broken and spilled out…

I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept of being broken and emptied.

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine shared about a book she is reading, and something that had impacted her in her reading up to that point was learning that a seed doesn’t bear fruit until after it as broken open…

When she was sharing these thoughts with me, my mind went back to this old Steve Green song that I loved in high school.

one day a plain village woman, driven by love for her Lord

recklessly poured out a valuable essence, disregarding the scorn

And once it was broken and spilled out, a fragrance filled all the room

like a prisoner released from his shackles, like a spirit set free from the tomb.

Broken and spilled out just for love of you, Jesus

My most precious treasure lavished on Thee

Broken and spilled out and poured at feet

In sweet abandon let me be spilled out and used for Thee.

Lord, You were God’s precious treasure, His loved and His own perfect Son

sent here to show me the love of the Father, just for love it was done.

And though you were perfect and holy You gave up yourself willingly

You spared no expense for my pardon, You were used up and wasted for me.

Broken and spilled out just for love of me,

Jesus, God’s most precious treasure lavished on me

Broken and spilled out and poured at my feet

in sweet abandon, Lord, You were spilled up and used up for me.

A few things that I’ve been mulling over…

  1. While I know this in my head, I need this to be a habit in my heart. Being broken and emptied isn’t a one-time event. Jesus said in Luke 9:23-24 that on a daily basis we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross….empty our lives of ourselves….no more holding a little back for myself so that I have the resources and/or strength that I want or need. My attitude should be “what do You want from me? What do You need me  to do today? You can have it all.
  2. This calls for trust. I have to trust that if I am giving up all my strength, time, energy, everything to Jesus, that He will take good care of me. I have to trust that He will be like the Shepherd in Psalm 23 who leads his flock beside still waters and green grass. I have to trust His words from Matthew 6:25-34 that He will care for me while I do what He calls me to do.
  3. Being broken…the beauty of being able to say “I am nothing but a woman who has scars and hurts and fears. But I trust in the promise of SHALOM…the wholeness, peace, and healing…that can only be found when I bring You my tattered heart and life and say…I can’t imagine what You can do with what’s here, but it’s all Yours.  In sweet abandon, I can say, “Just point me in the direction You want me to go….all for the love of You, Jesus”

Broken and spilled out just for love of you, Jesus

My most precious treasure lavished on Thee

Broken and spilled out and poured at feet

In sweet abandon let me be spilled out and used for Thee.





I can’t get enough of you

Oh, those first days of dating my husband! Long conversations, frequent conversations, “I can’t wait to talk to you again”, not wanting to be the one to say goodbye and hang up the phone, spending time and money on phone calls, talking about anything and everything!

I.Just.Couldn’t. Get. Enough.

I think back to what I know about Chris now compared to what I knew about him then. What a difference! And to think that I still can be learning for years and years to come! But the friendship we have now is because I’ve put in the time. I’ve listened and watched. I’ve made many mistakes and learned from some of them, and some, unfortunately, I still make. I still eagerly look forward to notes and calls and texts from him. Because I know that good, solid relationships take time.  And I’m willing to put in that time. Every morning, I wake up committed to talking to and listening to my husband that day.

More important, though, is the relationship that I am committed to developing with God. It is the same as my friendship with my husband. The more time I put into it, the deeper and stronger it will become.

One of the ways we invest in our relationship with God is the time we spend reading His Words (the Bible). I think that for many people, studying the Bible is “too hard” or “too boring” or “takes too much time” or “too over my head”.  And so, because studying Scripture might involve effort, patience, discipline, and dependence on the Holy Spirit, we are often quick to dismiss reading the Word in favor of reaching for a devotional or any other book that might talk about God, but is still not the Word OF God. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a solid devotional or any tool that we can use to study God’s Word. As long as we aren’t reading that INSTEAD of the Bible. It reminds me of a young girl who doesn’t talk TO the boy she likes, but passes messages THROUGH another person. Is that really a relationship? Why would I not just talk directly to Him and let Him talk directly to me?

