The sun peered through the blinds, gently nudging me awake. As I quietly slipped out of bed, fatigue and stiff joints greeted me for the day. Snuggling into a sweatshirt, I routinely followed the smell of percolating coffee.
The sun rose slowly over ridges and rooftops, casting a golden glow on all of creation. A warm cup of coffee in hand, I nestled into a white porch rocker at the edge of the deck. The dew sparkled like stars on the grass. Filling my lungs with the crisp air of spring, I treasured being the only one awake.
And like a hundred birds. Continue reading
My journey with chronic illness has been both painful and long. My story is being featured this week as part of a series on Brave Women.
Truth be told, I have been more afraid than I have brave.
The last five years my life has revolved around immune-suppressants, flare-ups and fear. I did everything I could to optimize my health. I went dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, egg-free; all at the same time for a long time. I saw a naturopath, took enzymes, a regimen of pills, and drank dirt.
But I was still sick.
For years, I wrestled with God. Why me? Where are you, God? Did you forget about me? Don’t You see? Do you even care?
If you’ve been curious about my journey with chronic illness or ever wondered where God is in the midst of chronic pain, please check out this post! God is answering my prayers, just not the way I expected.
I hope and pray my story will encourage you wherever you are at, in whatever battle you may be facing today.
Click here to read my story.
Check out more inspiring stories in Becky Beresford’s Brave Women Series.
This couldn’t be happening. Not again. Not ever.
My heart beat wildly as I pressed a firm hand to my chest. Like lapsing waves, one hardship rose after the other, sweeping me into a sea of despair.
Anxiety. Depression. Disease. Inability to conceive. Now this.
Panic threatened to overwhelm as inflammation increased and my knee swelled for the third time. After four years of ceaseless prayers, all my hope for the future was shattered.
I thought I was getting better. But I was still broken. Continue reading
My hope and strength for this life are rooted in the next. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, I can be fearless in both life and death.
The resurrection is our foundation for life and death.
The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation and pinnacle of the Christian faith. Remove it, and our entire faith collapses like a house of cards, for “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor 15:14).
There are many theories that try to debunk the truth of the resurrection but none of them are sufficient given the entirety of historical evidence (you can read more about those here). Even Lee Strobel, an atheist, skeptic and seasoned journalist for the Chicago Tribune, set out to disprove the resurrection only to discover an overwhelming amount of historical evidence that confirmed it as fact, not fiction (you can read his book, the Case for Christ or watch the movie on Netflix).
By nature, the word salvation implies that we are saved from something.
The Gospel isn’t a self-improvement program. It is a liberation movement.
And liberation is only needed if I am a slave.
The truth is that all of humanity is enslaved to sin. The word sin means to “miss the mark”; we are by nature law-breakers and fail to meet God’s perfect moral standard.
“For all have sinned…everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin…for whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (Rom 3:23, John 8:34, 2 Pet 2:19).
I know Jesus has forgiven me. But too often I live like this forgiveness isn’t full or free. I allow my past to define me. When I fail, I fear God will be mad at me. And though I don’t admit it, I’m still trying to prove my worth so that God will accept and approve of me.
But the resurrection proves I am forgiven.
The resurrection proved that Jesus died, not for his own sins, but ours alone. “For death has rightful claim only over sinners” but death had no hold over Jesus (Acts 2:24). The resurrection proved that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins and showed that God not only accepted Jesus’ sacrifice and payment for sin, but He declared Jesus innocent by raising him from the dead.
I caught her gaze and she looked at me. She mustered a smile, but her eyes betrayed her. To others, she looked happy. But I knew better.
Her shoulders hunched from the shame she carried; that nagging guilt that told her she was useless, worthless, and a burden to others. The lines etched in her forehead revealed the anxiety and pain that plagued her on a daily basis. Fear of present and future circumstances hovered over her like a dark cloud.
She looked discouraged. Overwhelmed. Burdened. Weary.
Dejected, I tore my gaze away from the mirror. Continue reading
By the time we rolled into the sleepy town, dusk had turned to dark. We had joined our friends for a weekend getaway up north, where the only grocery store for miles around is named after ol’ man Jim.
We moseyed our way through the national forest, finally pulling to a stop in the middle of the woods. I peered out of the window in confusion. There was no cabin in sight.
Now, I knew our destination was completely off the grid. No electricity. No running water. The bathroom was an outhouse, for goodness sake. The only thing keeping my husband and I cozy that frozen night would be a wood-burning fireplace and heavy flannel blankets.
But no one, NOT ONE soul told me we would be hiking a mile through the woods with our gear strapped to our backs. In the pitch black of night.
Clutching my pillow, I reluctantly vacated the safety of the car. Snow crunched under my feet as the unusual noises of nature kicked my pulse up a notch. Continue reading
For some, the anticipation of Christmas is not always pleasant. With calendars stuffed to the brim with trimmings and festivities, suddenly the merry season doesn’t feel so bright.
Somewhere between November and December, I morph into a crazy person filled with comparison and complaint. With parties to plan, cookies to bake, stockings to stuff and gifts to wrap, my spirit of thanksgiving can easily turn into the most primitive bah humbug.
So when my husband asked how he could unsubscribe from my RSS feed of complaint this year, it left me with a sobering thought.
I was the grinch stealing Christmas this year. Continue reading