I go out Walking

This past Saturday, I took a walk.  

Now, when I say “walk,” I don’t mean just a breeze around the block. No – this walk was much more than that.  

All throughout my young adult life, walks have played a part in my spiritual growth. A few years ago, I had a hard conversation with a friend at Starbucks. I left feeling sad and confused about what the Lord was doing in my life. I drove to the nature preserve down the road and went walking. When my job after college wasn’t all that I thought it was going to be, I walked. As I struggled with singleness, I did the same. For an hour or more, I would walk. I would sing. I would pray. I would listen.

Life over the past few months has been interesting.

In the middle of August, my husband and I picked up our Bostonian life and moved to Midland, Texas. I started school, my husband went to work for the family business, and life officially changed. Although many things about the change were wonderful, I had a hard time (and still can have a hard time) adjusting to everything.

You see, I have a problem.

I want to control my life. I want my marriage to look a certain way, and if it doesn’t, I get upset. I want my day-to-day circumstances to operate in a particular fashion, and if they don’t, I try to change them. I see the sin in my life, and despise it. What do I do? You got it! I try to fix it.

Now, before I get too far, I must state the following:

I think seeing negative things in your life and seeking to improve them is a good thing. The harm rests in how you do it. For me, the process consists of self-dependence. I analyze what conversations I need to have, what I need to do, and how I am going to do it. I white-knuckle it. If the issue is anger, I try to stop snapping and instead try to pray through conflict. If it’s discontentment, I strive to be more thankful.

The problem is it doesn’t work.

It’s exhausting, and it’s why I went on a walk.

In Deuteronomy 11, Moses is giving the Israelites instructions for living.

“Observe, therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, and so that you may live long in the land that the Lord swore to your forefathers to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey…The land you are crossing over the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven…[The Lord] will send rain on your land in season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. [The Lord] will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied” (verses 8, 9, 11, 14, and 15).


The Lord, through Moses, told the Israelites how to live. He promised them that if they lived in accordance to his laws, He would take care of them. They only needed to depend on Him to do it. If they were to fight, He would tell them when and where to go, and would eventually deliver their enemies into their hands. If they needed food, He would supply it. They needed only to trust and obey Him. He would take care of the rest.  

As I walked, I reflected on this.

There are things in my life (and things in my heart) that I want to change. There are things that I know are damaging to myself, as well as others, that I wish would just disappear. Even though, at times, I feel like it’s impossible, I know that the Lord is the solution.

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6).


Sin has been rendered powerless in my life because of Christ’s death on the cross. I don’t have to mastered by sin.  

I also know that God provides (as seen in Deuteronomy).  

I don’t believe the Lord promises me nice possessions or circumstances that don’t cause pain, but I do believe He is the supplier of joy and peace (Romans 15:13), and He is the giver of life (John 14:6).

Just like He encouraged the Israelites to trust Him and rely on Him for provision, He asks the same of us. Obedience leads to joy and peace, and if we are in need, He is there.

As I walked, I prayed that I would depend on Him and not on myself. I prayed that He would humble me so that, in life and conflict, I didn’t always have to be the winner. I prayed that He would allow me to trust Him with the circumstances in life and train me to respond rightly to them. I praised Him for His goodness, and I rested in His peace.

What’s going to happen during my lifetime is still a mystery, but I do know that, in the end, life will be full. Heaven is going to be amazing, and it’s promised to those who believe. However, as I walk on this earth, I have to remember that I’m not God. I can’t control everything, and even when things I don’t like are happening, I have to let go.

The Lord is the only one with the power to change hearts and the ability to completely control situations. I’m praying that I trust Him.

I don’t know what’s going on in your life, but I do know that He knows where you are, and He listens to your cries. Go on a walk. Let Him know what’s going on. He’s faithful.  

The Real Truth in our Move to Texas

The mister and I on our flight to Dallas, Texas.

Yesterday, the mister and I left Boston.

The whole process of finding movers, packing everything up, and turning in the keys to our little apartment was quite the roller coaster ride for me. It’s difficult saying goodbye to a place you’ve learned to enjoy and a group of people you’d rather not live without. It was especially hard leaving the place I first lived in with the mister.

Six Thirty-Seven Tremont Street was a true gem.

Within its tiny walls, the mister and I grew. We learned what it was like to sleep in the same bed comfortably. (I got several mid-night elbows to the face until we figured out how to navigate our sleeping positions.) We learned how to argue like a married couple, and how to work through conflict in an encouraging way (we are still not perfect, here). In our apartment, we asked each other questions and tried to figure out how to spend our time in a way that’s fruitful, enjoyable, and life-giving. We watched some awesome movies, and a couple of not-so-great TV shows. (ABC’s “Nashville” does not fall into this category.) It was because of our apartment, and our apartment only, that we met Fadi, the owner of the pizza shop next door. Fadi is super cool – and he became our friend instantly.

Although, our little apartment in the big city was not built for tall people (I frequently hit the chandeliers while stretching, folding blankets, or just moving around in weird ways), it felt like home. It was awesome, and I hoped to be there for a little while longer. I cried when we left.

Yesterday, as I was reading on the flight to Dallas, I came across this verse, and it encouraged me.

“Rise up, Balak, and listen! Hear me, son of Zippor. God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:18-19)

It’s an odd one, I know, but it holds a lot of truth.

You see, God never changes. In a world that is constantly reconsidering its position, God is certain. He is faithful, even when we don’t believe. There is nothing that can alter who he is. He is just, He is love, and He is full of grace. He is slow to anger, and quick to offer us mercy.

He is constant and unwavering. We, on the other hand, are not.

I never thought I would ever live in Boston. In fact, I wanted to settle in Dallas with my family, my church, and my friends. I never thought I would uproot my life, quit my job, sell my car, change my last name, and live in a city that requires public transportation. I, also, never thought I would learn to love it and then, in a matter of a month, have to leave it.

You see, the mister and I were supposed to stay in Boston for three years. That was the plan – and, I would say, we both thought it was certain.

Isn’t that how life goes?

