Watch “Matthew West – Mended (Lyric Video)” on YouTube

Thank you, Lord, for not giving up on me. Thank you for mercy. Thank you for seeing purpose in me even when I can only see pain and brokenness.

How many times have you mended me? How many times will you heal me still? You never give up. You never will. How amazing if that?

Speak, for I am listening. Lead, for I am following.

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
Psalms 143:8, 10 NLT

In the Night, His Will Reigns.

Sometimes, the world feels like it’s falling apart, but, at ALL times, He has a plan, He is working wonders, and He is with me; therefore, I surrender my expectations to the will of my Father, the only one who knows my tomorrow, the one who has written my future, the one who holds me safely in His hand.

These last few weeks have been rough for me. I’ve been struggling with my depression, combating the stress of school, wrestling with inner doubts and questions, and, to top it all off, I have the  flu. Go figure, right? Thanks to medication (Thank the Lord for Tamiflu!) and lots of self-care, I was finally reviving into a functional human being.

And then, my mom called and dropped a bomb on me that shook everything.

Me: “What?!”
Mom: “Was that rhetorical, or did you actually not hear me?”
Me: “No, I heard you. I just wanted you to tell me it’s not true.”

Now, the details of that bomb are too personal to share here, but the details aren’t the point, anyway, so what do they matter? The details aren’t what inspired me to write; my reaction to them is. As soon as I hung up the phone, I let my tears run free, I bawled my eyes out, and I prayed to God. I asked Him the age-old question He somehow never tires of hearing from us when we’re going through tough time; I asked Him, “Why?”

I didn’t get a straight answer. I didn’t get any answer that in any way fit what I wanted, but I did get an answer. Without any hesitation, I grabbed my phone, went to YouTube, and looked up the song God put on my heart in response to my fervent question:

Like I said, not exactly a straightforward answer, but it is still an answer, and it is still comforting. Why? I’ll tell you:

  1. Any answer means He heard my cry and recognized my need for an immediate reply.
  2. This song is a reminder to me that He has a greater plan than any I could begin to imagine.
  3. Through this song,God reminded me where my faith should be: in His will. His will is greater than my own. My will only seeks the snapshot of life I can visualize. His will serves the biggest picture that serves us all.
  4. Verse Two. All of it. Life doesn’t always feel good, and it’s hard to “count it all joy” when it doesn’t, but God is always good because God is always God.

Though the sorrow may last for the night, His joy comes in the Morning!”  Psalms 30:5

This “night” may last days or weeks or years in our eyes, but I believe in the morning He has promised. I will not lose hope for I know the One whom I call Saviour, Redeemer, Master, and King.

God bless!



Getting Tongue Tied — Changing Our Prayers and Getting Personal with God

You’d think speaking to God would be easier. I mean, He already knows what you’re going to say, right? So, why is praying so difficult? You know what I think? I think I find praying difficult because I have a tendency to get caught up in trying to use just the right words. I’m a writer and a perfectionist, so I fall into that trap ALL THE TIME when I write, but I never really thought about how similarly I treat praying.

See, when I get stuck on a word, I get S-T-U-C-K… or, at least, I used to. I’ve gotten better about saying, “Never mind, just get the idea down. That’s the important part.” Did you notice what happened? My focus shifted. I went from focusing on saying everything perfectly to focusing on saying what I needed to say in whatever words came first. I finally realized the PURPOSE was far more important than the method.

Guess what? The same principle applies to praying! God doesn’t care if we use big, frilly language that sounds like it came out of a poet’s pen or if you say, “Hey, God, I love you. I need your help with _____. I’m giving it to You. Do Your thing. You da best!” Now, that last part is not how I pray but not because it’s wrong. That’s just not how I talk. So, why’d I include it as an example? Simple: I have had campers pray a very similar prayers. God loved those campers’ prayer just as much He loves the fancy prayers we’re all so accustomed to; He may have even enjoyed it more for its honesty. The point is God wants to hear from you, and I mean the real you.

