Love Always Wins

My heart hurts for our nation today. Not because I voted one way or another. Or because you voted one way or another. I hurt because I see hatred and division running unchecked. Because I see people clinging to their view only and lacking any sort of tolerance. Because I see people holding so tight to fear that it’s driving their actions and reactions.

That’s what scares me the most right now. People are living and acting out of their fear without regard to what they’re doing or who else they may be hurting.

Friends, it’s okay to feel some fear. Yes, it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to be angry. Anger is God’s intended warning light in your life. Pay attention to it. Rest with your anger for a moment. But just a moment. Because you can’t live there. You can’t live your life based on fear and anger. And how you choose to react to your anger can have very real consequences.

Whichever side of the country you feel you want to sit with, I know where I stand. I stand with the one who made me, the one who made everything, the one who is in control. But that can’t be the standard answer to all of my friends; to just trust God and it will all be okay. I know God was in control before the election, is in control today, and will be in control tomorrow. But just saying those words to many, many of my friends who don’t yet know Him, well, that feels confusing and hurtful. Because so many of my friends have been hurt by the religiosity of this day. And just knowing He’s in control doesn’t remove the pain or the hurt and it doesn’t automatically heal the divides that have been created.


Instead of living from a place of fear, what if we were to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly? Together? What if instead of holding so tight to our preconceived notions and living divided by differences we chose to extend mercy to those around us? What if we were compassionate and kind towards those who offend us? To those who are different than us? What if we react out of love, not fear? And when we see others not being treated fairly, especially if the unfairness comes based on the color of their skin or country of birth, what if we stood up for them? Or gave them a step up? Instead of just speaking for them and what we think they want to say, what if we just let them speak freely? And we listen.

As we listen, love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly, what if we also ask ourselves what is the next right step for me? What choices do I have (we always have several) but what is the next right step for me in my life right now? And how does that step help those around me? How do I step away from fear and closer to love? How do I step out of the divisions around me, and closer to love? How can we be a bit kinder to those around us rather than arguing party lines and further dividing our country?

I pray that you sit with this for a bit. Then I pray the step you choose leads you closer to others. Closer to understanding. Closer to kindness. Closer to forgiveness. Closer to love. Because love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. I pray that love always wins. In your life, and in mine.

Be blessed, my friends.



Here’s a song that’s inspired me the last few days. I hope it helps you to care a little more too.

“Forgiveness is the only real revenge…

Keep yourself open…

Peace and love aren’t so far…”



Experiencing the Joy Filled Life

I have been continually reminded lately at how fast life moves. Projects and plans that seemed months away are now rapidly approaching. I’ve already passed some huge milestones in my career that I had been anticipating for months. What felt like the never-ending winter is giving way to spring. My daughter’s 16th birthday is only two more months away. Right after that both of my boys graduate, one from high school and the other from college. Life is full. It is good.

There have been some hard moments too. There was a day in January when I was looking at all that was coming towards me on the calendar. It completely overwhelmed me and I ended up sitting on the kitchen counter in tears. There have been moments where all I could do was survive the day, hoping it would pass quickly because of the sadness I felt. I don’t like those days so much.

I’ve had a couple a-ha moments in the past few weeks that have caused me to slow down and look at where I’m finding joy. I have been slowly reading a book with other staff members and one paragraph in our current chapter keeps jumping out at me. Peter Scazzero, in The Emotionally Healthy Leader, talks about paying attention to our emotions of the day in order to listen to God. He says this:

Consolations are those experiences that fill us with joy, life, energy, and peace. Desolations are those that drain us and feel like death. Consolations connect us more deeply with God, ourselves, and others. Desolations disconnect us.

This made me really think about what brings me joy, what fills me with peace, and how do those moments and experiences connect me to God. Then I considered those things that just drain me and fill me with anxiety. Those moments that leave me feeling incredibly disconnected not only from God, but also from those around me that I long to be connected with. I don’t want to live in anxiety and fear. I don’t want to be rushing through moments or withholding my time and presence because of fear. I want to make room in my life for more joy. I want to smile and enjoy each moment that He brings me, rather than rushing to the next thing, situation, or person. I want to be present.

The next a-ha moment came during a recent dinner with friends. One person said they really try to never use the word “busy” or “tired”. Wow. Both of those could describe my last several months. Life is full, but I don’t want to be so busy that I miss out on the blessings and joy right in front of me. I don’t want to rush through everything so fast just to arrive completely worn out on the other end, missing all of the good along the way. Missing the people God has placed in my life.