We all make plans. We all set out to ‘conquer the world’ in our unique way. Some of us plan on going to school so that we can add value to the lives of others. Some plan on finding that special someone and settling down. Others of us plan on getting pregnant and starting a family.

The truth is, however, that it may or may not work out.

We end up in a tough situation and can’t go to school. We think we are going to marry a certain person, and then we don’t. We keep trying to have kids, but, for some reason, we can’t.

Things change. Our plans don’t succeed.

Psalm 25:3 reads, “No one whose hope is [in the Lord] will ever be put to shame.”

The world can change, and we can change with it. We can plan to go one way, but then end up going in the opposite direction. Nothing is certain outside of the character and being of God. We can invest all of our time and money into the stock market, and, as we all know, it can crash. We can try our hardest to be the most well-liked person on the face of the planet, but we may commit some party foul and fail at it.

Nothing in this world is sure except for the Lord. He is worthy of our trust and our hope. He is worthy of holding all of the eggs we would naturally place in some other basket. He doesn’t fail. He doesn’t change.

Where are you placing your hope? What happens when your plans fail you? Think about it.

Even though moving back to Texas was a change that the mister and I chose, it’s still a testament to the fact that we don’t know what life holds for us.

On Monday, the mister and I will head to Midland, Texas where he will work and I will begin my studies. The plan is to stay there until the Fall of 2014, and then head back to Boston for 2 years for grad school.

That’s the plan, but I’ll keep you posted.

An Ode to 27 (or Something Like That…)

A few weeks ago, I turned 27.

In honor of my new number, I thought about writing out a list of the 27 most interesting things that have happened in the 27 years I’ve been alive. (That list would have included historical events such as the downfall of The Dixie Chicks and the time with Garth Brooks decided to become Chris Gains.) I even thought about writing out the 27 people who have influenced my life the most, but I figured I would save that for a much more…um…monumental year.

So here’s where I landed:

This is what I like to call an ode-that’s-not-an-ode to 27. A list of things I’ve learned over the years that I hope to remember for the rest of my life.  (And, yes. You guessed it. There are 27 of them.)

Ready? Go!


1. Don’t lay on the grass in Texas. Always use a blanket. – If you don’t, you will most definitely get some sort of bug bite, if not 30 of them. Unfortunately, I have experienced this one first hand. My max number of bug bites is 42. Not fun!


2. Addictions aren’t worth it. – After nine years of addiction (anorexia/obsession over food and exercise), I learned that things can and will rule your life, if you let them. These things not only hurt you spiritually, emotionally and physically, but they also hurt those around you.  It’s hard to love others well when you’re always focusing on yourself. Freedom from addiction is soooo sweet, and it’s possible. Talk to someone you trust about it. It’ll be a battle, but the Lord is strong, even in your own weakness.


3. When in conflict, watch your tone. – It’s not always what you say that hurts others but how you say it. Stay calm…you can communicate better that way.


4. Boston always smells like urine or weed. – I love Boston, but it’s true. No explanation needed.


5. Humility is not weakness.– Humility isn’t easy. It’s difficult to praise the annoying girl at work for a job well done, and it’s hard to not brag about some accomplishment you achieved. Humility isn’t weakness. It takes a strong person to live it out. It shows people that you care about something much bigger than yourself – and that’s what you’re choosing to be defined by.


6. Everyone is looking for acceptance and meaning. We all just try to find it in different places.– Whether you’re an attorney, a bus driver, or a stay-at-home heir to billions, you want to be meaningful to someone. In an attempt to find acceptance and a purpose, we pick an identity. For a long time, I tried to be “Lindsey the health nut.” We all have ‘titles’ we are trying to obtain, and we think the content of those “titles” will make others accept us. We find happiness in them because they bring us what we want. The problem is, they will always fail us. (See number 7.)


7. If you try to find your meaning in temporary things, you will end up disappointed. – People will forget you. (I know…it sounds awful, but it’s true.) Just think about it. What was the name of your great grandfather’s father, and what was he good at doing? Unless your great, great grandfather was a president or something, you probably don’t know. I can choose to be “Lindsey the health nut” the rest of my life, but who cares? I think being healthy is important, so I’ll seek to do it, but it’s definitely not where my identity needs to rest. There’s only one place worthy of that. (See number 8.)


8. Eternal life exists in the name of Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for our sins. You see, only a perfect sacrifice would be enough to account for the misdeeds of humanity, and the utter brokenness of our hearts. In order to do this, God sent Jesus – a perfect being without blemish or any sin. He died on the cross taking on the sins of the people (our sin). He rose on the third day declaring that death had been swallowed up by life – and we all could have hope. “If you confess with you mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). It’s eternal. It lasts forever. Your life in Christ never ends. It’s worth knowing and finding your identity in Him. It will never fail you.


9. “Dishwasher soap” and “dish soap” are two different things. – Don’t ever put dish soap in the dishwasher. I flooded my parents’ kitchen that way. You can ask them about it. Just trust me, and don’t do it.


10. Resolve conflict early. – You never know if tomorrow is going to happen for you. If you’re in an argument or disagreement with someone, resolve it. No one wants to live with regret for the rest of his or her life.


11. Sisters are a gift from God. – If you have one, you know what I’m talking about.


12. Right now, you’re setting habits for the future. – What do you want your life to look like in 10 years? If you want to be a woman or man of the Word, if you want to be an encouragement to your spouse or your kids, if you want to be a person of prayer, get on it now. “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come…” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).


13. Coping mechanisms don’t work forever. – Finding a new relationship, a new hobby, or a new favorite dessert does not take the place of healing. Often times, the things we do to take our minds off of the pain we feel only serve as Band-Aids. At some point, it is going to get ripped of, and your wound is going to be exposed. Deal with your problems in a healthy way. Work through them. You’ll save yourself some grief in the future.


14. Clean up as you go.– My dad championed this phrase when I was growing up…and when I lived with them as a young adult. If you don’t do this, you end up spending hours just picking up around the house. As I look at the mess on the floor of our apartment, I hate the fact that I don’t have this one mastered, yet.


