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What is lurking below the surface?


 My life does not have to be completely together because my identity is not based on my performance or appearance. What freedom in those glorious truths.

Moments of insecurity often arise when I am tired and running late. Just the fact I am running late is enough for me to hear the old and familiar accusations.”You are not enough. Look you can’t even get ready on time. What is wrong with you?”

As I raced around trying to get ready, I questioned my outfit. Doubts raced through my mind. “Do I like this outfit? Do I look beautiful? Does this outfit make me look fat?”

Before dashing out the door, I realized I had almost forgotten the present we had for our friends we would see later that evening. While I had bought the gift far in advance, I had not taken time to wrap it. As I tried to quickly find a gift bag, the accusations that screamed at me were “This room is a mess. Why can’t you get organized so you can find things quickly? Why didn’t you wrap this ahead of time? You are a failure.

All of these doubts and accusations happened in a very short amount of time. They all boiled down to the deep fear of “I am not enough. I am a failure.”

If you had asked me last night if I was struggling with insecurity, my answer would have been no. I felt content and at peace with myself. Yet, all it took was one hurried morning to bring out some insecurities and lies that still lurked below the surface.

God has been incredibly faithful. He has brought me so far in this journey. A journey towards wholeness and freedom. A journey towards to my identity as His Beloved.

When I stop and take a moment to reflect on what I know to be true, the fears and accusations are silenced.

The truth sets us free. The truth that God, my Abba Father, declares over my life is that I am His beloved daughter. He says that I am enough. He loves me, delights in me, and accepts me completely. Simply because I am His child. It is not based on anything that I can do. I am free from striving. I am whole, complete, and free in Him.

May I declare and truly live in my identity as His beloved!

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Why do I love celebrating birthdays?


It is a well known fact that I love to celebrate my birthday. I mean how could you not want to celebrate your birthday when it falls on the first day of summer and the longest day of the year? My birthday also marks the glorious start of summer vacation.

My husband says that I become an extrovert on my birthday as I love attention from others. I love knowing that people love and care for me. Whether it’s a phone call, a birthday card, a Facebook post, or a “happy birthday” greeting I feel blessed by all the people God has put into my life.

Growing up, my mom made us simple birthday posters and hung them around the house. We were able to choose our birthday dinner and dessert. Strawberry shortcake was the natural choice as my birthday was during our town’s local Strawberry Festival.

I truly embraced celebrating my birthday in my twenties. I loved my twenty-fifth birthday celebration. One of my best friends knew my love of birthdays and gifts and she indulged me. A large bouquet of balloons, collection of small gifts, and a thoughtful birthday card greeted me a the start of our evening. Throughout the rest of the evening, additional birthday cards continued to appear. We went to a fancy Italian restaurant that was located in a beautiful, old Victorian house. Our leisurely dinner was full of friends, laughter, and stories. I had never felt so loved.

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Growing up, I did not have many friendships. I often felt lonely, awkward, and out of place in my school. While other girls had big birthday parties when they turned sixteen, I was acutely aware of my lack of friends and social status when I turned sixteen.

While I enjoy attention and gifts on my birthday, what I truly treasure is the fact that God has now given me with so many meaningful friendships. I am overwhelmed by the sense of community He has blessed me with and the people who have influenced my life.

During my twenties, I began to fully embrace and live in my identity as God’s beloved. Every year on my birthday, I enjoy going to a quiet park to spend time with my Abba Father. I reflect on the past year, soak in His love for me, and look forward to all that He has in store for me during the coming year. The God of the Universe is my Beloved King. He delights in me. Wow.

I believe each birthday is worth celebrating. God created each person “fearfully and wonderfully made”. He crafted you and declares that you are marvelous. While I enjoy celebrating birthdays, God actually celebrates us each and every day. It tells us in Zephaniah that God “rejoices over us with singing”.

As my thirty-second birthday approached, I realized this birthday would look a little different. It would be the first time I had to work on my birthday. I was thousands of miles away from most of my friends. This allowed me to step back and realize the most important thing I had not changed. Time with my Abba Father during a beautiful summer day.

God was in the details of my birthday. I got out of work early. I enjoyed lunch at the Public Gardens. Thanks to technology I felt loved by so many people. This year, God had given me one of His very best gifts. My wonderful husband. A man who I had dreamed about, prayed for, and desired. And like any good gift, God shows me just how well He knows me through the gift of my husband. How lavish His love is for me!

I hope you fully enjoy celebrating your next birthday. May you know how deeply God loves and delights in you!

How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you have any favorite birthday memories?

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I want more of You, God!

Lately, I have been listening to the song “Set a Fire” over and over again. The song is a beautiful and passionate cry for more of God.

There’s no place I would rather be.
There’s no place I would rather be.
There’s no place I would rather be.
Than here in your love, here in your love.

