autumnal hope

Hands down, autumn is my favorite season. And I'm fairly certain October is the most perfect month. I love the rich, bold, warm colors of fall. The landscape comes alive like a wildfire, and my heart catches some of the sparks. Bright blue chilly skies contrast the golden hues. The temperature is just right... Sweater-weather.

Cinnamon and cloves and all things pumpkin dance through the crisp air. Autumn just smells warm and inviting. Like homebaked apple pie. Gingerbread latte. Chai tea. Chicken tortilla soup.

But mostly, I love autumn for its symbolism. The vibrant colors come alive in the process of dying. Leaves fall. Days grow shorter. The dark, overcast, cold days of winter are slowly creeping upon us. But the trees don't surrender without a statement.

Even in the dying—of dreams, of hopes, of relationships, of seasons—there is still beauty. There is beauty in the brokenness. In the transition. In the change.

The new life of spring actually begins with the dying leaves of autumn.

And the leaves' final shout of stunning color helps me to never forget.

What's your favorite season? Why?

[photo source]

commitment precedes clarity

One of the biggest myths of our generation is that we need clarity in order to commit. Before we pull the trigger, we first want answers to all our questions. We want a complete road map. We want to read the fine print before we sign our lives away. We want confident periods not uncertain question marks. We want to fully know what we're getting ourselves into. We want surety before we take a step. And until we get all that, we wait...

We blame our lack of commitment on a lack of clarity.

But it's a myth that knowing more would make it easier to say yes. It's a lie we tell ourselves so that we feel better about doing nothing.

If I knew when I boarded the plane for Africa at 19, all that awaited me there, I never would have gone. If I could've seen the roadmap of hills and deep, dark valleys, I would have stayed Stateside. If I could have imagined all the heartaches and challenges that I would have to endure in order to embrace the victories and successes, I would have cowered in the corner crying.

Details paralyze more than uncertainty does.

If we wait until we have it all spelled out, that's no longer faith-driven commitment -- that's just executing a plan. Commitment must be laced with doubt and hesitation and mystery.

Commitment, in its truest form, requires ambiguity.

Think of Abraham. "Leave your country, your family, and your father's home," God said, "for a land that I will show you."

Without even knowing where he was going or how he would get there, Abraham left. Courageous commitment lined every footstep he left in the rugged soil, stepping away from the known into the land of the unknown.

What's that thing scratching on the corner of your heart? What is that quiet nudge you continue to feel? What's the passion that keeps rising to the surface? Whatever it is... Stop waiting for all the answers, for certainty, for assurances.

Commitment precedes clarity every single time.

So pull the trigger. Say yes. Jump off the cliff. Send that email. Start the conversation. Take the step.

The courage lies in doing it afraid.

{Photo source.}

beautiful feet

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" As a missionary, I heard that verse often. People spoke it to me, wrote it in cards, sent it in framed pictures. It was a promise, to me, of beauty in messy places.

My feet walked the dusty dirt roads of Qwa Qwa, South Africa.

They stepped into dirt-floor homes, made of one room and filled with families of 12. Or more. My feet sat me down, cross-legged, to hold precious HIV-infected little ones, too weak to lift their heads, too numb to smile. My feet carried me to my desk (because, you see, I was {mostly} an office missionary), up the hill to my class (to teach a room filled with young beautiful feet), to the shops in my tiny town (where people knew me as that "Yankee girl").

My feet held me as our property raged with a wildfire, as a twister ripped the roof off my house, as the floods broke through the dam wall and filled the landscape. My feet held me as I held others, going through storms of their own, mostly of the invisible kind. My feet took me to Africa, and my feet took me back to the States.

And here I sit, nestled comfortably on the couch, and I wonder where the beauty has gone...

I wonder if an ex-missionary's feet are only beautiful in past tense, or if there could be some glimmer of redemptive beauty that still remains.

What do beautiful feet look like after failure, after shattered dreams, after hope dried up? What does it mean to bring good news in my everyday ordinary life when there are no babies to rock, classes to teach, people asking about Jesus?

I throw back the last sip of my now-lukewarm coffee, and the dam wall breaks...