We live in a culture that looks for ways to avoid exercising patience. Speedy Internet, Freaky Fast subs, fast food restaurants, even movies and shows that resolve the story line in 30 minutes or 2 hours. Getting to know God in the little bit of His story that He has laid out for us in the Scriptures will never happen that fast. It takes time and patience. In Isaiah 28:10, we are told that knowledge comes “precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” For starters, we will never know all there is to know about God. And He is the one who tells us that it’s okay that we don’t understand everything all at once. That as we put in the time with Him and seek to become more like Him, our relationship will become deeper and stronger. But we should have a yearning to learn more and more about Him. “As the deer pants for water, so my soul longs for You, O God.” Psalms 42:1

I want to be ever-increasing in my desire to spend time with Him. To anticipate hearing from Him. To look forward to spending hours with Him. To spend my time and money on showing Him I love Him. Little by little, to be learning something new about Him every day. He is most definitely worth it. He is my forever.

“God, you’re my God! I can’t get enough of You!” Psalm 63:1 (The Message)


Forever and ever. Amen.

This past week has been long and hard. One week ago tonight, a dear family from our church had their world turned upside down.  A fire started in their home, and over the next couple of days, three of their four children died from smoke inhalation.

Oh, how my heart hurts for them.  I feel sick every time I think of the grief they are experiencing.  As I observed them throughout the day yesterday, when the memorial service was held, I was awed that they were not crushed by their grief.  Heartbroken, most definitely.  Unimaginable sorrow, yes.  But despair, no.

Through the shattered pieces of their hearts, God’s love IS shining.  People that are watching them walk through this valley ARE seeing Jesus!! And God is receiving the glory!  And while their suffering is immeasurable, it is temporary.  They will see their beautiful children again one day.  And that is the hope they are clinging to right now.

It reminds me of a passage in the second letter that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth.

 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 

 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile jars of clay containing this great treasure.  This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.  We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.  We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.  That is why we never give up. 

Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Oh Lord, whenever they feel like they are sinking in despair, please wrap your arms around them and set their feet on higher ground.  Lift their faces to you and give them a glimpse of the “forever” that Nat, Ben and Carter are already experiencing.  Help them to hold on to the promise of abundant life with you.  Abundant life that will last forever and ever…




how do I know?

When I think about volunteering vs serving, I think that my natural tendency is to jump into more than what God has asked me to do.  And that usually leads me to giving a less than 100% effort in the tasks that are actually from Him.

Of all the opportunities that I am presented with on an regular basis, how do I know which are the ones that He wants me to take on?

When the children were little, I was overwhelmed with all that I had to do as a mommy and homemaker.  One day, I wrote out a list of five different things that I thought were important in my day, and then I asked Chris to rate them in order of importance to him.  (While I was a mommy and homemaker, I was first and foremost my husband’s helpmate, and I wanted to be a source of encouragement to him.)  I think this was the first time that I used priorities to help me determine what I could or could not do outside of my home.  If I couldn’t have a hot meal on the table, have clean clothes in my husband’s closet or keep a clean kitchen, I knew that, out of respect for my husband’s authority, I shouldn’t get involved in ministries outside of my home until I could carry out the ministries I had within my home.

As I was able to learn more discipline in keeping our home and raising our kiddos, being involved in other ministry opportunities became a possibility.  Every year, I would pray through what my priorities should be for that coming year.  And when I would hear of needs, or people would ask me to do something, I would prayerfully and honestly check it against what I wanted to be priorities in my life.

Because of the truth that my husband and I are one, I also knew that I should not make big time commitments without him.  Whether he is directly involved or not, whatever I am involved in affects him.  And so, it truly helps me to run these opportunities by him and find out what his thoughts are.

For example, in the fall, I signed up to do a Bible Study that I was really excited about.  But as the weeks went on, I realized that my husband really needed me at home.  Because studying the Bible is a good thing, I had jumped right in.  But I should have prayed about it and checked to make sure it was the best thing for us.  I had committed myself to this study, while unable to minister to my husband.  If I had checked this opportunity against what I knew were God-ordained priorities, I would’ve known that the Bible study, at that particular point in time, was a not for our best.

And there are also those moments when I don’t even have time to think or pray.  It is when God interrupts my day and my only response should be to act.  Like the events that I describe in this post.  God has continued to bring opportunities like that into our life.

