I’d like to pretend that I’m strong enough, that these days haven’t shaken me, that I feel the comfort of an unwavering foundation under my feet.  But the truth is, I feel like I’m suffocating.  I thought maybe we were going to have a reprieve, you know?  I thought maybe the past couple years, with their soul-crushing and faith-testing and hope-breaking, were enough for God to bring us into a better season.  Apparently what I thought was winter before really wasn’t at all, though.  ‘Cause this?  This is beyond words in its hurt and its devastation.  This has me looking at homeschooling laws in Montana and thinking about leaving.  Not dreaming.  Really, seriously thinking about calling it quits here because I’ve completely lost hope.  I’m not sure where God is or what He’s doing or how we’re supposed to trust Him.

But I’m not a quitter.

My heart is in tatters and there is a sob perpetually caught in my throat and I kind of wish I could yell and scream and, honestly, get in some knock-down, drag-out fights just because I don’t know how to handle the pain and the injustice and the confusion of it all.  My emotions are raw and my defensive nature wants to make sure this can never, ever happen again.  My prayers are weak and desperate.

But I choose to believe His Word.

I choose to stand on what I know is true.  I choose to count as loss what I had once thought gain, that I might gain Christ and be found in Him.  I wish I could be found in Him as a brave spiritual warrior instead of a weary, wounded child…but it’s enough to just be where He is, however I make it there.

this song

These lyrics going through my head today…


well sometimes my life just don’t make sense at all

when the mountains look so big,

and my faith just seems so small.

so hold me Jesus

cause I’m shaking like a leaf

You have been King of my glory

won’t You be my Prince of peace

a pep-talk

I am often convinced that I am just a failure.  I always…always…focus on everything that I am not doing well.  And there’s a lot.  So, so much.  I’m a terrible finisher.  One need only take a walk around my yard and inside my house to see it – weed-infested gardens, half-stripped front doors, stacks of clothing bins and piles of clothes, notebooks full of to-do lists that never get fully done…evidence all around me that I’m not good enough.  It makes me think that the walls might literally crumble around me because I can’t do all that I’m supposed to do.

But while I think it is true that, for whatever reason, I am just not as capable or motivated or energetic or organized, or whatever, as many people, the reality is also that life is moving forward.  We have three meals a day.  We have clean clothes and clean sheets.  The kids’ schoolwork [mostly] gets done.  Boys get haircuts. Verses get memorized.  Shopping gets done.  Books get read to my little girls, over and over and over sometimes.  We pray and we sing and we read the Bible together most mornings and every night.

And somehow, kids learn to read, and ride bikes, and swim, and vacuum, and fold laundry, and bake banana bread, and mow the lawn, and use a screwdriver, and play piano, and play chess, and say I’m sorry…and even though I often don’t remember the question that got asked about how to cream butter and sugar, or the 30 second lesson on towel folding, I know they happened along with thousands more similar interactions.

So, when I get to the end of my day and think nothing got done, I need to learn to remind myself about the naptime reading, and the baby feeding, and the cleaning-up of wetting accidents, and the four loads of laundry, and the figuring out how to use all those tomatoes, and the printed return labels, and the disciplining, and the exhaustion that was because the little girls didn’t want to sleep last night…not because I’m just a wimp.

I need to remind myself, not so that I can try to forget about doing better, but so that I can realize that, often, the things that take precedence are simply the things that keep life running smoothly in the moment…and that, often, those are the things that matter most, anyway.

if it matters

Maybe it’s been hard to see, but his heart has always been to support you, to bless you, to learn from you.

Four years ago, when there was that big project, and he volunteered dozens of hours, gladly?  He was happy to help, to be a servant, to lighten your load – if only in some small way.

Two winters ago, when there was a big snowstorm and he saw on the way home from church that your driveway still had snow piles, while you weren’t home, he went and cleared the snow away for you.  He never said anything…he wasn’t looking for recognition, he just wanted to bless you.

Those two years that he helped coach, he’d had no intention of coaching.  He said yes only because you asked him.  He said yes only because you asked him.

The handful of times he has made a point of offering encouragement or saying good job?  I know that to a person for whom such words are almost second nature it may not seem like much, but trust me when I tell you that more sincere and heartfelt words have never been spoken, and the conscious effort those words required came from an earnest desire to lift you up.

