Tuesday, October 16

Autumn Leaves

Every time I look out my bedroom window I am reminded of the beauty that God instills into life on this earth. And every time I look out my bedroom window, I can't help but thank God for that beauty-- not just the beauty in the red and green leaves on the tree outside my window, but also the beauty that I see in the lives of those by whom I am surrounded.

Sunday afternoon as I looked out my window from my view at my desk, I saw the leaves and thought how incredible it is that God is able to infuse beauty even into death. The autumn leaves-- brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows, as well as the leaves that are changing, but still hanging on to bits of green-- are reminders to me that God can bring beauty out of pain, that even in the face of death people and nature can exude life and God's splendor.

Somehow seeing those autumn leaves gave me hope. Hope that all is not vain. They reminded me that somehow even in the ugliness of sin, even in death-- Satan's most powerful weapon-- God still triumphs; He still wins and brings about good and beauty.

Recently I have been reminded that death, or rather the threat of death, is no respecter of persons. Death can threaten the young or the old and the ones in-between, those with families and those who are alone, and it can threaten even the most beautiful and God-filled people on Earth. This is something I have been reminded of because several friends of mine, some who are close and some who are not as close, have been facing the reality that life on Earth does not last forever and could potentially end much sooner for them than for the average person.

However, I have seen in their words and actions a faith and a fearlessness that emanates vibrant life and beauty. Their trust in the goodness of God when life does not seem good and their unflinching defiance of the temporary power of death over their souls bears a great resemblance to those autumn leaves outside my window. As the autumn leaves in the face of their mortality, still they breathe beauty; for that is what they were created to do-- reflect the beauty of the Maker. And in spite of approaching winter they light up the world with a beautiful autumn blaze not so different from that of this Tennessee valley.

So I will continue to look out my window and smile at the turning leaves that bring to mind the hope we have in Christ. Because that hope of eternal life and glory, of Love and beauty is what reminds me that in the end Love wins, and that is all that truly matters.

Friday, October 5


I'm waxing a bit melancholy tonight-- but a good sort of melancholy.

I've been catching up on blogs, looking at pictures of my friends far away, and wishing and longing desperately to be near to each of my dear friends all at once.

I've also been realizing tonight that I am overblessed. Blessed beyond all measure. And my heart is overflowing with gratefulness and humble awe at the God I serve who has deemed it good to lavish His love on me in such a way.

God has placed in my path a great host of faith-inspiring friends who He has used to shape my life. And He continues to use them to refine me and point me ever and always to Him. These blessings of friendship with incredible people whose lives have been wholly committed to God and His cause have enriched my life here on this earth and have also given me even more reason to wish for God's soon return to come quickly-- that I may be continually in His Presence as well as in the presence of those who reflect His beauty and glory.

As I've been sitting here feeling enriched, there is a song that has been echoing in my mind, especially this part:

We're all homesick, 
Is love the reason? 
My hunger led me to your hope. 
Until the end of this colder season 
Keep us warm

Cause we are always Eden
The day after she fell.
We see good and evil
And choose which one to tell.

~Alli Rogers, "Eden"

Thank you to each of my wonderful friends who has chosen to tell Love.

Monday, September 3

The Waiting Place

Several many months ago, I read a book entitled The Waiting Place by Eileen Button. My friend, Beth-Anne had given it to me as a birthday present, and I enjoyed it immensely. It is a collection of personal stories intended to help each of us appreciate the "waiting place," wherever and whenever it might be for each of us. The author talks about how we always seem to be rushing ahead to the next stage in life, always wanting to get out of this chapter and into the next chapter in which we expect to find more joy and happiness than we have in the present moment. Her point in this book is that we can learn to find and appreciate the joy and happiness of the here and now, the day-to-day living that comes in between life's big events.

As I said, I enjoyed this book so much, and I could write about many different stories or ideas that the author presented that really resonated with me. However, I just want to share one quote that I felt captured the point of the entire book.

"We can wait all our lives for the next stage to come. Or we can choose to see the waiting place for what it often is: unexpectedly magical and holy."

God wants us to find joy and to see the holy beauty of each moment in our lives with which He has blessed us. And I'm learning that the best way to do that is to verbally thank Him each day for the blessing of life He has given and to walk in close company with Him each day.

Monday, May 7


Sometimes I wonder how God does it. How does He hold all the sorrow, all the joy, all the beauty, all the heartache in His heart and not shatter into a million pieces? And then I remember: I AM.

He is. He always was, He always will be. 

He is the inexplicable, all-loving God. His capacity for love and His capacity for pain are both greater than my finite human mind could ever hope to grasp. He can experience both at once and not break because He is the great I AM.

And right now, nothing in the universe is more comforting to me than the knowledge that the great I AM is Love and is present.

