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An Unexpected Sight


Recently I was struck by a young Hispanic man who was sitting in the midst of a crowded train on the T, quietly reading his Bible. I realized how uncommon this is, to see someone in public with an open Bible. This young man appeared to me as courageous yet humble. I would find it easier to read my Bible privately from my iphone. It was refreshing and convicting for me to see him sitting there, ignoring everyone around him and reading God’s word. Even after this young man left, I found myself thinking about what I had seen as I finished my commute home.

Do I long for God’s word in this way? Am I reading it every chance I get? These questions convicted me yet also encouraged me. I was reminded of why God’s word is important. His word brings life. It brings freedom. It focuses my attention on God Almighty. It fills me with hope. It brings lasting change. It speaks of His love to me. It draws me into God’s presence and allows me to hear from Him.

Once when I was thirteen years old, I tried to read through the Bible in a year. I started out excited. I loved God and I wanted to read more of the Bible. As the days went by, I found myself falling further and further behind. I gave up before the month of January was even over.

Since then, I have never tried to read through the Bible in a year. I knew that it would simply become a “to-do” list item and I would dwell in guilt if I did not stay on track. Over the years, I have instead found other ways to be in God’s word.

Marriage and moving threw me off of a sense of schedule or routine. With the beginning of the New Year, I realized how I wanted to be more intentional in my time in God’s word.

My husband and I started to read scripture and praying together while he drives me to work in the morning.

My best friend and I have done countless Bible studies together over the years. We often laugh at how we can make a simple six to ten week study last many, many months. God is gracious and meets us where we are at. We see Him at work each and every time, no matter how long it takes us to finish it!

I was excited when we recently started a new Bible study together. Praise God for the convenience of technology: we can skype, watch our Bible study video together, and connect in the process of it all.

Yet this one man’s quiet example challenged me. To go deeper. To fill my mind with more of God’s word. I realized that I have time to read on days that I commute home on the train and bus.

During that same commute, I downloaded a daily Bible reading plan on my iphone. Did I mention that technology is amazing? Using my Bible app on my iphone, I have found it easy to read each day. I read while on the T (train), warming up/ cooling down on the treadmill at the gym, waiting in line at the grocery store, or sitting on my couch at home. If I miss a day, I simply read more the next day.

His word is truly life giving.

Thank you God for this one young man’s example to me. God, I pray that You will continue to use him to touch others, even when he is unaware of his impact. I pray that he will always long and thirst for Your word. I pray that You will continue to teach me, guide me, and transform my heart and life through the power of Your word. In Jesus Name, Amen

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Six months of marriage!


I freely admit that I am a romantic. At times, I am a hopeless romantic. Needless to say, I was excited to celebrate six months of marriage with my handsome husband. We had fun experiencing a new little Thai restaurant with delicious food and a great atmosphere.

We have actually celebrated each month of our marriage. While we did not formally celebrate, we did rejoice in each new month. For a couple months, my wonderful husband even watched our wedding video with me.

While I am a romantic, there were actually several reasons why I have marked each month of our marriage. The most important reason being that I love my husband. With each passing month, our marriage truly gets better and better. I am so grateful to God for how He fashioned us for one another and brought us together.

The other reason I have marked each month of our marriage is because of all the life changes I was experiencing. Each month meant I was just a little more adjusted to marriage, work, and living in a new area.

If you were to ask us about our first few months of marriage, it is actually quite funny how different our perspectives are from that time. Stephen was the happiest man alive. My husband is normally optimist, positive, and energetic. Add on top of that an enormous dose of excitement and happiness and that gives you a picture of my dear husband. Stephen proudly showed off our wedding pictures to anyone and everyone he met.

The first few months of marriage were wonderful for me. Long distance was finally over. I was married to the man I deeply love. We had many sweet newlywed moments. The first few months were also difficult for me. We were adjusting to marriage, developing stronger communication, and finding our rhythm as a married couple.