So, set a fire down in my soul.
That I can’t contain and I can’t control.
I want more of You, God.
I want more of You, God.
Will Reagan – Set A Fire

Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain and I can’t control. I want more of You God!

I love how it’s a cry for GOD to set a fire within us. How He loves to hear and answer this prayer! A fire for God that can’t be contained or controlled. We are left wanting less of us and more of Him.

This echoes John the Baptist. He says of Jesus “He must become greater, I must become less” (John 3:30)

Listen to how David cries out for more of God in Psalm 63. It’s one of my favorite passages of scripture!

“O God, You are my God, I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You, my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in Your sanctuary and gazed upon Your power and glory.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself, how I praise You! I will praise You as long as I live, lifting up my hands in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise You with songs of joy.

I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on You throughout the night. Because You are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings. I cling to You, Your strong right hand holds me securely.”

Oh, may our hearts cry out for more of God! May we be filled with such passion for Him. May God set a fire in us that can’t be contained or controlled.

His Presence has the power to radically transform our lives. His love has the power to heal and bring greater freedom in our hearts. He alone satisfies! 



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Jumbo Raisins and Doing Good



I discovered the Jumbo Raisin Medley at Trader Joe’s a few years ago. I love every kind of fruit, including raisins. These raisins are colorful, plump, and delicious.

I shared my discovery with my friend Anne. I remember sitting in her apartment, talking and eating jumbo raisins. A very random memory indeed.

Last week, I picked up a bag of Jumbo Raisins during my shopping trip to Trader Joe’s. It has been a year or two since I have bought a bag. I thought of my friend Anne as I ate my Jumbo Raisins this week. And I took a moment to pray for her.

I love how God reminds us to pray for others. How He can put a certain person on our heart and mind at different times.

Sometimes I am too busy or distracted to follow God’s prompting.  This time, I took a moment to pray for my friend. If God intentionally put my friend on my mind, I can take the time to reach out. A quick email of encouragement.

I recently heard a message about not putting off doing good. When God speaks to us, do it immediately. Don’t delay following God in doing good.

I can procrastinate on doing good. I think “that’s a great idea, I will do it later”.  Somehow later never happens. The good deed ends up being a good intention. I miss out on what God is doing. When I take time to do a random act of kindness, God uses me to encourage and bless someone else. Yet the beauty is that God also blesses and encourages me.

It can be easy to excuse or question God’s prompting. “Really God, jumbo raisins? You are using jumbo raisins to tell me to pray for my friend?” I can easily dismiss the thought. Or I can thank God that He uses  anything to remind us to pray for one another, even Jumbo Raisins!

How is God prompting you today? 

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Stillness in the midst of busyness


Today was one of those days. I woke up with a million things I wanted to get done. I knew my to-do list was unrealistic yet I still tried to tackle it. When I noticed the sunshine and warm weather, I also wanted to be outdoors. 

As the day went on, I found myself frustrated because time was slipping away. There was just not enough time to enjoy the day and get everything done.

Later in the evening, I went for a run. The sun began to set over the ocean. It was a warm, beautiful spring evening. I stopped running and sat looking out at the ocean.

I allowed myself to be still. 

I had read my devotional this morning. My husband and I prayed together. Yet the busyness of my day had distracted me from simply being in God’s Presence.

In the beauty of nature, my heart became quiet. As I enjoyed the loveliness of the evening, I sat listening to God speak to my heart

Refreshment to my soul. 

I looked at the vastness of the ocean and I remembered how very small I am. I gained a larger perspective on what is truly important in my day.  I remembered God’s goodness in my life. How great is His love for me!

How do you find stillness in midst of busy days? 


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Unexpected Challenges


Unexpected challenges. Challenges that come suddenly, without warning. That appear to have no immediate end. Ones that require God’s grace daily, moment by moment. Full of days that are exhausting, draining, and leave you feeling empty.