"At that time, declares the LordI will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people. Thus says the LORD: 'The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.' 

"For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him. 

"'I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness,' declares the LORD."

Jeremiah 31: 1-3, 11, 13-14

Thursday, April 12


This morning I read 1 Thessalonians. I read it specifically because I wanted to read chapter 4 for some encouragement.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. ~1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

I noticed a few things this morning when I read this particular part of chapter 4. First, I was reminded that it's okay to grieve; it's just that our grief is not one without hope because we know that there is more than this life here on Earth. Second, the Lord himself will be the one to wake those who are sleeping in Him. I think that will be such a powerful, triumphant moment; when Jesus comes to reclaim from Satan those who have fallen under the power of death, when Jesus once again defies Satan's strongest weapon. Finally, I know that we Christians often look to this passage for comfort when someone we love has died because it gives us hope that we may live with them again. But I noticed in this read-through that Paul makes a point of saying that when that day comes, then we will always be with God. That is the ultimate comfort-- to be with God forever.

Tonight as I was thinking about this passage again, I decided to search for other Bible verses on hope to remind myself exactly what that hope is that we have that allows us not to grieve as those who are without hope. Here are a few I found that were encouraging to me.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. ~Hebrews 10:23

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began. ~Titus 1:1,2

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope-- the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. ~Titus 2:11-13

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~Romans 5:3-5

Wednesday, April 11

Life is Not Good

This afternoon, I woke up after having worked last night, and I pulled out the top t-shirt in my drawer to wear. But as I looked at it, I realized I couldn't wear it. Not today. It was an orange, happy t-shirt that says "Good Vibes Life is Good." And as I eyed the shirt, my stomach started to churn.

Life is not good. At least not life on this Earth. Life is messed up, full of sin and pain and things that make no sense to me. This life is one in which mothers must lay their own children to rest, fathers must lower their own sons and daughters into their graves.

And to be completely honest, I'm so weary of it. I don't want to cry any more tears for mothers and fathers whose arms and hearts are empty. I don't want to weep anymore for the loss of those who are dear to me and the people I love. Sometimes I feel like my heart just can't take any more blows.

In the last few months Satan has been attacking with vigor. I have had missionary friends bury their 6-month old baby boy. In addition, some friends of theirs just lost their 3-month old child. Other missionaries who work at a hospital I used to work in had to rush their 9-month old back to the States because of an unknown illness (although, I've just had news that he is fully recovered, praise God).

My dear friend who teaches at a small Christian elementary school just lost one of her seven year-old students last night in a tragic accident. The girl, Marissa, was a twin. She had two parents who loved her, 4 siblings, and many friends. I can't imagine the pain and ache that her community is feeling.

Life is not good.

But then, as I looked at my "Life is Good" t-shirt and felt ill, I remembered that even if life is not good, God is. And there is more than this life; more than this life full of sin and pain and things I don't understand. There is Eternal Life-- a Life in which mothers and fathers will never feel the void, the ache of losing a child. Where Love and all its warmth and goodness will never again be tainted with painful good-byes. A Life in which God will wipe away every hot tear that trickles down our cheeks, searing our hearts with pain. A Life in which God will finally, once and for all, completely heal the pain in our hearts that no words of comfort can remove.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." ~Revelation 21: 1, 3

Sunday, February 26


This past Thursday as I was driving in to work, I was suddenly overwhelmed by how blessed I was. I took some time to thank God for His blessings that I often overlook. Here's my list:

Sunsets on the way to work
Sunrises on the way home
A job that I love
Unexpected friendships
Babies that are healthy enough to scream in the night
Babies that are well enough to eat from a bottle
Dear friends
The knowledge that I am loved by many people
Sunshine and breezes
Daffodils to remind me that Spring is coming
A down comforter to keep me warm until Spring does come
Time spent pulling weeds with friends
Life lesson reminders from pulling weeds
My boyfriend, who treats me better than I deserve
Talks with my mother
A comfortable home
A real bed
An abundance of delicious food
Patience-- that God is teaching me, and that others have towards me
God's reminders that He is working
Time for reflection
My 30 minute drive to work
The privilege of communing with God in prayer
God's timing

And there are many more. Taking the time to reflect and think of them reminded me of how infrequently I have a grateful attitude. I want to be in more of a habit of being truly grateful for God's blessings-- large and small.

Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.

Psalm 116:7-9 (ESV)

Sunday, February 12

Sabbath Blessing

God is so faithful.

I could just leave it at that. That pretty much says all I want to say. But I want to tell you why so that you know He's faithful, too.