15. Community is vital.– Without a group of solid people around me, I would probably make worse decisions than I already do. Having people ask me the important questions in life gives me the accountability needed to live it to the fullest. Being known is important…I would suggest it to anyone.


16. Applesauce is a good substitute for butter. – I have my Grandma Betty to thank for this one.  Her cinnamon rolls were awesome…


17. You only get one body. Take care of it. – Eat well. Eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full. Find some type of physical activity you enjoy doing, and do it often. If you eat out of emotion (or choose to starve yourself out of emotion), find out what the root is, and talk to someone about it. Pray for help. Glorify the Lord with your eating habits. If you do, you won’t regret it.


18. A lot of people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. – I read a book called “Hold in Our Gospel” several years ago, and my perspective on water completely changed. Some people around the world don’t have water to drink. They are really thirsty. Their mouths are dry and all they want is something to drink. A simple resource that we have in abundance others are longing for. We’re blessed. We truly are.


19. You never regret time spent in God’s word. – God’s word is living and active. It changes lives. Spending time learning about God and how to live in light of who He is, is one of the most important things we can do each day. It’s worth abandoning TV shows, a few extra hours of sleep, or an early morning run for.


20. If you want to grow, you have to train on the hills. – Running on flat land is a breeze. If you want to get faster and stronger, you have to hit the hills. They are harder, but they produce a better athlete. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the rough break up, the crazy battle with addiction, or my struggles with insecurity. Hills happen, but you have to keep running. The Lord will use them for your good. Trust Him and persevere.


21. In bowling, a “turkey” is not a bird. – I got a “turkey” (three strikes in a row) while on the bowling team in high school. Instead of rejoicing, I explained that I didn’t want one. I thought they were going to give me a turkey, and Thanksgiving was still 9 months away.


22. Side hugs are kind of awkward. – In the South (especially in the more conservative South), side hugs are an everyday occurrence. If you see a friend of yours, you simply walk up to them, wrap one arm around them, and give them a squeeze. It’s simple, and no one thinks twice about it. In the North, however, it’s different. Up here, a side hug always ends awkwardly – and you (the side hugger) are always the reason for it.


23. I’m not above anything. – I am capable of causing a lot of harm in this world. If I’m not careful, I will end up doing things that could hurt others and myself. I am capable of being a bad parent, a mischievous bride, and a drug addict. If I think I am above sin, I will sin. If I think that I am defensible, I will live too casually and make bad decisions.  We are all broken and, with the help of a weak moment, can do terrible things.


24. Men and women are very different – and not just in anatomy. – For some reason, it took me a long time to figure this one out. I always assumed that men saw the world through the same set of eyes as women, but after a short 7 months of marriage (and talking with several other women and men I know) I realize I was desperately mistaken. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the differences – it’s still just still a little mind-blowing to me sometimes.


25. Practice really does make perfect. – My dad used to push me to practice guitar. I never wanted to. Today, I wish I would have. You really can lose some things…


26. I was not created without thought. – Some people argue that we all came from a random collision of matter. I wasn’t, and I don’t believe you were either. I believe you were designed and pieced together in your mother’s womb, and that, in that process, you were given natural bents and talents. There are things that will come easier to you than they do to others. Dig into those things. Get to know yourself and the way the Lord created you. Cultivate your talents, your God-given abilities, and use them for good. You were created for a reason.


27. Life is short, and you never know when it’s going to end. – This one sounds completely awful and depressing, but I think it’s important to remember it. I mean, many of us have experienced the death of someone we know who died too young. I’m only 27, but I may not make it to 28. Remembering that life is short helps me seek to live it right. Love much. Speak truth. Don’t waste time.

I love odes-that-aren’t-odes. Don’t you?

Here’s to life and the lessons that it brings! May we all live life to the fullest, learn a ton, and laugh often.

Wrestling, Rocks, Idols, and Numbers 16

Most of my life, I’ve been wrestling.

Now, before that statement gets misinterpreted, I’m not a jacked, throw-‘em-down, and make-them-beg-for-mercy type gal. In fact, I hate contact sports. What I’m talking about is an internal wrestle. It’s a constant pull between two things: the path of life and peace, and the path that leads to death.

I know that sounds extreme, but it’s very true.

As a first grader, I stole rocks from my teacher’s rock collection.  I remember sitting in the back of the room with the rock bin thinking I should just get up and walk away, but for some reason, the lure of the Tiger Rock was too strong. I knew stealing was wrong, but the stone was shiny, and I wanted it…

In high school, I snuck out of the house to play a board game with several of my friends. I analyzed which window didn’t have an alarm sensor on it, pulled it open, and climbed out. As I walked to my car, I thought about the consequences and reconsidered my decision, but I kept going. I put the engine in neutral and rolled down the street.

As a young adult, I wrestled with a cute shirt at The Gap. It was $52.00. I didn’t have money for it. I stood there wondering if I could charge it and pay later…I chose to walk away without the shirt.

I think you get my point.

Small and large decisions give us the opportunity to think about the path we want to take. The problem is choosing the right one. For some, walking down ‘the straight and narrow’ is their first choice – their natural bent. Unfortunately, for me, it’s not.

Since I’ve been married, I have come face-to-face with the root of my bad decisions. For a long time, I saw each bad decision or each emotional struggle as something completely separate from all of the others. Today, however, I believe they are all a little more connected than I originally thought.

You see, about five months ago, I hit a rough patch.

I was newly married and transitioning through a lot of change. At the same time, I felt spiritually disconnected, unmotivated to follow Christ, and distracted when it came to the meaning of life. My mind kept fixating on lies, and my actions were beginning to respond to them, as well. I knew I didn’t want to be in the place that I was, but both my heart and my head weren’t ready to move anywhere else. I was frustrated. I felt stuck.

On a flight to Dallas, I opened up a book written by Timothy Keller entitled “Counterfeit Gods,” and I finally took a step forward.

