It may sound silly, but it can almost become second nature to avoid sharing the hard things. You can become REALLY good at sweeping the harder things under the rug, all while managing to share just enough. I say all of this because I was strongly convicted of this very thing. It’s not that I give you false material as a reader, but sometimes I tend to leave out things that aren’t so pretty. And who am I not to be fully and totally transparent with this space the Lord has provided for us? I want to share with you some very cool things that happened this past week, and some not so hot times. It is so funny how we are so hung up on coming off a certain way, even in a space of anonymity. I don’t want to be bound by this any longer, and I thank the Lord for opening my blind eyes to an area of my heart that I was trying to keep in the dark. I was reminded of Mark 4:22: “For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.”

The last few nights have been hard around my household. Long story short, the neighbors have been really difficult to live near. I promise, I am going somewhere with this story! So hang in there with me. I have wanted to be extremely intentional with those that live around me because I want to build relationships that ultimately lead to opportunities to talk about Christ. Now, I know not every personality is the exact same and not everyone will immediately be “BFF’s,” but I do love community and the potential for people to come to know Christ as Saviour like I have. But these particular neighbors I haven’t gotten to know at all and I never see them during the day. It is only after midnight that they begin their ritual of slamming their door every five seconds, and being belligerent to the point where I could not stand the idea of even being kind to them.

I know I have shared in previous blogs about having the root sin of anger as a mainstay on my Tree of Unrighteousness. But I thought those days were for the most part over. I really did, you all! I thought I had a clear record lately and had been seeing a real difference in this area of my life. Now, this is not to say that I am squeaky clean and scot-free in the area of anger. But I have definitely seen the fruits (especially in my marriage) of obeying the Lord. And oh my goodness, just when I think that this sin, at this level, would be a thing of the past… I was so wrong. Now, I said I was going to be extremely transparent with you. So let me just say these neighbors were on my serious last nerve, and this particular night all I could do was think about how I might retaliate against them.

Should I confront them against my husband’s request? Should I go out there and make a big scene? These were things I kept going over in my head. All night long (well beyond 3 am). I wasn’t meditating on God’s Word or asking my husband to pray with me. I don’t know about you, but once my heart is so full of anger,  I feel like my heart is in no place to worship or pray even though these are the moments when I should, more than ever. But at this time I felt like there was just no way I could get over this. We both were woken up multiple times, both unable to sleep, and I was in an absolutely horrible mood.

So after all this time I finally got comfortable. And then my husband moved briskly and woke me up from the little sleep I was getting. That was all it took.  I got angry and sinned against my husband in that moment. All my anger, frustration, and more anger was released in his direction. I began to spew words and got even more angry when he didn’t respond. I was so filled with rage and absolutely unwilling to stop and flea from the temptation to sin further. I accused him of not caring very much and proceed to go off and lie in the other room by myself. I was being a bit dramatic, but it was so early in the morning, and I was still so raging on the inside that I decided there was no other way. I was upset at something completely different, but projected all of this on to him.

But oh, the beauty of grace! It is such a sweet and mighty gift the Lord has given to us. While sitting alone and thinking what went wrong in that situation, I did something new. Instead of staying mad, I eventually came to a point where I began to just talk to the Lord. Normally, my mind would be so overrun with thoughts and my flesh would be so set in its way. But, I just started to talk to Him and didn’t say anything special. As a matter of fact, I started conversing as if I was on the phone with a friend. I was saying, “Lord, what happened? What was that about? I thought I was over anger like that. I was so upset at the circumstance that I didn’t even think of you.” Among other things, I expressed to Him that I have nothing positive to share with people, so therefore I am not ready to do a blog for this week. I was set on not turning one in.

That was when I was reminded of something we read in What is the Gospel? Greg Gilbert said, “I have known so many people who would say something like, ‘Yes, I’ve accepted Jesus as Savior, so I am a Christian. But I’m just not ready to accept him as Lord yet.’” He goes on to say, “Moreover, to have faith in Jesus, is at its core, to believe that he really is who he says he is—the crucified and risen King who has conquered death and sin, and who has the power to save. Now how could a person believe all that, trust in it, and rely on it, and yet at the same time say, ‘But I don’t acknowledge that you are King over me’? That doesn’t make any sense.” Funny thing. I marked that part of the book as I was reading it and I just remember thinking how true this was, and feeling as if I am so guilty of this. Gilbert went on to reference Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (NIV).

