December 8, 2014

Two Years

Two and a half years ago a young man sat across from me on a picnic bench and laid his heart out on the line. I’ll never forget him trying to engage my distracted self into a conversation about the future - about us. I’ll also never forget the way it hit me when I realized exactly what he was suggesting and just how serious he was being.

I can't imagine the look of shock on my face as I stared at him.

Russ was my friend.

When I was being the biggest grouch in the world, he was there to ignore my grouchiness. When I was following my own choices instead of the Lord’s, he was calmly praying for God’s will in life. When I smacked him with a ping pong paddle (that’s another story) he was there to laugh at my embarrassment. When our group was in the mood for a healthy debate, he was there to argue with us all. He was my friend. A good friend.

I never could have imagined that the Lord would take our friendship and mix it into the wonderful journey that is marriage. In fact, when the crazy man asked me to pray about pursuing a relationship, it was like an anvil being dropped on my head. Russ was right there all along just being my friend. It was an “Oh, there you are,” sort of moment. 

And you know what I’m realizing more and more? The friendship that drew us together is the friendship that keeps us close together.

He can tell me when I’m being a pain. He can point out to me the other side of the story when all I can see is my own frustration and hurt. He puts up with my sad attempts at humor and laughs at my jokes any way. Because our love is rooted in our friendship it goes so much deeper than just romance.

 I have heard about the hard adjustments some experience when they are newly married. For us, it was sort of like a piece of the puzzle fitting. We spent just about every day of two school years together as friends, three months apart as boyfriend/girlfriend, and three months engaged long-distance. Marriage, for us, was sort of like coming home.

It’s hard to believe we’ve been married two years.
It has been a beautiful, sorrowful, joyful, growing two years.

We have faced things (and are still facing things) no couple in the early twenties ever expects to face. I am so incredibly thankful to have his shoulder to cry on when my heart is repetitively broken. I have his hand to hold in that half-asleep dreamy state of three in the morning. I have his laughter to warm my heart. We’ve learned. We’ve loved. We’ll keep learning and loving and trusting God.

I’m so blessed, truly, with this man.

Happy Anniversary, sweet Russell.

November 4, 2014

When Life Doesn't Go Our Way

"I was to discover, however, that when I took my eyes off the circumstances that were overwhelming me, over which I had no control, and looked up, my Lord was there, standing on the parapet of heaven looking down. Deep in my heart He whispered, "I'm here. Even when you don't see Me, I'm here. Never for a moment are you out of My sight."- Darlene Deibler Rose

If I were to share with you today what was in my heart it'd be ugly. Really ugly. I get so wrapped up in the hurts and disappointments of my own life that I let it turn my focus off of things that matter. It's ugly and it is so wrong.

Instead of praying for more faith, I pout about having no table of my own to put a few fall pumpkins on. I don't thank the Lord for the blessings He's bestowed on others but rather beg for similar blessings to be bestowed on us. Rather than ask the Lord for a kind heart, a sweet spirit, and a burden for people, I mull through the day to day wishing for a "someday".

God knew these struggles before I ran into them. He knew that we would stumble into the murky fogs of uncertainty. He knew that in order to get out of the brambles of doubt we'd have to take a step (or a lot of steps) of faith. I thank Him that He has promised to give more grace.

I need to retrain my heart to think on important things. Things like God and my husband and ministry and loving the life that the Lord has given me. I need to remember to hand everything over to the One who is ready and willing to not only take our burdens, but to give us the joy to sustain us along the road.

I do praise Him abundantly for His provision and also for His everlasting patience with this sulky, rotten child of His. He has always been faithful and He will be again and again. How blessed I truly have been! So in this month of thankfulness, I pray the Lord will continue to teach me to be content in every situation. I truly do long to have a thankful heart.

What are you focusing on this November? Please share.

"Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou art my God: Thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness." - Psalm 143:10

Pray for me friends!

September 20, 2014

Forgotten Prayers


Sometimes we need just a little answered prayer.

Sometimes we pray and pray and pray and feel as if the Lord is simply not saying anything at all.

I feel like that sometimes.

I pray for one thing over and over. I know He knows the desires of my heart and that He has all  the power to answer that prayer. But He doesn't.

And that's okay. He is God and He knows best but sometimes, all the time, this sinful heart of mine feels disappointed.

It is in the midst of such disappointments that the Lord reveals to me a little more of Himself.

Russell and I recently returned from our survey trip to the country of Norway. Every mountain and fjord there point to the awesomeness of our Creator. I was looking forward to the possibility of seeing the Aurora Borealis and was a bit saddened to learn upon our arrival that the Northern Lights were out of season. With a shrug I whispered a quick prayer that the Lord might still allow us to see them. I then forgot about that prayer and focused on our trip.