Maybe the good news is simply a kind word, a generous smile, a lingering hug. Maybe the good news is an honest conversation about my struggles and the grace that clings to me even when I can't cling to it. Maybe the good news is offering the gift of going second, letting others know they aren't alone. Maybe the good news is found in "I don't know"s rather than fabricated answers, in "You are loved"s because it just needs to be said, in humble "I'm sorry, please forgive me"s from a sincere broken heart, in honestly grateful "Thank you"s that honor the gift and the giver. 

Maybe the good news that He sees, cares, and loves is really found in someone feeling seen, cared for, and loved... by me.

And maybe, just maybe, beautiful feet are whatever vehicle used to deliver that good news. A spoken word. A thumbed-out text. A hand-hold. An understanding tear. A joyful laugh. A handwritten letter. A blog post. A not-letting-go hug.

Perhaps this ex-missionary still brings good news, and perhaps my feet are found by Him to be beautiful still.

And maybe that verse still stands as a promise of beauty in messy places.

God is good

My friend and fellow Deeper Story writer, Seth Haines, wrote a post recently that really resonated with me. He wrote about the unintended double-edged sword of proclaiming God's favor. "I’ve heard the creeping theology of prosperity in the averted tragedies of others. They spill wonder-filled, mystical stories, recounting God’s graciousness in piecing together the impossible jig-saw puzzles of life."

You need to read his entire post to really get it. The comment I left there ended up being long enough for a post of its own, so I figured I'd share it here as well.

... ... ...

I have found myself in the wrestling ground of this very issue for the past few years. I haven’t even been able to find words for what I’m grappling with, and I certainly haven’t come to any answers or conclusions.

But having walked through infidelity and then divorce, while surrounded by countless others whose infidelity journey (thankfully) ended in restoration/reconciliation, I am left with a pit-in-my-stomach feeling over my former position on the favor and goodness of God. Because as much as I’ve heard the seemingly careless remarks, I know I’ve made them in my lifetime as well.

“God is so good, and our marriage is better today than it ever was before.” “By God’s grace, we caught it in time and they got all the cancer.” “God is so faithful, and provision was there right when we needed it.”

'May God help me!' photo (c) 2005, Bashar Al-Ba'noon - license: the provision doesn’t show up—sometimes the bills don’t get paid and the ministry God had clearly started is forced to close its doors. Sometimes the healing doesn’t come—like my beautiful, faith-filled friend who passed away last year or the chronic pain I live with daily. Sometimes the marriage doesn’t get restored—sometimes he really leaves to begin a new “happily ever after” with the other woman.

So do those outcomes mean that God isn’t good or faithful? Do they negate His grace or His love or His kindness? I know that they don’t. Because I know I can’t trust the God who gives without also trusting the God who takes away. He is one and the same, and His goodness is in anything His hand extends (and even in what it withholds). I know that He is both good and sovereign. The challenge lies in believing He is both of those at the same time.

I know that my gut-level cringing reaction to those seemingly flippant remarks about God being good when His favor is evident says more about me than the one who says them. Because I know they don’t mean them flippantly and I know they are right that God’s goodness is evident there.

The gritty sandpaper grating I feel inside is because I’m left wondering if I could say the same thing had the outcome been opposite. Or really, it’s because I’m left fully aware that I haven’t always done so. Even now, can I honestly and truly say I believe God’s grace, goodness, and faithfulness is evident in the way things turned out in my marriage? Maybe evident isn’t the right word. If “faith is the evidence of things not seen”, then I need to believe His goodness is there even if it isn’t evident.

And so I wrestle.

He is good. And He is sovereign. And both are displayed when the protection, provision, healing, and restoration shows up. And both are displayed when it doesn’t.

Lord, I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.

life is messy

"Nobody likes letting go. From our earliest moments, from birth till we're six feet under, our instinct is to grab, grip, cling. To a finger, a bottle, a best friend... Sometimes we hold on for dear life to the very things that keep us from actually living it. But that comes with an upside—It's the way we feel when we finally let go.

The trick, I guess, is to not find a way around the curve balls life serves up, but to live with them. In halfway happy, uneasy alliance. And to search for new things to cling to, and when we finally find them, to hang on just as tight.

And around and around we go, holding on until the time comes to say goodbye.

And like it or not, ready or not, we have to accept one universal truth: Life is messy. Always, and for all of us.

