True Love

True love is asking “how can I love and serve this person so that they can experience God more and become all He has for them?”

Wisdom from my BSF fellowship

Bedtime Cuddles

Bedtime Cuddles

Dear Eva,

I never blog letters to you anymore, but I had to get this down for posterity.

Tonight you asked me to cuddle for the first time. We were going about our normal bedtime routine: clean up, brush teeth, read the Bible, blessing, verse of the month, climb up the stairs, sing Jesus loves me, pray while you rock by yourself on the rocking chair… and right before I placed you in your crib you said, “Cuddle? Cuddle?”

My heart just about melted and as we cuddled I told you this was “the best feeling in the world” and you said “best feeling.” *Insert crying emojis*

I asked what was on your mind you said, “Daddy? Daddy?” We talked about how Daddy was at Auntie and Uncles’ wedding rehearsal and how before two people get married they have a practice run. I told you how the bride’s daddy walks her down the aisle and hands her over to her groom. Holding your hand and picturing you one day (Lord willing) I just about cried. Then we prayed that God would bring you a husband one day who loves Jesus so much. Someone you will partner with to bring more and more people into God’s Kingdom, just as your name says.

Then I asked you how your day went and what could have gone better. You said “Grandma Grandpa house happy!” And we rejoiced that you love your Grandma and Grandpa so much.

I asked what else was on your mind and you said “Frozen Heart microphone!” And we thanked God that He gave you a voice and that you love music and we prayed that you would use your voice and your words and your music to bring people to Him.

Then we cuddled just a bit more, I told you that you were cute (“I cute!” you repeated emphatically) and I asked if you were ready to go to bed. “Yup!” you said.

As we always do, I told you you’re our daughter in whom we’re well pleased, kissed you, and placed you in bed, re-arranging your stuffed animals to encircle you. And as we’ve been doing as of late, I made sure to cover all four limbs with your Frozen blanket and tuck you in.

How amazingly sweet it is to have you as my daughter! You are truly my beautiful daughter and my heart is filled with joy as I think of you.

How wonderful it is too, to just be a child! You’re so content with cuddles and with being our daughter. You’re not weighed down yet by the weight of the world. I tell you you’re cute and you take me so easily at my word and are so happy to proclaim “I cute!”

What love the Father must feel when He looks at us, His children. As I do with you, Eva, He knows our flaws (seriously just minutes before during Bible time you threw a tantrum because you didn’t want to share the Bible with me lol), but also as I do with you, He loves us so much and calls us wonderful, beautiful, CUTE and wants us to take Him at His Word.

Last month at the Seeds retreat, Pastor Jon talked about receiving the Kingdom as a child. We listed many adjectives that describe children: persistent, eager, loud, silly, emotional… messy!! But tonight I’m reminded too of the beauty of being like a child, of being so naïve, wanting your mother or father’s cuddles, being simple-minded, and easily pleased.

Eva, I pray that you will always be able to take us, take God at His Word when we say that you are beautiful, wonderful, amazing, priceless. It grieves me to ever think about a day when you don’t believe us. I pray that you would know how to be loved, how to be treasured. I pray that you would know how beautifully, wonderfully, and fearfully you are made. Yes, you need a regenerate heart. Yes, you too are woefully sinful and need Jesus to save you. But I pray so much that you would have the quiet, humble confidence that comes from knowing God made you and that you are an image-bearer and that you are SO beautiful.

My heart bursts with love for you. And if my hearts bursts with this much love for you, I can’t even begin to fathom the love that God has for us.

Your dear, old, weepy, sentimental, adoring mother,


In the Spirit

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit is God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

Romans 8:5-11



I haven’t blogged in so long.

2017 was an interesting year. I don’t remember much of the year other than the ups and downs. I definitely struggled more this year than in other not-so-eventful years, but I’m grateful to God for His sustaining grace and that He has been gracious to help me turn things around, ending on a high note and excited for all He has in store.

I’d say the themes of this year were hope amidst darkness and God’s sustaining grace for all of us and for most of all me.

I struggled in life and in ministry. I struggled with the weight of comparison and coveting. I struggled with the magnitude of our ministry commitments (which is odd because just a few years ago I was struggling with not having much ministry at all). I struggled to heed God’s voice and obey.

I struggled relationally. I don’t think Kenny and I have ever disagreed as much as this year. I reevaluated friendships and struggled to give unconditional love. I struggled to truly love others, being unoffendable in spirit, and continued my struggle with people-pleasing and doing things not for the sake of God, but for the sake of appearance and performance and the affirmation of man.

For the first time, this year, I felt the impact of death. The deaths were not the closest in relational proximity, but I saw Christian leaders and little ones and friends be called home and to the full healing of Heaven by the Lord.

Yet in all these things, in the struggle, in the doing of “the stuff” as Carol Wimber called it (sadly, the only book I think I read this year… though if I was to only finish one book, I sure am glad it was this one— a real page turner it was as Renee Rector said!), I can see God’s grace and His hand extending to me, reaching out, meeting me where I am, sometimes in the muck, saying “Here I AM. I AM here. Believe in Me.”