And I sat on this for a long time and thought to myself, “Am I serving my flesh too?” Have I accepted Him as Lord in every area of my life? Have I given Him full reign in everything? Or am I holding on for dear life until things hit the fan and you can see my true feelings? There is no doubt that we will sin, but to willfully sin in that moment as I did was evidence that I say with my mouth that He is Lord, but I haven’t surrender Lordship in every area of my life to Him. It is much easier to say these things, but to truly mean them is entirely different. I expect not to be perfect, but it is amazing to me how bent out of shape I can get when I am pressed with a situation to handle things in a practical, biblical manner. Someone once told me, “ You know, I would say Jesus is all these things to me when I thought I was real spiritual. But it wasn’t until I had no other choice to believe, did I then finally mean it.” I want to mean it now. He has given me no reason to doubt Him! But for some reason I continue to try and do this walk on my own.

I pray that we never get complacent with our sin, but we cut it at the root. I know how easy it is to sit back and get comfortable. Maybe even a little prideful at the idea that we have, in our own strength conquered that sin that doesn’t rear it’s ugly head as much as it use to. But only in Him is anything possible, only in His strength can we find any freedom from sin. I pray that we look to Him to find strength, and never look to self. We live with this flesh everyday, but we don’t have to be ruled by it. That is so exciting to me, because in Christ you can chose how you respond to the flesh. And in the Lord’s strength is how you will overcome it. I pray that we not only say these things with our lips, but that our hearts are full of belief and faith in Him.

All for His Glory


Spring brings flowers and showers and many rites of passage! In recent weeks, Facebook seems full of photos of school dances, graduations, and end-of-the-school year events. This is a very busy time of year. For those of us with school-aged children, we are wrapping up another school year, and that always involves reaching – and sharing – milestones and achievements.

Lately, as I have scrolled through Facebook, I latched onto something I have not noticed before: how often we (universally) say we are proud of someone or something. We are proud of our sons and daughters for _________________ (fill in the blank). This has led me to think a good deal about pride and the expression of it. Is it wrong to feel proud of our children when they work hard and do well? Is it sinful to feel pride at accomplishing a goal we have set for ourselves?

No. I do not think it is wrong to delight in our children when they graduate, win an award, or get a passing grade for which they worked very hard. Nor do I think it is wrong for us to post pictures of our children and say we are proud of their accomplishments.

However, I think there are inherent dangers with feeling and expressing pride – over anything. For example, if I say I am proud of my son for making the Honor Role, with no acknowledgement in my heart of God, am I not denying the role that God had in my son’s accomplishment? After all, God is the giver of all good things (James 1:17).

Pride can very quickly go from justifiable satisfaction to arrogance. It can blind us completely. Our pride can rule our decisions and ruin our relationships. Worst of all, it causes us to forget the Lord (Deut 8:14). I have been considering the following verses from Proverbs:

  • Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov. 16:18)
  • One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. (Prov. 29:23)
  • Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. (Prov. 16:5)
  • Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. (Prov. 18:12)

I think the line between feeling pleasure over one’s achievements and haughtiness is slim. Perhaps it would be better to ascribe glory to the Lord for His faithfulness in helping us complete a job or attain a goal rather than describe our feeling as “pride.” This also goes for how we feel about our children. I want my children to know I delight in their achievements! But instead of saying, “I’m so proud of you,” I will now strive to say, “I PRAISE God for your work ethic! I am so grateful for how He has blessed you!” Because that is what any and all accomplishments are really all about: GOD, and how He has blessed us.

The more we give glory to God for the things we do well, the more we guard our hearts against pride, the more we see Him as the source of our gifting, and the more gratitude we cultivate in our hearts and lives.

So, being proud of a job well done is not necessarily wrong. But being grateful to God is better.

Growing in Grace


Galatians 4:9 says, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?”

This was one of the Scriptures I read earlier this morning from my Thistlebend Fearless study. What a thought provoking question. My study followed this Scripture up with another thought provoking question, “What are the worthless things of the world that have a pull on you?”

