Monday, August 22, 2016

again I will build thee...

"Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. [...] For thus saith the Lord, sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations, publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. [...] They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble..." (Jeremiah 31)

After some thought and prayer I'm moving on to a new blog again. From now on, you'll find us at I'll be back to blogging about normal life, but also sharing projects and inspiration, book reviews, and what I'm learning from the Word. Thanks for following!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

take root downward

 "And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this. Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses." (II Kings 19:30-35)

Lately I've been wrestling with God through a lot of fear and doubt. I wonder if I'm fulfilling His callings in my life. I wonder if He'll really protect and see me through anything and everything life throws at me/us. I wonder if I can ever be enough. (I can't).

Escaping danger, sin, and turmoil and somehow finding a way to produce fruit in this wild and crazy world is possible only through Him: "the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this." His job is to defend; my job is to "take root downward" - to choose to trust Him, to know that grounding myself in Him is the only answer to every question.

"Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord, neither be dismayed, O Israel, for lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid." (Jeremiah 30:9-10)

This rest and quiet is something we all long for. I know... we just came through a beautiful wedding weekend and staying home for four days has been blissful. It's sometimes unclear how to live peacefully and yet radically - how to show Christ to the world and yet creating a warm and safe home for my children, for example. But perhaps they're one and the same - the way we live peacefully is such sharp contrast, so radically different, than the way people live in confusion. They advocate for this and for that, looking for something to stand on and stand behind... "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the TRUTH." (II Timothy 3:7)

I read a Corrie Ten Boom quote here that has stuck with me for the past couple days. "The world is deathly ill. It is dying. The Great Physician has already signed the death certificate. Yet there is still a great work for Christians to do. They are to be streams of living water, channels of mercy to those who are still in the world. It is possible for them to do this because they are overcomers."

I wish I understood exactly, day-to-day, what this looked like in my life - what it means to be a stream of living water or a channel of mercy. I wish I knew who to serve, who to help, how to give, when to say yes, when to say no, when to share, when to keep silent. But I do know that this is what I want to be.

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
(I Timothy 2:1-4)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


I think we'd all like to have a few more of these in our lives... those handy little lines with points that show the way so clearly. I was reading the story this morning of when Jonathan shot the arrows to indicate to David his standing in the sight of the king. Wouldn't we all like to know sometimes - where exactly does our King want us? And what exactly does the next step look like?

As I read through I Samuel chapters 20 through 23 this morning, I realized something: David had no idea what to do either. Once he left Saul's house, he was running around, telling lies and acting like a mad man, hiding everywhere and always in a decent amount of danger. Jonathan's arrows were quite straight, but God's were definitely not, during those days of David's life.

God did, however, use many people and circumstances to point David in certain directions, and He did still have control:

"And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. [...] And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God". (I Samuel 23:14, 16)

Anytime we're wondering if God is ever going to redeem and help us make sense of the scattered pieces and mistakes and conversations and relationships and commands to "go", "stay", or "do"... He is. He is protecting and strengthening us always, in ways that we cannot see. When His arrows seem absent, He is still guiding, and we must continue to "enquire" of Him.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

book review | having a martha home the mary way

This book was not what I was expecting when I first received it, which was a little bit disappointing; HOWEVER, I quickly realized that it actually would have been annoying if it had been what I was expecting, so all of that to say, I really like this book. Instead of just talking about cleaning your house (which would, admittedly, be less work), it makes you do it. It's a 31-day challenge to a cleaner house... but also to a "satisfied soul" as the cover states. Let's not be deceived...  cleanliness is not actually next to godliness, and a cleaner house does not ensure joy and peace within. However, it is inspiring... when we're clean and disciplined on the outside, it carries over to the inside... and vice versa. This book is definitely for any stay-at-home mom looking to organize the chaos a little bit - both spiritual and physical.

I'll preface this review by saying that I'm actually just getting started... or rather, thinking about getting started. I've skimmed through the book some, but want to do the actual challenge when I will be around for 31 actual days, which is probably not until... next year? No, but honestly, I did want to wait until school was out and homemaking was my primary role again.

One thing that I love about this book is that it puts equal emphasis and appreciation on the "Mary" and "Martha" parts of all of us. The "Mary" sections of each day urge us to connect what we're learning in the home to what we're reading in the Word, and offer spiritual encouragement and insight. There is actually space to write, so it's kind of like a Bible study. The "Martha" sections focus on the practical - what you're going to do (ex. clean the second bedroom's closet), with a plan, and maybe even some accountability. :) It also sometimes includes ways to get your kids involved, etc.

I also like the design, the fonts, and just the general content of this book, and then of course, maybe more than anything, I like that I can tell it's been written by someone just like me... a mom and homemaker with the best of intentions, and the many and varied challenges, and the understanding and the humor about keeping a house clean.