Yes, be reverent to who God is. He is your Heavenly Father, but that doesn’t mean you have to speak to Him like He’s some cold, cut-off stranger Judge to whom you always have to say “yes, sir,” “no, sir,” “I’m sorry, sir,” etc. There’s no need to be as stiff as you possibly can be. Yes, God is God, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, and the Ruler of All, but He is also:

  • Your FRIEND
  • Your FATHER
  • Your HEALER

He is everything and everyone you need. He is your God, your personal God. You don’t have to hide anything from Him, and you definitely don’t need to make yourself or your speech up to impress Him. He knows you. He loves you – just as you are. Say what you mean in words you understand and feel comfortable saying. Just talk to Him. He’s listening. He’s waiting to talk to you, too.

God bless!


A Renewed Spirit and A Revived Dedication

Okay, I recognize that I have been seriously neglecting this blog. As you read on, you’ll see that God’s been dealing with me about just that.

We get scared. We doubt – regularly. We get busy and get too focused on the craziness of our lives that we lose track of our lives with God, and we make countless excuses: “I have to get this paper done before I do anything else;” “I have too much to read; I’ll do it later;” I don’t have time to do it right now;” “Can’t afford to do fun stuff, yet;” etc.

The problem is we never do it later. There is always something else that needs to get done, some important task that we think is more important at the time than a conversation. Boy, are we wrong! There is nothing more important than our relationship with God. No matter what is going on or how busy we are, we need to set aside plenty of time to build and maintain our relationship because without it everything will fall apart, and we rarely recognize the cause of our troubles.

I am the poster child of this issue. I constantly get caught up with everything else in my life, especially school, and forget to – or just don’t – take the time to focus on God and spend time with Him. Inevitably, my world starts falling apart before too long.

Until the last few weeks, I was still struggling to keep myself focused on my Father. I thought summer would be easier to refocus without classes, but that hasn’t been the case, so I’m challenging myself to write every day and to post a blog at least once a week. God doesn’t expect perfection. (Someone, please, keep reminding me of that.) He wants all of us: the good, the bad, AND the ugly. He knows everything about us and loves us anyway, so why do we act like He doesn’t want what we have to give, even if it’s not all that we probably should? God understands baby steps! Give Him what you can now, and more will come later. This is one piece of advice that I really need to remember and act on myself.

Here’s to renewal!

God bless!



Remember to Be

Sometimes, it’s good to just be. When you keep yourself going every instant of the day, you forget to take “you” time. At first, you’re still fine without it, but eventually that lifestyle of “Go! Go! Go!” catches up to you, and you just can’t handle it.

You may think “No, not me. I can handle it, but I’ll let you know right now that you’re wrong. You may be able to deal with the stress “better” and longer than others, but no one was made to be mentally, emotionally, or spiritually prepared to handle that constant movement. Something or someone always ends up forgotten or neglected. Quite often, that someone is God, and that something is our spiritual health.


God did not call any of us to be constantly on the go and busy. His purpose for our lives never leaves Him out in the cold. If your plans leave Him out of the equation, it’s time to reevaluate. He’s a jealous God. He doesn’t appreciate being placed on the wayside when you chase your dreams with such force that you forget who brought you to them.

Take time for yourself. Take time to breathe and experience how blessed you are. Take time to talk with your Father. He misses your conversations together.

It’s okay to do the things you enjoy. It’s okay to be busy. Just don’t be so busy that you neglect the important things: family, friends, self, and – above all – God.

God bless!


Finding Peace and Remembering to Rejoice: A Journey With Grief

“I will rejoice, I will rejoice, and be glad…”

I Will Rejoice/There Is A River

Even when it’s hard, even when I don’t feel I can be, even when my heart is broken and my soul is hurting, I will rejoice, I will be glad, in the presence of the Lord.

He is El Sheddai. He rules over every part of my life, every part of my world. The pain and the darkness may last for the night, but the joy of the Lord – MY Lord – will last forever (See Psalms 30:5). He restores my soul, and I will praise Him – through the storm, through the fire, through it all (See Psalms 23:3).

