this day last year

i'm sorry, Lord

Lord, I’m sorry for thinking You love me the same way others do. For assuming You’ll withhold affection until I’ve paid penance or until You’re “over” whatever I may have done.

For imagining that You hold me at arm’s length and invite me in only when You want to want me.

For thinking You view me through eyes of disappointment, seeing only how far I am from all I could be and should be.

For presuming You only love me because You have to and not because You want to.

For guessing You hold my mistakes against me, just as I do with myself.

For acting as though You think I’m discardable and unwantable.

For forgetting that You love me for who I am and not for who I can be.

Lord, I want to believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.

He held both

I can’t shake this thought, even though it’s really hard for me to dwell on right now: Jesus hung on that cross to take more than my own sins. He also hung there to carry the sins of others that hurt me deeply. And in that same instant, He hung there to carry the pain and sorrow I feel because of those sins against me.

In the very same moment, He held both. Wept for both. Bore the eternal burden of both.

So that both of us could be free.

[Originally posted on this day last year, when the bottom had just fallen out of my world.]

walk on

Sometimes I prefer to wallow instead of walk. Wallowing is easier. It doesn't really require effort from my end. I just float. But with each passing minute, I'm actually sinking deeper into the murkiness, making it that much harder to climb out of it.

It takes a conscious effort, a decision, to walk instead of wallow. To press on when I want to just sit. To move forward when all I want to do is keep things the way they are. To take another step when my foot feels too heavy to lift.

If I'm hoping in Him, I won't grow tired in my walking. My endurance is fueled by my hope in Him. So when I am feeling walk-weary, I need to check my hope tank. When it's running low, I need to remind myself: Put your hope in God.

I'm wrestling with that concept as I try to figure out what that really means. Telling myself to hope in God doesn't seem sufficient to actually make it happen. It helps, and it serves as a challenging reminder. But that can't be it.

How do I build up hope that's diminished? I don't have the answer. But I need to do what I know: Remind myself. Ask God for help to hope. Chew on passages that describe His character. Be strengthened through the encouragement of others. Take time for a selah.

When I hope in Him, I won't be disappointed. When I hope in Him, I can't help but walk instead of wallow.

Put your hope in God and walk on. I'm right beside you.

[from a post on this day last year]

psalm of my heart

Does the blind man ever forget he can't see? Does the woman who lost her child ever not remember her loss? Does the broken heart ever forget its scars? Hurt hangs close, like a thick heavy fog. It's ever present. Always close. All encompassing.

I know God's hand reaches through pain. I know His light pierces darkness. I know His voice reverberates in emptiness. But there is still pain. Still darkness. Still emptiness.

Reach far, God. Shine brightly. And for heaven's my sake, speak louder. Because I need to feel You, see You, and hear You more than ever before.


[originally posted this day last year]

casting my cares

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." I know that. Cognitively. He cares for me. He cares about what I care about. I should cast my anxiety upon Him. All too often, though, I subconsciously take the word cast to mean the same as it does in fishing. I give it to God, but I'm still hanging on to the other end. As far as I throw it, as much as I give it over, it's still attached to me. Because I'm holding on tight.

"But I gave it to God..." I try to convince myself. Meanwhile I'm poised and ready to reel it back in whenever I want. And reel I do. I decide to take it back from God's hands. Which means I think it's better off in my capable hands than in His.

Oh to be so smug.

I looked up the word cast in the dictionary. When it's not referring to fishing, it means to get rid of, to discard, to throw off or throw away; to hurl or fling.

I need to let that sink in a bit. I need to let it sink in a lot.

When I give something to God, I need to hurl it at Him (He can handle the blow), get rid of it (forever), throw it off me (with as much vigor as I can muster). And then I need to leave it there. For good.


"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you..."

I'm trying...

[originally posted on this day two years ago]

listen up, guys

Men--- Can I talk to you for a minute? I'll be quick, I promise.

The way you love your wife shows her the way Christ loves her.

Too much pressure for a fallen man?! I didn't say it. God did. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church..."

