Today was one of those days.  The second day of school.  We’re still trying to get in the swing of things after a summer of sleeping in.  And some of us are morning people.  Okay, one of us is a morning person.  (Not me).  Three of us are not morning people.  Alas, I digress…


Today it starts early.  Little Miss woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  Came downstairs wearing play clothes but it’s a school day.  I’m fairly certain the neighbors considered calling CPS before it was time for her to get on the bus.  No less than five meltdowns.  *I* was ready to melt down by the time she got on the bus.  Hmm…  actually I guess I kind of did melt down.  And then?  Quiet.  


But after school was more of the same.  She percieved every instruction or comment as a personal attack.  And she pinched the cat.  Just because.  And she didn’t want to turn off the TV.  And she didn’t want to practice for her piano lesson.  And she told me she hated her life.  Meanwhile her (smart) teenaged sister hides.  


I’m not going to lie; by dinner time I was done.  D~O~N~E.  I didn’t want to listen to her anymore.  She knows which buttons to push.  (I hate my life, Mommy.  Things were escalating.  And then I heard it.  


It’s always there when we slow down, quiet down, and listen.  Really listen.  Or maybe, it’s more about us and when we’re open to hearing.


….I always listen to you.  Even when you’re having an unlovely moment.  Now YOU listen to HER.  She needs to be heard.  She needs to know you care.  Because she feels small and out of control….


And that’s just what God does for us, isn’t it?  He listens to our hearts and knows our needs long before we know we need them.  And He knows what’s best.  Not just what seems good or like a great quick fix.  As if we had a clue.  He knows.  And He hears.  And He listens.


And we are washed in His grace.  Changed from within.  When we listen to what He says, we are restored.  Refreshed.  Renewed.  


“I have drawn you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness”

~Jeremiah 31:2

(even when you don’t feel very loveable….)


“I will lead [you] beside streams of water on a level path where [you] will not stumble”

~Jeremiah 31:9

(even when you have no idea which way to go…)


“I will turn [your] mourning into gladness; I will give [you] comfort and joy instead of sorrow.”

~Jeremiah 31:13

(even when you just don’t know how you can go on and you’re not sure there will ever be joy again…)


God is good and He wants to love you.  Let him.  And on days when nothing seems to go right and everything is loud.  When your kids are fighting, and the phone is ringing and the cat ran off with the toilet paper again….



….well, probably that’s only my house, but I know you have those days too, minus the toilet paper swiping feline, of course.  The things that push your buttons and frustrate you to the point of tears.  On those days, we have to listen hard and press in to God even harder.  Our feelings would tell us He’s not there and He doesn’t care.  But listen to Him.  He’s closer than a breath.  And He wants to speak to your heart.


Let Him.





This post is part of Tuesday at Ten.  You can check it out here.


So, shockingly, it’s Five Minute Friday again.  Where in the world did this week go?  It’s the last week of summer vacation for my daughters and it’s been filled with back to school shopping and visiting our local fair.  So new clothes and a livestock auction and sparkly school supplies and a blindfolded tractor competition.  Yes.  Blindfolded.  While driving a tractor.  I’m not even kidding.  Welcome to Amishland!


Lots of changes are upcoming in our family over the next few weeks and while it is a bit overwhelming at times, God is sovereign.  And I am glad because I am most assuredly not in control.  


With that said, let’s hit it on to Five Minute Friday…..






I love the praise and worship music of Brian Doerkson an awful lot but one song that never fails to touch me is “Change Me On the Inside.”  In it Brian shares these words:


I long for freedom to live in the truth
I want to be more like You
But every time I try to bring about change
I only touch the visible me


Isn’t that the truth?  How often do we look at ourselves and try to jam some percieved God-demanded change into our lives?  We try to kind of ramrod things into our lives.  And we do it out of our own power.  And it never works.


Or maybe it’s just me who has experienced this.  I want to do better.  Be better.  Live better.  I hear the Word and I seek to employ it in my life.  So I try to fix what is broken and messy.  




ANd suddenly I’m on the outside of life.  Looking in.  Because on my own, I can’t maintain those changes.  And sometimes I forget that God didn’t ask me to make changes so I’d be better or good enough.  No, I forget that my job is to LET God do His good work in my life.  To heal me.  And take those broken and messy places and redeem them.  To redeem me.


