He gave me permission

valley of the shdow

I've walked through the Valley of the Shadow. Many times over.

So have you. This I know.

Your Valleys look different than mine. Or maybe it's just the Shadows that are different. Either way, we all experience the same-yet-different sorrows, pains, and troubles that come in this life. We are all human. Our bones break. Our hearts hurt. Our loved ones die. We face illnesses, rejections, addictions, losses.

Yet the faith culture I was raised in didn't leave room for acknowledgment of the Valleys. Emotions were indirectly declared evil—the kind of theology that emphasized that Jesus is all we need, so whatever we might be feeling is invalid.

Because to grieve a loved one's death is to disbelieve that they're in a better place. To be disappointed in your now is to doubt that, in Romans 8:28 fashion, it really is for your good and His glory. To express sadness means you distrust that He is in control. To feel hurt by the doors slamming in your face is to disbelieve that He has something else better for you. To be frustrated by your financial position is to forget Jehovah Jireh, God your provider. To question, to doubt, to say "I don't know" is equivalent to not believing at all.

The end result of this sort of theology wasn't a faith community that didn't feel negative emotions. The end result was a faith community that hid them. We wore masks that plastered artificial smiles on our faces. We spouted out platitudes and trite answers instead of being honest.

I finally realized, as I traversed the Valley of the Shadow yet again:

That's not faith. That's denial.

Faith is most genuine and true when it acknowledges the current reality and still says, "Lord, I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief."

I'm struck by the story of Jesus when He visits the grave of His friend Lazarus, four days after he'd passed away. He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, but right then, right in that moment, Jesus still felt, acknowledged, and expressed deep grief over His loss.

Grief doesn't negate faith.

Even though He knew that in just a few minutes He would hug his friend again, Jesus wept.

Just as they did for those with Him that day, His tears give me permission to not only feel what I'm feeling, but also to express it. He validated my emotions. All of them.

He's the One who gave me them to begin with—even the ones that are all mixed up and "negative" and un-faith-filled. He put inside me a heart that feels, and He handcrafted me eyes that cry...

So right here, right this moment, right in your Valley, He gives you permission to feel what you're feeling.

It's okay...

Face it. Feel it.

He's right there, weeping with you.

(photo credit: jayRaz)

the fellowship of the unashamed


I can't bring myself to part with the Bible I've had since I was a teenager. Every time I try to start over with a new one, it just feels... wrong. Sterile. Clean, fresh, and new in all the worst ways. So I inevitably return to my old faithful, held together with duct tape, glue, and rubber bands. It smells uniquely like a combination of the 29 countries it's traveled to. Sprawled throughout it are notes, photos, stickers, quotes, memories... And all together, they make the words on the pages that much more alive and rich and full.

Written in the back of my Bible is this note, found written in the office of a young pastor in Zimbabwe after he was martyred. And it still stirs my heart just like it did twenty years ago...

:: :: ::

"I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me—my banner will be clear!"



While I wish it weren't so, I know that it wouldn't really be grace if it were as easily dispensed as PEZ candy. If it felt good and made me smile and came as naturally as a hearty laugh, it wouldn't be grace. It couldn't be grace— not the genuine, utterly needed and utterly undeserved kind of grace, which is really the only grace there is, because it's the need mixed with the undeserving that makes grace grace.

We call it 'amazing', but it feels anything but amazing in the moment it's given. It feels grueling and painful and impossible. It tastes like swallowed pride and bitter tears. It's as exhausting as going the extra mile and then another and then another. It feels like forgiving 70 times 7, and turning the other cheek, and kissing Judas right back.

It's nothing like a dinner table prayer and everything like a wilderness experience. It's the 40 long days and 40 long nights of saying and wishing and hoping that I can do this, but feeling like I can't. It's the heaviness of one foot in front of the other when there's no end of the road in sight.

It's enduring the heartache of betrayal, the sorrow of loss, the pain of deception, and the humiliation of being made a fool— and still locking eyes and saying 'I'm not going anywhere.'