I wrote down things like how I’ve been comparing myself to others and their weight gain in pregnancy versus mine. I wrote down that the opinions of others have a pull on me, specifically a made up opinion in my head of what my husband thinks a wife should be like. These things are so relevant and real to me, things I very much consider throughout my day and can determine my state of mind or mood at any given moment.

This Scripture in Galatians describes these pulls from the world that I have as “weak and worthless elementary principles.” When really thinking about these pulls from the world, especially in comparison to the truth of Scripture, they are so worthless. Why is it worth my time to compare myself to someone else, thinking they’re better because they’re a smaller pregnant woman than me? It doesn’t even sound logical when I write out what my mind is doing there.

A friend of mind this morning sent me an article that she had read titled, “Don’t Turn Motherhood into an Idol.” The author, David E. Prince, wrote about how it’s easy to let children become the central focus of a mother’s life instead of the gospel. When that happens, he says, motherhood can easily become a burden instead of a blessing. A mom can constantly feel the pull from the world to compare and feel like she hasn’t done enough because a “good mom” is supposed to do, fill in the blank.

The author challenged moms to stop trying to be good moms and start being gospel moms. Moms that have the gospel as their central focus. I love Prince’s ending sentence of the article: “Satan delights in self-righteous supermoms, but he trembles at humble gospel-moms who just keep joyfully plodding along, imperfectly but persistently, trying to walk in line with the gospel and call her kids to the same.”

I started thinking about this article and this idea of being a gospel mom in light of what the Lord has been teaching me through the Fearless study and R.C. Sproul’s book The Holiness of God. One of the memory verses from the Fearless study, Deuteronomy 32:39 says, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” God alone is God. He alone sits on the throne with the whole world under His rule. He alone is holy and is the only one set apart. Because this is all true, I believe I can hear the angst in Paul’s voice when he asked the Galatians the question he did in Galatians 4. I can hear his angst as the Scripture asked me the same question, WHY would you turn back to the worthless elementary principles of this world?

The Lord revealed as I read that article and thought on Galatians 4:9 that I may not be a self-righteous supermom just yet, but that’s the path I am walking down and I do strive to be the self-righteous super-wife and super-friend and super-employee and super-Christian. I don’t want to be their slaves anymore and the beautiful thing is I don’t have to be—all because of the GOSPEL!

Because Jesus humbled himself to come down to earth and be a human, lived a perfect life, out of obedience and love died on the cross, and then three days later rose again, and because God in His loving mercy said He will look on Jesus to pay for my sins, I no longer have to live for the “weak and worthless elementary principles of the world.” I don’t have to be enslaved to my fleshly sin desire to be the self-righteous superwoman who’s constantly bowing to everyone else’s expectations. No, by God’s grace, I can live for the gospel that broke my chains. The God that sits on the throne can be my focus.

Paul points out in Galatians 4:9 that in order to go back to the weak pulls of the world we would have to turn back: “…how can you turn back again…” It’s time for me to make another turn. A turn back to my King. By God’s grace alone to stop looking at an Instagram post of someone that I have made to be perfect in my mind and compare myself to them. It’s time to confess any comparison to the Lord and then encourage instead of compare. To stop allowing the enemy to take my focus off the sweet gift from the Lord inside me and put it on something worthless. It’s time for me to stop feeling the non-existent pressure from my husband of having our house together or to look a certain way or to know all things about mothering and confess these perceived pressures, again by God’s grace, to the Lord and to my husband and instead remember the point of marriage—yet again the gospel.

Of course, this is all much easier said than done and just because I’m “feeling” pumped about being this gospel focused woman doesn’t mean there will be overnight change. I know this happens in the Lord’s timing, not mine. I won’t do this perfectly, but He alone provides the growth, and when He does, it will be all for His glory. I’m tired of fearing, however, that something will be lost if I don’t continue to try and please people (the pulls of the world) and please the Lord at the same time. Maybe you are too. Let’s pray for each other, that we’ll lay aside the “weak and worthless elementary principles of the world” and instead be gospel-wives, gospel-moms, gospel-employees, gospel-friends and gospel-Christians, not for us, but for Him.

Planted for His Glory