“Idolatry is always the reason we ever do anything wrong…there is something you feel you must have to be happy, something that is more important to your heart than God himself. We would not lie unless we first had something – human approval, reputation, power over others, financial advantage – more important and valuable to our hearts than the grace and favor of God. The secret to change is to identify and dismantle the counterfeit gods of your heart.”

I was in awe.

I put the book down and immediately started reflecting on the sin in my life.

Where do I normally stumble? Where do I typically give in to the desires of my flesh instead of the Spirit? I thought of few things and then asked myself more questions. Why do I stumble in those places? What motivates me to make the bad decisions I make?

It didn’t take me long to identify three reasons. Three idols. Three “counterfeit gods”:

First, there’s adoration and acceptance.

Most of the sin in my life is rooted in the desire to be well liked by others, to fit in, or to be considered as awesome. (Who doesn’t like to be awesome?)

It typically leads to jealousy, competitiveness, or trying to get the attention of others through superficial things. In the past, it led me to find meaning in how much attention I could get from guys or in how ‘fit/skinny’ I was.  Today, I find myself saying things I shouldn’t or comparing myself to others in a way that is not glorifying to Christ. I can easily crave the acceptance and praise of others over the acceptance and love of God. (Which I know He provides.)

Secondly, there’s self.

Often times, I just want to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. It’s selfishness at its finest. It’s thinking I’m more important than the other people in my life.

This idol pops up when I’m in line at the grocery store and the woman in front of me won’t stop talking to the cashier when I want to check out. I get frustrated, and it’s obvious. It’s also apparent when my husband wants to go over our finances, and I choose to get distracted with something else. Instead of honoring him and serving him by giving him my full attention, I do what I want. (I don’t like numbers.)

Any time I don’t do the good I know I ought to do, the idol of self is to blame.

Lastly, and quite possibly the most disgusting of them all, is pleasure.

It’s seeking happiness in the moment instead of what’s right.

Eating too much dessert, being lazy instead of being productive, spending too much time on Facebook instead of spending time doing things on my to-do list. Yuck!

Idols are funny. We worship them, but then make bad decisions or experience bondage on their behalf. We are broken people.

Identifying the deep idols in life was huge for me. I began keeping a list of all of times I was swayed by each idol, and I was amazed at how influential they all were. I experienced a lot of freedom through this process as I confessed and asked for God’s help with each one.

I wish I could say that today, after discovering the idols of my heart and confessing them to God, I am idol free, but it’s just not the case. Even though I feel as though the Lord has helped me give certain areas over to Him, which has decreased the power of some of my idols, I still struggle.

Proverbs 14:12 reads like this: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

Today, I can say that I want freedom from my idols (which was not where I was several months ago), but at the same time, I want all of the things that I think my idols will secure for me. I still want the popularity and praise from those in my life that adoration and acceptance brings. I still want the comfort of selfishness and the temporary happiness and relief I find in pursuing paths for pleasure. At the same time, I know these things lead to death. We were not created to life our lives for ourselves. Sin kills.

Romans 8:6 reads: “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”

Jesus’ words in Mark 8:35 read: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

 I know that following Christ means abandoning my self and my own order of doing things. God created me and He designed life. He has a way He intended life to be lived, and that design includes Him being my only God. In order to follow Christ, and live a life of peace, I must fall in love with following Him with every area of my heart – even the ones currently possessed by idols. The problem is, it feels scary, and I like comfort. (See idol number 2.)

As I seek to loosen my grip on the idols in my life, and I struggle with the fear involved in doing so, I must remember there’s a solution. I’m not alone in my wrestling, nor am I alone in my attempt to be more like Christ. He made a way for victory.

Let’s go to Numbers 16:41-50. I think it paints the picture well.

In this passage, the Israelites are still wondering through the dessert under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Instead of trusting God with the leaders He appointed (Moses and Aaron), all of the Israelites “grumbled” against them. They grumbled against God. They wanted to do things their own way. They didn’t want to live under the authority of the Lord.

So God chose to give them what they wanted – life apart from Him. God sent a plague.

“Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Take your censer and put incense in it, along with fire from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them.’ So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped” (vs. 46-48).

Just like Aaron (the one God appointed to make sacrifices for the sins of the community) stood in between life and death for the Israelites, Christ stood in between life and death for you and me. Christ, through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, bridged the gap for us. For those who genuinely believe in Him, the plague of death has stopped. We have been rescued.

Seeing the sin in your own life and wishing it wasn’t there is hard. Trying to rid your self of it is impossible. It is only accomplished through the work of God himself, and a willing and submissive heart.

As I sit here wrestling with the goodness of God, and the temptation to choose my idols over Him, I am encouraged to not give into death.

“Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:9&10).

He is the giver of life. He gives us abundantly what we need. We can seek to let our idols rule, but in the end, they will only fail us. We can put all of our energy into our idols, but they will only lead to sin, which, if you think about it, is a waste of energy. If we want, we can keep depending upon our “counterfeit gods,” while still claiming that we believe that Christ is enough, but it will only lead to death. There’s no debate about it.

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and cruses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers…” (Deuteronomy 30:19&20).

May we all abandon our idols, and all of the gods we worship, so that we may choose life with the only God there is.

Depending…but not on myself.

There’s one message that I’ve been hearing loud and clear lately: “Depend on Me.”

When I say I’ve heard this, I don’t mean in some loud, audible voice, but rather, I mean, in a constant, every-time-you-read-you’re-going-to-get-to-this-point type of way. You know what I’m talking about? Every deeply focused conversation, every time I see the brokenness in my own life and in the lives around me, and every time I pick up the Bible, I am gently reminded of the same thing…

We are desperate people who can only make it through life with a sincere dependence upon the Lord. (And by ‘make it through life’ I don’t mean merely survive – for all of us can do that to a certain extent. I mean live a life that points others toward a God of grace, love, and eternal life. I mean to live life in a way that outlives you – that has an eternal impact that reaches beyond yourself. That’s what I mean…)

Life has been moving pretty fast for the past several months (which is probably the reason why I haven’t updated my blog in a while). I got married (on December 29th), went on a SWEET honeymoon to Puerto Rico, moved to Boston, and began living in 600 square foot apartment with Mr. Weatherl, my husband. Between the wedding festivities and living with a man for the first time in my life, things have been…well…a little all over the place.