Weeks later, north of the Arctic Circle, my husband came running down the hill in a frantic, arm-waving, yelling fit. I ignored him, of course, until he threw open the RV door and shouted for me to get outside. Barefoot and without a jacket I tumbled out of the trailer and tears filled my eyes as we looked up to see ribbons of green dancing across the twilight sky.


What an overwhelming peace and calm assurance of the reality of my God. It was as if He was saying to me, "I'm here. I hear your prayers. I still answer them and I do care."

He heard a quiet, forgotten prayer and saw fit to answer it. There is nothing better than the reassurance that He's listening.

My "big" prayers may continue to go unanswered and I will likely still struggle with that now and again but I will keep this Northern Lights reminder close to my heart. I hope I will never forget, even in the middle of the trials and storms, how He answered.

We serve such an amazing God. It is so foolish of us to ever doubt His love and care for those He has so readily called His own. The beauty and awesomeness of the Aurora Borealis only reflect the wondrous greatness of the Maker.

" That ye...May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." - Ephensians 3:19-21

Keep praying, my friends!

{img via google}

July 31, 2014

Goodbye Wyoming

Bright and early Monday, August 4th, Russell and I will be heading out of Wyoming with a truck and a trailer. Ohio will be our new "home" for a while. The Black Hills are so beautiful. I've learned many hard life lessons during our time here, but I will always cherish our first year and a half spent in the "forever west" Wyoming. As excited I am to move on to this new chapter of our life, there are things about Wyoming I will certainly miss. I thought I'd share a few of those "things" with you. 



July 7, 2014

The Lord Heareth

This is a verse to hold on to during the storms of life. It can be an rock when all else seems elusive and discouraging. I can know my Lord hears my cries because of this and that's beautiful. A God who hears my cry is a God who can wipe away those same tears. He can calm the uncertainty and replace the anxiety with hope. Hope hurts sometimes. I'm learning this. But I'm also discovering when those hopes are anchored in the promises of God's Word then I rest assured that He will deliver. I can have faith in that.

"The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry. The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles." - Psalm 34:15, 17

Keep the faith, friends.

May 16, 2014

Weeds and Me

Some days I don't even recognize myself.

What happened to that semi-confident, self-sufficient girl I used to be in college?

These days, I feel anxiety well up inside of me every time I am faced with another health issue. I have a mini panic attack in the middle of an overly-crowded Saturday morning Sam's club. I cry on my walk home after being the recipient of sarcastic condemnation at a luncheon I didn't want to go to in the first place. Often times, I'd like to lock myself in a quiet closet after a day of consistent bickering from two tired kiddos (that I love to death, by the way). It feels as if a strong wind of any sort might carry my frail self off and drown me in its circumstance. It's like I've become out of practice being myself. I find myself shocked at who I've become. The hidden things of my personality I used to trample down have begun to overwhelm. Sort of like dandelions choking out a perfectly pruned yard.

But I know that God is using these times to shape me. To bring all those faults and failures to the surface so He can change them. Instead of burying them, if I give myself over to the Potter, He can mold me, slowly, painfully, into an image more like Christ. Amidst all those anxieties and worries that threaten to undo me, He has offered, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." That is a rest that wraps around a soul like a warm blanket. It is a peace that passes all understanding to keep both the heart and the mind at ease.

How very thankful I am for a loving, patient Saviour. He has promised grace sufficient. Blessed is our God, He gives power to the powerless and strength to the weak.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." - Romans 8:28-29

"That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." - Ephesians 3:16-20

"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." - Lamentations 2:21-23
These verses are a great encouragement to me along the way. Even when I get frustrated at myself for whatever reason, peace comes from knowing God is in control and He is perfectly capable of changing me into who He has for me to be if I will only let Him. God can pull out even the most stubborn "weeds" in my life, and for that, I will praise Him!

Stay thankful, be rejoicing, and ever looking to the Saviour, my friends!

March 21, 2014


I stumbled across this poem just today. It fit so well into what has been going on in my life and it brought conviction. How impatient I am when I surely should be trusting only on God! I don't know who wrote it originally but it definitely is worth reading! "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." - Psalm 27:14


Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait." 

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign. 

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply." 

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?" 

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

- Author Unkown

March 11, 2014

Plans and Rejoicings

Just thought I'd give a brief update on everything that has been going on as of late!

Winter continues on here in Wyoming, though the past week has brought some welcomed warmer weather!