There are many different ways to work through the different ministry opportunities that come my way. But whether it is a request from another person, a ministry that my heart has a passion for, a hungry couple standing on my front porch or a need that I’m not sure I’m up for, my first response should always be to talk to God about it.  Ask Him what He wants and then trust that He will guide me.

serving vs. volunteering

Chris and I were talking this afternoon about our response to certain ministry opportunities that God has brought our way.  In all honesty, it has been hard for us to jump back into serving.  We are probably pretty cautious right now, and trying to get back on our feet.

But in this phrase, “jump back into serving”, lies an untruth that God is addressing.  Am I really serving?  Or am I just volunteering?

A volunteer is one that gets to choose when and how she undertakes a certain task.  If she doesn’t “prefer” a certain ministry at church, or doesn’t feel comfortable, or any number of reasons that one could come up with, she has the freedom to say no.

A servant is one that does the will of her master.  It doesn’t matter if she is tired, feels incompetent, doesn’t understand or is “too busy”.  When her master asks her to perform a certain task, her duty is to carry it out.  Some might say “but God gifts us to do certain tasks, and I’m not gifted in that area”.  And my answer would be “I can trust that God is going to ask me to carry out the tasks He has gifted me to do.  If He is asking, it’s because He has given me what I need to carry it out.”

And I can do this with a completely confident heart.  My master will never ask me to do something that doesn’t line up with His Word.  My master will never ask me to do something that will harm me.  It might be difficult or uncomfortable, but I am safe in His arms.  Always.  And on top of this, He is not only my Master, but a loving Father.  Which means that he gives me times of respite, He cares for my well-being and I can trust that He knows exactly what I need.

I think that finding the balance between doing it all, whether God has called me to or not, and finding a multitude of reasons not to be involved in opportunities that I become aware of, can be a difficult thing.  BUT, if I truly trust Him, I will also trust that He will give me discernment to tell these apart.

If I can trust Him for salvation, then surely I can trust Him in these matters.  And if I want to truly call Him Master, that makes me His servant.

And this means that every opportunity that comes up is not mine to sort through, choose what I want and reject what I’m not interested in.  It does mean that when God says “please take care of this for me”, my response should be “I would love to”.

If I have to choose between the ease of being a volunteer or a lifetime of servitude to the God of the Universe, I will choose being a servant.  I think that it is a decision that I will have to make every single day.  Maybe multiple times a day, but it is my heart, and I want Him to hold me to it.

[On an completely different note, I am 12 days into my Isagenix Cleanse.  I believe that I am still going through a lot of detox.  Which doesn’t surprise me with some of the medications that I am on/have been on for many years.  But, I am off my sleep aids, I am one of my prescription medications and I have a lot more energy in the morning.  Once I discovered that I wasn’t eating enough protein and changed that, my headaches are easing up and my mid-afternoon slumps aren’t so “slumpy”.  I have continued to learn a lot about how lack of magnesium affects the body and the importance of a correct pH balance for good health.  It is fascinating and I really do love learning about all this.]

Three days in…

On Friday, I started the 30 Day Cleanse from Isagenix.  This system is made to fortify my body with high quality nutrients while encouraging it to burn fat cells, which is where toxins are stored.  I was excited to open the box and look at these products which have been life-changing for so many people.

My day started out with a serving of Ionix Supreme.  I simply added a scoop of the powder that is filled with adaptogenic and antioxidant herbs and nutrients to about 8oz of warm water and sipped it down, just like tea.  It reminds me of hot apple cider!

Each day, I drank some really yummy shakes (at first, I wasn’t sure what to think, but I’m really liking them now!) and ate a normal, healthy meal.  I also used a couple of supplements.  I’ll write more about the shakes and the supplements over the next several days.  On Friday night, I had started to get a bit of a headache.  That didn’t surprise me, as I knew my body would have to go through sugar and caffeine withdrawal.  By last night, it had turned into a full-fledged raging migraine, which could very well have been from the incoming storm front.  Changing weather is one of my main migraine triggers, and totally out of my control.

