When You Find Yourself Walking a Broken Road


Winter 10The snow? It just kept falling all big and heavy and white. And we? We just kept laughing and dancing and shaking our heads that this beauty, this land could be ours.

Thirteen years (18 if you count the dating, doe-eyed, dreaming ones), three states, three major moves, four apartments, one rental house, two months that turned into seven years living with mom and dad, five employers, three children, and one self-started business led us to this.  

To a real life winter wonderland and a place to call our own.

Winter 4 Winter 7 Winter 8 As I held my baby close watching snowflakes melt on her cheeks. As little girls laughed and dug their hands in mounds of snowy white. As husband snapped photos of tears in my eyes and I craned my head back to catch flakes on my nose and eye lashes.

As we all stood for this slice of time and wonder, wonderstruck by the beauty of this first snow of the season, by the beginning of this season in which we leave one home and create another all I could think was: this...

He knew it would come to this. This is what He had in store, set aside, waiting, planned, created for us.

The jobs, the moves, the states, the dwellings some of them, many of them, broke our hearts. But now we see how He worked it for good.  How He made a broken road and blessed it to bless us.

Winter 9Winter 13Winter 12There’s a country song that says it: “that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.”*

And He did. He has. He will continue to.

He takes the broken, the lost, the forgotten, and makes it new. Makes it good. 

New, as snow on evergreen branches.

Good, as the feeling of home.

*”Bless the Broken Road” Lyrics by Bobby Boyd, Jeff Hanna, Robert E. Boyd, Marcus Hummon


For the Weak, the Weary, the Fragile

Frustrated FourI wrote a blog this week. It was full of hope and reminders of God’s faithful promises. I wrote it from a place of strength and confidence at the start of what I knew was sure to be a tough week. 

But the week that was harder than I imagined, and now my heart feels anything but strong and confident. Rather, I feel weak and vulnerable and incredibly fragile. 

I’m in a pit. A deep, dark pit. No one knows. My family, I’m sure, can sense that I’m not myself, that something’s not quite right, but they have no idea how much I’m struggling.

On the outside the struggle is simple. My mom is recovering from surgery and the care of the household is riding on my shoulders. I’m struggling with dishes, and laundry, and meals for the seven people that fill up this house. I’m struggling to keep up with homeschooling and writing, while being a gentle and patient mom and wife.

But there’s also this inward struggle. I’m desperate for time to write. For time to tap out more than a blog on my phone while nursing Belle.

I keep going to God. I pray, I read, I pray I read, searching for comfort, searching for help but He seems far away and mad at me.

He knows I’m a horrible daughter.

He knows I’m neglecting my kids, my husband, and Him.

He knows if I’d just get up earlier or go to bed later I’d have the time I need to write.

Why do I keep coming to Him with these failings and excuses? With these out of control emotions when the answers are so simple? 

He knows I should be thankful, aware of all He’s giving.

But this isn’t Him, this isn’t His voice. It’s the voice that’s out to get me. Out to keep me in the pit.

Life is hard right now. It’s far from ideal, and as John Eldredge writes in his book, Desire, “I must have life. I cannot arrange for it.”

Circumstances have created a challenge, a hurdle, and if I’m not careful, if I’m not vigilant in this fight for joy, this battle for my heart, I will get taken out. 

Throughout this awful week I’ve been under attack and I didn’t even realize it, I didn’t know. The enemy disguised his voice and tricked me so well. I thought it was me, I thought it was God.

Sometimes it’s not the storm but the spiritual battle within the storm that lands us in the pit. And sometimes realizing you’re in a battle is the weapon you need to stand up and fight.

The life I desire, the life I need, can only be given by God. At times like these, as I wait on Him, I have to understand how vulnerable I am, how much I need His protection. 

Why wouldn’t the enemy capitalize on the situation I’m in? On the vulnerable place in my heart? It’s the perfect set up for victory. His arrows almost got me but I see them for what they are.

I’m not crazy.

I’m not a bad daughter.

I do need sleep.

I’m doing what I can to turn to my Savior, to find time in my day to write.

I’m trying my best to be thankful.

At the end of my week, at the end of my rope, God gave me clarity, He gave me strength. He met me in my heart and gave me what I needed to live outside the pit. 

I have no idea when I’ll be able to write but God knows what I need, He knows my heart, and I know He’ll make a way.

With joy and peace and His magnificent armor around me I’ll be okay. I’ll be more than okay. I’ll be protected, provided for, loved.

My God is the God of Angel Armies. He has my back.

And I have Him.

How to Keep Going When You’re Weak and Weary…

Great Wall 3

Beth’s view of the Great Wall

My friend, Beth, who lives in China recently ran a race on the Great Wall. I know…cool, right?

A few days after the race Beth and I talked and she told me about her amazing experience.

