Tag Archives: sanctification

When the Wound Reopens

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Progressive.

That’s what healing is. It’s not always overnight or immediate, not always fixed with a Band-Aid or kiss from mom, not always quick and easy or even medically treatable. Sometimes it just takes time. And sometimes, even months or years later, something can happen that tears open an old wound. You thought scar tissue was protecting it, but then even that gets severed. The new rip in the old wound causes grief to pour out like a torrent while you desperately look around for a compress and wish you’d have been prepared with a tourniquet.

But that’s the thing. One is never prepared for the scab being torn off a wound. It’s like accidentally scraping a sunburn. If you knew it was coming, you would have stopped it. But it always catches you off guard.

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How to Suffer Missionally

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Broken relationships.
Cancer.
Sickness.
Death.
Loss.
Tragedy.
Grief.
Loneliness.

What if Scripture tells us God is a divine multitasker and that this hurt doesn’t only affect us? What if we aren’t suffering because God is cruel but because He’s equipping us to help others in ways we couldn’t without it?

We all suffer. What separates Christ-followers from the world is the way we respond. And with hearts and ears anchored in the Gospel, we can hear the sermon suffering preaches.

Suffering tells us we’re all groaning for full redemption and that we’re not alone because no life is untouched by difficulty. The poison of sin has slithered into the DNA of every human and with it comes suffering—the proof of our brokenness.

Perhaps God walks us down roads filled with potholes and trials and grief so we can learn the streets and one day drive others down them, helping them to navigate the curves to get to the finish line.

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When the Tree Seems Dead

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One of the most encouraging things I’ve read in a long time:

“Remember, the growth of a believer is not like a mushroom, but like an oak, which increases slowly indeed but surely. Many suns, showers, and frosts, pass upon it before it comes to perfection; and in the winter, when it seems dead, it is gathering strength at the root. Be humble, watchful, and diligent in the means, and endeavor to look through all, and fix your eye upon Jesus, and all shall be well.” -John Newton

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2017: Leaning in Because Jesus is Better

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My “Jesus is Better” bracelet is tarnished and worn.

I think that’s appropriate.

It’s had to be repaired four times in the last month.

I think that’s also appropriate, because Jesus really is better than anything, including a piece of jewelry designed to remind me of that truth.

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Joy is Here

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(This is in NLT, not Amplified. I’m sorry.)

This is a hard season for many.

I feel deeply the weight and heaviness of sin, brokenness, and the overall hurt of living in a fallen body in a fallen world with other fallen humans.

But the pain isn’t meaningless.
The weight won’t crush us.
The fire won’t burn us.
The flood won’t drown us.
The despair won’t destroy us.
The enemy doesn’t have the final say.

Our champion reigns.
Hope is here.
Glory is coming.
Joy is to be had.
Freedom is ours.
Victory is here.

Fix your gaze.
The true and better Aslan is on the move.

“You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify Him,
and stand in awe of Him, all you offspring of Israel!
For He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted,
and He has not hidden His face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to Him.”
-Psalm 22:23-24

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God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

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“It’s all too much,” I cried into my coffee. “I can’t do it. I’m not enough.”

Sitting in that quiet coffee shop, reality hit with force.

Every day is filled with one reminder after another that I am not sufficient. I am not enough for my small group girls; I am not enough for my best friend; I am not enough for my parents; I am not enough for counseling others; I am not enough to teach the Word of God; I am not enough for the church; I am not enough to write helpfully; I am not enough to consider marriage or parenting or anything else God calls me to.

I am not enough.

Do you feel it too?

Do you feel strained by the seemingly endless litany of tasks before you, the weight of burdens in community and ministry, and the demand to do and be it all without cracking under pressure?

During those times I’ve heard well-meaning people say, “Yeah, what you’re going through is hard, but God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

The problem with that and Mother Teresa’s famous quote—“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much”—is that it’s not Scriptural.

And anything meant to be a comfort becomes a confine when it isn’t based on Scripture.

What if Scripture actually says God intentionally gives us more than we can handle?

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Six Quotes on Weakness

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I’ve never felt complete and total weakness more than in the last year. 

And that’s only intensified in the last three weeks.

At times, that weakness has led to introspection, waterfalls of fear, running from everyone and everything, building walls, shutting down, depression, despair, and grasping for control.

At other times, that weakness has served as a beat up taxi into which I climb and let drive me to the throne of grace and into the arms of the Strong One whose sufficiency shines against the bleakness of my lack and covers me with blankets of mercy and security.

One of the things I’ve learned? Comfort in weakness is always found at Calvary.

May the following quotes lead you there.

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Submitting Fully + Joyfully

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His eyes and tone were filled with compassion.

“You just need to submit fully,” he said to me. “And do it joyfully; not just going through the motions and saying you’re submitting when you’re not.”

I nodded and barely looked him in the eyes.

“Really, you just need to fully submit,” he said again. “It will be so good when you do.”

He was living in the victory. He was on the high ground. He was living out Hebrews 11:24-26. You could see it all over him. He was radiating the peace of God and it was beautiful. Why was I scared of it?

“I want to be where you are,” I told him. “But I’m not there.”

What kept me from being there? What was holding me back from full and joyful surrender to the authority placed over me and ultimately to the Lord?

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When God Slays Us

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I look around me and see brokenness.

Broken relationships. Broken hearts. Broken bodies. Broken souls.

I look in me and see brokenness. I am a fractured soul in a fractured world. And I’m learning that this brokenness is preaching a sermon.

Brokenness reveals our need for a Savior and for Someone to make us whole.
Brokenness reveals we are not sufficient to make it through this life on our own.
Brokenness reveals we are not the masters of our own destiny, because we can’t even get ourselves out of suffering.
Brokenness confronts our source of identity and awakens our hearts to new ways of depending on the Great Sovereign.
Brokenness challenges our worship.

What will we do with our brokenness? What will we do when God justly afflicts us? What will we do when He pierces our hearts?

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When God Cleans You With Steel Wool

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Last week was rough. The following is a snapshot into my journal last Tuesday.


“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness,
let the bones that You have broken rejoice.”
-Psalm 51:7-8

Sometimes it feels like God is cleaning me with steel wool instead of the cotton washcloths I prefer.

As I write this, my heart aches. I’m crying and hurting. I feel broken by longings and unsaid words and independent realities and the delay of good dreams. 

“I know, O Lord, that Your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. Let Your steadfast love comfort me according to Your promise to Your servant. Let Your mercy come to me, that I may live; for Your law is my delight.” -Psalm 119:75-77

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