1. Category Archive: Things I’m Learning


    “He crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” Psalm 103:4

    IMG_1876This verse hit me in a new way when I read it recently.

    He crowns us.

    A crown is an outward display or proof of who we are: royalty.

    When it says He crowns us with these qualities, God is the One who sets on us the outward display of what it looks like to be His. To be loved by Him, to love like He does.

    And when we let His love that is within our hearts be revealed through our everyday loving and living, then that is when we bring Him the most glory, and when we accurately wear the crown He places on us.

    Unfortunately, we still have this struggle with sin and pride and our flesh, so it’s not easy to be tender, and full of lovingkindness all of the time. And that’s because we can’t do it on our own. I love how Luke 9:23 says if we want to follow Christ we must deny ourselves, and take up our cross daily and follow Him.  It’s a daily dependence, a moment by moment abiding in Him, clinging to His grace and letting His love lead our love.

    It’s only when we experience His deep, unconditional, never-ending love, that we can truly extend such love to others:

    “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

    Thank You God for crowning us with salvation in Christ Jesus, and also crowning us with the kind of actions that will draw others to Yourself. You are good, and Your love endures forever.  Amen.

  2. Category Archive: Things I’m Learning

    His shadow

    “Unto the upright, there arises light in the darkness…” Psalm 112:4

    When we find ourselves in a dark place – in the valley of the shadow of death, in sickness, in pain, in trouble – it’s easy to be afraid of it. But when we’re trusting in Jesus Christ, we must remember that being in the darkness just means we are in the shadow of His wings.

    A few weeks ago, my sweet sister-in-law Bekah, texted me a verse from Psalm 63:6-7 and it hit me in a fresh way as I was feeling like I was stuck in a dark place.

    “When I remember you on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because you have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.”

    In the dark, in the pain, sometimes we feel so far from God, so far from hearing His voice. But He is near to the brokenhearted, and because of His protection over us, we can rejoice in our darkest days.  There can be so much fear in the shadows, but when we’re in the shadow of HIS wings, He’s right there, and we’re actually the nearest to Him that we can be. And in that safe place is where know and experience the peace that passes understanding.

    “God, Your love is precious! You protect people in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 36.7 NCV

    For me, there have been times in my life and in this past year, when I have felt far and distant from God even as I have been in the Word and in prayer.  But as I have kept pressing in, and kept reading and kept persisting, He has spoken – in His time – to my heart, reminding me that He loves me, and that He’s nearer than I think.

    As my family and I have been in the valley of the shadow of death this past year, I have found this to be true:  The Lord is God.  His ways and thoughts are higher than mine. I may not fully understand His ways, but I do know that He is good. So I trust Him.  He protects me.

    And in the dark shadow of His wings, I will rejoice.

  3. Category Archive: Things I’m Learning

    i wish wearing black meant more.

    I recently had a conversation with a mother in the faith, Lenya Heitzig, and we were talking about grieving, and I told her how I just sometimes wish there was some way people could know as I walk around the grocery store or around town that I’m grieving and my soul is aching.  She mentioned how years back, a person in mourning would wear all black and people around them would know immediately, this person is in pain, and I’m sure they would approach them a little carefully and kindly knowing the trouble they were experiencing.

    I wear black a lot. I just like it, but it doesn’t stand out these days. Everyone wears black. It’s not a sign of mourning in our culture, it’s just slimming and sleek and awesome.

    A few weeks after Lenya went to Heaven, we were traveling, and had an unfortunate experience with a lady who worked behind the kiosk, who must have been having a really hard day and she was just taking it out on us. Here we were, a family whose five year old daughter had been suddenly snatched from our arms, who were walking around in complete shock, and there was no sign above our heads, “grieving family” or “we’re in pain, can you have a little more grace?” Well, we actually told her our story, and that didn’t even seem to change her roughness toward us (some people are just naturally scrooges I guess).

    At church, it’s an entirely different story, which I’m so thankful for. Being deeply and firmly planted in the House makes all the difference in the world. We have experienced God’s love through our church and the church across the world in deeper ways than we ever have before. But still, how many people do we bump into, or sit next to, who are grieving, and we have no idea. The people around us who are hurting immensely, but there’s no way for us to know unless we ask and start a deep conversation.

    All this to say, the holidays are hard. Really hard (my husband wrote an incredible blog about this). I’m guessing, for most people, there is deep aching associated with this holiday season, and while they will probably not be wearing black, let’s be careful around people (in general) but specifically this season. Let’s look for ways to reach out to the people around us, because there are hurting people everywhere.