Grace. It's what sets apart not only Christ, but also Christ followers. Without it, we are but hardened hearts and ungrateful, calloused souls. We are blind eyes and deaf ears and unfeeling hands. We are amnesiacs, quickly forgetful of our own need and undeservedness. Oh, but with it— with it, we are extensions of His likeness, reflections of His character, bearers of His light, glimpses of His face, beats of His heart.

When we extend grace, when we offer it—even through tears— like a beautifully wrapped present held out in our hands, our hearts stoop low, remembering the gift that's been extended to us, over and over and over and over again.

The Truth You Know

press on "Let us live up to what we have already attained.(Philippians 3:16)

What I hear in that verse is this: Act on the truth you know.

I may not feel ready to do the next-right-thing that’s in front of me. I may feel as though I lack the knowledge, skills, or sheer courage to put one foot in front of the other. I may not know the fullness of what to do in any given situation. But I typically know enough to start. I can act on the truth I know. I just usually don’t.

It’s easier to wait for God to lay it all out. Because then I can blame my paralysis on Him, instead of myself.

When I feel overwhelmed by a situation or an aspect of myself I need to work on, the enormity of it all makes me shrug. “I just don’t know where to start.” Because I don’t know how to do it all, I do nothing.

I call it “waiting on God”.

Meanwhile, He’s waiting on me.

Why should I expect God to show me the whole plan when I’m not being obedient to the small thing He’s already shown me? Why should I expect Him to keep speaking when I haven’t acted on what He’s already said?

As small and inconsequential as it may be, I need to do the bit I know to do. Take that first step. And trust that His light will shine at the exact moment I need to know what to do next.

Two verses earlier in that Philippians passage is the more familiar encouragement and challenge to "press on": "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 3:14)

But it finally clicked for me that, as I read on, the following verses continue the thought. It’s as though the next part tells me how to press on: By living up to what I’ve already attained.

So the challenge stands for me and you today:

Press on. By acting on the truth you know.

slow to speak

I'm thinking about our words. Thinking about things we say and who we say them to, and why we say them at all. In this age of social media, everyone has a megaphone for their opinions and their short, sharable soapboxes. There is so much that is good about the ability for every voice to be heard in this online space. But just because we can say something doesn't mean we should. And just because we think something, feel something, or have an opinion about something, doesn't mean it needs to be shared publicly.

Some things are best kept to conversations with friends and family, where space and touch and hearts and dialogue and history are mutually and lovingly shared.

Some things are best kept between a few trusted loyals.

Some things are best kept to ourselves.

And we just need to pause long enough to decide which of those is the case before the words fall out of our mouths or fall through our screens when we hit 'send'.

Today, I am more intentionally looking for that pause button.

{And, no, the irony isn't lost on me that I'm saying this in a blog post.}

quick to listen slow to speak

bring the rain

Alece-Ronzino-Bring-the-Rain The list of roles I played in my former life that I no longer play in this after life is staggering. Wife. Founder. Leader. Missionary. Pastor. Ministry Director. Daughter-in-law. Aunt.

And though not the largest, nor the least, of the losses I faced through my divorce, I no longer fit among certain groups of people. Like pastors' wives, or ministry leaders, or ex-pats, or even just people who only spend time with other married couples. I lost a lot of relationships. And a lot of opportunities.

It feels at times like my history has been erased.

So when my friends at A Life Overseas asked me to share with their online community, I was blown away. Shocked, actually. Though I no longer direct a nonprofit overseas, their invitation told me they still value my voice and experience in that arena. And I can't even begin to tell you what that did for my heart.

All that to say, I'm really humbled and grateful to be sharing over there today. Come join us...

Bring the Rain »»

the vulnerability of joy

fleeting joy

Vulnerability is far bigger than owning my weaknesses. 

I've discovered that vulnerability also includes owning my joy.

On a deep level, joy taps into my very worthiness. I question whether I even deserve it. I can think of so many who are worse off, and it feels unfair that anything should go my way at all. Who am I to have good things happen? Who am I to be happy? Especially when so many I care about are currently going through their own challenging and dark times.

The contrast of joy against others' pain makes my heart ache. And I instinctively dim the brightness of my joy because fully feeling, acknowledging, and expressing it seems wrong. Immodest. Arrogant, even.