In my own power, well, I’m not likely to get it right.  Maybe by accident sometimes.  But my need for change really highlights my need for a Savior.  I need Him.  Oh how I need Him!  


So change will be necessary.  And it will be good.  And probably hard.  But change brought about by performance is rarely going to last.  Letting God do his thing in my life, letting Him IN, letting Him be the change He wants to see in my life, that’s freedom.  


Then the barriers come down.  And my life is full.  And rich.  And changed eternally now for the better.




It’s Five Minute Friday again! You can check out Kate Motaung’s thoughts here.  


And without further ado, my thoughts on:






It’s been a long week for many reasons.  So much pain.  So much hurt.  We look around us and we wonder what is wrong with this world.


And then we remember.  It’s fallen.  


Our confidence was never meant to be in this world.  And yet we live here.  We love here.  We breathe here.  


But we also live and move and have our being in Almighty God.  But in the middle of the hurt, in the everydayness of our lives, in the small things, we often forget.  



We forget what He tells us:  

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on Him in truth.”  Psalm 145:18


“Fear not, for I have redeemed you.  I have summoned you by name.  You are mine.”  Isaiah 43:1


You are mine.  You. are. mine.  That’s what he tells us.  We are his.  Always.  And His eyes never depart from us.  He is always watching.  Even when it doesn’t feel like it.  He tells us of His love.  He tells us of His grace.


But so often we choose to look at Him not with eyes of faith but with eyes of the world.  We choose not to listen to what He says.  And our feelings loom large.  And goodness knows we hurt.  And bear anger and animosity.  We see what is right infront of us but not what is beyond.  And trusting is hard as long as we trust in what we can see.  


Let’s face it.  We can’t see much and we can’t see right.  It’s rarely totally correct.


But listen.  Listen to what He tells you.


You. are. mine.


And goodness knows that’s exactly enough.

Even so Lord Jesus….

This week the world lost a comedic genuis in Robin Williams.  My Facebook feed has been completely lit up with heartfelt sorrow over his death.  But there are also some haters out there.  Condemning him.  And I wonder if they really know what they are talking about.  Because if they did, I don’t think they’d be so flip.  

Do you know depression?  Because I do.  Depression is my dirty little secret and the dark hole I often live inside.  Depression has stolen an awful lot from me.  It’s taken from my family.  It’s caused them pain and worry.  Depression is an ugly, ugly thing.

Do you know depression?  

I was a young and idealistic mom-to-be when our first daughter was born.  I had so many hopes and dreams for her.  And also for me.  I recognize now that so often, especially when we are young, we’re not overly realistic in our views of such things but yeah, that’s where I was right down to a birth plan which included a drug-free delivery.  And I did well but after 85ish hours of non-stop contractions and transition and pushing, my life spun out of control.  A week later, after an emergent c-section, massive blood loss and surgery to try save future childbearing options, I was discharged from the hospital with a baby I wasn’t even released to pick up by myself.  I had a huge come to Jesus moment in the car on the way home:  I.didn’


I’d love to tell you than I prayed, the skies opened up and I just instinctively knew what to do.  Sadly, no can do.  That would be a lie.

But what did happen was that at some point I realized that I was up to my eyeballs in what could only be called post partum depression. And for some reason I felt the need to control it rather than ask for help.  I flat out lied to my OB at my next visit.  Lied.  Because the perception we have of someone with depression is that they are less than.  Broken.  Goodness knows that’s how I felt.  

Those days were so incredibly dark and yet joyful at the same time.  I loved my daughter with all my heart while at the same time I just knew she’d be better off without me and my instabliity in her life.  I took joy in each sweet smile she blessed us with even though there were days I couldn’t pick myself up off my bedroom floor while she played around me.  I loved being a mom with every fiber of my being but I hated what it had done to me.  I hallucinated.  I thought the oven would destroy my child if I got too near.  Or that I’d drop her out the window of our second floor apartment if I got too close.  I couldn’t go anywhere for months.  I was crippled.  

And before you suggest the obvious, yes, I prayed.  I prayed and prayed and prayed.  And cried.  And felt lost and alone.  Because sometimes we pray and pain is healed instantly.  And sometimes it isn’t.  But does that mean God loves us any less?  