(I have to confess that the funniest moment post-honeymoon has been trying to explain to my husband what a duvet cover is. Hint to all future wives: Just tell him it’s a pillowcase for a comforter.)


Last Thursday, I felt defeated. Marriage felt hard. Being a woman felt hard. Past struggles started to creep back up, and all I wanted to do was…I don’t know…watch a movie or something. Since it was the beginning of the day, I had the notion that I should do something more productive with my time and work to redirect my thoughts on something beyond myself and the way I was feeling.

I opened the Bible and was encouraged by what I read.

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked…but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3).


I want to live this way. I want to live a life that is strong, one that is fruitful (brings nourishment to others), and one that draws people toward the Lord, but, if I’m being honest with you (as I am being), this isn’t the way I’ve been living lately.

Marriage has made this clear to me.

I can be passive aggressive at times. I can use my tongue to say destructive things rather than constructive things. I lack gratitude for the things the Lord has blessed me with – and the things He has withheld from me. I often times turn to coping mechanisms to deal with frustration and anger instead of Jesus and his ability to help me.

I end up lost and feeling like I’m stuck in an endless cycle of bad decisions and bad attitudes – and I don’t know how to get it to stop.

The magic word is dependence.

Psalm 1 doesn’t tell me how to fix myself, but instead encourages me to focus on Jesus. Psalm 1 doesn’t ‘dog’ on me and tell me I’m not doing good enough, it just reminds me to think about how the Lord is enough.  Psalm 1 tells me that there’s blessing in walking with the Lord. By walking with the Lord, even if hard things happen and everything in life seems to be going in the opposite direction than I had planned, there’s a deep down assurance that He’s in control and, ultimately, I am going to experience life to the maximum capacity in Heaven. While I’m here on earth, though, the goal is to delight in Him (and if I don’t, I should pray that I do).

Rejoice in who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s doing.

Meditate on Him, think about Him, and don’t just compartmentalize Him to one part of your day.

Let Him own your day…every day.

Don’t make of a list of dos and don’ts – just depend on Him, and He’ll grow me.

You see, my life was once marked by chaos and distance from God, which meant that my destiny was not looking great, but because of Jesus, and His ability to call my heart to His, my life has been flipped around and set in a different direction.

My relationship with God started with dependence. It started with the surrendering of myself and the way I had been doing things for a new way of life – a new way of thinking. It started by seeing the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross and believing that it was the ultimate and most perfect sacrifice that could be made for mankind, and placing my trust in it. Salvation didn’t come to me through self-dependence or my own ability to be good enough – it came through believing He was enough.

Today, as I’m navigating through life, dependence is still the goal.

When I feel lonely because I miss my Dallas friends and just want to be upset about it, I must depend on Him to comfort me. When I feel confused about the direction to take job wise, I must depend and trust in His ability to lead me. When I don’t know how to handle marital conflict or how to be an encouraging wife, I must depend on Him to humble me and open my eyes to all of the wonderful things happening around me.

Dependence. It’s always been dependence.

Oh, how quickly I forget.

Music, a Friend, and Thomas

I go through seasons where music really impacts me.  I’m not sure why some seasons do over others, but I do know that for some odd reason it’s true. Perhaps, I’m more emotional in some seasons and less emotional in others, or maybe I just stop and listen every once in a while. I don’t know, but I’d say I’m in one of those seasons now.
Music has really been encouraging my heart lately.

Earlier this week, I was driving to work when “Any Other Way” by Tenth Avenue North came over the speakers in my car. I turned up the volume on my iPod and began singing along – until I noticed what I was singing.

I was absolutely amazed at the truth in the lyrics. I put the song on repeat. Here’s a piece of it:

“I want to know who you are,

Even if you’re falling apart.

Reach in and touch your scars,

And all the shame you’ve held in your heart.

‘Cause it’s not enough,

It’s not enough,

Just to say that you’re okay.

I need your hurt,

I need your pain.

It’s not love any other way.

Let’s not pretend.

Stop your parade,

Trying to convince me,

That you’re alright,

That everything’s okay.

Yea, do you even know me?

‘Cause I already know who you are,

And all the things that kept us apart.

So reach in and touch my scars,

And know the price I paid for your heart.”

Wow! The song is a dialogue from God to us, and it’s saying to stop the act. It’s commanding that we stop pretending like we’ve got it all figured out and that we’re “independent” and without need. It’s absolutely moving.

He wants us to come to Him with our hurt and pain. He wants us to come to Him in need. He wants us to be real with Him.

That’s pretty refreshing.

About a year-and-a-half ago, I had the opportunity to meet with a woman who was really struggling with guilt, shame and hopelessness. As my friend and I met with her, we realized that in her feelings of self-disapproval, she had completely withdrawn from the Lord. She didn’t understand how the God who created the universe and sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins would still love her in light of everything in her past. She didn’t understand why He was keeping her alive. She felt useless, alone, and completely depressed. She had given up on seeking the Lord because she felt as though He wouldn’t accept her.

A couple of hours into the conversation, my friend and I encouraged her to pray. We each prayed for her, and then she, through her tears, told the Lord how she was feeling. She confessed her fear in thinking He wouldn’t listen. She confessed how lost and low she had become.

She laid it all out there – and, to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone’s life change faster than hers has.

Today, she is truly an encouragement to those around her as she loves and serves. She is no longer stuck in the guilt and shame of her past (though sometimes, she might be reminded of it), but has surrendered it to the Lord. She opened herself up. She told the Lord where she was. She was honest and real. She was vulnerable with the King of Kings and Creator of the world. She allowed the Lord to reach inside her and touch the pain she was bottling up within – and He changed her heart.

The amazing thing about this is that God has always worked this way. The way that He moved, and is still moving, in my friend’s life, is the same way He’s always moved. God knows us. He finds us where we are, in the midst of our doubts, and meets our needs.