I have been incredibly blessed in that I have not had to work on Sabbath ever since I started my new job at the end of September. Unfortunately, I knew that trend would not last. Working as a nurse is wonderful in many ways, but it also has its downfalls, and one of them is having to work weekends and holidays.

I had to work night shift this past Friday night through Saturday morning, and as I was preparing to go in to work that night, I kept thinking how much I wished I didn't have to go to work because I really needed my Sabbath rest. I read my Bible and then began to have my prayer time, and I thought, "You know what? I do not need to have this kind of attitude going into work." I didn't want to start my shift with a negative attitude because I didn't want to be spreading a negative influence to other people I would encounter, especially not on the Sabbath when we are supposed to receive and be a blessing. So I prayed for God to change my attitude. I asked Him to help me to be a blessing to those around me, and I asked Him to help me maintain a positive attitude and keep the Sabbath as best I could while at work.

I then exercised, took a shower, ate, and packed a meal for work in record time. I managed to leave for work ahead of schedule (something that never happens, and especially not after having so much to do in so little time), and amazingly enough I was not stressed or upset at all on the way to work despite there being quite a bit of traffic and getting stuck behind a few slow drivers. I even managed to enjoy watching a gorgeous sunset as I drove. I felt like my Sabbath was already off to a good start.

As soon as I got to the pod I'd be working in for the night, I saw that there had been a new admission that just came in at 6:25 pm-- right at shift change. The other night shift nurses and I discussed who would take which babies, and I volunteered to take the new admission and someone else would take the next admission since our pod was going to be the first to get new admissions for the night. I realized at that point that it was probably going to be a busy night, and I felt uncertain about what I was getting myself into. But I had determined that I was not going to let anything deter me from having a positive attitude and enjoying my Sabbath. I said a quick prayer and took report on my two babies.

Things were very busy. Almost everything had been done for the new admission except for giving a few medications, filling out tons of paperwork, and shortly after dayshift left, we had to put the baby on bubble CPAP because he was grunting and retracting. One of the other nurses also got an admission not too long after our shift began. My podmates helped me and the other nurse get things done on our admissions, and by the time my shift was halfway over I was caught up and things had slowed down some. At that point I stopped to reflect a little bit and realized that despite all the stress of the evening, everything had gotten done (and done well), I hadn't felt stressed out at all, and I still had a positive attitude.

The rest of the shift went by without much event. I left work and went to see my boyfriend briefly before going to my house to sleep. When I woke up Saturday evening, I was saddened to think that I had slept away most of the day and hadn't really gotten to enjoy worship or fellowship on Sabbath, and I had to go back to work again that night. But God wasn't done blessing my Sabbath.

My housemates had planned a get-together at our house to give a quilt we had helped make to one of our friends who is recovering from her battle with esophageal cancer. When everyone had arrived, we sat down in the living room and sang hymns. Songs of heaven and of trusting in God. I soaked it up and thanked God for reminding me of His goodness, and I thanked Him for my Sabbath blessing.

Sunday, January 22


Last spring I was babysitting for some good friends of mine. I love their family. I love their kids. And there is never a dull moment with them. For those of you who know me personally (or know them), I'm referring to the Parkers (whose blog you can follow here when you need a dose of laughter or food for thought). I wanted to write about this when it happened last spring, but I guess better late than never, n'est pas?

I had been watching Anaya, Seth, and Skyler for the afternoon, and it had been a lot of fun. We played some games, read some stories, and then Seth and Anaya wanted to go outside. So outside we went. As I sat on the porch with Skyler and Seth, I watched the sky, and they did as well. There were dark storm clouds above threatening to let loose a furious downpour.

"I don't yike storms," Skyler told me nervously.

Seth responded before I could, and with a melancholy look on his face said, "I love storms."

I smiled, and told Skyler, "I love storms, too. Do you want to know why?"

"Yesh," he replied.

So I told Seth and Skyler the story of the Israelites camped at the base of Mt. Sinai when God came down to speak to Moses. I read to them Exodus 19:16 where it says that there was thunder and lightning and a thick cloud on the mountain because God's Presence was there. And I told them that I loved storms in part because they remind me of God's power; storms make me feel like God is near.

Skyler wasn't convinced. But we stayed outside a while longer and played some games in the yard.

Later that evening shortly after Dr. and Mrs. Parker got home, the sky let loose. Rain was pounding the ground, wind whipping tree branches, and the tornado sirens started sounding over at the university. After some discussion, Dr. and Mrs. Parker decided that they would pack a few things and head over to Dr. Parker's office since they didn't have a basement in their house. I decided to head back home, but just before I got out the door, Skyler came over to me.

"I yike storms because we get to go to daddy's office." His eyes sparkled with excitement as he smiled up at me. His fear of the storm was completely forgotten.