As I go through the book, I'm establishing habits, recognizing my own flaws and tendencies when it comes to housekeeping, working to overcome those, and finding balance. The balance is perhaps my biggest takeaway. This is a down-to-earth book about getting focused, organized, and realistic about keeping house - both inside and out. :)

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

book review | land of silence

I took Land of Silence on a road trip, which was good... because I wouldn't have gotten anything done at home if I had been there. It was hard to put down. :) In some ways, it's just another Christian fiction book about a girl and a boy... but there are also some deeper themes running through it that I really appreciated.

It is not just a story. It is a story that takes you back to the day, begging you to ask yourself the question: who was the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment? This is author Tessa Afshar's fictional interpretation of her life, her dreams and ambitions, and her struggles. And honestly, she could be any of us.

The two themes that come to mind as I'm thinking back through the book are guilt and pride. Both are things that, for better or for worse, sometimes cause us to turn in certain directions at critical points in life and affect what we focus on and what we accomplish. Guilt over her brother's death pushed Elianna to set everything aside and throw herself into her father's fabric dyeing business, where she realized some incredible personal talents that she may never have discovered otherwise.

At the same time, that guilt and some pride and stubbornness keep her trapped in her trade when there were ultimately other, better things for her future.

And so it is with us... our experiences motivate us and act as little rudders in our lives; turning us this way and that way. But we cannot forget Who has ultimate control over the waves and the winds, and the rudders cannot do anything against His power. In the same way that Ethan pursues Elianna in this story; so He pursues us... even when we don't deserve Him.

The other theme I noted was redemption... and isn't that the story of our lives?

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


The Lord has more to teach me about His constancy in spite of changing circumstances, and He made truth so clear this morning when He directed me to read in Isaiah 32:

"Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city: because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks;
until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high
and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest." (vs. 13 - 15)

I'm amazed at the contrast between verses 13/14 and verse 15. The author so vividly describes the desolation that is life without Christ, and then the refreshing that is life in Christ. The only difference between the two? The outpouring of the Spirit.

"Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." (vs. 16-17)

With the outpouring of the Spirit, He promises righteousness not only in the fruitful field, but also in the wilderness. "Assurance for ever".

"And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; when it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place." (vs. 18-19)

We are promised rest and peace. Even when there is hail coming down on our fruitful forest, when we lift up our head and lightning strikes... we are promised sure dwellings.

We were eating out last night and sitting close enough to another table to catch quite a bit of their conversation. As I listened to them talk, the emptiness was almost overwhelming. The nights of worthless activities. The lack of fulfillment. The complete absence of living for any greater purpose at all. And my guilt set in, as it always does when I think too long about how much I've been given, how much I've been saved from, and how unbelievably beautiful it is to live life hand in hand with Christ.

And that's just it... when I recognize that it is Him - that I've been blessed with these things, there's no room for guilt. Because in Christ, there is justice, and righteousness - and "blessed are ye that sow beside all waters" (vs. 20)

Thursday, April 21, 2016


I decided this week that it would be a poor decision to ever buy a new house in February or March. By about that time this year, our four walls were closing in on me and I was feeling like something needed to change. But after a few evenings of debates about moving around walls and rearranging furniture, Grant made the comment to me - "Honey, just remember - if you're feeling discontent or restless right now - its still cold out." The implication was that things will all look better once warmer weather comes. And he was right. Today, we're sitting out back and playing with dolls and riding bikes and pushing the Cozy Coupe, and life does seem so much more open, alive, and manageable. We didn't move around any walls. Admittedly, we did rearrange the furniture. But mostly - the weather changed.

Circumstances impact us like that.

A year ago, I was in a circumstance, a situation, where I wasn't thriving. There was undoubtedly a lot of growing taking place, but not a lot of blooming. It's kind of like these daffodils I have that I should get around to planting. They won't bloom this year. They'll just be underground... not sure when they'll ever see the light. This year God has allowed me to begin to bloom - something that I'd hoped and prayed for. And it's been beautiful to see His hand at work - to watch Him go before me and gently, lovingly carve out circumstances and opportunities where He knew I could succeed. Sunshine has replaced storms.

The circumstances have changed.

But the lightning still strikes sometimes. I start to hold my head up, to feel Him and focus on Him, to drink from the rain He's sending - and suddenly I'm on my knees again, wondering who I am and what I'm supposed to be. I don't like everything I see in myself. I don't like how I respond to the lightning.

Circumstances do not have to control me. I have to be honest with myself about how they're affecting me, realizing that they're making life harder, or easier, or whatever. But when the lightning comes, His call is clear: "Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer... be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12)

In fact, as I'm sitting here right now at my kitchen table, a storm is rolling... dark, cloudy, rainy, and electric.. and I love being able to watch it all through this beautiful picture window and give thanks that I'm in here instead. :)

"Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord." (Jeremiah 33:11)