So amidst pain and struggle and refining, I see light. I see that God is a God who is gentle, who meets us in our weakness, who loves to help those who need His mercy, those who are weak, weak like me.

“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.”

Isaiah 42:3

One of my favorite verses of all time. And He proves it to me over and over and over again.

The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the poor in spirit, so then being poor in spirit, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to people like me. How good, how gracious, how wonderful is this great reversal? How beautiful the exchange God gives to a sinner turned Saint, like me?

Amidst the struggle and darkness this year, I found hope. The hope of His light, the hope of His goodness, the hope of His work still being done in me.

Amidst relational strife, I found healing and release from living a life bound by the fear of other people’s opinions of me. I found God willing to meet me in my weakness, giving me supernatural love and the ability to forgive when I cried out to Him, telling Him I could no longer brute force love, but needed Him to help me. I found greater intimacy and belonging in being able to better voice my feelings and desires to Kenny. I found our relationship growing healthier and healthier in light of conflict, or rather because of it. I found the power of the light and iron sharpening iron, as I opened myself up to deep heart-level accountability, taking a plunge that was truly frightening, exposing my deepest darkest sins and mentalities. What I found was that I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t the only one struggling, and that being so open and vulnerable about my need for Jesus started to stir a greater fire in all of us for righteousness, for light, for fervor, for healing. I found what I think are the beginnings of true fellowship and Christian community.

In the highs and lows of ministry,  I found God’s faithfulness. In 2017, God called Erika, an 18-year-old, recent high school graduate, to become Seeds of Life’s first international short/medium-ish (is 6 months medium-ish?) term missionary. Kenny and I received a lot of praise. And though it is affirming and encouraging seeing Erika living so passionately for Jesus, it is humbling knowing that as much as we may have had something very small to do with it, we also had nothing to do with it at all as only God can stir up a fire for His name. And conversely in the struggles, in the feelings of “why are we doing this” and “are we really making an impact” and “does this even matter,” I can rest in Jesus. I can be at peace knowing that He does see us and He is faithful and He is at work behind the scenes, doing amazingly wonderful things we don’t dare ask or even dream.

Amidst death, I find that as this article puts it, death is a profound teacher. This verse is currently up on our whiteboard, our family verse for January:

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days. Death truly has brought to light this truth to me.

Our lives are short whether they are 1 year or 10 or 100, life goes quickly. And to be honest it’s disheartening to see the faithful be called home to the Lord. I struggled this year asking why him, why her? Why is God calling home these people who seem to have so much life ahead and so much potential, who seem to be doing so much for the Lord? I don’t have answers, but what I’ve seen through death and life this year are men and women who were faithful. Men and women who ran hard not just in health, but in illness, in great pain.

One of the women who went home to be with the Lord this December was Debra Williams. Debra was a friend and co-worker at Door of Hope. Debra was a pastor, a mom, a woman of the Lord. She ran hard, harder than most of us could ever know. Her memorial service proved that as person after person got up to share how Debra impacted them personally and their community. We thought her ministry stopped at Door of Hope and her church and her family, but Debra’s impact extended far beyond these sectors. What I saw in Debra was someone who preached the Gospel and God’s goodness when she was in health, and who preached them all the more after she became sick. One story that I hope will forever impact me was told by her pastoral mentor, another gifted preacher who shared at her memorial. She said on the night Debra was to move back home for hospice, she sat up in her bed, frail, but determined to sing out to Jesus. As she sang at the top of her lungs, her mentor tried to discern the song she was signing. After a few verses, she realized this song was not one she had heard before and that Debra was sing-writing her own last worship song. In her song, she spoke of her weakness and frailty, but in her song she also sang of God’s strength asking Him to help her stay near and help her finish her race.

As Ms. Almaz exhorted me when we spoke about Debra’s passing (among other things) on New Year’s Day morning,

“God doesn’t need any more lukewarm Christians.”

Harsh words perhaps, but convicting. I don’t want to be lukewarm. I don’t want to be like the virgin whose lamp stand is not filled with oil. I don’t want to be on the sidelines. I don’t want to be disqualified from the race. Like Debra, I want to be found faithful. And I can only be found faithful by His grace.

2017 was a year of ups and downs. But 2017 was another year of God’s tremendous grace and God’s goodness. And I would be remiss to not end it by singing songs of praise.

As my darling Eva loved to sing this past year (among Frozen and Moana and Baby Shark and many other things),

Let the King of my heart be the mountain where I run
The fountain I drink from; oh He is my song
Let the King of my heart be the shadow where I hide
The ransom for my life; oh He is my song

You are good, good oh
You are good, good oh

Let the King of my heart be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves; oh He is my song
Let the King of my heart be the fire inside my veins
The echo of my days; oh He is my song

You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down

When the night is holding onto me
God is holding on

God, You are good and in Your grace, You hold onto me. Help me grow in 2018. Continue to strike down my unbelief. Continue to stir up a great passion and all-consuming fire inside of me. I need Your goodness, I need Your mercy, I need Your grace. Oh, how You hold onto me. Help me to keep the faith. Help me to keep burning. I lean in. I am available. I want to love You, to know Your love, and to do Your will. Be glorified in me. Be glorified in our family. Be glorified in this world.