Russ and I should have something up and running in the next few weeks to inform everyone about our upcoming survey trip planned for this August. Lord-willing, we will fly into Stavanger, Norway in mid-August and stay through mid-September. During that time, we plan to gain information from veteran missionaries and also travel around the country. Our goal is to zero in on exactly where in the country the Lord would have us to begin our ministry down the road! Please pray for the logistics, the finances, and also for guidance for this trip! We are so excited about it already! We will be attending Missionary Training School through Points North Baptist Mission the week before we head out.

Also in the month of August, we will be pulling out with a tiny trailer in tow to move from Wyoming back to Ohio. While we are sad to leave such a beautiful state, we know that God would have us to be in a more central location as we start deputation (Lord-willing!) at the end of this year. We will be looking for employment and housing as soon as we return back from our survey trip. We know this is what the Lord has for us so we trust Him to provide as we take this leap of faith.

At the present, we are just plugging away with work and church ministries.We have many things to work on and prepare and we pray for the discipline and resources to get everything finished!

The Lord has been so very good to us. He continues to meet and provide not only our needs but also above and beyond. A thought has recently lodged itself into my mind as of late and it has been both an encouragement and also a challenge. "A rejoicing heart will never produce complaining speech."I pray the Lord will continue to help me see the blessing He has bestowed and not to dwell on the things that lack.

Stay encouraged!

January 9, 2014

Pretty Earrings and Men-Pleasers

This has been sitting in my "unpublished posts" for months.

It isn't a flowery post and it speaks far too much of my own faults and failures to be comfortable to write or read. It points fingers. It frustrates and encourages at the same time.

I'd like to write about something that I struggle with every single day. Do I do what I do to please God? Or do I question every action I take in order to please other people?

I like pretty earrings. Dangling big shiny earrings. I'm not talking about anything the size of a pie plate but they aren't tiny diamond studs either. I've always liked them. Not to draw attention to myself or to make my appearance look better but because I think they're feminine, dressy, and simply pretty.

However, every time I get ready to go out or go to church, I pull out a pair of those earrings and question whether I should wear them or not. Not because my conscience is convicted against them, not because I think they're inappropriate or too flashy, but because what will other Christians think of me wearing them.

My inner monologue usually goes something like this:

"These will match this outfit. I like these earrings."
"But...would a missionary wife wear them?"
"There isn't anything wrong with them."
"I probably won't be able to wear them on deputation...people will think I'm not conservative enough."
"Who cares what they think?"
"Well, I guess I'm supposed to look the part of a missionary so...I shouldn't."
"Wait, I'm just going shopping, not church, so they'll be fine."
"Why I am I even doing this to myself?!"

And the earrings either end up back in the jewelry box or in my ears depending on which side wins that particular argument for the day.

Something occurred to me the other day though and while I hope it will end my struggle over those earrings, I know better.

Fact is, when it comes to other people, you can't win. Ever.

Someone will always think something about you isn't right. They may have an issue with your hairstyle, your choice of shoes, what kind of car you drive, the way you raise your children, whether you paint your nails or not, and yes, even the kind of jewelry you wear. Some even go as far as to comment on how many children you do or do not have! If you're a missionary, all of this is accelerated to a whole other level.

I'm not going to turn this post into a judge or don't judge issue. That isn't what it is about. What I am saying is, if my choice whether or not to wear those earrings is based on what other Christians may or may not think of me then I need to evaluate who I'm seeking to please.

If I feel convicted about the type of jewelry I wear because I believe the Lord is telling me no, then I have the responsibility to not wear them. If they are a stumbling-block in some way to another then I should question my decision. If it's because I'm afraid what other Christians will think of my walk with the Lord...then I have a bigger issue than the earrings.

When talking about a woman's outward adorning, the Bible says, "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

That meek and quiet spirit that comes from within is beautiful to God and it certainly doesn't come from conforming to what other people think I should do. Instead, it comes from a quiet heart that is willing to obey Him in every aspect of life and to follow His leading even when deciding on my jewelry.

It is my heart's desire that others will look at me and see beyond the earrings to a peaceful, Spirit-filled heart. Maybe if my character reflects enough of Christ, they won't even worry about my "pretty earrings" to begin with and will instead crave to better know the Jesus that saved me and made me His child.

Ultimately, I should worry less about the earrings and more about my heart.

I don't know. This whole post isn't written very well and I feel even as I finish up that my true intent or purpose hasn't come through. It's a muddled mess in my mind still but I don't know how else to put it. Perhaps my feelings on the whole matter are completely backwards?

Any thoughts?