a rush of emotions like I have never known poured over me. I began punching the stairs. I was not angry with God. I was not angry with myself. I was angry because this attack felt very personal & intentional. I was angry with the enemy. I was angry that he thought he could use this to pull my heart away from my God. I was angry that I would not know this baby here on earth.

My husband & I spent most of Christmas Eve in the ER. It was beyond surreal. This was the same ER that I went to when we lost our first baby. As we were led to our room, the environment was all-too-familiar. It was the strangest of feelings.

As we passed the room I was in 2 years before, I thought, “Lord, this is where you changed our hearts & lives 2 years ago. This is the exact ground that we discovered what ‘the peace that surpasses all understanding’ really looks like. This is where Your truth altered my life & solidified in the core of my very being- You remain faithful & unchanging. Always.”

Shortly after the ultrasound, the doctor confirmed what we already knew.

I’ve seen God redeem the ugliest of situations, the most painful of heartaches & bind the most shattered of hearts. And that has been my prayer since the moment we knew we had lost our second baby – “Redeem this, God. You have done it before & I know you will do it again. Please, just redeem this.”

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. Psalm 89:1

Although this dark valley was familiar territory, it has felt very different too. But the things that have remained the same have been God’s tender love, sweet comfort & obvious signs of His faithfulness.

God’s presence has once again, been undeniably evident. Our parents & siblings have been so wonderful, helpful & encouraging. We are so blessed by them. My mom took care of our daughter at home while my husband & I spent hours at appointments & in ER rooms. What a gift it was to know she was having fun with grandma. Thank you, Momma. We also had a handful of precious friends that have walked alongside us & been there for us night & day. They spent their Christmastime loving on us & mourning with us. They are treasures & my soul is forever imprinted with their selflessness & unconditional love.

I have numerous stories of how God has remained so faithful to us throughout all this, but I want to share one in particular with you. I cry as I share it because it’s so close to my heart. But I want you to know how closely the Lord listens to us & how loving & active He is:

After we lost our first baby in October 2011, it was so important to me to find a Christmas ornament for our baby to hang on our tree. I wanted him/her to be a part of our Christmas. I needed a tangible way to incorporate that precious little one into our holidays; something I could look at & touch. So as soon as Christmas displays went up in the stores, I began searching. I went to every store I could think of that would have ornaments. But I just couldn’t find “the one”. And I didn’t want an ornament just to have an ornament. It had to be the right one.

I was desperately praying that the Lord would lead me to the right one. I told Him how much I needed it & that I knew it was important to Him too. But I couldn’t find one.

I got a package in the mail from a very, very dear woman. She & I have mutually adopted each other as family & she has played a huge role in my journey as a woman seeking after God.

As I opened the little box, I couldn’t believe it. There it was. The most beautiful, perfect, remembrance ornament. It was white & in the shape of a heart. I hadn’t shared my longing to find an ornament with anyone except my husband & my God. It was as if God himself was saying, “Here is your perfect ornament, my precious daughter. I know your heart needs it. Here it is.”

The following year, she sent me another lovely ornament for my daughter’s first Christmas. The 2 ornaments are always next to each other on our tree. They mean the world to me. They symbolize my babies. They remind me that God hears me & He loves me like a daddy. He knows my heartaches & knows my needs, even the ones I cry & whisper to Him at night.

As my husband & I were driving back from the ER this time, I immediately wanted to get an ornament to include this baby’s life into our Christmas too. As soon as we exited off the highway, the hustle & bustle of last minute shoppers was overwhelming. Traffic was at a standstill. Physically & emotionally depleted, I decided to just come home because I didn’t have it in me to be around people, much less fight crowds.

We got home & as I walked to our front door, there was a little box on our front doorstep from my “adopted aunt”.

Guess what it was?

An ornament. A perfect, beautiful ornament.

It had the same kind of look & ribbon as my first ornament. It was white & heart shaped. She hadn’t known what was going on. But my faithful & loving God knew. He knew days prior what I would need at that exact moment; what would comfort my heart.

“Here is your ornament, my precious daughter. I love you & I remain faithful.”

He will cover you with his feathers, & under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield & rampart. Psalm 91:4

No matter how dark the valley is, His light will find you. No matter deep the valley feels, His arms can reach you. He promises to stay faithful through it all. Come to Him & allow Him to be your faithful God.