At that moment, I wished that I were more like Skyler. Somehow there's a slight disconnect in my mind between physical storms and life storms. I love real storms for a lot of reasons. I especially love that they make me feel so small and make me feel that God's Presence is near. But for some reason, I haven't particularly carried that view and those feelings over to life storms. Somehow when I'm in the midst of a life storm, it seems so much easier to forget that God is near, so much easier to feel lost and alone.

Skyler's reason for liking storms should be mine as well. He was thrilled for an excuse to spend time with his father. He was grateful for an opportunity to be with his dad and to be protected by him. As long as Skyler could be with his father during the storm, there was no room for fear, only space for excitement and joy.

What if I reacted to life storms in the same manner? How amazing it would be if whenever a trial or difficulty presented itself in my life, I reacted by being excited for an opportunity to draw closer to God. How it might warm God's heart if I were anxious to see how He was going to come through for me, how He was going to protect and carry me through the storm, instead of being anxious about the potential damage that might result from the storm.

"He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore." ~Psalm 121:3-8, ESV

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." ~Isaiah 26:3, 4, ESV

Saturday, January 21

The Truth About Apathy

Let me tell you the truth about apathy: it hurts. Deeper than hatred, it wounds the heart.

It's been a while since I recognized this truth, and I've processed and worked through my thoughts and feelings on this matter. So now I'm sharing them with you because I caught a small glimpse of the heart of God, and I want you to see it too.

A while ago, I was really struggling in one of my friendships. I was really upset because I valued this friendship, and I felt like my friend had become completely indifferent towards me. It seemed like no matter how much I tried to be friendly, they didn't care. In fact, in my mind, it began to seem like the more friendly I was, the more apathetic they became. This quickly turned into a very discouraging situation. I cried, I prayed, I racked my brain for answers. Finally, I realized that I couldn't keep doing it; I was not going to force my friendship somewhere it was not wanted. So, I backed off. And silently mourned the loss of a friendship that I still don't really have any hope of recovering.

My friend's apathy towards me was worse than hatred, because hatred at least requires a person to feel like you're worth spending their emotional energy on; indifference breeds a feeling of worthlessness because they don't even care enough to hate you. In addition, anger is likely to subside one day; it comes back again and again, flaunting its pain in your face until you deal with it. But apathy nestles quietly somewhere deep in the recesses of a heart where it is not likely to be disturbed again.

Somewhere in the midst of all of this emotional turmoil, I remember pouring my heart out to God. I told Him exactly how I felt. I told Him how hurt I was to lose a friend, one that I still cared about a lot. I told Him how their apathy made me feel, how it wounded my heart. And then it struck me. God gets that. He knows that feeling-- a billion times over. How many days of Earth's existence has God, who by definition is love, had to deal with the indifference of millions of His very own Creation? How often has God extended His love to us, not willing to force His love, but waiting with baited breath to see if we would accept His offer of friendship? How often has God backed off, mourning the loss of His Love and hoping that the day might come when we would change our minds? How deeply have we wounded His heart with our apathetic acknowledgment of His existence while we choose to invest our time and emotions in transitory endeavors?

Let me tell you the truth about apathy: it hurts. Deeper than hatred, it wounds the heart.

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. . . Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.'" ~Revelation 3:15, 16, 20, ESV

Wednesday, January 11


"What might it not mean for others if all of us who are seeking after a country of our own, a better Country, that is, a heavenly, lived more like pilgrims here?" ~Gold Cord: The Story of a Fellowship by Amy Carmichael

Have you ever traveled to a foreign country? Have you spent any length of time there? If you have, you will understand what I'm about to write.

No matter how much time you spend in a foreign country, no matter how familiar you become with their food, their mindset, their language, or their sayings, it is always quite obvious that you do not belong. You look different. You have a different worldview. Your values, the things that are important to you, the way you see life are all different. You are from a different culture, and theirs will always be foreign to you. Theirs is not your heritage. You may come close to feeling like you fit in. You may even begin to identify with their culture; in fact, you may begin to feel like you're trapped somewhere in between their culture and your own. But their culture is still not completely your own.

What if we as Christians really lived as if this world were not our home? What if we were so wrapped up in our heavenly home culture, so identified by it that it would become quite obvious to anyone we would meet on Earth that we do not belong here in this worldly culture-- that it is not our own? What would life look like if this Earthly culture were always foreign to us? What kind of difference could we make in this world if we lived more like pilgrims here and less like natives?

Wednesday, January 4

All Came to Pass

And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. ~Joshua 21:44, 45

Reminders of God's faithfulness and goodness are always welcome. What an amazing one for the start of a new year. May I remember this year that God's promises, His Word, never fails. All that He has said will come to pass.

And one day we will have rest from this weary world, just as He has promised.