I woke up this morning without a migraine, and ready to start the 2 day “deep cleanse”.  Throughout the day today and tomorrow, I will be drinking Cleanse for Life, which is a natural blend of herbs and other good stuff to help boost my metabolism and energy levels.  I will be drinking lots of water and herbal tea, and avoiding the kitchen while my men are in there making their food! (oh my word!  “Leftovers-day” never smelled so good!!) I feel a bit drained, but thus far, I have avoided temptation, because I know it will be good to give my digestive system a chance to rest.

On Tuesday morning, I will return to my daily schedule of 2 shakes and a healthy meal.  One day at a time, I’m gonna keep doing this! : )


A couple of years ago, my friend Kathleen did a 30Day Cleanse through a company called Isagenix.  It was exciting to hear (via her updates on Facebook) about the positive changes her body went through while doing it.   For this busy mama (10 people in their family!) to have increased energy and a wonderful sense of health and well-being was really inspiring.

Although she invited me to try it out, I wasn’t quite ready yet.  I don’t even remember why.  I had tried another wellness company, and it just ended up not being a good fit for me.  I’m glad I tried, because I am learning what works for my body and what doesn’t.  And that’s a good thing.

But about a month ago, I was at the end of my rope. I did a little more research into Isagenix and gave Kathleen a call.  I wanted to try the 30 Day Cleanse.  I continued my research into this company and the products they sell, I have prayed about this and talked with my husband, and we are convinced that it is time for me to try it out.

These products contain high-quality ingredients that work at healing and building up my body.  The goal is to help my body work the way God made it to work.  I need a  potent, nutritional “jump charge” to get it moving in the right direction.  While I see many different things that need to change for me health-wise, my top three priorities right now are increased energy, better sleep and clearer thinking.  It is hard to tackle life when you are lacking in any of those areas.

I should be receiving my products from Isagenix in a day or two, and then I will be starting this 30 Day Challenge.  I don’t know what each day will hold, or how it will make me feel, but I’m hopeful.  And hope is a good thing.

I am planning to post regular updates, so if you are curious how it’s going for me, or would like to cheer me on a bit (because I’m pretty sure I’m gonna need it), please stop by and say hi. : )

what is my knee-jerk reaction?

I’ve often heard it said that hindsight is 20/20.  I completely agree.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading through old journals and was able to see where I have grown in my understanding of a very real struggle in our life throughout the years.

That struggle is my response to our financial/material circumstances.  I have often had a “knee-jerk reaction” to the times when I feel our family has a “need” and I cannot see how in the world it will be met.  My natural inclination was to panic, and try to figure out how to bring in more money to our household.

While I think that supplementing the family income can be a wonderful thing, I have my doubts that doing so because of a “knee-jerk reaction” is a wise way to go about it.

These are a few things I have learned, especially in this past year, that have changed my perspective on how to respond to our family’s “needs”.

  1. God is our ultimate source of provision.  He might use our career, He might use our creativity and hard work, He might use our church family, or He might use a stranger or a situation to provide what we need.
  2. I have had to redefine “need”.  While I might think that we need a large bag of yummy looking fresh fruit for our family, I have learned that sometimes that need is met by receiving a batch of pears that are almost “gone” and picking through, cutting off the rotten spots and using the good parts.  Maybe they won’t receive a whole pear each, but instead, they get chunks of pear to eat with their yogurt.  Instead of “needing” a whole loaf of French bread to go with soup, I can use just a couple of crusty rolls by slicing them, drizzling with olive oil and toasting under the broiler.  It is sufficient-and pretty darn nice, if you ask me!  Maybe instead of purchasing brand new gifts for our boys this Christmas, we will be able to find them each a gift from one of the thrift stores in our area.  Maybe we don’t need to keep the thermostat at 65 to keep the house warm, but we can stay warm by lowering the thermostat and wearing an extra layer (or two!).
  3. I need to feel confident in the role I play in my household.  We have chosen to be a one income family so that I could stay home and take care of the children and the house.  I fully embrace the fact that Chris’ role is to bring in the paycheck, and I get to stretch it as far as it will go.  I think that having confidence in the role that I have chosen helps me avoid the “knee-jerk” reaction of thinking it is my responsibility to bring in more income.  When those times come that I am paying bills and buying groceries and I don’t see how to make things work, I pray for creativity as I juggle our budget and take one day at a time.
  4. The one day at time concept is one that I learned this past year while we were unemployed for several months.  I am a planner.  And while this can often be a good thing, it has often interfered in my ability (and choice) to trust in God’s daily provision.  If we need dish soap today, I will go ahead and purchase it.  I no longer stress that if I purchase what I need today that I won’t be able to get what we might need next week.  He has never failed to provide exactly what we need, and just when we need it!  We often turned to Matthew 6:25-34