Take the disciple Thomas for example…

Jesus rises from the dead in John 20 and begins appearing to his disciples. First he appears to Mary Magdalene and then to a smaller group of men. That small group then tells one of their friends, Thomas, about seeing Jesus – and he doesn’t believe them. He thinks they are crazy.

Here’s how I see it…

Imagine that the person who had influenced your life most had been executed for a crime they didn’t commit…That’s where Thomas was. Jesus, his teacher and Lord, had been crucified. Even though Jesus had previously told his disciples that their grief would turn to joy (John 16:20), Thomas was probably pretty upset. I assume he felt a little defeated and was, most definitely, in doubt over whether or not Jesus would rise from the dead. He was stuck in disbelief. Until…

“A week later his disciples (the one’s Jesus appeared to after Mary) were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your fingers here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:26-28)

Jesus knew Thomas’ doubts and delivered him from them.  He knew what Thomas needed to believe and He pursued him until he did.

Where are you? Do you feel alone, depressed, hopeless, or scared? Let Him know.

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;

You perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;

You are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue

You know it completely, O Lord” (Psalm 139:1-4).

He knows us already. He knows what we need to grow. He knew Thomas needed to see his scars – the nail marks in his hands and the wound from the sword that pierced his side – and He met that need.

I think there’s this supernatural thing that happens during prayer. Even though the Lord knows everything about us including what we’re thinking and what we are on the verge of praying, He still commands us to do it. He wants us to pray. Why? I think He wants us to humble ourselves and willingly allow Him to know us. He wants us to invite Him into our thoughts. He wants us to tell Him how we are feeling. He wants to know us – and He wants us to know Him. He wants us to take our fears and doubts and lay them down at his feet.

He knew my friend just like He knew Thomas. He saw the hurt and doubt, and He showed himself to them. He knows you, too. He is able. Nothing is beyond Him.

He wants a relationship with us. He loves us. He’s committed to us. He wants us to trust Him. Wherever you are and whatever you’re facing, He’s there. Draw near and be real.

“Cause when I’m weak, You make me strong

When I’m blind, You shine Your light on me

Cause I’ll never get by living on my own ability

How refreshing to know You don’t need me

How amazing to find that you want me

So I’ll stand on Your truth, and I’ll fight with Your strength

Until You bring the victory, by the power of Christ in me.”

          – Casting Crowns “In Me”

The Importance of "Only"

“The thief comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

I have heard this verse, and have read it myself, several times over, but it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I fully grasped what it is saying. For some reason, in the past, my ears have failed to hear and my eyes have failed to read the word “only” – and, to be honest, I think it’s a big word to miss.

Let me start with a story…

My first job out of college was working as a Project Coordinator for a Seattle-based marketing company. I learned lots of fun (and not-so-fun things) while working there, but one of my favorite moments of each day was when the FedEx guy would walk into my office and update me on his life. Each day, David would come through the door, walk up to my desk, put down the packages he was delivering, hand me the tablet to sign, and then fill me in on everything that happened since he had left the day before.He was always energetic and, was therefore, entertaining to listen to. From camping trips with his daughter to date nights with his girlfriend, he was always up to something.

What’s my point here?

As fun as talking with David was, the truth is, we were only friends because he brought packages to the company I worked for. David’s ONLY job was to bring me boxes, and my ONLY job with him was to sign for them. He was assigned the duty of delivery, and I was assigned the duty of receiving. That’s it.

What’s my real point here?

John 10:10 says that the enemy’s ONLY objective is to steal, kill and destroy. That’s his mission statement. His goal each day is to rob us of life. That’s it. That’s all he does. He isn’t trying to do anything else. In fact, he can’t do anything else because he’s that evil. He ONLY steals, kills and destroys.

As I meditated on this, I thought about how I’ve seen the enemy attempt to steal life from me. He’s crafty (Genesis 3:1) and he seeks to destroy (1 Peter 5:8). He sees my desire to follow the Lord, and he wants to stop me. He wants to take life from me – and he wants me to lose. He wants failure for me. Why? Because he doesn’t want God to get glory. He wants the fame – and he fights to get it. The enemy wants my mind, my heart, and my life – and he wants yours, too.

Intense? Totally! Scary? If you’re a believer, no.

The Word says there is confidence and security in Christ: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). Satan, the enemy, longs to destroy us. He wants to kill us…slowly…and in the most miserable way. Jesus, our Savior, wants to give us life, and He won’t give us up. We find ourselves being fought for. We find ourselves in a battle.

There have been times in my life where I have crumbled in insecurity, obsessive thoughts, or feelings of inadequacy in my relationship with the Lord or others. I am realizing, as my life goes on and I struggle through various hardships, that the enemy purposefully attacks me so that I get stuck and thrown off track. In these moments, I get turned around and start to focus on me, how I feel, and what I think, instead of what the Word tells me about God and the life he created me to live.

He robs me of life and joy.

That’s his tactic and my response must not be self-pity, or a drive to control, but an effort to fight. I must press against him and run to what’s true. I must remind myself that I’m not the enemy’s, but that I’ve been bought with a price. I’m the Lord’s. The enemy can’t have me.

We are commanded to fight : “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done EVERYTHING, to stand. Stand firm…” (Ephesians 6:10-14).

Satan wants us, but he can’t have us (John 10:28). If we are the Lord’s (meaning that we have placed our trust in the fact that He alone is God, and we can’t save ourselves but must trust in the cross which paid the price for our sins), then we are saved. He can’t steal us from God, for God holds power over the enemy. We must fight. Lean into the Lord. Ask him to search you and take away any false dependency, identity, lie or addiction from you so that you can grasp the power that’s at hand through His death and resurrection. (See John 11:25 &26.)

God’s word doesn’t say that Satan “sometimes” robs us of life. The Word says he ONLY robs us of life. That’s a lot different. So anytime we have a thought that isn’t of the Lord (obsessive worry, self-criticalness, or impurity), we must confess it. We must ask Him to help us and teach us to take Him at His word. When we lack in faith or trust, we must ask for it because our reaction to the temptations and hardships in our lives are crucial.