Your wife will believe and experience Christ's love for her to the degree that she believes and experiences your love for her. God can miraculously work in anyone's heart and life, and women with very ungodly husbands can certainly still experience intimacy with Christ. But God puts the responsibility on you to show your wife how much He loves her.

Help your wife believe that Christ values, treasures, and adores her today.

[From a post on this day last year, which may read a little differently now that you know what was going on in my life at the time I wrote it.]

all of me for all of You

Surrender. Hands in the air. Defenses down. Heart open. All of me for all of You. Here is all I am.

My messes, weaknesses, failures. My successes, strengths, victories. My muddled thoughts, my doubts and fears, my misgivings. My hurts and questions, my joys and confidences.

The parts of me I love, the parts of me I despise. Everything I know, everything I don’t. My pieces, my fragments, my whole parts. My insecurities, my all-too-securities.

The things I often give and take right back, the things I’ve never given before, the things I’m not even aware of. Everything I know I need You for, everything I think I don’t.

Here is all I am.

Even when I feel I can only open the door an inch, this is me giving You permission to bust it wide open. Even when I feel I’m unable to offer You more of me, this is me asking You to go ahead and take it anyway. Even when I feel I have no words, this is me asking You to respond to my one-word prayers for “Help” with all You know I need.

Be aggressive with me. For I’m not aggressive enough on my own behalf.

Take all of me and bombard me with all of You. All of You is certainly more than I can handle, but I want to feel crushed under the weight of that burden.

That burden isn’t a burden at all.

[from a post on this day two years ago]


I’ve heard it said a thousand times. I’ve probably said it myself just as many.

Break my heart for the things that break Yours.

And I agree with that wholeheartedly. It’s a prayer I need to pray more often. I so easily get caught up in the routine, the busyness. The to-do lists and endless meetings. My heart breaks over unaccomplished tasks, unmet goals, insufficient funds, inadequate sleep. My heart needs to break more often, more consistently, for the things that break God’s.

God’s heart breaks for lost sheep. Prodigal sons. Rich young rulers. Prostitutes and tax collectors. Priests and agnostics. Kings and commoners. And for them—for the people He loves—my heart needs to break more. Much more.

Lately, though, I’m even more captivated by this thought:

God’s heart breaks for my broken heart.

He loves me that much. His compassion is that far-reaching. His grace is that incomprehensible. God’s heart hurts for my hurting heart.

The King of the Universe aches for me. The God who spread out the expanse of the sky, flung the stars into place, set the sun in its perfect position, and carefully placed the moon to simply reflect a light not its own… this God also reaches out to me, pulls me onto His lap, wraps His arms around me, holds me tighter than I realize I need, and refuses to let me go.

He weeps with me.

He doesn’t say much; He doesn’t need to. He certainly doesn’t feed me ridiculous clichés: “Smile, I love you.” “I work in mysterious ways.” “When I close a door, I open a window.” “Let go and let Me.”

His tears say enough. They tell me He understands. He cares. He sees my hurting heart and He holds it in the palm of His hand. And He holds it ever-so-gently.

God’s heart breaks for my broken heart.

[from a post on this day two years ago]

follow after peace

Follow after peace. I've said that a lot. And now I'm thinking about what it really means. I've always described peace as a calm amid the storm; a sense of confidence and security when my circumstances are screaming in my ears for me to be unsure and insecure.

But I don't think peace always means a complete lack of uncertainty or unsteadiness.

Courage isn't the absence of fear; it's the pushing onward in spite of it. Courage means doing it afraid. I think peace is the same.

Peace isn't the absence of inner turmoil. It isn't a heart devoid of confusion or unknowing. Peace is the pushing onward in spite of it all. Peace is remembering that there is One who is above the storm, who controls the storm, who holds my hand as I walk through it.

I can experience peace even when my heart feels otherwise.

I can follow after peace even as I second-guess each step.

I can be flooded with peace even while I'm flooded by overwhelming circumstances---and even when I'm feeling completely overwhelmed by them.

I can be at peace even when I am afraid.

Today I choose to follow after peace...