It has been two month since I have written a blog post. I felt like I had nothing left to give at the end of the day.
And this particular challenge ended just as it had begun. Unexpectedly, Suddenly, Intensely. 
I was left with immense relief along with lingering questions. Questions that I do not have answers to. Questions that I will never know the answers to. Questions that leave me without a sense of closure.
In the midst of these questions, I chose to rest in God’s grace and sovereignty. I trust that He sees the much larger picture. I trust that He can and will work all things together for good. I trust that He is bigger and He is able.
I choose to remember who God is. In the midst of this challenge, did I do everything perfectly? No, but I remember that God’s grace and forgiveness is there for me. I remember that He can work all things together for good. I remember that He is able to do more. so much more than I could ever imagine. When I see the limitations, the brokenness, the past… I wonder. I worry. I fear. When I look to God. I remember that He is ABLE. He is Love. He is Grace.
“Never ending, unstoppable, never giving up, un-breaking, always and forever love.”
I choose to lay down my burdens and worries. I choose trust Him. I choose not to feel guilty by the relief that I feel but trust God. I trust that He is proud of me. That I was faithful for the season He gave me.
I choose to be grateful for the lessons during this challenge.
I am grateful for how I saw my husband supported me in amazing ways. I am so grateful for the gift of my husband. For moments when he truly stepped up as my hero.
I am grateful for how God changed my heart in the midst of this challenge. For in the midst of feeling empty and drained, my heart started changing. Bitter. Angry. Discontent. Grumbling. Discouraged. A very negative attitude started to emerge. I cried out to Him to do a work in my heart that I was unable to do. In the midst of the challenge, He changed my heart. To dependency on Him. A heart of gratitude. Receiving His grace. Praising Him.
He opened my eyes and gave me fresh perspective. He encouraged me as I choose to trust Him one day at a time.
My husband warned me one particular Sunday that he was not preaching at me. The big idea of his message “Challenges are an opportunity for God to grow our character and develop our confidence in Him”. While he may not have been preaching at me, God knew exactly the reminder I needed. My Abba Father loves me enough to convict me, challenge me, and encourage me. All at the same time.
I know my tendency. To take on another’s burdens. The desire to rescue.
My Abba Father gently reminds me that I can lay it all down at His feet. Those burdens are too heavy for me to carry. They are not meant for me. HE is the Rescuer. HE is the Healer. HE is the Restorer and Redeemer. HE is ABLE. HE is Powerful. HE is Love. 
The compassion, love, concern my heart feels is a small glimmer of God’s heart.
So I choose to trust Him. 

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my soul longs for rest


How do you live a balanced life? I have found myself recently trying to balance it all. All the schoolwork… lesson plans, weekly newsletters, endless papers to grade. All the housework… cleaning, laundry (praise God we are finally able to do laundry in our home!), and occasionally cooking a meal. Time with God. Time with my husband. Time with friends. Time to work out. And this is all without children.

When I get in this mode of trying to balance it all, my focus becomes on my to-do list. On setting goals, on getting things done, on how much there is still left to do. While I love checking off my to-do list, it starts to feel empty. My soul longs for more than this. More than a perfectly balanced life. More than getting things done. More than trying to live up to my own expectations. More than trying to be like others. My soul longs for rest.

Rest found in the boundless love of God. Time to be still before my Beloved King. To hear Him whisper, “You are enough. You are my beloved daughter. You are loved. You are treasured. I am pleased in You. I delight in You. Simply because You are mine.”

There is such rest, freedom, and restoration in those words. Freedom from my own expectations. Freedom to rest, to be still, to go deeper. There is restoration for my tired soul. Tired from busyness. Tired from grief and the brokenness of this world.

His love brings life, restoration, renewal. His love alone satisfies. 

May His love satisfy me each and every morning. May the most important thing to me be His love. Learning how to truly dwell in His love. To allow His love to fill me, satisfy me, and define me.

“Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.” Psalm 90:14

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Goodness in the midst of Sorrow

I never cease to be amazed at how intimate God is with His children. My Abba Father meets me where I am at and He speaks to my heart.

I recently started a daily Bible reading plan that takes you through the entire Bible in a year. The Psalm yesterday captured my heart and emotions.

“Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak… save me because of your unfailing love… I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. My vision is blurred by grief…for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer.”

The night before I had found myself sobbing, my heart breaking for the brokenness in this world. For how I unexpectedly encountered brokenness, sadness, and sorrow earlier this week.

God has given me a sensitive heart which allows me to feel deeply. My time of weeping was my heart feeling deeply another’s pain.

As I wept for this one’s hurt, I found myself also weeping for the sorrow of unexpectedly losing my cousin Joshua this past September. I wept for how unfair life is at times, how broken this life is, and for all the hurt and pain in this world.

God is big enough to handle our grief. The next morning, He compassionately reminded me through Psalm 6 of how He hears our weeping. He understands when we are worn out from sobbing and our vision is blurred by grief. He is there with us. He is there holding us tightly in His loving, strong, everlasting arms. He does not let go of us. We are free to cry, to grieve and to feel sadness.

The very next day, I stumbled upon this song which spoke right to my heart. God showing me His love and goodness.

“Good to Me” by Audrey Assad

I put all my hope on the truth of Your promise
and I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me

I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night raise my head up and hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
all my life
I will trust in Your promise

These words spoke right to my heart… “I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness…When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift Your name. I will lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found…Because You are good to Me…Your goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life and I will trust in Your promise.”

In the midst of sorrow, God’s goodness does not change. I will choose to steady my heart on God’s goodness. I will choose to lift up God’s name. I will lift my head up from the sorrow around me and look upon His goodness. For He is good. God never changes. His goodness and mercy follows me all of the days of my life. I will choose to trust His promises. For He is good.

One day there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, no more brokenness, no more hurt. Until that day, I will continue to look to my God. For He is good.

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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


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!