According to Beth, foot races on the Great Wall are incredibly challenging because of the stairs involved. Many parts of the Great Wall have uneven footing and most of the stairways are uphill and very steep.

As Beth neared the end of her race a long and seemingly unrelenting set of stairs loomed in the distance. Already tired, she wondered how she was going to be able to conquer yet another uphill passage way in order to get to the finish line.

Putting one foot in front of the other Beth kept going and as she drew close to the intimidating passage, God drew close to her.

“Look behind you,” He said.

At first Beth wasn’t sure that was a good idea. After all, conventional wisdom tells us not to look behind but to focus on what’s before us, to keep our eyes on the task ahead.

But God persisted, “Look behind you.”

Great Wall 2Carefully, while still moving forward, Beth turned her head to see what was behind her and what she saw was breathtaking.

“There was so much beauty,” Beth told me. “I had to stop and take it in.”

As Beth took a moment out of her race to revel in the beauty of the mountains and the view of the Great Wall that stretched behind her, God continued to speak to her heart by showing her how far she’d come and by reminding her that He was with her in the past, that He would be with her in the challenge that waited ahead, and that He was with her right now, in the moment, even as she paused to rest and savor His creation.

I AM was with her in the past, in the present, in the future. The great I AM who is always with us.

I am so thankful Beth shared this story with me because it resonates with my heart as well.

Personally, my uphill battle isn’t a race on the Great Wall of China. (Thank goodness!) It’s finishing my book, raising a family, homeschooling my kids.

There are so many times when I look at what’s before me, when I strain my eyes to see the finish line in the distance, when all I can see are rough and jagged stair steps waiting to be climbed.

Great Wall 1It’s easy to become discouraged. It’s hard to believe. It’s impossible not to wonder if I’ll ever make it. But just as Beth experienced the power and the presence of God in the midst of her uphill race, I can be confident that God is with me too.

When I look back at how far I’ve come to get to where I am today I see a road of trials but there is so much beauty too:

The decision to start writing again and the first draft of my book…

Spending five whole years at home with my girls…

The look on my daughter’s face when something she’s learning clicks for the very first time…

When we choose to run with God there will always be beauty along the way. Gobs of it, in fact. Breathtaking beauty that is worth stopping, worth pausing to look back for. And in this beauty there are countless reminders of God and His provision and love.

Yes, it’s important to keep our fixed on the task that lies before us.

Yes, it’s important to stay present, to savor and appreciate the moment of now.

But it’s also important to look back, to look for the beauty in the midst of trials, to remember the God who runs with us.

He is with us in the past. He’ll be with us in every challenge that lies ahead. He is the great I AM of now. He sprinkles beauty, adventure, provision and love into every race we run, every mountain we climb and every journey He calls us to.

No matter the race you’re running these days…

Building a business…

Paying off debt…

Writing a book…

Teaching young minds…

Nurturing hearts…

Repairing a relationship…

Saving your marriage…

Starting a family…

Fighting a long term illness…

Remember who’s running with you.

Look behind you! In the past…God was there with His breathtaking beauty.

Look ahead! In the challenges that loom in the distance…God will be there with His everlasting strength.

Pause for a second in the right here, right now. In the present…God is here with His abundant grace.

Every race displays His glory.

Every climb declares His name.

Every step of the journey draws us closer to Him.

Closer to I AM who carries us through.

Many thanks to Beth for sharing her photos.

Dear Zach

My nephew Zach at 1lb. 9 oz.

My nephew Zach at 1lb. 9 oz. (Roughly the weight of a Coke can.)

A letter to my nephew on his second birthday…

Dear Zach,

As I get ready to celebrate your birthday, I can’t help but remember the day you were born. To be honest, Zach, I think of that day every time I see you.

Every time I see your handsome smile.

Every time I hear you laugh.

Every time I hold you in my arms, I remember that day and I shake my head in awesome wonder of what God has done.

I remember the prayers.

How I, for one, dropped to my knees and begged God to protect you, your mom, your dad. How I asked again and again that he would not allow the day, the night or your precious life to end in heartbreak.

Because to lose you, Zach, would break my heart. To lose you, Zach, would break a world of hearts.

In fact, there were so many hearts that we created a website to let all your “followers” know how you were doing. Whenever they visited the site they could enter their location on the “Praying for Zach,” map.

And Zach, that map was ablaze. People all over America, in South America, in Africa, in Europe, in Australia, in China were praying their hearts out for you!

We prayed that God would grow you from a baby born at 24 weeks to a little boy healthy and whole.

I remember the pictures.

The pictures of you so small, so fragile, with your tiny hand latched onto your daddy’s finger.

They told us, Zach, that your daddy’s wedding band could slip around your tiny arm. And your mama’s arms, they ached to hold you, for months they ached and waited to cradle you close to her heart. And we ached too.

