Sitting down to write this post has been extremely challenging for me. I have sat down time after time to begin writing it or to finish writing it yet somehow the words just wouldn’t come together. As crazy as it sounds, it has been truly impossible for me to put my thoughts down on the page. This task that I have enjoyed doing time and time again has been so daunting. I asked a friend to pray for me as I was working on the blog post, and she has been sweet enough to pray for me and to continue to follow up with me. Yet a week later I am still overwhelmed at the thought of even trying to put something together. I began to ask the Lord, “Why am I still struggling?”

Each morning as I work through the In the Garden study and I come to the “Confession” section, this verse jumps out at me on the page.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psa. 139:23-24)

The issue is, I often don’t want to ask the Lord to search my heart. It can get pretty messy in there. When I get to the second verse my flesh tenses up a little more. “Try me and know and my thoughts.” For me to truly ask the Lord to try me means that I have to be ready for Him to actually send trials my way. And I have walked through the Lord’s trials before, and they aren’t always fun. To be honest, I really would rather not ask the Lord to know my thoughts.

The Lord has been revealing to me that my thought life is not pleasing and honoring to Him. I have somehow convinced myself that if I am not sinning on the outside or if I don’t say my thoughts out loud then it isn’t really that big of a deal. No one knows about it anyway, right?

As I got to the confession portion of the study this morning, the Lord continued to want to show me the reason I’ve been struggling to put this post together.
It is because of my pride. As I would attempt to write I kept thinking about how I wanted it to make sense so that others would read it and think it was a really well written post. My pride wanted others to read my post and think it was great. My pride wanted the words I wrote down to sound perfect and flow together. Yet the Lord taught me this morning that none of that matters because this is all for His glory alone. It really has nothing to do with me, and if I trust Him as I share my thoughts that He has given me, that is all that matters. I don’t always have the words to put together a great post but thankfully our great God is the provider and lovingly helps His children when they are weak.

James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

So I confess right now that my pride has gotten in the way of allowing me to fully trust the Lord as I tried to put these words on the page.

I am praying that the Lord would give us all much grace to be honest as we ask Him to search our hearts and know our thoughts. It isn’t always fun and it can get messy, but the eternal blessing of letting God bring the truth to light is far greater than remaining in ignorance of our own hearts.

Standing on the Word


“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Deut. 5:16). Having done In the Garden before, I knew this commandment was coming. I thought, maybe I can just skim over this one real quick. I don’t necessarily see how I can apply this one. I had been dealing with this same issue the last time I did this study. Although, this time was different. I am actually desiring to be transformed in my thinking and to go deeper in my walk with Christ. But, if I am being real with you, I didn’t want to be transformed in this area just yet. Any area, BUT THIS COMMANDMENT.

In the middle of my alone time, I stopped when I realized this was the commandment we were going to be reading over that day. I whispered to myself, “Jesus, I need you to give me the strength right now.” I began to just talk to my heavenly Father. I went on to speak aloud as I was writing the following:

“Father, how do you expect me to just turn the other cheek to the person that is constantly talking bad about me? You tell me to honor my mom and yet it has taken nearly a year to even be alone in the same room as her. On top of that, you call me to honor a man who wasn’t there for me when I was born, and I had to reach out to him for a relationship. He loves alcohol more than his own children, what is that about?! Why can’t you change them first? Why me? I want to honor you, God. But can’t I honor you in another way? Why do I have to do this? Help the next words come out of my mouth because I don’t want to say them… Nevertheless, Father, even though my heart is not wanting this, move in me. You have to move in me because I am so weak. Your will, not mine. Your way, not my own. Let me see what you see, Lord. Help me to love like you despite my feelings. You see what is going on in these relationships, Father. I know you are just, I know you are in control. I also know that you know every hair on my head. This means you know exactly the place I am at right now. You know my thoughts before I even think them. You are going to have to move in me, because I can’t do this. I just can’t without your grace.”

I wasn’t ready to let these issues go. Then I read something in the study that hit me in the gut. I hadn’t gotten to it just yet because I hadn’t even made it past seeing the “Fifth Commandment.” The next part of the study says, “Our attitude towards our parents can sometimes be a revealing gauge of our attitude towards God.” WHOA. My heart sunk. It gets better. The study goes on: “But because God has commanded us to honor our parents regardless of their worthiness, how we treat our parents in this regard does become a gauge of how we are responding to the Lord…”

With the help of the Holy Spirit I started to realize that I have not ever been capable of honoring them in my own strength. It is so crazy to confess what I have been holding on to for so long. I also realized something else. I am so thankful that my heavenly Father hasn’t grown weary with me like I have with my earthly parents.

He never said it would be easy to do, but good thing we don’t do this on our own. In my own “wisdom” (foolishness) I never would be able to accomplish anything pertaining to living like Christ. I could never comprehend the love He has if it were not for Him loving me first. The Bible says, “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:19-21).