If the enemy ONLY lies, our response must be to disprove the lies he throws at us.

“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees, and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess” (Deuteronomy 30:15&16).

The enemy takes, but the Lord gives. Choose life over death. It’s harder at certain times than others, but keep going. The Lord is faithful, and He’s good. He loves you. Trust Him.

Misery and MEGA Change


I’m not going to lie. I haven’t been in the writing mood much over the past few months (as you can see from my lack of posts). The reason? I’m not sure. I mean, it’s not like there hasn’t been a handful of important and/or memorable events to write about. From Christmas, concerts, a great trip to Boston with Caleb, playing roadie for an all-women country music showcase, the loss of someone close to my family, the wedding of one of my close friends, a car wreck, and accepting a new job, you’d think I’d find inspiration somewhere! It just didn’t hit…until this morning.


As I hinted at above, I recently accepted a new job. I start on Monday, and I am super excited for the new opportunity at hand (I’ll be doing outreach marketing for a local hospital). The only thing that weighs in the back of my mind is the exit I have to make from working at a place I love so much – Watermark Community Church. Over the past year-and-a-half, I have experienced so much life change from just being a part of the staff team there. It’s hard to imagine not going there every day of the week.

I remember walking through the doors on day one so uncertain of what my time here would look like. With training in various aspects of college ministry and marketing, I knew that Watermark would be a positive experience, but I had NO idea how that positivity would develop. You see, in the summer of 2010 (when I came on staff), I was still deeply struggling with obsessive thoughts toward exercise, and the desire to restrict my food intake to control the way I felt about myself. Not only that, but during my first six months there, I struggled with the deepest season of insecurity I had faced since high school.

I was miserable, and I wanted out.

Through these things, and a few others, I realized that there were many areas in my heart that the Lord needed to work on, and I was learning for the first time ever that thinking I could fix myself was not only arrogant, but also fruitless. My white-knuckled efforts only landed me in the same spot I had been the week, month or year before. Leaning into Christ was the only way I could go. Exposing the lies I had believed to myself, confessing them to the Lord and to others, and then running to the truth in scripture to combat them was the only thing I could do. I am forever grateful for this lesson. It has reshaped the way I see sanctification and the type of effort I should have in it.

I also realized that when you’re stuck on yourself – trying to fix yourself and focusing on what others think of you instead of the acceptance you have in Christ as a believer – you miss out on the amazing opportunity to love others. The Lord performed heart surgery on me by tackling the areas in my life that he wanted to transform and, because of it, I was freed up to deeply enjoy the people I interacted with from day to day.

At Watermark, I work in something everyone calls the MEGA Cube (the MEGA, for short). The MEGA is giant cube that consists of six smaller cubes housing all of the Community and Connecting Admins – and it’s pretty much THE place to be! Over the past couple of years, the personalities within the cube have changed, but the friendships in it have persevered. From Crystal to Tucker, Dana to Erin, Amanda, Lauren and me, the laughter is abundant, and the discussions are both intentional and entertaining. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t laugh really hard – and there are several memories that play out in my head on a regular basis that I hope to never forget: Volunteer-shoe-fix-it day with Dana, the Balloon War with Amanda, Winagetasung, creating a fake email account and emailing my boss asking random questions….the list goes on. I will truly miss the people this cube holds. I’ll miss Lauren’s gentleness and her ability to tune-in and work through the chaos going on around her. I’ll miss Tucker’s ability to talk about anything for a really long time and her knowledge of random deep-Southern traditions. Erin’s smile and concern for others makes each day a little brighter, and if you don’t know my friend Crystal, you should because she’s smarter than the smartest person you know and she uses the best metaphors while telling stories. Man, I’ll really miss Amanda’s ability to turn any topic into something exciting and the way that Dana sees, understands, and meets people right where they are. I can already tell this transition is going to be harder than I thought…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned here, it’s that people and the relationships we have with them are quite possibly the greatest gift the Lord gives us on earth.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:18 – 20).

Make the most of the friendships you have. Learn how to love well. Watch how Christ is committed to you, and commit to loving others. Step outside of the rules you try to keep and the things you wish you could change about yourself, and focus on the fact that he’s made you to be you – not anyone else. If you know Christ and the payment he paid on the cross for your sins, if your head knowledge of this payment and the grace he gives outside of your own merit or effort transfers to your heart, then please believe Him when he says you’re fully loved and fully accepted. It changes the way you see things.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38&39).

A Thing is More Than a Thing

I have come to believe that nothing is just something. Just when you think a book is just a book, you end up learning something profound in its pages. A song becomes more than just a fine melody when you gain clarity through one of its stanzas…I could go on for hours.

Two weeks ago, I went on a trip to New York City.

From the moment we landed I knew the trip was going to be freeing. The weather was perfect. The sun was shining, and my Toms made their way out of my suitcase. I breathed deeply and got ready for the adventure at hand.

Setting off from our hotel, we walked down 5th Avenue, checked out Trump Tower, strolled down Broadway and 7th, and trucked it through Central Park. We took pictures of the Dakota, the last residence and murder spot of John Lennon, and ventured through Strawberry Fields. The history was rich. My respect for the city grew. As we walked around, I remember admiring the fashion and the way people hurried in their business suits from one place to other. I was fascinated by the tall cathedrals and beautifully constructed buildings, and, to be completely honest, was a bit envious of the way in which people seemed to be taking on their dreams.

That night, as I was walking into my room to go to bed, I told my mom, “This place makes me want to succeed at something.” I would soon realize the depth of that statement.

The next morning, I woke up and went down to the deli next to our hotel. I bought a cup of coffee, pulled out my Bible and pen, and started reading. I came across this verse, and it wouldn’t leave me alone:
Jeremiah 7:23&24 reads, “But I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.”