Our four month wedding anniversary happened to fall on our date night. On this peculiar evening, I was exhausted from work. Our lack of plans left us wondering what we would do with our evening. God came through for us. Our wedding pictures showed up in our mailbox. Perfect timing. As we looked through thousands of pictures that captured fun, joy-filled and unforgettable memories I realized that this month was significant. At four months of marriage, I felt like we were settling into a wonderful season of our marriage. We had made it through the first few months. God faithfully grew us closer together as a couple.

At six months of marriage, we are enjoying a sweet season of marriage. The best part of marriage is simply being together.

My mother recently described our dating period as a “whirlwind romance”. I could not agree more fully. While it was certainly an exciting and special season, it was also filled with months of long distance travel and constantly saying goodbye. The best part of our marriage is simply doing life together. Waking up together, spending quality time together, enjoying the simple things of life. Life is better together.


When Life Overwhelms


God recently reminded me of a vivid image He gave me last September. It was during a moment of my life when I was completely overwhelmed. I was newly married. I had left my home, my friends, my community to live in Boston with my husband. I was adjusting to marriage and many life changes.

I didn’t have enough time! I didn’t have time to get settled in our home before I started working. Our home, which was full of boxes but lacking of furniture, left me feeling completely unsettled.

I didn’t have time to prepare for the challenges lying before me in a new school year. I didn’t have time to finish preparing my classroom before meeting all the parents for the first time. I didn’t have time to finish preparing for a new year of teaching before meeting my students for the first time.

It was during all of this change and busyness that I felt like I was drowning. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement.

I started believing lies. “You can’t do this. You need to be perfect. A perfect wife. A perfect teacher. Look at how you are already failing. You are a failure.”

After one peculiar emotional afternoon of giving in to my fears, I went out for a quick run. Our home is near ocean. For the first time I ventured out on a rock barge. As I sat down there on the rocks, with the strong waves crashing all around me, God gave me a new perspective.

It didn’t matter what my position was on the rocks. Whether I was standing with arms raised in victory or if I was curled up in a ball on the rocks. My position on the rocks did not change the fact: the rock was a solid foundation and the waves were crashing all around it. In the same way, it did not matter if I was having a day when I am walking in victory as God’s child or a day like earlier when I felt like a failure. My day, my position, my feelings did not change the fact that God is my solid rock. His waves of love continue to crash all around me. Over and over again.

His lavish love never fails. It is unending. His love is not dependent upon me.

God gave me fresh encouragement out on that rock barge. In all my moments of “I can’t do this God!” I realized that was where God wanted me. I realized that I did not need to be perfect. I did not need to do it on my own strength. While life felt overwhelming, God was my solid rock and His love was never ending.

As each wave crashed against the rocks, God was saying “I love you, I love you, I love you”.

When life overwhelms you where do you turn? In what area of your life do you need this freeing and refreshing truth: His love is not based on your performance? Oh how He loves you!

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Joy of Running


I love running. Tonight I was reminded of why I love to run. I was overwhelmed with a sense of defeat. My mindset was on the brink of affecting my actions. I was about to make some decisions I would later regret. I knew that if I went out for a quick run, the mindset would be broken. However, it was hard to go against my strong feelings. Defeated. It was cold and dark out. I simply sat and cried out loud to God. Lord, I need you. Jesus, I need you.

A simple cry for help. I know God is available to help in such moments yet I often don’t simply cry out. It’s easier to wallow in my feelings. It’s easier to follow in the same habit. Change is hard. I finally got my running shoes on and started running.

Ahhh, I love running. Just running a few simple miles broke my mindset. Running fills me with fresh energy and life.

I love my gospel playlist. I fill my mind with God’s truth while I push forward in my run… I am victorious in Christ… I am an overcomer… I am free. I finished my run, free of all negative feelings. Free to go forward. It started with a simple cry to God for help.

I know these basic truths. For goodness sake, I memorized 1 Corinthians 10:13 in sixth grade. God always provides a way of escape. He always makes a way. He is always available to help us. While I know this, so many times I don’t stop. To be still. To ask God for His help. His power. His deliverance.