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,  yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

I also love this passage from the chapter of Proverbs, verse 8-9

    “Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
    Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say,“Who is the Lord?”
    And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.”

It all boils down to trust.  When we find ourselves in a seemingly impossible place, between our income and our needs, I no longer experience the knee-jerk reaction of panic and scrambling for what I think we need.  Trust in who God is and what He does keeps me hanging on even tighter to my role as homemaker and ask for the creativity and perseverance that I need to accomplish what He wants me to accomplish.  As I focus on being here for my boys and taking care of our home, He has never failed to take care of us, nor will He ever!


It was September 2013 when Michaela first recommended this song to us.  Knowing that we were taking a huge step of faith, selling most of our possessions and leaving everything that was familiar and comfortable to us, she knew that it would speak to our hearts.

OCEANS (Where Feet May Fail)
You call me out upon the water,
the great unknown, where feet may fail,
and there I find you in the mystery,
in oceans deep my faith will stand 
And I will call upon Your name
and keep my eyes above the waves
when oceans rise
my soul will rest in Your embrace
for I am Yours and You are mine.
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders
let me walk upon the waters
wherever You would call me
take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
and my faith will be made stronger
in the presence of My Savior


I cried the first time I listened to the words of this song, as we were packing up and getting ready to say goodbye to friends and family and move to the other side of the country.
Tears streamed down my face a couple of months later when we sang this song in a church service, as we sought the courage to take a risk and stand up for Truth.
And then again a month later, as our hears lay open and wounded, struggling to understand how people’s actions could cause such hurt.
Four months later, as we stood in church singing this song, we found ourselves at a place of trying to grasp what God had planned for our life.  Our hearts were broken and we were completely at His mercy.
digital pictures 2006 047
 And then, we heard it again a couple of months ago.  We thought we possibly knew what God had planned for us, but in this past year, we’ve learned enough about a life of following after Him to know that it is indeed the great unknown.  If there is any peace to be had in this world, it is resting in His embrace, with our eyes fixed on Him and not on the uncertainty around us.
I’m so thankful that our dear girl and the wisdom she had in connecting our hearts with this song, knowing that it would give us the courage to live through a very difficult year.

learning how to share the Good News

It is easy for me to share my life with other people, but for some reason, when it comes to sharing the Good News about Jesus with others, my brain seems to freeze up and I can’t seem to share freely.  One of the things that I learned at NTBI was how to share these truths with others.  Basically, there are three crucial issues in sharing the Gospel.

First of all, there needs to be an awareness that mankind (as a whole, there is no exception) has a problem.  We are sinful beings who are separated from God.
in that

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:23
As it is written, ” None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands; no one seeks for God.”
 Romans 3:10

Secondly, how wonderful to know that we can share with others God’s solution for our need.  He sent His Son to make payment for our sins.

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
 Romans 5:8
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23
So, what is a person to do in order to accept God’s solution to their problem?  Exercise saving faith.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16
For by grace you have been saved THROUGH FAITH.  And this is not
your own doing; it is the GIFT of God, not a result of works, 
so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9
What exactly is saving faith?  It is claiming (by personal choice) and relying EXCLUSIVELY upon Christ’s work on the cross-His death, His burial and then His resurrection-to be sufficient payment for my sin.  This kind of faith will always produce in me character qualities and actions that reflect our desire to let Him stand in our place before God.
How I desperately want to be the kind of person who will not only live in a way that reflects Jesus, but also someone that has the boldness and words to explain to someone else how to have the same kind of relationship with God?