    This pain in my soul is deep. It’s a dull ache and I hate it, to be honest. But this morning God was so graciously comforting me with His Word (a passage my husband and I have held on tightly to from the beginning):

    “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

    (My husband preached an amazing message on these verses called “The Naked Eye”– you should absolutely listen. I think I’m going to listen to that one again today.)

    All this to say, yes, I wish wearing black meant something more today in our culture. Maybe people would just be nicer to hurting hearts. But the truth is, grieving and mourning and suffering lasts for a moment, and there will come a day when those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will be clothed in white (Revelation 3 and 7) and all that comes with wearing black – whether you’re grieving or experiencing a different sort of agony – will be washed away in His presence.

    And white will be the new black.





  4. Category Archive: Things I’m Learning

    the little brown table


    The other day I tripped over this thing for probably the two-hundredth time (possibly more) while putting dishes away, and I was thinking how glad I’ll be when it’s finally gone and not in the middle of the kitchen! I stopped myself in my own selfish, whiny tracks and remembered: no, I’ll actually be really sad when it’s time for this tiny piece of furniture to be thrown out.

    It’s just a little brown table.

    The paint is wearing away, it’s missing a chair, usually has something sticky on it, and it’s all around a very unimpressive little thing.

    And what I realized at that moment was how special this table really was.  Not because of the table itself, but because of how special the little girls are who have sat down around it, and who currently are.


    You see, this table has been the place where daily breakfasts and lunches happen, tea parties take place, creative art and painting times occur, and so on. It’s been a table where sweet little conversations arise, and where little girls have learned to sit like big girls.

    I treasure this table even more because of the memories with Lenya. I remember about a week before Lenya went to heaven, Lenya and Daisy were sitting opposite each other at this table, and they were fighting, pushing it against each other. I told them to stop pushing it and to tell each other one thing they loved about the other. Lenya immediately said, “I love Daisy’s hair!” and then Daisy said back, “well, I love her hair!” And it’s funny how even to this day, when we ask Daisy something she loves about Lenya, she says her hair.

    I’ve been learning how I need to embrace the little brown table in my life. And the constantly overflowing laundry room. And the dining room table full of little “homes” for Littlest Pet Shop toys.  Some of these things in our lives are extremely inconvenient, and most times we’ll trip over it, but what if we came to a place where we embraced it, and enjoyed the phase, enjoyed the process, enjoyed the mess.

    It’s something I’m always learning, and hope to continue to grow in:

    Enjoy the ordinary.

    Enjoy the little, seemingly insignificant, moments.

    Enjoy your little ones.

    Enjoy the process.



     “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…He has made everything beautiful in it’s time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11

  5. Category Archive: Things I’m Learning

    the best kind of cheerleader


    I always wanted to be a cheerleader, but for some reason my high school didn’t have a cheerleading team.  I had friends who were cheerleaders at their schools, so when they showed up at youth group in their cute gear, I always thought to myself how I wished I could do that!

    I’ve been studying Proverbs 31 in my 31st year of life, and as I have studied verse 12, the Amplified version really stood out to me:

    “She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.”

    As I  studied these words, some synonyms for encourage were: applaud, boost, brighten, cheer, energize, inspire, rally, strengthen, and I immediately thought about my silly cheerleading envy in high school. I thought, “I AM getting to cheerlead! Just in a different way than I thought as a sixteen year old!”

    I’m still very much a newbie at marriage, let alone a marriage in ministry, but as I’ve had the privilege of being married to such a strong, passionate, visionary pastor for 9 years, I’ve learned that being his wife is really like being a cheerleader (cute outfit with exuberant attitude and pom poms may apply on some days).

    So I began thinking about what my job was as a cheerleading wife. To deeply love my husband and to want to see all that God has put in his heart come out in the way God intended. To cheer him on with all my heart.  To inspire him with courage and spirit and confidence, and to rally all who are in our home to be a part of the excitement and wonder of how God is using him. To brighten my home with this team spirit. To be his biggest fan.

    What an honor to be a cheerleading wife!

    I’m not saying that I’ve got this down, or that I’m perfect at this calling of cheerleading, BUT thankfully, in all my failures and mistakes and mess-ups, I have a God who fights for me, who strengthens my arms for battle, who gives me all I need to live this life. I have a Savior who lived, and died, and rose again, and who is coming back soon, and we, in Christ, have cheerleaders cheering for us, all the people who have died in Christ before us, along with my Lenya Lion.

    Although I never got to be the cute girl jumping and dancing around with the white shoes and green and gold pom poms screaming for my high school team, the Pirates, I DO get to be the best kind of cheerleader within my home, in my church. Cheering for Fresh Life, Skull Church, the O2 Experience?! The best. There’s no other place I’d rather be than right by his side.