I can choose to try to love my mother and father in my own strength (which is impossible). Or I can choose to look to my Savior! I can choose to speak the truth to myself. I can choose to lean into Him the more I feel weak. I need to really take inventory and ask if I really love God more than feeling justified in my flesh. The Bible is very clear what is in my heart if it is not love. If I choose to go off of my feelings then I am choosing to hate and be disobedient. I want to obey the Word of God and be set free. During the study I wasn’t even sure how I could find a way to honor them. But I can honor them by being a light to them. I am no longer representing myself; I am representing Christ. This is the most important thing they need to see from me, hear from me, or feel from me.

As we seek to be planted deeper in His healing, everlasting, and unchanging truth, may we ask God to search every crack and corner of our hearts. And when He does, may our hunger and thirst to love Him more completely cover the desire to be anything other than what He sees fit to make us.

All for His Glory


A week ago I went to a pot luck of a dear friend whose family was getting ready to move. They host this pot luck every Sunday and this particular Sunday was the last one at their current home. As I’ve mentioned before, I like to have things in order. I really don’t know how else to explain it, but I have always felt this internal pressure to have things “perfect.” I guess in a way it makes me feel as if I have everything “together” which of course is actually impossible, but I guess I like to pretend. When my husband and I have ever hosted anything at our home I definitely want to make sure everything is “together.” I’ve loved when people have come over and commented on how beautiful our home is, etc. This particular get-together that my husband and I went to, however, had a completely different feel to it. Because this family was moving they had boxes everywhere. Things were half packed; things were undone. Let me tell you what, that pot luck was one of the most soul refreshing get-togethers I think I have ever been to and it wasn’t because we knew everyone there and had great conversation, because actually we only knew the owners. Everyone there could have cared less about what this family’s home situation was like. They weren’t looking at the half packed boxes, they were just enjoying the fellowship and enjoying one another. The hosts of the pot luck were not looking at the half packed boxes either and wondering/worrying what their guests thought. Instead they were loving on their guests—real, authentic life was being lived out in front of my eyes, and it was just so beautiful.

My husband and I are actually in the process of packing up our house and moving as well, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen my house in such disarray. I currently have dirty dishes in the sink, wet dust rags on the floor, and cabinets opened and half empty. I’m overdo on laundry, and boxes are stacked everywhere to the point where you can barely move through our living room at all. And there’s just a lot more packing to do. I’m typically of the mentality that when you start something you finish it in that sitting, and, well, that’s just impossible in this scenario. It’s truly been a challenge for me; I’ve felt so anxious.

The whole process of moving into this new house is just a list of one grace after another as the Lord has orchestrated the entire thing. It has been such a gift to us! The Lord opened my eyes to my anxiety and just how ungrateful that was in the midst of everything that was occurring for our family. I was confessing and praying about how I just don’t want to care about the half-filled boxes in my house, and I read from the In the Garden study 1 John 2:15-17: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” The Lord revealed to me how I was yearning after the desires of my flesh in wanting to be perfect and “have it all together” by stressing over my dirty house instead of fixing my eyes on the One who was giving my family a gift and reason to have those half-filled boxes all over the place.

I started to think through those verses a little bit more and was just seeing the comparisons that were being made—God or the world, we can’t have both. I thought again about the pot luck I had gone to a week ago and could see how in a way that was an analogy for God or the world. I felt so much more refreshed and uplifted when I left a place that was full of grace and just filled with love despite the half-filled boxes than when I left my own home with a constant to-do list flying in my mind about all I need to get done to keep it all somewhat together. Do I want to look to God and fix my gaze on Him or do I want to look to the world (the desire of my flesh) that says that my house always needs to be in order?

Today I heard a sermon on the transfiguration from Mark 9. The pastor went into intense detail on the very tiny glimpse of glory that Peter, James, and John were able to experience on the mountain with Jesus prior to Him going to the cross. The pastor explained the context of what had just taken place prior to the transfiguration—Jesus had explained that He would suffer on the cross and after three days rise again. Peter did not want to hear this from Jesus. It says in Mark 8:32 that Peter rebuked Him because Peter didn’t want to think about the powerful Messiah that he had heard about for so long having to die. But Jesus goes on to tell Peter that his mind was set on the things of man, not of God and then goes further to explain that if anyone would come after Him they must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. Jesus says in Mark 8:36, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” While the transfiguration was unbelievable for the three disciples that were able to witness it, Jesus then still had to go to the cross. The pastor said, “This story doesn’t end in glory, it ends in humility.” Jesus was preparing the disciples for the cross and pointing to the cross because it was the cross and what Jesus was going to do there that was going to allow them to bask in the glory that they were just able to experience. It is because Jesus went to the cross and took our sins that we are going to one day be able to experience the true glory of God. The pastor went on to explain that yes, we absolutely get tastes of glory here on this earth, but right now it’s not promised. We’re actually promised a cross. We are called to pick up our crosses. The pastor asked the question, “Do you really believe that there is stored up glory for you in heaven that is coming?” He pointed out how Paul believed this. Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

I started to think about that tiny analogy of half-filled boxes in my house—the world or God? Because Jesus died for me, I have been given the grace to fix my eyes on Him and not this world. I have been given the living hope, the hope of glory, and when I look to that instead of my half-filled boxes and messy house, for example, it’s so much more refreshing. This world and my half-filled boxes are passing away, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Planted for His Glory