But a wise man once said, 'Maybe messy is what you need.' And I think he might be right."

From In Plain Sight, S5 E8

embracing uncertainty

I am learning to live in the tension of uncertainty. To simply embrace it, rather than fight it. Because contending with it doesn't get me anywhere. It doesn't yield answers or bring clarity or cause lightbulb moments of understanding.

Because honestly, more often than not, there aren't really answers to be found or resolution to be sought.

God promised to redeem all things. He never said they'd make sense.

That's why He gives peace that surpasses our understanding. While there's a lot I will never understand, I can be anchored by peace even in the tumultuous seas of ambiguity.

God shines brightest in contradictions. There is wholeness in brokenness. Sufficiency in weakness. Strength in surrender. Honor in humility.

I've equally found Him to be ever-present in the contradictions of my life. Those moments and seasons that seem contrary to His character and inconsistent with where He'd been leading me. Those situations that pull the rug out from under me and even those that shatter my world and my heart.

He is right there with me in those painful, dark, confusing contradictions. Ever calling me to trust and to let go of my need to understand.

Faith and uncertainty can dance together.

Not canceling each other out, but also not at odds with each other. Both beautiful in their honesty and gut-level rawness. Lord, I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.

And so I am choosing to live in the tension of the contradictions, and to trust that He is redeeming even what will never make sense.

Because I know that redeeming what is hopelessly irreconcilable is His specialty...

heart homelessness

'Philadelphia's Homeless' photo (c) 2010, Cliff - license: I feel like my heart is homeless. As though she has nowhere to land. And I'm swallowed up by loneliness, even if I'm surrounded by people. And my feelings are all over the map rather than in one specific place. And home—a place where I feel safe, understood, seen—is nowhere in sight.

Each of us walks such individual journeys, that even someone who has been somewhere similar still can't fully understand the place we find ourselves in. There is a unique loneliness that comes with our paths. A loneliness that cannot be avoided. An inevitable they-just-don't-get-it-ness.

Heart homelessness.

Sometimes it feels more overwhelming, and sometimes I don't feel it at all. It comes and goes like the tide, though without predictability or rhythm.

And my heart's left carrying around her makeshift cardboard shelter... always looking for a place and a people that feel like home.

I know deep down that Home is only in Christ. That He is my shelter, my refuge. He is my security. In Him I am always seen, known, understood, loved, and safe.

But I also think He calls us to find a mirrored sense of home in community.

In those times when it happens, it is absolutely beautiful! A miraculous gift... I have lived this, experienced this, time and time again. There are no words to describe the matchless wonder of this tangible extension of our Heavenly Home...

Yet relationships have seasons... Friends move on... Even the best-intended aren't always trustworthy (myself included)... And everyone's journeys are different (even when they are similar)...

So sometimes our hearts simply have nowhere to land...

What then?

I don't know...

As usual, my writing (like my heart) takes the shape of a question mark rather than a period. And so instead of presuming to have an answer, I ask you...

What do you do when your heart feels homeless?


When people hear I got divorced after 10 years of marriage, the question is inevitable. "Do you have kids?" I usually purse my lips together and shake my head while I answer. "No... No kids."

And then I hold my breath.

Because nine times out of ten, the response is the same. And I catch myself bracing for it.

"That's good."'26/365 Bittersweet.' photo (c) 2009, Vinni - license:

I keep my lips pressed tightly together, and slowly nod obligatorily.

I understand what they're saying. With as much as my life fell apart when my husband decided to leave with another woman, I am grateful there weren't children's hearts also so deeply wounded. So yes. That part is good.

But what most people don't realize is there is such a bittersweetness there.

I don't not have kids because I didn't want them.

I longed to have children, and we were finally at a place of attaining certain goals that would allow me to step back from working full-time so we could start a family. And the irony is that he began pushing for a baby right when he started his affair. And since I knew something was going on—even when I didn't know how bad it really was—I knew adding a baby into the mix wouldn't "fix" anything. So I'm the one who made the decision to wait. Because I needed to be sure we were okay.

And we weren't.

And we never had kids.

So while I'm glad there weren't little people dragged through the devastation of my past few years, and I'm beyond thankful I don't need to figure out an international custody arrangement, there is also a huge sense of loss for what could have been... and for what will never be.

