Winter Blessings

Winter Blessings

IMG_1760 2I am not a fan of the winter. The blistering cold that makes it hard to breathe, the extra time each outdoor adventure takes to suit up, the cold and germs that free reign during that icy season–never on my list of favorites.  The shortened days and the constant risk of danger on the roads as the temperatures can give me the winter blues and put my anxious heart on high alert. Winter–no not a fan.

But there is something I love that only the harsh conditions of this season can provide.

I love to look at the snow.

Whether it is pouring down by the bucket load or drifting elegantly like feathers from heaven, I love what a new fallen snow does to our winter world. I love way that each flake glitters in the sunshine and how together they clothe the barren trees with a new coat of splendor. Not to mention the amazing way that each ice crystal is crafted uniquely.  I find the snow in all its wonder absolutely breathtaking.

Similarly, I am not a fan of the nightshift.  Me pulling an all nighter means that my sweet Elena is very sick.  It means we are in prevention mode, whether it be pneumonia prevention or hospital stay prevention, both are places we do not choose to be.  It means that my role as mom now becomes that of a nurse as I am forced to muscle through our action plan checking vitals and tracking meds.  I have to let adrenaline lead, never allowing the heart-wrenching pain of seeing my own child suffer take me captive.  Not for a minute, there is no time.

And as the dust begins to settle, and Elena’s vitals have stabilized, I realize that it has been quite some time that I actually took a deep breathe.  I remind myself to breathe. Big deep breaths.  It is just me, Elena and the low hum of the oxygen machine and as I slowly exhale the tears begin to fall as I release a thousand sorrows from the broken heart of a mom who was just fighting for her daughter’s life.

As the tears fall, my entire heart pours forth, crying out to Jesus. I lay every sorrow, every heartache, every fear at the feet of my Lord and Savior.  I am broken, with none of my own strength left to give. Sometimes I cry out begging Him for this cup to pass, pleading that there must be another way.  And sometimes I just trust that what He has done before He will do again.  But each and every time, He meets me in the nightshift, when it is just me, Elena and the low hum of the oxygen machine.

I love how He meets me here.

There is a pure sweet intimacy that I have found with God in my nightshifts, my moments of greatest sorrow, when I am at the end of me.  I absolutely hate what it takes to bring me here, but I love the safety and trust that I find being wrapped completely in the arms of my Savior.  With none of me left, I am certain that He is providing for all of my family’s needs far better than I ever could.  I have seen the church step in and be the hands and feet of Jesus, seamlessly blessing us in areas we were not even aware that we needed. It is here that I know within the depths of my heart that He is good and that all of His promises are true. I love how He meets me here, in the middle of the nightshift faithfully every time.

IMG_1674I have learned how to rejoice in my season of suffering.  Not because I love all the cold and danger that the winter season brings, trust me the pain my sweet girl has had to endure is unbearable but when I cry out to Him, He always meets me there.  And as I turn to Jesus, He does what only he can do. Taking a harsh, and brutal season of heartache and tears, and coats it with a fresh blanket of new fallen snow.  He makes all things beautiful.   Finding Him in my cold harsh season, makes it praiseworthy.

May you find joy and new found beauty in your season and rejoice at the glory revealed through your suffering at the revelation of Jesus Christ our Lord.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Have you learned to find beauty in your long harsh seasons? What promises of God are leaning on to get you through?





My Hardened Heart

My Hardened Heart

Last year was a tough year for us.  We were building our new home which was every bit as stressful and painful as people who have gone before us have said. We faced betrayal and broken relationships with people we called friends.  We were tested at home in the way that can happen with family.  We were hit hard.  We felt broken.

But what made it even more challenging, is that I was confused.  You see earlier that year, I was confident that God had lead us to this very place.  I was confident that I had prayed for some of the very blessings that had us in this place of complete chaos.  And so I cried out,  “God, I don’t understand, did I hear you wrong?  Was I so motivated by my own wants that I missed where you were leading us?”

This storm has since passed.  We are now in our new home and like the birth of the child the labor pangs of getting where we are today are a distant memory in the glow of it’s blessing.  God once again came to our rescue, maybe not perfecting every situation like I had hoped, but He certainly made a way.

Last week I was reading in Mark 6:45-52NIV. It is a scene that many Christians have come to know well, Jesus walks on the water, but this morning something popped out at me.