[from a post on this day two years ago]

the hem of His robe

The woman bled for 12 years straight. Physician after physician shrugged his shoulders. She’d given up all hope of ever getting better. But then she heard about Jesus: the miracle worker. Desperate, she knew she had to get to Him. As she clawed her way through the crowd on her hands and knees, she carried with her much more than her illness. She carried shame. As if in a bag over her shoulder, she dragged along a heavy burden of rejection and fear. She's referred to as the “woman with the issue of blood”, but her issues ran much deeper than that. Her physical ailment made her an outcast in her own culture. Her emotional hurts and scars were far worse than her physical ones.

Finally catching up to Jesus, she reached out and frantically, yet faintly, grabbed the hem of His robe. Immediately, she was healed. Jesus turned around and faced the crowd. “Who touched Me?”

She told Him the whole truth. She told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Jesus cared enough to listen to her story. The long version. He just let her talk. He was on His way to heal a dying girl. People were rushing Him. Pressing Him. Insisting He keep going before it’s too late. He silenced them long enough for her to tell her story.

When she finished talking, He responded by calling her Daughter. It’s the only time recorded that He addressed someone that way. The love she felt in that one simple word must have been overwhelming. After pouring out her heart, He'd responded with pure affection. Gentle but aggressive love.

If Jesus’ aim was simply to heal her, He would have kept walking after she touched Him, for she was healed instantly. If that was all He was concerned about, He wouldn’t have stopped, turned around, asked the question. He wouldn't have looked straight at her, talked to her, listened. But He did all those things. He wanted to let her talk. To tell her story. He wanted to call her Daughter.

For that is when her heart was healed.

He wanted to heal more than her body. His aim all along was to heal her heart.

I can picture Him looking her in the eyes as He talked to her. And making her look into His. The healing began as, face-to-face, His love was visible, and it resonated within her soul. It broke down walls. Shattered barriers. Smashed through the defenses she’d lived behind for so long. His love broke through with a simple gaze, a listening ear, and undivided attention.

It wouldn’t have helped if He healed her physically, but left her to still carry the hurt from her 12 years of rejection and disgrace. Despite her physical healing, she probably would have continued to stay holed up in her house. She would have been the same cowering little girl she always was, still dragging her bag of shame behind her. But as Jesus looked into her eyes, He saw the woman He created her to be, and He wasn’t content to leave her drowning in her pain.

The greatest healing isn’t the miraculous cure of her incurable disease. It is the passionate healing of her heart.

God’s primary concern is still the condition of hearts. Physical health and a blessed life pale in comparison with a restored soul. God’s heart hurts for our hurting hearts.

He still brings love, grace, and healing through a touch of the hem of His robe.

And we are the hem of His robe.

[originally posted this day two years ago]

the truth about myself

"You're so confident and self-assured. You're not insecure like most women seem to be." My face scrunched up into a question mark. I wanted to look over my shoulder to see who he was really talking to, because there's no way that description fits me. Definitely the wrong size. Send it back for a refund!

I laughed and said, "Really?!" My voice went up about 6 octaves at the end of that one word. (I was clearly dripping with self-assuredness!)

And while I still think what he said was a bit far-fetched, I also know that others see in me things I don't see in myself. Even more, I know that God sees in me so much more than I see in myself.

I want eyes to see those things.

Not so I can pat myself on the back. Or even so I can feel better about myself.

I want eyes to see those things because He put them in me. And to ignore them---or worse, to never even uncover them---would be a slap in His face.

So today I am praying, "Lord, help me to realize the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is."

[from a post this day last year]

authenticity by the slice

The me you see here at The Grit is genuine. It's not all of me, but it's not a fabricated form of me either. While I don't share everything about myself or the things going on in my life, what I do share is authentic. I'm not a different person "in real life" than I am in the blogosphere. In person you'll see and discover more aspects of me, but it's all still me.

The Grit shows only a slice of who I am. But it's a genuine slice. No artificial ingredients, I promise.

I give you me.

And I am honored humbled overwhelmed grateful to have been given you in return. I treasure my blogging friendships. You've helped to shape, challenge, encourage, and inspire me. In ways I never could have imagined.

Thanks for reading. And commenting. And sticking around.

