As I’ve mentioned before, my husband and I have quite a few changes coming our way in a little under 12 weeks, but who’s counting? Lord willing, we will have a new baby, be in a new house, and my job situation will be different as well. Many things are up in the air—when we will officially move, when our baby will actually be here, what his schedule will be like, and when my job will officially make a change. My husband, while staying busy with work all day then comes home to more work for our new house or more chores that need to get done or you name it, there’s just a lot going on. I’ve been really scared about all of these things, as I’ve probably also mentioned before. I have no idea what life is going to be like, and I’m realizing how much I really don’t like that. I hate it actually.

As I drove to my house after a weekend away for a bachelorette celebration and really not getting to be with my husband at all, I became more and more sad, then angry, then fearful. My thought pattern went something along these lines. First I was sad because I hadn’t talked to my husband that much while I was out of town. Then I was angry with him, and I started blaming him in my head because he’s always working, and I was making up lies that I’m not a priority. And then I became fearful because we’ve got a little one on the way, and I can only imagine that things are going to get crazier, and we’re never going to get our alone time back again. And if this is already how we are now, what’s going to happen when kids are in the picture? Now, trust me, I know I was being dramatic after just one weekend away, but the enemy has just used the slightest change for me and my husband in my head lately to send me for a loop.

I did share these things with my husband when I came home and the Lord sweetly provided time for us that evening, but sadly, it just wasn’t enough…I wanted more. I wanted the busyness to just be gone, I wanted to just be on our honeymoon 24/7, and my attitude was just sour because things were not going my way. I keep dreaming about how life will just be so much easier when things slow down, and then I get really scared as I realize that I don’t know if that is ever going to happen.

Over the weekend I chatted with one of my best friends about praying open handedly. I started to really think about what that looked like. I’ve been praying for a certain timing on things to work out, for all outcomes to work out the way I want them to, and I pray and say I want the Lord’s will, whatever He wants for His glory, but my pouty attitude definitely proved otherwise last night. This morning, I honestly hadn’t even realized all this self-righteous sin that was oozing out of me as I did my quiet time. The Fearless study at the beginning of week 6 prompted me to read Galatians 2:20 and to really think about what I have been given in Christ, and because of what I’ve been given, how to live fearlessly.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

As I thought more about this verse, I looked and saw one of our wedding pictures on the wall. You don’t see our faces at all in this picture. All you see is our backs, our arms around each other, facing forward, heads bowed in prayer during our ceremony. The Lord put in front of my eyes what our life should be about—together as one, bowing before His throne, wanting His way alone. Because the lives that my husband and I live are no longer ours, but we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us, the sadness, the anger, the fear cycle that I have been experiencing does not have to happen. Those feelings have no power over me. The Lord gently used this verse and our wedding picture to remind me that our lives are not to be easy and comfortable. We may be in a busy season and, yeah, it may be awesome to be in a slower season soon, but there’s no reason to be scared of the craziness and the unknown. Instead, we can learn to team together during this season for the glory of God alone, and that’s so much better than being on a honeymoon 24/7. We must lean on our God to guide us and we must be given grace to trust Him. Fear will not prevail because our God has already won. I know I will need this reminder many times. My flesh is so weak, and in my flesh I am so selfish, but I’m thankful for the Lord’s grace as He sweetly leads me and my husband through this crazy season, again, all for His glory.

Planted for His Glory


Several months ago, a friend posted on Facebook about a current-events situation that seemed pretty bleak. One of his friends responded that we needed to pray for those involved.  My friend’s response: “Why? Prayer doesn’t change anything.”

This week, in the Fearless devotional, we looked at prayer…and not just anyone’s prayer life. Jesus’ prayer life. Jesus, in the short time He walked this earth as a man, modeled for us the importance of prayer. If prayer changed nothing, if it were meaningless and unnecessary, we would not have Jesus’ teaching about it or example in it — nor would the Bible provide us so many different accounts of how prayer changed lives and events throughout Scripture.

This week, we read Matthew 14:23, 25: “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.  …And in the fourth watch of the night, he came to them, walking on the sea.” I looked up the when the fourth watch of the night was. It was 3 to 6am. So, Jesus spent a long time in prayer and in solitude with His Father. But perhaps what struck me most was that He TOOK the time. This was God himself! He could have talked to the Father in a nano-second; they shared the same divine mind! He had such limited time on earth, such limited time for ministry, but He took the time to retreat. He took the time to pray. I think I have plenty of important things to do in my day, but let’s face it; none of them are remotely close to feeding thousands of hungry people or healing the sick. That’s the kind of work Jesus was doing, and He refused to sacrifice His time with God.

The Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus prays as an example for us, is packed full of wisdom and knowledge. As I read this familiar prayer this week, I contemplated Laurie’s questions: if I make this prayer my own, what do I need to adjust in my thinking in order to pray this prayer honestly? Do I believe that my Father is in heaven? Whose name do I wish to exalt — His or mine? Whose will do I really wish to accomplish — His or mine?