We, your family, your world of friends we ached, and waited, and watched.

I remember how each day, for month after month, was a fight.

For you.

For your mommy and daddy.

For everyone who loved you.

Your tiny body needed time, and surgeries, and love. Each challenge led to another. Every upside came with a down side.

And there were days when all we could do was trust and wonder.

Zach, this is what I remember.

And this is what I know.

They say, Zach, that children teach us grown-ups far more than we ever teach you, and I know this is true. I see it in the faces, in the eyes that water whenever a conversation turns to you, and people you don’t even know shake their heads and say that God must have something really special in store for you.

Of course they’re right. God does have something truly special in store for you, Zach, and I can’t wait to see what it is, but I don’t have to wait to see how God has already used you.

God has used you to show all of us that life is precious, that life is worth fighting for.

God has used you to show all of us that there is power when God’s people pray.

God has used you to show all of us that he is a God of miracles.

You are a miracle Zach. But even more than that, your life, from day one, speaks to and demonstrates the miracle that God has placed inside each and every one of us: A beating heart. Lungs full of glorious air. A brilliant mind. A plan. A purpose. A soul.

So, Zach, on your second birthday, I want you to know, that I am blessed to be your Aunt.

You, Zach, are a fighter and champion.

You are wonderfully made and dearly loved.

You are a miracle, as all God’s children are miracles.

And your life, it tells the story, it tells the world, of God’s goodness, provision, and love.

It always has. I pray it always will.



A Time to Work (Part Two)

Last week in A Time for Work (Part One) I wrote about my recent struggle with desire, trust, and a heart divided in light of an upcoming vacation my family is taking this summer.

Perhaps this all seems a bit silly, a bit overboard. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I’m blowing everything out of proportion, if I’m making a big deal out of nothing. After all, it’s just a vacation, right?

Vacation or no, it is a matter that has caused turmoil in my heart for quite some time which, to me, is a clear cut sign that it’s time to dig a little deeper and figure out what’s going on below the surface.

When I took the issue of my heart’s desire and lack of trust to God, I came across an unlikely story buried in the book of Haggai. (Haggai? Tell me, when was the last time you took a look at this unpopular prophet?) I say buried because finding this nugget of truth was like finding buried treasure.

When the Jewish people returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile, God entrusted them with one task: rebuild His temple. At first the people tried their best to fulfill this charge but as time went on they became distracted, they lost sight of their priorities, and they ceased to complete the work they started.

Instead of building the temple they started to build fine homes for themselves, but as they worked they were unable to reap any sort of harvest. No matter how hard they worked they never had enough.

Finally, God sent the prophet Haggai who instructed the people to refocus their efforts on building the temple.

“… ‘be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:4 NKJV)

Along with His instruction, God made a promise to His people.

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations…and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:6-9 NKJV)

In short, if the people could remain faithful to the task God had given, He would, in turn, fill His temple with blessing, glory, and peace.

Blessing, glory, and peace.

As I read this passage everything started to make sense.

Now is the time to work.

When it comes to my husband’s business, when it comes to my own “business” of writing, now is the time to work. These are the tasks we’ve been given and these tasks are our temple.

As God’s truth and promise filled my heart, I could see it clear, how all this time my heart has been divided. Divided between staying and going, my husband and my family. Divided between work and play, sacrifice and pleasure.

So what do I do with my desire? With my heart divided?

As I sat in the quiet and listened to God, the words came soft and sure, “Do you trust me?” In that moment I knew my answer to this question had the power to change everything.

Soft and sure I answered, “Yes, God, I trust you. Yes, God I will work. I will be strong for I know (and it is a little while) that if we build the temple you’ve asked us to build you will fill it with your blessing, your glory, your peace.”

Blessing, glory, and peace.

Don’t get me wrong, I still long to taste the sweet fruit of my family’s upcoming vacation. I long to hunt beauty, to be with them, to find rest, but for the first time in four years I’m willing to work, I’m willing to trust, I’m willing to wait because I know that the fruit God has in store for me, for all of us, is far sweeter.

In the end, I can move forward with a desire that is first and foremost for God and the work He has given me to do. I can trust Him because I know that His words are true and His promises are good. And I can be strong and settled because my heart is no longer divided.

By deciding to take God at His word, by deciding to focus my efforts on work I’ve been given, by deciding to wait and trust God for the fulfillment of my desire, my heart has been made whole.

With muscle and steel, my husband builds his business.

 With pen and paper I write.

Together we hammer out our temple and trust, wholeheartedly, in the Lord of the harvest.

How about you? Are you currently is a season of work or a season of harvest? What does your temple look like, what task(s) has God given you to do? What blessing, glory, or peace has God brought into your life as a result of your faithful effort?

I’d love to hear what God is doing in this season of your life.