It's an added layer of grief. Of mourning. Of letting go. Of uncertainty about ever having the opportunity again.

So yes. "That's good." But it also sucks.

Just think twice before you make a quick remark to someone. We never know the whole story. We can never comprehend the full situation. Don't presume. Don't preach. Ask.

Ask questions. Hear what the other person is thinking... feeling... saying... not saying...

Don't jump to conclusions.

Just ask.

And love.

Originally posted at Deeper Story. Read the comments there >

disappointed in jesus

I think we all, at some point in our faith journey, grow disappointed in Jesus. Of course we don't call it that.

But if we were being most honest, we would.

Because there are times when He doesn't show up like we expect Him to. He doesn't spare us from what we want Him to. He doesn't do what we think He should.

And ultimately it leaves our hearts disappointed.

John the Baptist found himself there.

And if Jesus' very own cousin—the one who leaped in the womb when unborn-Jesus was nearby and who, upon baptizing Jesus, heard God's own voice declare Him to be His Son—if John felt disappointed in Jesus, it seems fairly safe to assume we all will find ourselves there too.

When John the Baptist was in prison, he sent word from jail to ask Jesus if He was "the One". Now, John had seen and experienced an awful lot that had left him completely convinced that Jesus was in fact "the One". He had lived his whole life built on that premise, doing nothing more than point people towards Christ.

But now he finds himself in prison, where he knows he will likely die. And he's starting to have his doubts. Because this isn't how he anticipated the story unfolding... And he's no longer feeling convinced...

"Are you the one... or should we expect someone else?"

Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor."

I hear Him gently reminding John not to forget all he had seen and experienced. That He is still who John knew Him to be. No matter what.

And then Jesus added: "Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of Me.”

He heals the sick. Raises the dead. And breaks chains of captivity. But He wasn't rescuing John from prison. He wasn't going to spare him from being beheaded. He wasn't showing up in the ways that John not only hoped for, but also expected.

What I hear in those words is this:

Blessed are those who still trust Me even when I don't live up to their expectations.

He was acknowledging John's disappointment in Him, and asking him to trust Him still.

When life—and therefore God—doesn't pan out the way you'd hoped, wanted, dreamed, and believed... and you are left feeling disappointed in Jesus (even if you aren't ready to admit that's what you're feeling), you have a decision to make.

What will you do when God doesn't live up to your expectations? Will you still worship? Will you trust Him? Follow Him? Love Him?

I keep hearing His words: "Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of Me." And I feel so challenged.

Will we still trust that God is good even when He disappoints us?


'DSC03442' photo (c) 2008, 凱文 - license:'s Leap Year. And today, February 29th, feels like a bonus. It's an extra day,  and it's got me thinking about what I want to do with it.

I know every single day is a gift. Even Mondays. I know today is no more special than yesterday or tomorrow. But still it seems to be challenging me a little differently.

It's got me thinking more uniquely about the fact that what I've been given -- these 24 hours, these however-oh-so-many breaths, these moments -- are once in a lifetime.

I want to live today with purpose and intentionality. I want to see what's in front of me, hear what's between the words being said, and live from my heart. I want to give more than I get, focus on others more than myself, and choose the next wise thing.

I want to steward today -- day 60 of 366 -- as best I possibly can. And I want to steward every day that follows just as well...

Leap Year. February 29th. Let's do this thing right...

What will you do with the gift of today?

space for selah

I'm not very good at building margins and space into my life. I never have been. My people-pleasing, perfectionistic, and workaholic ways crowd out any real possibility of healthy margin and breathing room in my life.

When I lack the space to just be, even when my time is filled with everything I love, a crash-and-burn is inevitable.

Been there. Done that. Lived to blog about it.

It takes intentionality to build space into my life. But when I do, my heart is better for it. And so is everything that stems from my heart. My writing, my relationships, my perspective...

A little bit of space goes a long way. Especially when it's a built-in consistent part of my life.

A healthy life rhythm has space built in.

Reminds me of the story of the woman with the issue of blood. I've always loved that passage because it vividly shows me that God is passionate about healing my heart and not just my body. But it also demonstrates a valuable lesson for my heart.

You remember the story, right? The woman pressed through the crowd on her hands and knees, grabbed the hem of Jesus' robe, and was instantly healed.