45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.

Did you all catch that? I had to read it twice to make sure I was getting it right.  Jesus MADE them get into the boat.  The same boat where they would later be straining and struggling against the wind wondering if they would ever make it to shore, Jesus MADE them get on board.  These 12 disciples were exactly where they were supposed to be. They were living God’s will for their life, because Jesus MADE them get on the boat and their ride was about to get hard.


Sometimes we can begin to believe the lie that when we have God’s blessing, everything will go as planned.  We believe that God’s will for our lives means we are free from trials or hardships and most certainly heartache. We believe that if it gets too hard we have made a wrong choice or in my case, that I misinterpreted where God was leading.

But this is not the case. We serve an all-knowing, loving God, who is willing to make us get on the boat, that will face a mighty storm so that we can learn something about Him.

47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

Jesus sometimes sends his disciples, his brothers, his friends into the impending storm. He allows the fierce winds and the fight against the raging waves to break through the hairline cracks of our hardened heart, so that we can see that Jesus is exactly who He says He is.

So that He can reveal to us something about His character that we have not known before.

So that we can be completely amazed.

Lord, thank you for having your way with my hardened heart.






Fragrant Offering

I had just found that perfectly comfortable spot in bed. You know that moment when you finally feel yourself shutting off the to do list of your mind and drifting into the sound first sleep of the night when my bliss was interrupted.

“Honey, would you mind putting that oil on my hands?” my husband asked.

I felt my inner self grumble but I sat up because I knew how hard that he had been working. He had been tirelessly laying the tile floor in our new house giving every spare minute that he had for weeks now. His hands bearing the evidence of his commitment were cracked and painful from his sacrifice of love.

I went to retrieve the oil from our dresser in the dark, refusing to turn on the light in an effort to not disturb my state of near slumber.

I unscrewed the cap, and attempted to rub the roller ball on his cracked finger tips. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the top had popped off, and one of my most expensive oils was pouring all over him.christin-hume-505815-unsplash

My mind immediately went to the scene when Mary anointed Jesus with oil in John 12

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethanywhere Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor? He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.Jesus said, Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.

But who did I resemble in this story?

Martha, the organizer and planner was going through great effort to make sure everything detail of their dinner party was taken care of.  She was most likely immersed in her work.  And then there is Lazarus, still basking in the joy of his miracle he rested comfortably near the presence of the giver.

And Mary wanting to just be in the presence of the one who had given her so much, she once again chose to sit at His feet.  But today, she not only wanted to be near Him and hear His every word, she wanted to serve Him with all of her heart. So much so, that she was not at all stingy in what she was willing to give and she was not at all worried about the cost. She used a pound of expensive ointment equal to a years wages according to Judas’ estimate.  And it is quite possible that Judas was not the only one in the room to glare with judgement as this costly oil was poured out on the feet of her Lord and Savior.  But Mary was not at all concerned about what anyone in that room thought. She was acting purely and selflessly.  She acted in love.

Immediately I was convicted.

I wanted to be like Mary, but it was obvious that my heart was not in that place.  I was worried about the cost of the oil that spilled.  I was worried about the few minutes of sleep that I was missing out on.  Even though my actions were honorable, my heart was not.  I was only thinking about me.  Horrified I realized that all of my graveling made me a lot more like Judas, the betrayer.

As I prayed, overwhelmed with sorrow by the sin revealed in my heart, I realized that Mary’s actions were honorable because her heart was honorable.

 “Lord forgive me. How do I love my husband and others with a pure heart, setting myself and my selfishness aside?”

He whispered to my soul, “How much have I poured out for you? Have I held anything back? I want you to love like that. Pour yourself out like the oil.”

Still stuck in my selfishness, I immediately protested, “But Lord if I continually pour myself out, I will be empty?”

“Not when you are sitting at my feet.”

Psalm 23:5 He anoints my head with oil, my cup overflows.  When we are sitting at the feet of Jesus, we will not run empty.  I cannot love the way I am called to unless I am constantly being filled up with Jesus, gleaning his every word and allowing Him to restore my soul. Then and only then can I pour out my oil again and again no matter the cost bringing Him glory with my every relationship.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 

I wiped the excess oil down with the sheets, the bottle was empty.

“I love you.”  I said, but he was already drifting off to sleep.

My heart was changed. The room smelled delightful.