The battering ram of the past 4 years left my heart tattered and torn. Grif and heartache consumed everything for so long that, without even realizing it, I became afraid of joy. In its place grew a deep, underlying foreboding... a proverbial holding of my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

So when good things happen, of any variety, I find myself dismissing them. It's too good to be true. This won't last long. I shouldn't be happy. I don't deserve good things. 

Somewhere along the line, I unknowingly convinced myself that being happy in this "new life" means I'm glad my "old life" fell apart. That enjoying Nashville is somehow an acknowledgement of gratitude that I'm no longer in Africa. Saying it out loud, I know it's ridiculous and untrue. My own journey of the past few years has taught me rather vividly that joy and grief usually reside together. I can be completely joyful and grateful for today, while still grieving over yesterday. One doesn't nullify the other.

And yet, still, even when joy comes, I don't embrace it. Knowing just how fleeting it can be, I send it on its merry way and close my eyes, cringing, for whatever might come next.

This is no way to live...

So I am intentionally forcing myself to lean into the vulnerability of joy. To look it straight in the eye, pull it close, and hug it tight. To allow myself to feel it and own it. To smile, to lift my eyes, to give thanks.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, or if there's another shoe waiting to drop, or how long anything in this life will actually last. But I do know that the God who gives and takes away wants me to be fully present in the moments He's woven into my story.

It's not up to me to control what happens. But it's up to me to choose to live wholeheartedly—honestly accepting and embracing all that comes my way.

And so today I'm leaning in, embracing the risk, and owning my joy.

[photo credit]


prayer in the everyday Sometimes prayer is simply the steadfastness of going about my day, doing what needs to be done—even—especially—that which I'd rather not do, or that which I feel unable, inadequate to do.

Sometimes prayer is simply one foot in front of the other. Sometimes arms raised in worshipful surrender actually looks like putting tired, aching "hands to the plough," not looking back.

My greatest, truest, most honest prayers aren't the interjectory conversations with God throughout the day. They are merely the faithful stewarding of what He's given me to do— who He's given me to love— today.

My intimacy with Him is measured not by the length or frequency or eloquence of my verbalized prayers, but in my active trust in the small moments of my everyday— in the quiet prayers of a life sought to be lived well.

Sometimes prayer is simply breathing in, breathing out, and doing—with moment by moment grace, integrity, and love —what's right in front of me.

[photo credit]

the tomb isn't actually empty

English Bay My heart is camping out in the empty tomb today.

The empty tomb that isn't actually empty. Because it's filled with hope.


Undeserved freedom.

Scandalous grace.

The empty tomb is actually bursting at the seams, overflowing with unexpected second chances.

What seems like the end isn’t really the end.

When it’s over, lost, gone, broken beyond repair… that’s when things have really just begun.

Life after death is so much more extraordinary than life before it.

Wholeness comes from brokenness.

Beauty is birthed in ashes.

The new life of spring actually begins with the slow death of autumn.

And that, to me, is the joy of Easter. Found right here in the empty yet abundantly full tomb...

Happy Easter, friends. He is risen!

silent saturday

Grouse Mountain Waiting is hard.

Waiting in silence is even harder.

I keep thinking about this Silent Saturday wedged between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This day we know very little about.

What did the disciples do? Were they crying? Praying? Angry? Hopeful? I don't know what they were doing, but I know what they were hearing.


All they could do was wait.

For what? They didn't even know. For how long? They had no clue.

I'm sure the night-hours seemed darker. I'd imagine the questions kept coming and the fear grew crippling. I'm sure it felt like they were holding their breath, hoping against hope that Jesus was still who He said He was and that the last few years hadn't been a complete waste.

But their waiting was met only with deafening silence...

Just like yours and mine sometimes is.

So on this Silent Saturday, I'm reminding us of what we know to be true:

Keep waiting.

Redemption is coming.

why this friday is good

forest for the trees I'm thinking about this day we call Good Friday. And how it felt anything but good at the time.

It was dark and heavy.

A day with more questions than answers.

More confusion than peace.

More doubt than faith.

Despair hung thick in the air, hearts crushed and despondent. The soul-depth disappointment in God was palpable and suffocating.