And the Bible tells us that Jesus felt power go out of Him as soon as she touched Him.

It's unavoidable: Ministry is draining.

If Jesus felt the effects of it, we certainly will.

Serving others, speaking God's truth, and sharing our lives, tires us out. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. We feel it when we spend ourselves for others.

Even when we are doing what we love.

Maybe even more so when we are doing what we love. Because then we have to force ourselves to seek space for our hearts.

Building space into our lives means paying more attention to what and who drains us, as well as what and who refuels us.

When we have space to be and to soak up that which fuels our hearts, then our gifts, passions, and creativities will flourish.

Have you ever noticed the Hebrew word Selah in the book of Psalms? While there's debate over its full meaning, many take it to be a rest. Similar to the rest symbol in sheet music, it signifies the need to pause and soak things in.

Our lives need Selahs written into them.

We need to intentionally create space for Selah in our lives, forcing us to pause, slow down, pull back, and rest. When we do, life is more full. Not just busy, but abundant.

Selah, friends. Selah.

What does space and Selah look like to you? What and who refuels you?

This post was inspired by the Luminous Project. Luminous is an event for creatives on May 9-11, 2012 in Nashville. To find out more, check out You can use the promo code luminousLOVE to get 30% off the ticket price.

on choosing your own adventure

'forkinroad' photo (c) 2011, Koji Minamoto - license: reading Choose Your Own Adventure storybooks when you were a kid? I loved those books. But I cheated.

I'd read ahead and skim the different options to see how they all panned out. And then pick the best one. I wanted the most ideal outcome to every situation — the best story possible.

In some ways, I've tried doing the same exact thing with my life.

When faced with choices, I wish I could peek ahead and see how all the options will turn out. (I'm not talking about moral issues, but things like where I live and what job I take.) I want to make sure I pick the one that is God's perfect will for me. I want to stay in line with exactly what He wants me to do.

But that way of thinking paints a picture of God having one ultimate plan for my life, which includes specific choices in even the smallest of decisions. And while that may sound holy, it leaves me feeling a bit like a puppet. As though if I get one thing wrong in my attempts to navigate His will, the rest of my life is basically a wash.

I'm not sure that's how it works. Maybe God doesn't hold my future in the balance based on where I choose to live. Or what career I step into.

In the midst of navigating the greatest transitions of my life, there is freedom in realizing God isn't controlling me. My prayers don't need to be, "Tell me what to do, God, and I'll do it." I can operate in the gifts, abilities, and common senses He's given me. Maybe He just wants me to discover and embrace who I am and what I would enjoy.

That doesn't mean my decisions are devoid of God. Quite the contrary. It requires an enormous sense of trust in Him as my Shepherd and guide. "Christ in me, the hope of glory..."

So maybe He really is letting me "choose my own adventure", guiding me with the desires, dreams, vision, and wisdom He's placed inside me. And maybe I don't need to strive so hard to peek ahead and confirm the outcome in advance, because no matter what, I remain in His hands.

I am still trying to nail down specific thoughts on all this... I'm in no way implying that we shouldn't pray or seek God's specific guidance. I'm not saying we can do whatever we want because His grace will carry us regardless of our willful choices to sin or disobey or go our own way.

I'm just saying I think there may be more lateral freedom in "God's will for my life" than I've ever before grasped.

What's your take on all this? I'd truly love to hear your thoughts.

Originally posted at Deeper Story. Read the comments there >

if God's in it

The other day I heard someone say something that got me soapboxing in my head. "If God wants us there, then everything will work out. The doors will keep opening for us, and everything will just come together."

And while that sounds spiritual, I've gotta be honest... I disagree.

Sometimes, even when you're right where God wants you to be, it doesn't all work out all the time. Doors will slam in your face. Provision may not be there. Vehicles will break down. There will be floods, and droughts, and fires. The bottom my even fall out of your world. Sometimes, it's just one hell of an uphill battle the entire way.

If smooth sailing is an indicator that God's in it, then difficulties are a sign that He isn't?? Hmmm... I wonder what Paul would say about that, having penned most of the New Testmanet in prison...

the beginning of the end

'Autumn at Mt Macedon' photo (c) 2011, Ryk Neethling - license: past few years of my life have been filled with untold endings. The end of my marriage. The closing of my ministry. The loss of my home, job, community...

