Over the weekend my husband and I got some very exciting news and it has been continuing and keeping us on our toes ever since. We have truly been in awe of the Lord’s grace and what it appears He is unfolding and preparing for us. While what is occurring has brought so much praise and thanks, the Lord gently convicted us as well and opened our eyes to some deeply rooted sin.

Days before the new adventure we’re on began, I was reading more of The Holiness of God. I was reading the chapter titled, “Holy Justice.” In this chapter, R. C. Sproul goes through passages in the Old Testament that are generally hard to handle and understand to us modern day Christians because God seems so harsh; He doesn’t seem like He’s this loving God that we have come to know. The Lord brought brand new understanding to me about himself as Sproul explained God’s justice. I’ve heard people say before, “If God is really the ruler of this world and in control He’s doing a poor job of it.” While I’ve known that is not a true statement, I’ve never really let my mind think too much about it. I think I have been fearful of not knowing how to respond to the question, “Why do bad things happen?” This chapter helped me realize that the focus is all wrong with this statement or question—the focus is on humans, sinful humans instead of the Holy God.

Sproul gave an analogy to help define God’s justice more clearly. He explained that if there were ten people and all ten of them sin and sin equally, if God decided to have mercy on five and then punish the other five, the five that were punished would not be able to claim injustice. Actually, on the contrary, those five received justice and the other five received mercy. As I read this my eyes were more and more opened to the fact of how much each and every day I take God’s grace for granted. Sproul writes, “It is impossible for anyone, anywhere, anytime to deserve grace. Grace by definition is undeserved” (pg. 128).

The last week of the Fearless study has been centered on the gospel and sharing it with others fearlessly. Day Three of Week Six in the study goes through verses on the beauty of the gospel, the truth of God’s grace to us in giving salvation through Jesus. I read verses like John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” and 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” And as much as I really hate to admit this, the first morning I read these verses in my quiet time, I fell asleep. Yep, I read these truths of the amazing gift that I have been given and it didn’t faze me. I was so apathetic, I fell asleep.

What the Lord is unfolding for me and my husband right now, while it is extreme grace and a precious gift to us, is something very this-worldly. We began to realize how badly we want what seems to be unfolding to occur and we saw how our praise and thanks has been greatly multiplied, how our excitement of life in general is greatly multiplied, and how we are more diligent in prayer. The events that have been taking place lately could not be explained in any other way than that the Lord has been orchestrating everything, and we’ve had a great desire to share what the Lord has been doing, to tell anyone just how evident it is that this is all Him. Because it’s so evident that this situation is all the Lord’s doing we also have such a deep desire to make sure that we use what He has given to honor Him and glorify Him by all means possible. As we talked about these things that we saw were so different in us, the Lord reminded me of what I had read in The Holiness of God about no grace being deserved and He reminded me of what Fearless had been teaching about the grace of His gospel. We began to ask ourselves, why isn’t our praise and thanks and excitement always the way it is right now simply because of His amazing grace and the fact that we have salvation? My husband confessed, “We live so much for this world.” Just like we want this mundane thing that we’re being given to be used for the Lord’s glory, why don’t we want that for our whole life because of the eternal gift we’ve already been given?

Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. There is absolutely no way that we could earn our salvation. Scripture says that before Jesus paid our price, we were dead (Eph. 2:1-3). My husband and I have been so gently convicted of our deeply rooted apathy, ingratitude, conditional love based on circumstances, pride, self-righteousness, and worldly living. It’s been very sweet how the Lord has been using a gift to open our eyes to this, but it’s one thing to know this and confess it, and it’s another to really repent from this, to really live out the truth that our salvation is the greatest undeserved gift we could ever have been given. Day Four of Week Six of the Fearless study this morning prompted me to pray for the Lord to grow my gratitude for my salvation and what He has done for me and also to pray that understanding of His command to make disciples would grow. Oh how my husband and I want this.