How could He? Why would He? What do I do now?

None of it made sense. It didn't line up with all they had seen and heard and experienced. The miracles... the teachings... the love... it all hung in the balance of two wooden beams on a hillside.

Everything they thought their Messiah would be, died that day.

All their hopes and dreams shattered with His nail-split hands. They'd given up everything to follow Him -- families, careers, homes -- and now this. A horrible, wretched death.

Of Him.

Of their hearts.

Of their hope.

They didn't know what we know now, looking back thousands of years later. That life comes out of death. That new beginnings spring forth from the worst of endings.

That hope rises.

To me, this Friday is so very good because of the mere fact that it was so very bad.

It reminds me that the dark and heavy times of my life are not devoid of Him, even when I can't see Hm or feel Him. That doubt doesn't nullify my faith. And that questioning isn't wrong.

It reminds me to let everything I think my Messiah should be, die. Because He is so much more than my imaginary version of Him, made in my own image. He loves, redeems, and saves me in ways I would never expect and could never imagine.

And it gives me hope that someday... Someday I may even call my darkest Friday "good".


medium_6507332943 (1)

Brené Brown says it best:

"Faith isn't an epidural. It's a midwife who stands next to me saying, 'Push. It's supposed to hurt.'"


This is what I wish I'd learned in church growing up. This is what I now know the faith-journey to be. And yet this flies in the face of the breed of Christianity I was raised in.

Faith was a balm. Salvation was a rescue plan. Jesus was a Savior from all things hard and uncomfortable and icky.

And then life happened.

And I discovered none of that was true.

Jesus didn't come to immunize me against pain or grief or heartache.

He didn't wrap me in bubble wrap and send me on my holy way, safe from harm and hurt. He didn't say I wouldn't (or—gasp!—shouldn't) grieve, be uncomfortable, battle illness, or face insurmountable hardship. He didn't promise that things would be easy or fair or fun.

What He did was assure me that I would never be alone.

God came down to the messy hell-hole that this life can be and chose to sit in it with me. He's right here, sitting cross-legged beside me in the dirt.

He's not trying to fix anything. He's not spouting platitudes—"Let go, and let Me. I'll work all things together for good."{GAH!}or even trying to make sense out of the senseless. He's just being present with me. Holding my hand and my heart. And assuring me I don't have to do this alone.

I'm not spared. I'm held. 

When I stop looking for Him to deliver a wonderdrug or bippity-boppity-boo me into a blessed life, I'm able to recognize the gift of His simple presence. His simple, powerful, heart-strengthening, more-than-enough presence right here with me.


It's supposed to hurt.

And then I realize what it means to love like He does. What it means to be Christ to you as you face your own darkness and grief.

It doesn't mean pretending to have answers or presuming I can fix things. It certainly doesn't mean telling you what you should or shouldn't be doing.

It means simply being willing to sit in the pain and discomfort with you. And just be.

What I can do is assure you that you won't be alone while you push.



It's one of my favorite South African-isms.

Its an Afrikaans expression used when someone is facing a challenging or difficult situation, or are about to embark on something that makes them nervous or anxious. The closest phrase we have in English would be 'Good luck,' but that comes nowhere close to capturing it. At all.


It literally means, simply, 'Strength'.

It's used to wish someone the strength to persevere whatever hardship they are experiencing or whatever nerve-wracking situation they are facing.

It's used to call out the strength you already see in someone's heart, even when they can't see it or feel it themselves.

It's used to infuse strength by affirming that you believe in them and their ability to keep moving forward, by the grace of God.

That's why 'Good Luck' would never suffice as a substitute.

Sterkte speaks courage.

Builds hope.

Demonstrates not-alone-ness.

And today, sweet Gritty family, it is all I have to offer to you.


[photo credit]

{guest post} when God doesn't give you what you asked for

If you don't know my friend Ally Vesterfelt, you need to. She is genuine and passionate, and a beautifully honest writer. She's also the managing editor of Prodigal Magazine, one of my favorite corners of the Internet. I appreciate the ways Ally embraces the "grit" in life and invites God to meet her there.

:: :: ::

This last year I prayed big.