No, it does not.  

I believe there is a whole lot of talk about depression but not a whole lot of understanding.  I’m still embarrassed by my depressive tendencies all these years later.  Because they are still there, sadly.  I’ve often felt free to talk about PPD because the assumption is that eventually you’ll wake up, after baby starts sleeping through the night or some such milestone and poof!  You’ll be better. Hooray!  

But for many of us, PPD is just the beginning.  And then depression comes in waves over the course of a lifetime.  Never predictible.  And we try not to indulge it.  We try everything we can to fill that black hole that threatenes to turn us inside out.  Because depression isn’t just being sad.  That’s such a trivial explanation.  Depression is a soul sucking darkness that threatens to overtake you at any moment. It’s a battle.  A war you feel like you’ll never win.  And some days you’re just done trying.  Done trying to keep on top of it.  Done trying this and that to make it stop.  Just done.  And there are days, and I’d be lying if I said I never had one of these, where it just feels like the most self-LESS thing you can do is disappear from this world.  Because our dark threatens to overtake and destroy those we love most.  And in those dark moments of screaming loss, we all choose a different path. Sometimes there is a faint glimmer in the distance we can grasp.  Just a small bit of hope.  But sometimes, sometimes there is nothing. And suddenly a dark eternity in the now is all there is.  

I think it’s important to remember that everyone around us is fighting a battle of some sort.  And most of us try our best to hide our imperfect selves from the world.  I well remember thinking that I must not be a “real Christian” because I suffered from depression, because I needed medication at one point, because I was broken.  But the reality is that believers aren’t exempt from the things of this fallen world.  In fact, Christ himself promised that we’d have trouble.  We don’t get a free pass.  It is going to happen and for some of us that trouble is depression.  

So how do we as a body do anything at all?  Care.  Be a friend.  Listen.  Really listen.  When you ask someone how they are and they tell you they are fine, look them in the eye and see what the real story is.  If someone seems different, ask them if you can help.  Even something as simple reaching out and asking how you can pray for someone can bless them.  Sometimes we just need to know that people see us and they care.  

This world is hard.  But we were called to be a light in a dark world, right?  Sometimes that light is very, very small.  But even a single match lights up an entire room.  Reach out.  Be a friend.  Goodness, just come alongside someone and be with them.  They don’t need you to fix their problems.  They know you can’t.  But what they do need to know is that they matter.  And are loved.  And not judged.  

Just be Jesus to them.  And in those sacred moments your light will shine just exactly as He intended.  



I’ve noticed that at the start of each new year, many individuals select a word to use to define or provide structure to their year.  I’ve always admired that.  I attempted to be one of those individuals.  Somehow it never seems to work.  It could be a product of my chronically unorganized right-brained thinking.  But rather what I’ve found is at some point, a word or phrase attaches itself to my year.  Or my life.  And yes, truth be told, to my mess as well.  


This year, that word has been perspective.  It comes up everywhere and the need for perspective has become important to me.  This is what I’ve learned:


“When we change our perspective, everything changes.”


This is really true, isn’t it?  I have a choice in how I perceive each situation.  As a very emotional responder, it’s wicked easy for me to just fly off the handle in any given situation.  My husband doesn’t respond the way I’d prefer to a question I ask?  Clearly it’s because our marriage is tired and old.  My daughters fidget and whisper their way through prayer time at church after we just had a come to Jesus conversation in the car on the ride over?  Clearly that’s because I’m not a good mother.  A decision I make appears to negatively effect people I love.  Clearly that’s because I’m not tuned in to what God would have for my life.  I’m a failure.  I shouldn’t even bother trying.  


No, in each of those cases, that perspective is not the best perspective.  But when I intentionally choose to remove the emotion of the moment and look at the facts of a given situation logically, everything changes.  Well, the situation doesn’t necessarily change, but my perception changes.  It begins to line up with truth.  And that breeds hope and freedom.  And it negates the lies of the enemy who would like to keep me trapped in doubt and unbelief.