I heard a song the other day by Jonathan David Hesler titled, “Abba.” The first lines of the song are, “You’re more real than the ground I’m standing on. You’re more real than the wind in my lungs. Your thoughts define me. You’re inside me. You’re my reality.” I’ve got to tell you that the gift the Lord seems to be giving me and my husband right now seems more real to me than the gift of Himself that He’s already, officially given. Father, help us to repent of our worldly views and look to what’s real. Bloom your truth in us.

Planted for His Glory


I watch very little television. But I do like “The Voice.” It is fascinating to me to watch the contestants’ journeys of artistic growth. A few seasons ago, I was very impressed by a young woman named Christina Grimmie. She was very talented, creative, and spirited. Last week, I stared at my computer in utter shock and sorrow as I read that Christina was dead. She had been shot and killed by a deranged fan while joyfully signing autographs after a concert. She was 22.

Two days later, our nation reeled at the horrific news of a mass shooting at a dance club — the worst in U.S. history. We then read reports of a freak accident at a resort at Disney World: a toddler had been grabbed by an alligator — in front of his family. He was found later, drowned.

These horrific events occurred in one city, in a span of a few days. If ever there were a week that signified how scary, how unpredictable, and how evil the world can be, it was last week. If ever there were a time to fear the horrors of this world, it is now.

I am so grateful to God for leading me to the Fearless study this summer. The teaching is so applicable to living life in a world that often times makes no sense.

This week, in the Fearless study, we have looked at what it means to fear the Lord. In theological terms, fear of the Lord means reverential awe and worship. Yes, God is our loving Father who longs to be in relationship with His children. But He is also God, our Creator, omniscient and omnipresent, holy, sovereign and perfect – deserving of our worship and reverence at all times.

We are accustomed to the word “fear” meaning terror, dread, or feeling afraid. However, the Bible tells us that fear – reverential awe — of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10, 1:7; Psa. 111:10). It is what allows us to praise God (Psa. 22:23). It helps us develop a perspective of who we are and Who God is. God is God and we are not.

As I meditated this week on our fear-filled world and biblical fear, these thoughts ran through my mind:

The world is evil.

The world is chaos.

Our world can dissolve into tragedy and devastation in the blink of an eye.

God is love (1 John 4:8).

The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty (Psa. 29:4). God’s hand cannot be stayed (Dan. 4:35) nor can His will be thwarted (Job 42:2).

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jer. 32:27 NIV).

All of these statements are true. How do we reconcile them? We must remember we have a very real enemy in this world, an enemy who is evil, who prowls like a lion to devour us (1 Pet. 5:8). And though I know in this world I will have trouble, trials, and pain, and witness senseless tragedy, as Paul says: “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Tim. 1:12).

I don’t understand why the world is the way it is. Thank God I don’t have to! God is God and I am not. He has given us the truth of His Word so that we can rest in His promises. If God is for us, who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)? Let us place our trust in the Lord and fear – revere and worship – Him, not fear – be afraid of – the evil one of this world. Eternity stretches out before us, and we know to Whom all victory and glory will be ascribed!

Growing in Grace


I’ve recently been drawn to the song “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan David and Melissa Helser. There’s a part in the song where louder than any other lines they sing, “You split the sea so I could walk right through it, my fears are drowned in perfect love. You rescue me so I can stand and sing, I am a child of God.” A day from my Fearless study this past week asked me to think about and record great works that the Lord has performed before my eyes and great works that God has performed in His Word. I started thinking through this question and this song came to mind. The song claims that we are no longer slaves to fear because we’re children of God. To reinforce the truth in this song, they sang about a mighty work that the Lord performed in His Word; they were remembering a great work of God from the past to focus on His faithfulness in the present instead of fear.