I know truths of who I am in Christ. Free. Victorious. Forgiven. Restored. Loved. Accepted. I know them but living them out can be a different matter. I need reminders. To not act based on my feelings but based on the truth of who GOD says I am.

Lord God, I pray that I will remind myself daily of my identity in You. I pray that I will live and act as Your beloved daughter. I pray that I will stop and cry out for help during my day. You are the almighty God of this Universe. Why am I trying on my own feeble strength? Thank you Abba Father for the joy of running. Thank you for these simple reminders. In Jesus Name, Amen



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Daily Gratitude


Choosing a heart of gratitude.

I am always amazed at how choosing to be grateful changes my perspective. A simple example. Yesterday it was cold. Very cold. I had to walk miles in the cold. I walked with my students. I walked to the T station. I waited in the cold for the bus. I could have been very miserable. I could have focused on the fact that the schools in the county that I taught at in Virginia were closed for cold temperature. I confess I have been ungrateful in the past about the cold. Yet, yesterday I choose to be grateful. I was grateful for the new winter jacket that kept me warm. I was grateful for the tall wool socks and snow boats that kept my feet warm. Instead of grumbling about why I live in Boston, where it’s cold and winter is long, I instead was grateful that I now have the appropriate winter gear to keep me warm. One more way that I’m adjusting, getting settled, and becoming at home in Boston.

When I choose to praise God for who He is and for His promises, it drives out worry, doubt, and fear. When I remember God’s provision in the past, it gives me confidence to trust Him with my future.

I am learning in my day to day how to trust God. I don’t have to have it all together. I can simply trust that my Abba Father has a plan for my day and He is in the details.

I am grateful for a dear friend. She took the initiative to follow God’s leading. A few months ago, she contacted me and another friend with the idea of sending daily praises through email. It has been such a powerful activity. Some days the praises come easily. Other days I have to look beyond my feeling and choose to be grateful. I look to God and am grateful for who He is and for the simple things around me. Even on days that I do not actually write out my email of praises, my eyes are still open. I am on the lookout for praises.

It’s really a matter of what you are looking for. Often times the problems of life are very obvious. What is wrong with the day. What you wish were different. However, when you train your eyes to look for the moments of gratitude, they are all around you. It can be the simple things of life. A smile. A thank you. A hot cup of tea. An email from a friend. The sun shining in the midst of the cold.

Are you on the lookout for moments of gratitude? What are you grateful for today?

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2013: Best year of my life!

My 13 highlights of 2013. Enjoy!

1. I said YES!
Stephen asked me to marry him in NYC. Thanks to his best friend Mark, Stephen pulled off an incredible engagement story.

2. Wedding dress shopping
I had the time of my life trying on wedding dresses. I enjoyed modeling every style of wedding dress with my mom, bridesmaids, and flower girl. I fell in love with the perfect dress!

3. Engagement photos in Philly
I have the best sister who also happens to be an amazing photographer! Stephen and I had so much fun going around Philly with Ben and Natalie. The day flew by!

4. Half Marathon with Jonathan
This was the first race my brother and I ran together. I was reminded of how powerful it is to have someone running alongside you. The thrill of crossing the finish line never gets old!


5. Wedding Showers
I have never felt so loved by others!!! After 8 years of teaching at my school, it was finally my turn for a shower! My mom threw me a beautiful shower in NY with family, friends, and sweet old ladies from church. My bridesmaids surprised me with an Anne of Green Gables shower. Big hats, tea cups, and raspberry cordial. Lastly, my church family gave me a powerful time of prayer and encouragement.

6. 31st Birthday
Celebrating my birthday is a highlight for me every year! This year I celebrated with two of my favorite people, my best friend and fiancé!

7. No more goodbyes!
After eights months of long distance travel, FaceTime, and constantly saying goodbye I was beyond excited to pick Stephen up from the airport the week of our wedding. I was never so happy to see him and be done forever with goodbyes!