Recently, I accepted the call to a new ministry position at a new church. While this is really exciting and without a doubt a God thing in the life of my family, it means uprooting my daughters from the church they’ve attended since birth, learning to know an entirely new congregation, and saying goodbye to beloved and treasured friends. Suffice it to say it’s been a difficult couple of weeks. And the road has been extremely bumpy. My perspective has been off.  I underestimated how tough things would be, I thought the transition would be easier, I didn’t anticipate the challenges that lay ahead. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster, so last night when my foot unwittingly found a stray apholstery staple as I sat down to enjoy some tv with my sweet hubby, well, I totally lost it. I felt forsaken and alone. And I had a very un-Jesus girl meltdown.  I needed a reality check and a change of perspetive.  Because I was dangerously close to a “woe is me/I’m following what You said, God and now I’m sad AND bleeding all over the carpet” perspective.   Okay, actually I was smack in the middle of  that ugly perspetive, thankyouverymuch.  In that moment,  my husband gently reminded me that God never promised us easy but he did promise us good. I needed that truth spoken over my life at that moment. He also reminded me that he doesn’t handle blood but that’s probably a post for another day.  But in that moment, I needed to remember to breathe and trust and let the small things, MY things, go.


“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.”  Psalm 54:4


Perspective is important, in whatever we do. It’s necessary in our interactions with our kids who will misbehave, spouses who will forget to bring home flowers, friends who don’t always respond as we’d expect, drivers who cut us off in traffic and well-meaning ladies at church who criticize our parenting. In each case, we can choose offense, defense or even nonsense. But when we let God’s truth into our hearts and take a look at what is REALLY going on, it makes all the difference.


Finding the right perspective isn’t always easy, but it is necessary.  Putting the cross between ourselves and our situation, lavishly offering grace to those around us just as it’s been offered to us, is freeing.  It keeps us from living in lack and it gets rid of negativity in our lives.


Perspective.  That’s the word that rises above the rest in my life.  And I trust that God will continue to provide further perspective just as I continue to seek.  



Five Minute Friday is getting a new look.  Lisa-Jo has passed the baton and Kate Motaung is running this new lap.  And I get to participate.  What a blessing!  

So here we go!  



I’ve taken the risk, Abba.  I’ve stepped into the river.  I’ve come this far.  But I wasn’t prepared for how much the boldness in your name would hurt.   Oh, my heart.  My eyes are heavy with tears.  And I’ve talked to so many people but still not all.  More to tell.  More hearts to break.  And my tissue box is empty.


Have I destroyed your body?

But you have promised you are enough.  You fill me.  You give me hope.  

During this time of stepping and reaching and listening you’ve promised:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:18-19

I cling to this.  In the shadow of your wings.  You are enough and you have promised to fill my empty places.  To make streams within me where there was just a barren mess and to make a way through the desert of my heart.  So I know you’ll use me and I know you’ll dry these tears.  Because you’ve called me to go here and you won’t leave me during the goodbyes or the hellos.  No, You will fill me.  

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.”  Psalm 42:7

Yes, I am full.  So full of your goodness.  And that’s the perfect place to be.  


In the spirit of Five Minute Friday, here are today’s raw and unedited thoughts….




Endings come.  There is a season for all things.  And we must have the courage to look beyond the discomfort of the ending, of the letting go, of the moving on.  Because what if we stayed in the comfortable non-ending and cashed out on the beginning that looms ahead.

To begin can be uncertain.  To begin can be uncomfortable.  When you begin, well, you just don’t know how things will end. 

But in the ending and the beginning and the becoming, God is at work.  And it seems like He does some great work in beginnings, doesn’t He?  There were a lot of beginnings that He called good.  And when we submit our desires and our thoughts to Him, when we allow him to move, when we begin to live dangerously for Him, He calls our beginnings good too.  And He promises us streams in the wilderness and pathways through the deserts. 

He’s with us in the beginnings.  Calling us.  Encouraging us.  But it’s up to us to take the leap of faith and GO.  We can’t begin if we never start.  Nope.  Doesn’t work that way. 

Beginnings are hard.  And exciting.  And totally scary.  And cumbersome.  And refreshing.  They are a part of our journey.  They give us definition and they take strength.

Now is the hour.  Be bold.

Begin again.  Whatever it is that needs beginning in your life.

Begin again.  And live.