It’s been a hard week for me and for my family. Tuesday morning, I lost my grandma. gmaThe possibility had been there – she had been sick – but she had been getting better, and I just wasn’t prepared. I’ve been fighting to keep myself together, and I have lost that fight and gone to pieces more than a few times. Sunday morning, I broke down during service when we sang “Wonderful Peace” because I just have not been able to find that God-given peace. I can’t understand why. I know she has finally reached her better, and I know she’d tell me not to worry because all is well now that’s she’s with the King, but the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter how much I know these things, I also know that the pain of her loss is still heavy on my heart regardless of how much I know.

When I hit the altar yesterday morning, I told God how much I’m struggling to find His peace, and he reminded me:

“You are not in this fight alone. Lean on those who love you: your friends, your family, and especially your church. They are in place at my command to help you through.”

For these God-sent people, I am ever thankful.

My eyes are red and raw, but I will carry on with the strength of the Lord my God, my Keeper, my Provider, my ever-present help in times of need.

God bless!

November and the Season of Being Thankful

The last few weeks, I’ve gone completely AWOL from the blogging life. I’ve actually spent the last few weeks struggling to keep on track with any sort of writing at all. I had a few ideas for blog posts, but I let life get in the way, and those ideas never made their way out of my head and onto the keyboard. What can I say? I’m definitely an imperfect blogger and an imperfect person. Sometimes my flaws come shining through, and keeping a project consistent is one of my big ones. A lot of it comes down to a time-management issue, and I’m going to continue to work on that. So far, it’s slow going. I believe I’ll get there, though.

Anyway, on to the reason I jumped back onto my keyboard to write. Let it be known that I’m a pinner. Yes, I have a Pinterest, and I use it maybe a little bit more than I should; however, it is an incredibly useful site, and I’ve been using it to keep myself together. If you’re one for awesome things and organization, Pinterest is for you! I promise it’s not all crafts and DIY projects. There’s more to Pinterest than you think!

Recently, I found a blog post that I immediately pinned to my board focused on helping me draw closer to God, and I’ve been waiting for November to use the pin. The post I pinned was written by Shannon Long on her blog Sweet Blessings. It is a “Thanksgiving Scripture Writing” plan, and I’ve beem excited to begin this plan because it is so simple and so easy to follow and stay on track. Plus, it’ll help me begin Bible journaling again.

I actually printed the plan and glued it into my journalThanksgiving Scripture Writing Plan + Day 1 so I will always have it at the ready whenever I sit down to read that day’s scriptures. That way I won’t have to depend on my phone or my computer where I can easily get distracted from what I really want to be doing. Now, the most electronic media I may have is a quiet, worshipful music playlist, either through Pandora or my music library. Today, I chose my “Who But You (Abraham & Sarah)” station on Pandora.

As I take part in this Thanksgiving Scripture Writing Plan, I invite you to do the same. Let’s delve deeper into God and rediscover every reason we have to be thankful for the love and blessings He has showered upon each of us.

(As noted in the images, the Thanksgiving Scripture Writing Plan is from Sweet Blessings.)

God bless!

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try, Try Again.

I was talking to friends this evening, and I couldn’t help but think about how many times I’ve messed up and how many times I’ve had to face God, saying, “Hey, I did it again… Will you still take me back? I understand if you won’t…” And, you know what? He always takes me back. Why? Because He LOVES me, and He is the source of unending grace and mercy that covers far more trespasses than I ever deserve to be forgiven for… and yet, He forgives me – every time.

Even in our darkest hours, God had a plan. Every time we’ve stumbled, He already knew how to work that to our advantage. He makes all things work together for our good because we love Him and long to serve Him (Romans 8:28).

Does that mean we should keep messing up because we know He’ll take us back? No, of course not! We should always strive to do better, to BE better, but what that does mean is that we don’t have to be perfect!

We don’t have to constantly live in fear of our mistakes because He loves us anyway, through it all! Jesus gave his LIFE before we ever knew Him, before we ever turned our life to His path for us. While we were yet sinners, He gave the ultimate sacrifice in OUR place (Romans 5:8). Yeah, we’re going to get tripped up sometimes, but that’s okay. Stand right back up, dust yourself off, get back on the path, and keep on trucking!