The times he readily offered up tools, I know it seemed like it was easy.  I know it seems like giving is just one of his spiritual gifts.  But I don’t think I need to offer much explanation to you when I say that he is a rather particular person about many things, and that is true for his tools as much as it is for anything else.  Holding loosely to things is an exercise in sacrificial living for him and has always come as a response to purposely making a person a priority over the inclinations of his human nature.  Some times, and with some people, it’s harder than with others.  For you, though, I think he would have given his right arm if you asked.

The times he’s apologized, and asked for your insight, it was never done lightly.  Maybe it wasn’t as immediate as you had hoped, but neither was it flippant or insincere.  In those moments he genuinely wanted you to speak into his life, to help him see what you saw, that he might grow to be a better support, a better servant, a more godly man.

He’s far from perfect, I know.  Everybody is.  But I also know that he has only ever wanted to be for your good.



Our Ava Grace is 3.  Our sweet, snuggly baby girl has become a rough and tumble, dramatic, articulate (though not always intelligible), compassionate – but not the least bit gentle, beautiful little girl.

Some things about her today…

:: She climbs on the compost bucket in the kitchen while I prepare meals and asks to sample anything in sight.

:: Her favorite song requests in family worship time are Jesus Loves Me, “Come and join the reapers”, and Holy is the Lord.

:: She loves bathtime.

:: She wrestles her baby sister…but only wins sometimes.

:: Eating meals has become the bane of her existence, unless the food happens to be any kind of dessert…or strawberries or tomatoes.

:: She never sits still.  Well, unless she’s being read to, ’cause she really loves books.

:: She does headstands because “I like being upside down, Mommy”.  

:: She gets excited about wearing beautiful clothes.

:: She runs around non-stop when playing, but moves very slowly when simply trying to get somewhere.

 :: She loves playing marbles.

:: She is convinced that she is capable of doing anything she wants to do, but claims she can’t do things like standing up, or putting away toys, or going potty when she doesn’t want to.

From the moment she joined our family, she has been an expert at tugging on heartstrings.  She is quick to show love, exuberant in her displays of affection, tenderhearted, and joyful.  She is a such a precious gift and we are so thankful for her.  Happy Birthday, Ava Grace.

His love is better

Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.  —Psalm 63:3

Sometimes, I let myself believe – for a moment – that God’s love isn’t true.

I look at circumstances that have caused such deep hurt and conclude that, if He was loving, He could have prevented or changed the circumstances.

I revisit all of my desperate pleas for Him to intervene, to defend, to protect, to deliver…and find that every battle seems to have been lost before even beginning.

I search for some hope to cling to – some way to convince myself that He will move these mountains – and wonder why He would choose to start moving now when He has only been silent so far.

But, then, I read that His love is better than life.

Life, that hurts.  Life, that disappoints.  Life, that confuses and discourages and tears down.  Life, that seems unfair.  Life, that brings rejection and hopelessness and despair.  Life, that tempts me to withhold praise when things get hard.

And I am reminded that this life…this here and now?  This is not meant to be my proof of His love, and this is not the reason He deserves my continual worship.

Because no matter what life looks like, His love is better.  And the moment I let hard times keep me from glorifying Him, I have made those circumstances more valuable than His love. The moment I believe that He has abandoned me because prayers are left unanswered, I’ve said that His love isn’t better than whatever it is I think I am missing.  The moment I deem Him unloving because I feel unloved by others, I’ve chosen to believe that His love alone isn’t enough for me.

But His love is enough.  His love is more valuable.  His love is better.

So my lips will glorify Him.  Always.


Singing these words today, over and over, trying to get my perspective right…

(You are Good, by Darrell Evans)

You are good.

You are good.

Jesus, You are good.

Jesus, You’re the passion of my heart.

I am fashioned for Your glory

and amazed by who You are.

You are good.

You are good.

Jesus, You are good.

Jesus, You’re my Saviour, You’re my Truth.

You’re a faithful God, forever

and I rely on You.

You are good.

You are good.

Jesus, You are good.


and now he’s eight

Two days ago, Nathanael turned 8.  I just realized this morning that I never wrote a birthday post for him.  It probably doesn’t matter to anyone except me, but I felt bad for forgetting.  If no other purpose is served, taking time on my kids’ birthdays to reflect on who they are and to be reminded of how blessed I am by them is almost a necessity for this soul of mine that is all too quick to overlook the good in daily life.