For even caring to get to know this little slice of me.

[from a post on this day last year]

something is stirring

On Sunday, Mma Impo received word that her father passed away. She and her daughter were planning to leave Botswana later that day to come to Qwa Qwa, South Africa to attend our women's conference. The news that her father passed away shook her, but did not deter her. Her daughter arrived, assuming they would have to cancel their plans and go to their home village to make funeral arrangements. "No," Mma Impo said. "Going to Mahalapye will not bring him back. God comes first. We are going to Qwa Qwa. God has something for us there." So they came. Their expectancy was evident. The look in their eyes said that they were expecting an encounter with God. It was visible in many others' eyes as well. The women were hungry. Eager.  And God did not disappoint. The sessions were powerful, the ministry times were sweet, and the women's lives were changed. They were challenged, inspired, encouraged, motivated, and stirred. They left with a clear vision and sincere passion to be used by God in their communities.

One of the women was visibly suffering from advanced stages of hiv-beautyAIDS. She was emaciated to the point of skin and bones, her cheeks were sunken and sallow, her gait was strained and slow. When she came forward for prayer, I had the opportunity to minister to her. My heart broke. I began to weep as I hugged her; it felt as though I was hugging a skeleton. She pressed through her pain and discomfort to attend the conference, longing for a touch from the Lord. I believe she received one; her face, amid the suffering, radiated joy from within. Her presence at the conference also provided me a touch from the Lord, as He gripped my heart once again for this beautiful, precious woman and the countless like her who are dying across South Africa.

From Botswana to Qwa Qwa, a revolution has begun. Brace yourself. Something is stirring in Africa.



[originally posted this day three years ago. i needed the reminder.]

letting go

Sometimes it's easier to feel guilty than forgiven. All-too-often I choose to cling to my mistakes, my shortcomings, my depravity rather than to embrace the forgiveness and freedom that God has for me.

It takes effort to make that exchange, and---honestly?---sometimes I'd just rather not put in the effort. How pathetic is that? Especially since He already did the hard part.

But God's power has no effect in my life if I don't choose to receive it and rely on it. I don't want to nullify His power with my apathy.

I recently spent time letting go of some things I've held against myself for way too long. As hard as forgiveness can be, I find it most difficult to forgive myself.

Sitting alone in a "service" at St. Arbucks Church, I made the choice to let go. To forgive me.

After all, He already did.

And what I hold against myself, I'm ultimately holding against God. I'm basically slapping Him in the face and telling Him that His redemptive work isn't good enough. That I can do a better job atoning for my sin than He can.

Pride can't often see herself in the mirror. But I saw her loud and clear.

So I acknowledged that His work was final---that my sins are not only forgiven but paid for. And I made the decision to step out of the prison I'd locked myself in for so long.

I left a lot of crap in Starbucks that night.

And I got a venti cup of forgiveness to go.

[from a post on this day last year]

this day last year: bare-handed

The story of creation is an incredible one. For so many reasons. But mostly because it shows me so beautifully the unmatched worth we have in God's eyes. God spoke everything into existence, which is a whole mind-blowing thing right there. "Let there be..." and there was. That is just incredible in a way I can't fully comprehend.

There God was, balancing between time and eternity, forming galaxies, hippos, mountains, and clown fish with His words. But when He created mankind, He used His bare hands. He stooped down to make us great. Words would not suffice.

He wanted us to bear His thumbprint.

"The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life..."

He loved us enough to form us with His own hands. He wanted to hold us, rhythmically massage our hearts to kickstart their first beats, and be the first thing we saw when we opened our eyes. I imagine that our first case of goosebumps came from Him caressing our skin.

And then He breathed into us. Face to face, we inhaled our first breath as He exhaled into our nostrils. I cannot even fathom the worth, the wealth, of that breath of life.

God still wants to get down and dirty with me. When my life is a mess or it feels like I'm wallowing in the mire of my emotions and circumstances, it's easy to think God is far-removed from it all. But He's right here in the dirt next to me. It's nothing new to Him. He's been there, done that.

And more than willing to do it again.

[from an entry originally posted this day last year]