I started to think about the mighty works that I have seen God do right before my very eyes, and the Lord brought to mind what is currently taking place inside me—the growth of my sweet baby boy. The kicks I feel on an hourly basis, my growing belly, and the healthy heartbeat we hear at doctor’s appointments all point to a mighty work of the Creator. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I am more scared about this new life that is coming my way than I anticipated being. My husband and I have many changes coming our way at once and not knowing what that looks like has sent me into a whirlwind of emotions on any given day. What grace the Lord gave me the morning I did this lesson of Fearless as I thought about the mighty work being performed in my own body that I am allowed to witness. The Lord sweetly allowed the root of my fear to be brought into light on this particular morning. And I wanted to share this with you because while you may not be experiencing the same fear I am, we all do have fears, and I hope what the Lord did for me will be of encouragement to you. Or maybe when you are in the stage of life where I am right now, if you have similar fears, you will know that you are not alone.

I feel as if I hear all the time when people know I’m pregnant, “Enjoy your alone time with your husband now while you can,” or, “Your marriage is easy right now, just wait until you have kids,” or something along those lines. Besides my relationship with the Lord, and to be completely honest, so often even above my relationship with the Lord, my marriage is the most important thing to me. I have seen with my own eyes how easy it is for marriages to drift off into habits that are unhealthy and then people feel as if they can’t get back to where they were. I do not want my husband and me to be one of those couples. And I have been concerned about the impact children will have on our marriage. I want to love my children well and love them in a way that points them to the unfailing love of their heavenly Father, but the Lord revealed the lie I’ve been believing that if I fully embrace loving them then that means the love I have for my husband will change. I don’t know what it looks like to continue to put your husband first but also have a child that needs you and needs to be loved. As I journaled this all out to the Lord, I was frustrated because I desperately wanted to know the answer is to this question (and honestly still do). I just really like to have things figured out and this is something that’s not going to be “figured out” right now.

I confessed to the Lord, “Lord, my mind has been taken over by fear and feelings lately. I’ve allowed myself to believe that I need to address the fear and be realistic, not naïve in thinking nothing could happen, and this has caused me to miss out on the beauty and mighty work of what is happening inside me. I’ve allowed myself to become so fearful of change instead of thinking about and leaning into you.”

While it may not seem like a big deal, I hadn’t been able to communicate the exact fear of not knowing how to love my husband and my baby until that morning. It felt so freeing to be able to confess that exact fear to the Lord, and He led me to look up verses on children. I read God’s truth about children, not what other people say about them in our culture: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate” (Psa. 127:3-5). The Lord then brought back to mind the story I had read the day before about Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles and his prayer as he realized his kingdom was about to be under attack by large armies. As I went to turn in my Bible to this story, I flipped right to 2 Chronicles 20:12, the exact verse I was looking for because it was bookmarked with my son’s first sonogram picture. The verse says, “For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Tears streamed down my face, more like an ugly sob, as I saw God’s mighty work that had taken place that morning, His grace to reveal this verse to me through a picture of my son.

I think I’ve wanted to see my fears and be realistic about them because I haven’t wanted to be blindsided by things that could potentially go wrong in all these changes. I’ve wanted to have a handle on all the potential possibilities and because of that fear has gripped me. I have believed the lie that it is irresponsible not to contemplate all the potential outcomes that could come our way. I can’t be that girl that, you know, thinks, “Oh everything is going to just be beautiful and all rainbows and butterflies all the time.” What the Lord helped me see that morning, however, is that yes, absolutely things will not always be perfect or rainbows and butterflies, even though that is really what I would prefer if I had my choice. He also helped me see that it’s okay to not know what’s coming and to be content in that because I can look to the One who does know what’s coming.

I still don’t know what it looks like to love my husband and my baby. Just like Jehoshaphat I am powerless, but my eyes can look to the One who has all the power. The truth is, children are a heritage from the Lord and those with many are blessed. The truth is, it’s not irresponsible to be powerless and not know what’s coming. The truth is, God was faithful in His Word and He’s still faithful today, and I can look to Him. The truth is, it’s not irresponsible to put my trust in Him alone. These truths are true for you too. If you’re feeling anything like I’m feeling, let’s pray for the grace to say with Jehoshaphat, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chron. 20:12).

Planted for His Glory