I don’t have all of this figured out yet, because there are really full seasons of life. And as a single mama to two teens at home, well, we’re always going a lot of directions. I don’t want to trade it and I don’t want to rush through it, because they’ll be gone before too long. I don’t want to miss these moments with them because I was too busy and then too tired. I also don’t want to miss moments with friends or not be included in activities because I’m perceived as too busy. Busy is not an honor badge. Busy is not what I want my life to reflect.

I’m working to pause, consider all that is being asked of me, then discern the best use of my time. I’m paying attention to what brings me joy, makes me smile and laugh, and makes me feel alive. Those moments that God brings, I want to hold them close and be incredibly present in them. Life is full and moving fast, but right now, I’m feeling a great sense of peace and joy. I want to be present with people and bring joy to them as well.

I pray that for you too. Consider the moments in your day and how you’re experiencing them. Are there things you need to let go of? Ideas, attitudes, friendships, distractions that pull you deeper into fear, drain you of life, and keep you too busy? Or are you present in this moment, breathing in deeply and sensing peace and joy that can be yours? May you find renewed energy and life as you seek and experience deep joy in your own life and with others.

Spring Table

Deep Gratitude, Quiet Joy

I ran a 7k fun run race the other day. One of those nasty fall days that the rain was pouring down in sheets. Yep, that day. I got up and ran. In the rain. Because I can. I felt so alive in those miles, charging up the stupid hills, pushing myself to keep moving despite the bad weather around me. I could have easily stayed in bed that morning or found another excuse not to run. But in those minutes of running in the rain, I felt the inner strength that I have gained. I found gratitude for myself, that my body still pushes limits, excitement for what my future holds, and a deep sense of gratitude for the grace of God in my life. Even in the downpour I ran with complete joy and a huge smile on my face.

Today, a cold is settling into my body. No doubt the consequences of running in the rain. It’s left me a bit quieter than usual, but it’s also causing me to reflect on the blessings I have today.

I am most grateful that I am a child of God. Even on the dark, lonely days I know that He is leading me and still loves me. Even when I push boundaries and pull at the fabric of the plans He has for me, I know he still loves me. Deeply. And the grace that is extended to me is amazing. Even when I wrestle with where He is walking me now, He gently and quietly reminds me I am His and He has a plan.

His plans right now involve pursuing some seminary classes and a ministry license. I’m a bit overwhelmed. But He’s asked me to take a step. So I’m not going to look to the end of the race or even the end of seminary. I’m going to focus where He has me now. I feel humbled and incredibly grateful that He’s asked me to walk with Him in this way.

I’m also so excited for my kids and the ways they are growing into amazing individuals. People with tender hearts for others and for God. Sometimes I just pause and watch them. Have you ever done that? Or taken a mental picture or video of what they’re doing? Yesterday Jacob was laughing at something he was watching. Just seeing the sheer delight on his face and hearing the deep belly laughs brought me so much joy. I giggle to even think about it. Knowing the road we’ve walked together and the hardships he has faced makes it even sweeter to just enjoy a moment together with him.

The other day I had a phone conversation with Cory, my oldest son. We talked for about a half hour about our plans for the upcoming weekend, the bad play calling of the last football game, our worries over the next game, and the challenging class load he’s taking in college. Normal mother son talk, I suppose. But to recall that a year ago he would barely acknowledge me brings it into perspective. He was angry and hurting after losing his father. He wouldn’t come to visit us in our new town, take my phone calls, or really even look me in the eyes if I did see him. Since I have been provided much grace, I extended much grace. I continually pray that Jesus is rebuilding and restoring Cory through me, or whomever else He chooses to use. Cory will be here tomorrow. We’ll attend a college football game together. He wants to just hang out with us. Just be here. And for that I am so grateful.

Of course my Sarah always brings such joy. My princess. I love to tease her and hear her heart. She gets so excited over normal teen issues and I love that she always wants to share them with me. Just the little things. Even if it’s singing along to a song in the car, sometimes driving around the neighborhood just so we can sing until the end. It fills my heart with joy.mountains-trees-fall-foliage-medium

Oh Jesus, you are so good. I look out my window and see all of the autumn leaves lit up by the afternoon sun. I see the flowers that fill the vase on my counter and they make me smile. I feel your comfort and grace all around me even when I’m not feeling well. My cold reminds me that you have given me a body to be used. My kids remind me that you’ve entrusted me to not only raise them but to also point them to you. The anxiety that can fill my life has been replaced by your peace. And today I feel a complete, deep sense of gratitude that fills me with a quiet, happy joy.