So, I’m taking time now to write about my Bug.  In many ways he is constant.  He has always been slow to speak, thoughtful, helpful, rough-and-tumble, and curious about everything – and he still is all of those things.  He still loves helping with projects.  He will still tell me out of the blue that he loves me.  He still dislikes vegetables.  He is still a voracious reader.  He still has a soft heart.

But there are more things that have started standing out, too.  In our family devotional time, he is always the one who volunteers to pray, or who has a worship song he wants to sing.  He doesn’t often ask questions, but when he does, it is always after he has thought long and hard trying to understand something.  During our individual prayer time with him, he regularly (and sincerely) asks for prayer for things like diligence, wisdom and kindness.

I’m sure there’s more I could say, but this is what comes to mind most often when I think of who Nathanael is.  His genuine heart for the Lord, his genuine love for people, his earnest desire to do right are all so clear in him – and the wrestling match that goes on inside of him when his eight-year old longings conflict with them is so obvious.  I am still so aware of how careful I need to be with his sensitive heart, but I am also seeing a foundation established in him that is showing more and more as he is faced with right and wrong, and sin and weakness, and recognizing who he needs to be.

I love this boy.  So, so much.  I was caught off-guard today seeing him run around and realizing how tall and how strong he is.  Right now, it seems like these eight years went too fast.  But I am thankful for every moment of them.  I’m thankful for him.



As I was praying this morning, and wondering – for the fifty-bazillionth time what it’s okay to believe God for – I thought of the syrophoenician woman who likened the deliverance she requested for her daughter to the crumbs that fell from the master’s table.  Then, in Luke, I read about the leftovers that were collected after feeding the five-thousand…leftovers, that were more than what was given to Him to use in the first place.  And I felt challenged by this picture that God gives of His oversupply, how He lavishly pours out blessing, how the biggest things we can ask Him for are so easy for Him that even those who might seem most undeserving can receive just by drawing near and believing.

I know how hard it can be sometimes to look at circumstances, or at others’ unanswered prayers – or even at our own unanswered prayers – and still believe it’s as simple as having faith.  Questions about timing or a greater good or how God’s will might be different from our own can make it easy to doubt that He’s willing to do even what we believe He has said He will do.  And, it seems, the bigger the request, the greater the temptation to doubt.  But why?  Even when we make requests for things that seem like mountain-moving miracles, compared to His infinite power and goodness, they are like crumbs falling from the feast He has prepared for those invited to His table.

He is Almighty God.  He is sovereign. He is Creator, not just designer, not just builder, but the One who made substance and gave matter its properties and determined how and why everything would work the way it does.  He is limitless.  He holds the oceans in the palm of His hand, and weighs mountains in a scale.  All that He is is beyond human comprehension.

And He is good.  Unendingly good.  Unreservedly good.  Unconditionally good.  How could I ever expect Him to be otherwise?

just come

Usually, when I come to God, I try to do everything right.  I try to set my thoughts on all that He is.  I try to confess His goodness, His faithfulness, His sovereignty.  I analyze my heart to see if there’s any area where I have fallen away.  I analyze my motives in prayer to see if, somehow, I’ve missed God’s will in what I’m praying for.  I try to believe that He hears and answers, and I try to go forward in hope that I will, at some point, see evidence of that fact.   I try to be mindful of the reality that every area of this life of mine is first and foremost for His glory.

But sometimes, when I feel like I am at the end of myself, and all the prayers I’ve prayed seem to have fallen on deaf ears, and I have no idea how to hope anymore, and the days and weeks and months ahead promise a heart-straining, soul-grating, mind-boggling, strength-draining reality, and I just can’t see why this is what life looks like right now -  doing things the ‘right’ way seems like too much.  And I half-kneel, half-fall in a crumpled heap at His feet and just cry and ask Him to please help.  I feel badly that all of the truths that I should know aren’t faithfully tumbling from my lips.  I feel pitiful for, again, being undone by what most people would probably consider no big deal.  But you know what?  I think it’s okay.  He just wants me to come.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need. —Hebrews 4:16