It started because I read a book by Mark Batterson called The Circle Maker. The thought of praying the way he prayed (persistently, for specific things) had never really occurred to me.

Usually, I liked to keep my prayers small and manageable.

I didn't want it to seem like I was being greedy or anything.

But when I read Batterson's book I started to see how praying for things I actually wanted (regardless if they were big or small) wasn't being selfish, it was just being honest — and being honest was what prayer was really about, a dynamic, authentic conversation with God.

So my prayers went from being really "spiritual" all the time to sometimes not-so-much.

I would pray for things like a second bookshelf to house my growing collection. I would pray for warm weather for an outdoor picnic with my husband. I would pray for friendship with a person in a similar stage of life.

Maybe that sounds elementary, but for me it was ground-breaking.

Shocking, actually.

I would pray for a specific need to be met by a specific day, and sure enough, it would be. Or I would pray for something that wasn't a need, that was just a luxury, and many times I would get the gift I had asked for.

But there was one prayer I prayed that wasn't answered.

Granted, it was a big prayer. A little far-fetched even. One of those that, when you write it down, you think to yourself: I'd like to see you take on this one, God.

The request had to do with a specific financial debt I owed. I wanted it to be paid off by the end of the year.

So I wrote down the prayer and the specific number, just as I had been doing before. I started making payments whenever I had extra cash, or money left over in a particular budget. For a while, I was really vigilant about it. I prayed about it every day, and the energy to conquer the debt consumed my mind.

But after a few months the prayer slipped to the back of my journal, and while I did occasionally pray that the debt would be paid by the date I had set, I didn't think about it with nearly the conviction I had when I first started.

So when the end of the year came, and the debt wasn't paid off, I cringed a little.

Not because God hadn't given me what I had asked for, but because He had reminded me that,

while He is a God who hears me and cares about what I want, he has something as much to teach me by saying "no" as he does by saying "yes."

I know this, but sometimes I live like I don't know it.

In fact, sometimes I think this is what kept me from praying "big" prayers in the first place. I was worried that if I didn't say it right, or if my heart wasn't in exactly the right place, I would never get what I asked for.

And when I act like prayer is about getting what I ask for, I miss the point altogether.

It's okay to want something (even admit we want it) and still not have it.

The second thing I learned was that, when it comes to what I have and what I don't have, I am a co-creator with God. God has more resources than I do, more grace, more wisdom, and far more patience — but I can't expect Him to answer prayers I am not willing to answer myself.

I have to be willing to make the sacrifices, fork over the cash, go visit the friend, reach out to the person in need, stay up all night working —

All the while praying for God to fill in the gaps.

Many times in my life God has answered prayers i didn't know how to pray, or that I couldn't have dreamed up in a million years. Other times I have begged him for things, laid everything on the line, and he has said "no," or worse, been silent.

There is no reward/payoff system, no formula we can use to make prayer "work," for us, to help get us what we want.

But I think that's actually the point I'm trying to make.

That prayer is its own reward, and that as my prayers change, I change with them.

And for now that is enough.

:: :: ::

Allison is a writer, managing editor of Prodigal Magazine and author of Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage (Moody, 2013). She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband Darrell. You can follow her daily on Twitter or Facebook.

How do you handle God's "no"s or silences?

landing planes

{photo credit: josemanuelerre via photopin cc}

"The thing about big projects is that they tend to be less like one, giant to-do list, and more like landing planes - lots of planes - jet liners, twin prop Cessnas, helicopters - that just keep coming.

With large projects there are always things flying through the air that you must carefully place on the ground.

Some planes need to be coordinated one at time, and others come at you all at once. Some come down nice and easy, and some have turbulent landings.

The thing about landing planes, however, is that you never really feel 'finished' in the same way you do after checking everything off your to-do list, because you know that there is always another plane on the horizon.

Airports donʼt shut down and neither do big projects.

The planes just keep coming.

After auditions, you have to figure out wardrobe. Once you have the wardrobe finished, you need to walk everyone through their paces. Once youʼre on set, everyone needs to be directed. And then once you start you shooting, you realize all the changes you need to make.

Plane after plane after plane.

