Friday, July 27, 2012


I am broken and fervently trying to patch up the cracks with good deeds so no one sees the chasms within.

This messy heart is juxtaposed with a redeemed soul, a beautiful tragedy.

I make futile efforts to scrub up my own mess but the dirt piles up continually.

But the light in the cracks and buried under the dirt and deeds refuses to be extinguished. It shines steadily, and my soul testifies to redemption when my weary flesh cannot.

I don’t need to strive to shine, because he is shining for me.
I don’t need to strive to clean the mess, because he has cleansed me.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pinterest and Faith

I’m embarrassed to admit that I easily get distracted by Pinterest. If I’m not careful, I can spend way too much time pinning crafty ideas, creative party themes, and organization tips. Look at all those beautiful pictures and fantastic ideas! Look at all the things I could do, all the things I want to be.

But after a few days of Pinterest, I get depressed. The truth is, I know I’m gonna end up wasting a lot of time finding examples of things I want to do, but very little time actually following through with any of them. Occasionally I will stop and look through all the pictures, lovely snapshots I’ve collected to represent the person I want to be, the life I want to have. And then I will go back to my everyday life and put very few of these ideas into practice.

I wonder if sometimes many of us do the same thing with our faith. We go to church and discuss the Bible with other people– lovely scriptures that paint a beautiful picture of who we could be as God’s redeemed– but do we put those things into practice? Or are we simply collecting snapshots and ideas of what we want to be, without putting nearly the same amount of energy into living them? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Words that look very nice stenciled on a wall, words that sound lovely when discussed in small groups of believers, words that will change us and the people around us if lived in our daily lives.

I want to stop musing over all I could be, and start being. I want to spend less time dreaming, and more time doing… less time discussing and more time living. 1 John says, “Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth.” It is so much easier to talk about faith and to discuss how it should impact our lives than it is to actually live it.

Friday, July 6, 2012

What Doesn't Kill You...

Have you ever looked at your life and realized that it is not what you had hoped it would be? Maybe it’s your relationships, your finances, your career, your circumstances, or something else, but you look at where you are compared to where you hoped you would be by now, and you feel a sinking feeling deep inside.

This isn’t what I expected.

This isn’t what I wanted.

I suspect we have all been there in some form. There is a feeling of despair and hopelessness that can come with the realization that you are only getting older, and your life isn’t what you hoped it would be.

I’ve been there myself. The past year has been one of the most challenging years of my life. I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant with our third child, several major things broke down and needed expensive repairs, we’ve struggled a lot financially, one of the most supportive people in my life (my mom) moved 8 hours away, I did a lot of solo parenting because my husband went back to school on top of working full-time, we had a new baby, our oldest two children are currently going through some (expensive) evaluations and therapies, and I’m looking for a job.

Whoa. That is a LOT, and none of it is where I expected to be at this point in my life. At times, it has felt so hard that I desperately wanted to give up, crumble under the weight of it all, and sink into despair. I lived in that place for months, feeling as though I was barely dragging myself from one day to the next, wishing that things could somehow be different.

But recently, as I sat on the couch nursing the baby and thinking about life, something changed inside me. I realized that through all the stress and the challenges that have been thrown my way, I am emerging as a stronger, more capable person. Yes, I still sometimes fall apart and sink into despair, but I don’t have to stay there. I can mourn the loss of my expectations, take some time to recharge from all the stress, and then get back up and keep going. I look back at who I was just one year ago and I can see clearly that I have changed, and I am still changing.

I’m becoming more patient, more understanding, more independent, more assertive. I am stronger than I once was. Things that would have stressed me out terribly a year ago aren’t such a big deal anymore. And I suspect that the things that stress me out so much now may not feel so difficult another year from now.

I am not helpless, no matter how hard it gets. I can choose to sink into despair in the face of new challenges… or I can rise to the challenge, fight back, overcome, and in the process be changed for the better.

The choice to sink or rise is mine.

And I choose to rise.