8. Our wedding day!

I loved every single moment of our day! The ceremony was worshipful, the reception was a blast, and we spontaneously ended the day with pictures in DC. One of my favorite moments was when Stephen twirled me around and we danced our way down the church aisle to the song “Oh Happy Day“. Such pure joy… We are married!!!


9. Honeymoon in New England
Life is better together!

10. Getting Settled in Boston
God provided a teaching job in Boston and a home by the ocean. We were so grateful for each person who helped us get settled! My parents were our first house guests and my mom spent hours setting up my classroom. Our friend John moved all my belonging up to Boston and stored them for us until we were married. Our friends Mikala and Tom were a huge help to us.

11. Rebekah’s visit!
This fall I missed all of my friends in Virginia. I was excited when my best friend Rebekah came to visit. In our short weekend together we hiked a mountain, went apple picking, made pumpkin pancakes, and explored Boston. There is nothing like a visit for a “bosom friend” to cheer you up!

12. Our first Christmas together!

13. New Year’s Eve
We entered and ended 2013 with our good friends Micah and Jannat. We recounted all the memories we had together in 2013 while making plans for new adventures in 2014!


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Faith Reflections!


2013. What a year. There were so many wonderful memories, huge life changes, and exciting moments.

I felt God prompting me to look at this past year with a different view.

My child, you walked by faith into this past year. As you reflect back upon the year, see it through the lens of faith“And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

God is amazed when we act in faith. Why is faith so difficult? For me it means letting go of control. This is a very hard thing to do. I want to know what lies ahead. I want everything to be neatly in order. I want things to go my way.

Walking by faith is in complete contrast to having control. Faith calls for dependence on God. It requires a sense of humility. To cry out to God and admit your desperate need of Him.

As I entered 2013, God gave me insight that Stephen was my future husband. Since we had only been dating a couple months, I did not broadcast this news to others. Instead I spent time quietly journaling, praying, and fasting about this life-changing fact.

When I thought about the possibilities for the coming year, it felt absolutely crazy. Really God! How would all this unfold? The thought of planning a wedding sounded overwhelming. Moving to a new city sounded scary. I questioned if I would ever find a job. Could all of these life changes take place in such a short span of time?

Yet as I prayed and looked to God my perspective changed. I knew without a doubt that God had brought Stephen and I together. God had written our story and I was simply watching Him unfold it.

So I choose to walk into this new year by faith. Faith in who my God is. He is good. He is loving. He is in control. There is absolutely nothing impossible for Him.

I had little choice but to give up my control. I was desperate for Him. The song “Lord I need you” became my heart’s cry.

Living by faith is a beautiful and exciting invitation be a part of God’s story. His story is far beyond anything we could ever think, dream, or imagine.

Faith requires trusting God. One step at a time. There is no doubt everything is because of Him. All glory, credit, honor goes to God.

There are numerous stories I could share from this past year of living by faith. Stories of how God showed up in profound, mighty, and surprising ways. Some of the highlights include…

Amazing engagement story

Moving to Boston. A great story for another time of how God provided in an unexpected way. He truly cares about the details of our lives.

Absolutely beautiful wedding day. I did not have time to plan a wedding in four short months. I was frantically busy with working, moving, wedding showers, and traveling every other weekend to visit Stephen. Nevertheless God was at work and our wedding was beyond anything I could have imagined. I loved every moment of our special day.

Teaching job. Although I did not have time to job search, God provided the perfect job in Boston before our wedding day.

Home by the ocean

When I reflect back upon this past year, all I can say is “Only God”.

Beginning this new year, I pray that I am aware of my desperate need of God. That I listen to His Spirit moving and speaking. That I choose to walk in faith, hand in hand with my husband.

In what area is God calling you to act in faith? What is holding you back? Reflect on who God is… there is nothing impossible for Him. Don’t miss out on the story He has written for you!