Knowing that my 2 babies rest in the perfect arms of their Creator until I can embrace them myself, I declare my God as faithful.

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Right Now

I am on my knees. Lifting my eyes up to the One who created me. Desperately in need of & overwhelming thankful for the grace & love He is pouring over me. Like the refreshment that cool water brings to a weary traveler, I too am looking upwards as heaven rains on me. Wounds are being cleaned out & starting to heal. It’s a healing I have never known. The truth of God’s word is finding new places in my heart to consume… parts of my heart that were previously closed off.
Are you in a place right now that feels deathly dry? Or maybe you feel a thousand miles away from anyone even when you’re standing in a crowd of people. Maybe the messiness in your life has caused you to step away from loving, growing or accepting yourself & others. Don’t wait until you feel like you have cleaned up your heart & life enough to approach the throne of God. That time will never come. Don’t wait until you can muster up the energy on your own to be able to “handle” the things you know need attention. It won’t happen. He wants you exactly as you are, at this exact moment. Healing & renewal can come from no one else except Jesus. It can come from nothing else except for His endless love.
Endless love. It does not run out. Ever. No matter what you say or do. It does not stop. He is just as passionate about you on your good days as He is for you on the days you feel less-than. Your mess, your desires, your baggage, your pain, your anger, your anxiety, your imperfections, your regrets; they are grains of sand compared to the ocean of love & grace Jesus has for you.
 

“Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.” Deuteronomy 7:9

No matter what you’re facing this week, Jesus is there. He is already there. He is the there with you in the pain. And is there in the healing. He is there in your unknowns. They are not unknowns to Him. He is there, my beautiful sister.
 
You are worth it. You are beautiful. I declare my God as faithful.

A Wounded Heart

Hello wonderful friend.

I’m afraid I’ve caught myself going through the motions of life again. It’s so frustrating when I break out of something then have re-“ah-ha” moment & realize that the mediocrity I’ve tried to avoid has once again emerged. How frustrating.

I started this blog because I was tired of wearing a mask. Whether or not anyone read it, I was still putting my heart into writing and acknowledging that even though I am a mess, Jesus has saved me & He remains faithful in my life. I needed to put myself out there in order to heal. If you just put a band-aid on a wound that requires more than that, it doesn’t heal & can even become infected. The Lord told me to be vulnerable with you; to be bold in my proclamation of His promises & to not be afraid of my imperfections & weaknesses.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 

He has spoken gently to me, assuring me that my heart is safe with Him. He has shown me His faithfulness over & over again & has used situations in the past year, situations of both rejoicing and mourning, to show me He does not change. I know He has is growing me. And as He does, He has opened my eyes to different parts of my life that need to change.

The word “wholeheartedly” has been popping up everywhere. Does that ever happen to you? A word or verse or concept that keeps showing up everywhere you look? After seeing it a few times, I realized that Jesus was telling me He wants access to EVERY part of my heart so that I can love & serve Him WHOLEHEARTEDLY. I immediately responded with “You do have my whole heart.” But I began to realize that I have had parts of my heart closed so tightly that I haven’t even let Jesus into them. By trying to keep them isolated, I have unintentionally kept Jesus out as well. They are areas that are so dark & overwhelming that I have sealed them up, thinking that if I just closed that chapter & moved on as the new person I have become, it would be all right. But it is not all right. I put a band-aid on wounds that needed more than that.

So, sweet friend, if you think about me, would you please pray for me during this process? Some wounds need to be re-opened to be properly cleaned out so that they can heal properly, which will undoubtedly be painful. But I am excited to give Jesus access into every part of my heart & life. I am tired of wincing at the very idea that my beautiful Savior would see how unclean I truly am. I know I can’t hide things from Him, yet I’ve acted like I could. He knows. I know He knows. I think I’ve just been scared of the pain that addressing all of this would bring. But I’m more afraid of not giving Jesus everything I am. That is why I am thankful for the loving guidance He has been giving me on this beautiful & messy journey. I know my heart is safe with Him. I know that He will lead me safely through this.

He has always known about these parts of my heart, yet He still loves me! Nothing is hidden from Him, yet He loves me! He is patient & kind. So I am inviting Him to mold my heart to look more like His. It’s time for FREEDOM.

 
Please let me know if I can talk with you or pray for you about anything specific as well.

I declare my God as faithful!