For a long time I felt defeated by the onslaught of planes. It seemed like nothing was ever really getting done.

And if by some off chance I was beginning to feel like I could breathe again, or like we were actually getting somewhere, inevitably some other problem would occur.

And then I thought,

This is the creative process, stop complaining! Itʼs messy! Itʼs rarely mappable! It is always dynamic and ever-changing!

Obviously you make plans, but factors outside of your control change all the time. Locations fall through. People donʼt deliver. Life happens.

So instead of holding my breath until 'things are done,' Iʼm starting to breathe while Iʼm 'doing the things.'

I do my stretches and I turn into an air traffic controller. I do it with joy and excitement because, Iʼm getting to land planes!

As Seth Godin says, we should be so lucky as to be people who get to solve interesting problems.

Landing planes means weʼre not on the sideline of ideation but weʼre executing, which means weʼre getting closer to making our visions come to life.

It will always be hard, but it should also be fun.

Every landed plane deserves some kind of celebration.

Whether it be a quick toast or a high five, you absolutely must celebrate along the way.

One last thought on landing planes. As you put those puppies on the ground, know that you have a choice. Landing planes can be exhausting and defeating, OR it can be exciting and hopeful.

Each new plane coming your way can feel like itʼs driving you deeper into the ground of despair as you cry out, 'No, not another one!' Or, you can see these planes as yet another amazing chance for you to be better, to grow, to try, and to get you one step closer to making your dream a reality.

Breathe. Do your stretches. Donʼt freak out. Land those planes. Celebrate each one that hits the tarmac.

Then repeat, repeat, repeat."

... ... ...

Above is my favorite excerpt from Blaine Hogan's book, Untitled. In ministry, I often felt exactly how he described—nothing ever really seemed "finished". Each completion or victory would just bleed straight into the ongoing work that still needed to be done. I so appreciate Blaine's challenge to breathe "while I'm doing the things" and to find ways to celebrate the accomplishments along the way. A good and timely word for my heart.

Anything stand out to you in this passage?

Buy a copy of Untitled >

on failing well

i heard catherine rohr once say, “failure is really redirection.” that is so powerful, if only i could find a way for my heart to really grab onto it. ::

i feel like i fail a dozen times a day in a dozen different ways. while some of it is genuine mess-ups, some of it—i know—is really just that sense of not-enough-ness that hangs over me like a cloud. (i close my eyes and see that dirty little boy in the charlie brown movies—what's his name??—the one with the dust cloud that follows him everywhere.)

if i could really grasp failure as redirection, maybe just maybe that cloud would lift some...


not redirection to avoid what i’m facing. but rather to deal with what’s going on in my heart as i face it head on.


the old testament has always given me a great deal of hope. i think it's partially because those we consider men and women of faith have so much failure throughout their stories.

it makes me remember that they didn’t see themselves as people of faith in the way that we do now, gifted with the ability to look at their lives in their entirety. i bet they were just like me and—right in the midst of their grit—found themselves wondering if God could redeem their failures.

because we see their stories all the way to the end, we know He can.

i need to remember that He can see my story all the way to the end, and trust that He can redeem mine too.


perhaps failing well means choosing to trust that the story isn't finished—that the Author is still writing.

worthy of my suffering

[photo credit]

I want to live worthy of my suffering.

He’s assigned me my portion, and I want to live worthy of all of it—the gifts as well as the trials.

I’m not saying that God causes me to suffer. But He makes it very clear that suffering and trials are an inescapable part of this life. And I desire to steward well even that which He allows.

I want to live worthy of everything He entrusts into my care. I want to carry my suffering well.

I desire to face my lows with the same depth of character as I face my highs. I aspire to walk through the valleys with as much uprightness as I walk the mountaintops. I want my seasons of want to be as fruitful as my seasons of plenty.

To live worthy of my suffering means to carry my cross with humility, dignity, courage, faith. I want to bear my suffering honorably—not resenting the refining process or scorning the fire in which my faith is tested. I only want my faith to be proven genuine and for Him to consider me faithful.

I want to show myself trustworthy.

Even with this.

Because living worthy of my suffering really means living worthy of His suffering.