The endings can be so obvious that it's often easy for me to overlook the new beginnings. But they're there. When I take the time and make the choice to look for them — to dust for God's fingerprints — I see them. Plain as day.

The beginning of my heart re-awakening. The launch of a new journey. The start of a new home, job, community...

I am reminded once again that the new life of spring actually begins with the dying leaves of autumn.

And I'm brought back to The Beginning.

"There was evening, and there was morning—the first day."

While we usually picture our day starting with the sunrise, God created it to begin in the darkness of night. Though it seems like an ending, the night — with all its bleakness and uncertainty — is really just the beginning...

What endings are you experiencing right now where you need to dust for God's fingerprints of new life?

Originally posted at Deeper Story. Read the comments there >


No, I didn't forget to title this post. I named it after my friend Blaine Hogan's book, Untitled.

I love that he titled it that. So brilliant! It speaks of a work in progress. Of not being done yet. Of the middle having as much significance as the end.

A lot like our lives.

Blaine is an artist, actor, writer, and producer. After 12 years as a professional actor, he's now the Creative Director at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.

You might know him from the 2010 Global Leadership Summit.

I met him at the STORY conference, where he delivered the most powerful opening monologue about sharing our whole story.

Blaine is one of my favorite creatives. (All you have to do is watch his dance videos to know why!) I love his perspective -- the unique way he sees the world and shows it to others.

Blaine pulls no punches.

And his book is no exception.

Untitled is a collection of his thoughts and reflections on the creative process, from 15 years of experience in the field. He candidly shares his own discoveries about failure, fear, rejection, and creating from the inside out.

In Untitled, Blaine is poignantly honest about the unsexy work that goes into filling blank pages. As creatives, as artists, we can't just wait around for inspiration to show up. We need to do the hard work every day to seek out and capture ideas.

For me, as an aspiring author, and one who often finds herself at a loss for words and clear ideas, I so appreciated Blaine's practical tips. Untitled taught me to scratch when I don't itch and to force myself to write on a blank surface -- of any variety -- every single day. (You'll have to read the book to fully understand both those references. But I assure you, that alone makes it a worthwhile read.)

I asked Blaine a couple questions, so he could share a little more of his heart with the Grit community...

In Untitled you point out that we don't learn from our experiences... we learn by reflecting on our experiences. What new things have you learned by reflecting on your experience of writing this book?

This is so true. It's only when we take the time reflect do we really understand the significance of any given moment. For starters, I can't believe I wrote a book during the first few months of our daughter Ruby's life. I mean, what was I thinking!? So while my wife was giving birth, so was I. I suppose I didn't want her to be the only one having so much fun. In the end, I find myself returning to the book by way of quotes that people have posted since the book's release, and as I read them, I realize how much I need what I wrote to be true.

Tell us about some of the grit and some of the glory in your life right now.

As I mentioned, we have a new baby. Ruby is now 8 months old. She is beautiful, fiery, fun, exhausting, and full of life. As I experience the glory of this gorgeous baby, I'm struck with stories of my own that have been buried away for sometime. There's something about being entrusted with another human being that has forced me to look at some of the sadder moments of my childhood. The thing is, I thought I was done with that work — I've been through a lot of therapy. And yet there has been great healing in the pain as well.

Can we expect another dance party video anytime soon?

Great question. I haven't decided. I started doing them in a time where I felt like I wasn't doing anything scary and I wasn't doing anything that was simply fun. Having a baby right now is certainly filling the scary and fun void at the moment... so we'll see!

Buy Untitled for only $4.99. Connect with Blaine on Twitter and his blog.

Would you share with Blaine & the whole Grit family about some of the grit and glory in your own life right now?

the treasure of Christ

You know all of Jesus' "the Kingdom of heaven is like..." talks? I've heard them a lot, so sometimes I stop hearing them. But the other day I heard one of them with new ears. I was reading about the guy who found the treasure in the field.

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."

I've read that passage quite a few times in my life, but this time I saw something I'd never seen before. The man found the treasure and then hid it again. For the first time, I asked myself why he didn't just take it.

Selling his stuff and buying the field proved the value the treasure held for him.