God bless!

Learning to Run

Walking with faith is like learning to run.

When I first began running, I was super gung-ho about it. After my first run, I went out and bought new running shoes, shorts, shirts, and sports bras. I downloaded Runkeeper to keep track of all of my workouts. I even woke up early some mornings to run, and it felt GREAT!

You know what, though? That first run was a little rough, and it’s not like I just got up that day and decided to run. Thing after thing went wrong that day, and by the time I made it back home I was done with the world. I needed to release all that negative energy that was built up inside me, so I ran inside, got ready, and took off to campus. Between my walk there and back and my run around the Drillfield, I put in over 5 miles of work.

I tried to run 2.5 straight laps around the Drillfield, but my body just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t used to that strain. At that point, I don’t think I had really run for any length of time since I broke my femur back in 2009. Despite the pain and the struggle of getting my feet about me, the run felt good, and it made me want to keep running forever.

At first, I kept up. I woke up early at the beach to run I’d go run on the track at home. I even found a couple good routes around town…

But then, life got in the way.

First, I wanted to sleep in. Then, it was too hot in the afternoon. Then, my normal run spots just weren’t convenient enough (or available at all thanks to construction). Just like that, I stopped running. The ease of my running had run out, and I just wasn’t willing to put myself at the necessary inconvenience to keep it up.

I kept telling myself,

“I’ll do better tomorrow.”

Of course, I’d say the same thing when tomorrow came, and then the next thing I knew, I stopped saying it at all because I knew I wasn’t going to do it.

That wasn’t the end of my running, though. The other day, I felt like running, so I did. I went on a 2 mile run with a friend, and it felt so easy. I wanted to keep running even after my friend couldn’t anymore. The ease of running had returned! My muscles only only hated me a little bit, and my mindset made up for the pain. I was ecstatic!

Then, I tried to run again a couple days later, but, as excited as I was to go, my body didn’t support the idea. I went, but it wasn’t nearly as easy:

I only ran 0.75 miles of my 2 miles run because I couldn’t get my breathing together and everything hurt. You know why?

Because my body was awoken to the new movement during that first run! It was relearning how to build those muscles and increase my endurance.

Even though that first run last week was easy, the next several from here on out – so long as I keep it up, of course – will be a lot more difficult, at least for a while. Building muscle and endurance takes time, effort, and sacrifice. It’s not easy, it’s not always relaxing, but it is worth it in the end. The endorphins and satisfaction I feel Post-run are more than worth the pain and effort I put in to the run, not the mention how much better my body feel as time goes by.

Guess what?

FAITH is the same way!

The first big step into faith is a little rough as you face all the stuff you have to release to God and ask for salvation, but then you experience the same post-run high when the weight of sin is first lifted from you. You have new life, and you are so sure you are going to do all these amazing things, and life is going to be so much easier!

But then…


Prayer dwindles. Reading your Bible happens less and less. You barely consider your faith when you act throughout the day.

All of a sudden, you seem too busy to spend time going to church, reading the Word, or talking with God at all. You have too much to do, you don’t have a quiet enough place to focus like you “know” you need to – ANY excuse you can think of works.

And – just like that –

you stop pursuing your faith walk. It hasn’t ended, but you’ve wandered off the path –

you’ve paused your workout with God.

One day, something happens, and you rediscover your passion, so you become rededicated to your faith walk, and you start running again! You feel great! It’s easy! It’s even better than you remember it being! WHY DID I EVER STOP?

Then, you do it again, start trying to build a routine… but this time isn’t so easy. It kind of hurts. What happened?

Well, just like with running, you’ve just awoken all parts of yourself that needs to relearn its proper movements and needs to rebuild endurance. The more you push through and press on through whatever pain or whatever obstacle makes you want to stop and give up, the easier everything will become and the longer and farther you’ll be able to go.

Our journey with God is a race we were called to run with endurance! Keep the faith, keep striving, and don’t give up! Your better is coming, but you have to work to reach it!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

God bless!