These questions helped me understand that I do NOT have eyes to see as God does. None of us do. God’s ways are so much higher than ours. We are weak-minded. We are human. It was in seeing these truths that I understood why people think prayer is unimportant. We (a) pray according to our own will; and (b) expect God to answer our prayers according to our limited human mindset.  We think we know best. When prayers aren’t answered quickly or in the way we expected, perhaps it is easier to assume that our prayers are ignored than acknowledge that God is God and we are not.

As for me, there are prayers I lift up regularly to the Lord that have not yet been answered. But there are also many prayers He has answered, life-changing prayers of deliverance, of restoration, of provision, of salvation. And Scripture continually reminds us to turn to prayer, in all circumstances:

“…pray without ceasing…” (1 Thess. 5:17).

“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Eph. 6:18 NIV).

Prayer is a gift to us. It allows us to commune with our loving and holy Father who deeply wishes to be in relationship with us. And when we pray with others, it allows us to bond with one another in a much deeper way than regular conversation permits.

So, back to my Facebook friend. I admit I did not comment on his post that day.  But one thing I did do. I prayed for him.

Growing in Grace



I was convicted after not spending much time to think through a lesson I had just finished in the Fearless study today. I opened this study up following a pretty emotional day the day before. To give you just a brief snap shot of what yesterday looked like—my husband and I got back into town from an out of town wedding. We had driven separately, so I spent the two hour drive in silence and I can’t even remember what I thought about, but there was no intentionality in my thinking that’s for sure. I got home and had expectations to do something fun with my husband even though I had no ideas to offer to him as to what we could do. And since he had actual work to get done, we did nothing, and I pouted. I was in a terrible mood—nothing was going my way. I looked on social media and was judging my looks on how many likes and comments I had gotten on a photo and I continued to listen to the lie that I am ugly now and people will not look at me the same anymore. As the day went on I felt worse and worse about myself, not only because I felt ugly but because I was allowing myself to listen to the lies and find my identity in social media comments over what the Lord says. I felt such guilt and shame that that much weight was placed on something that was a “weak and worthless elementary principle of this world” (Gal. 4:9), but I couldn’t change my mindset. I became more and more frustrated.

Later in the evening the Lord gave me grace to confess to my husband this stupid, but very real struggle I had been battling in my head all day. I didn’t try and explain to him all the reasons why I was feeling the way I was or try to explain to him that I knew how I should be responding, I just confessed the sin and asked him to pray. In the Lord’s sweetness and grace He allowed us to have a very sweet night together without my feeling all these lies in my head.

I fear that God gets annoyed with me, that because I know how I should be responding to a certain feeling, when I don’t do that as I know I should that God gets so frustrated. Because of this fear, I get bound and determined to not feel certain things in my pride so as to please the Lord. I went all day yesterday trying in my own prideful strength to not feel the feeling of wanting to look beautiful and wanting others to think I was beautiful instead of just coming before Him and telling Him what was going on.

I read today in Matthew 14:23-25 about Jesus going up on the mountain to pray. I’m sure in many instances we see where Jesus retreats to be with His Father for long stretches of time and this was definitely one of those instances. He didn’t come walking on the water to the disciples until the fourth watch of the night, which was in the middle of the night to early morning. The study prompted me to think through how much time I spend with my Heavenly Father. I love what this paragraph from the Fearless study said,

We need to get away from “the earthly” on a daily basis in order to live with “the heavenly” in view….How can you make sure that you set time apart with Him so that you are able to hear Him and see things from His perspective rather than the way things appear from a worldly, human perspective? We can do nothing in our own strength, but we are to follow God’s ultimate command to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. As we follow in obedience by faith, He will make this possible.” (Week 4: Day 3)

I have to confess to you that while most mornings I do have a “quiet time” I would say a small fraction of those times are actually spent retreating to my Heavenly Father and most mornings are actually just spent doing something I’m “supposed to do.” I’m not really retreating to the mountain. I want to have that heavenly perspective, I wanted to have it yesterday so badly as I was trying to make myself not feel something, but like the Fearless study reminded me today, I can do nothing in my own strength. So often it seems a lot easier to confess something to my husband, or to my accountability partner, or to my mentor, or to the Lord in the same breath as telling them how I know I should be responding. It doesn’t seem as weak to say THIS SIN is what I’m doing right now, but I know THIS is what I need to be doing instead of just confessing what my weak flesh is doing in the present moment. The Lord is revealing to me that I may in fact still just be seeing things from my weak, human, earthly perspective instead of His heavenly one because I don’t just retreat to Him because I’m scared He’s disappointed.

I think this is where this post ends. I don’t want to tell you what I’m going to try to do or even write out what I think I need to do to “fix” this sin of mine. I’m just going to retreat to be with the Lord and ask Him for His heavenly perspective by His grace. I get so fixed on doing this whole Christianity thing “right” that I totally miss out on the beauty that our God is blooming. Father, help me see from your eyes instead of my own.

Planted for His Glory