It was worth more than petty larceny. It was worth all he had, and his actions demonstrated that.

Yes, he could have just pocketed the treasure, walked off with it and no one would have known. But he decided it was worth more than that.

Worth so much, in fact, that he hid it again, went and sold all his belongings, and then came back and bought the field.

He didn't buy the field for the field's sake. He bought it for the sake of the treasure.

The field had value only because of the treasure it held.

And I have value because of the treasure I hold---Christ in me, the hope of glory.

The treasure of Christ is freely mine for the taking, but if I truly value that gift, I will sacrifice to lay hold of it. To lay hold of Him.

Too many days I just pocket the Treasure. Or worse, I leave it buried.

I want my life to show the value I place on the Treasure that is Christ.

thankful for different

One of the things I love most about living in Nashville is the sheer amount of creativity that resides here. Seriously. Everyone seems to be oozing with talent and giftedness.

The most obvious are the musicians, of which there are many. And they have more musical talent in their pinky fingers than I have in my whole body. I absolutely love and appreciate good music, so it's incredible to live somewhere where there's always good music to be found.

But the creative genius in this city spreads much wider than the music industry.

Writers. Speakers. Artists. Photographers.

I've witnessed creative parenting. Cooking. Blogging. Couponing (mm-hmm, you read that right).

All creative story-tellers and story-makers in their own unique ways.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to interact with people who are very different from me. I thrive on conversations that stretch my thinking and my natural bent.

I've had access to a friend's car for the past few weeks, so I've purposefully filled my days with people. Friends, old and new. Creatives in diversely unique areas. Conversations that leave me thinking for days afterward.

I've sought out awkward and uncomfortable situations (for this introvert) because they challenge me in good ways. In the words of my friend Blaine Hogan, "Awkwardness creates space for us to transform into better versions of ourselves if we let it." So I've been intentional about spending time in new places, uncommon situations, and with people who differ greatly from me.

And it leaves me feeling overwhelmingly grateful. For creative differences. For opportunities. For people who see and embrace me for me.

I'm thankful for different.

Because different keeps me from staying stuck in same.

What's something uncomfortable that you can intentionally pursue this week?

me 2.0

I just stumbled upon the beginnings of a blog post that's been collecting dust in my drafts folder since January. I am the queen of unfinished ideas and unpublished posts. Sigh...


Back in January I attended Dream Year Weekend here in Nashville. I was wrestling through my own feelings of dreamlessness, and didn't know how to reconcile that with all the amazing stuff I was hearing at Dream Year. I had some candid conversations with a few key friends to help me sort through my own heart thoughts.

Segments of one of those conversations (a text convo at that!) have been sitting in my dusty draft blog post folder all this time.

It is amazing to see the truth and strength of the words spoken to me almost a year ago, and how they have taken shape in my life over the course of this year.

The cliff-notes version of my friend's wisdom:

  • You don't need to find a new vision.
  • Your vision, purpose, and passion are the core of who you are. You are all about influencing people to change for the better and to pursue Christ. That is your heart, and that hasn't changed.
  • Your ministry in Africa was the vehicle and tool you used to express that and live that out for 13 years.
  • Now you need to discover a different vehicle and tool to express it. But your heartbeat hasn't changed.
  • That's why you've continued to be an influence through your blog, your relationships, & your Twitter interactions. That is simply who you are, no matter what.
  • As you look forward into the future, the vehicle for living that out and expressing it will need to change. But the essence of who you are and what your passions are won't.
  • Let's work on discovering a new vehicle...

That was a whole lotta wisdom and a whole lotta truth. In a text conversation. That my friend probably doesn't even remember having.

You know what I titled the draft post I had those bullet-points saved in?

"Me 2.0"

And a year later, I find myself finally realizing and embracing that.

Me 2.0.

I've begun recognizing ways that my passions and heart can continue to be lived out, even though my ministry in Africa closed. Even though it looks totally different than anything I'd ever anticipated.

So as I sit here thinking through all this, and finally turning this dusty draft into a real, live post... all I keep thinking is this:

You really never know how impactful your words can be in someone's life. Even a simple text message can make a world of difference.

So, today...

Speak into your loved ones' situation. In person, on the phone, in an email, via text... whatever. Just speak life into their heart.

They need it even more than you'll ever know.