You see, a big part of my story is a continual struggle with trying to find meaning in things that were never purposed to give me such. On this list are a variety of things: a reputation; a certain amount of money; a job title; a particular body shape; and a busy schedule. On that day, in that little deli, I realized that many of the things that once plagued me were, once again, beginning to offer me a dose of their toxins. The idols had fallen off of their thrones, but they had not been destroyed.
Psalm 81:9&10 reads, “You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to any alien god. I’m the Lord your God…open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”

In that moment, I realized that my heart was becoming unfaithful. The success that I desired the night before was not the right kind of success. It was success geared at making much of me, and not much of God. I was amazed at how easily an environment had influenced my heart. Would I seek God if I lived in New York City? The question haunted me.

On the plane ride home, later that week, I thought about the question. I spun it around in my head. I looked at the people on the plane, and then thought about it some more. Here’s the answer I came to:
My pursuit of anything that leads me away from God’s design for me is futile. Through my own pain and rebellion,

I’ve learned that one thing is certain – God deals with the sinner whom He loves, and He does what He wills to capture his or her heart again. I could live in NYC and pursue all there is to pursue. I could chase money, success, things, status, etc., but deep down I know that all of those things would lead me to a state of emptiness. I’d end up in a place wanting nothing more than life, joy and peace. I’d end up in a dark place asking God to, once again, turn my life around. It’s a circle.

You see, things that weren’t designed to fill us never can.
Matt Chandler frequently talks about the fact that we are our own number one joy robber. I think it’s legit. No one thing robs me of my joy as much as I do. My decisions, my choices to ignore the convictions the Holy Spirit places on my life, my declarations to go my own way when desiring something of this world, they all rob me.

In Christ is life. Drinking of Him means to drink life at the fullest possible level. When my walk with Him is thrown off, when my fellowship with Him is interrupted, my life lacks peace and my heart becomes ill.

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within” (John 7:37&38).

My little trip to New York was no longer just a trip to New York. It had become an instrument the Lord had used to reveal to me the depth of my brokenness and my desperate need for Him. I was aware, more than ever, of my idols. He used the experience to remind me that He created me, and He knows what satisfies. He satisfies, and He alone is God.


Two Tracks, One Purpose

If you’ve known me long at all, you know that I LOVE country music. It’s just one of those things that won’t leave me alone. As hard as I try to throw my love for the music out of the window, it always flies back in. (If you’re like most people, you’re wondering why I even try to get rid of it in the first place. That, my friend, will be outlined at a later date, for it’s complex situation, and right now, I’m on a different wave length.) My purpose in mentioning this is so that you know when my mom asked me if I wanted to go see Dolly Parton in concert a couple of weeks ago, I jumped ecstatically at the opportunity.The show was incredible. Besides the fact that I spilt red liquid on my newly bought, and rather expensive, Dolly shirt, I couldn’t have asked for a better concert experience. Dolly is something else. Although her show is quite simple, containing well-written songs, many stories, and very few visuals, she puts on a great one. Her personality, stunning voice, ability to speak to the people in the crowd as though they were her friends, and her heart light up the stage in a very unique way that, if I had to be honest, I’d say only should can do. In other words, I left the show quite amazed at the gift God had given her.

That night, as I laid in bed reflecting on the whole experience, I pulled out my journal to document my thoughts. Here’s what I wrote: “I can’t help but sit in amazement at the raw talent the Lord gave Dolly Parton. To be honest, I feel a little jealous. Why couldn’t God have given me that much talent?”

When I woke up the next morning with the concert still fresh on my mind, I processed a bit more. It’s pretty incredible that some people end up being rich and famous, while others end up being ‘average’ citizens, or even people desperate for food. And all of these people end up where they are for the same reason. (See Ephesians 1:11&12 which reads, “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according the the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our home in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.”)

Sometimes I struggle with believing that those who make it to the top do so because of their own effort – their own drive. That line of thought makes me feel disappointed about where my life is right now. It makes me feel as though I haven’t tried hard enough to become something, like I’ve sat on the sidelines and watched the world achieve at life. It makes me feel as though all I’ve done is sit still. Even though I know I have sought God for direction and have done my best to follow His lead, it still makes me feel as though I’m not ‘successful’ enough. Then, I remember the truth.

First off, I can never know the story behind the scenes just by looking at a face. Sure, having the talent and ability of Dolly seems appealing, and her life that comes from it seems fun, but I don’t know the internal struggles she faces every day. It’s funny and sad at the same time to think about how life can appear great to others, but when the end of the world happens, the fame gained and the money made could all end in worthlessness. (Back to this thought later.)

Secondly, and most importantly, God does as He wills.

Proverbs 19:21 reads, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Psalm 94:11 reads, “The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.”

God is over all. Whether you believe it or not, He is. He created the heavens and earth. He created my heart as he did yours. When God created the tree in the garden, he knew Eve was going to eat of it, and then tell her husband to do the same. Nothing is hidden from God. Nothing is beyond his control. If He wants something to be and He knows that thing will bring Him more glory than it was bringing Him in the original state, will He not change it? I believe we ought to work hard. I believe working hard is what the Lord calls us to do. (Check out Proverbs 14:23, Proverbs 21:25, Ecclesiastes 9:10, and Colossians 3:23.) I just don’t think the ultimate outcome is up to us.

I can strive, I can labor, I can achieve. I can grit my teeth and grip my knuckles, but if God doesn’t want to bring my plans into fruition, if it isn’t part of his purpose, He won’t do it. I don’t have that much control.

You see, we’re all builders. Each life is a building. I know this sounds crazy, but just hang with me for a bit.

First Corinthians 3:10-15 reads, “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved – even though only as one escaping through the flames.”

Paul here is speaking of the church. He states that the church is build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and he warns those of Corinth to be careful as to how they build upon it. Not everything in this life matters (“gold, silver, and costly stones”). He reminds them to build with things that are in line with Christ, for if not, in the end, their efforts will prove to be only dust.

I can build for my fame, but in the end it won’t matter unless that’s the way the Lord wanted to glorify himself through my life. I must build on the church of Christ with Christ-influenced and Christ-led materials. Quality over quantity.

J.P., the Single Adults Pastor at Watermark, once used the analogy of Michelangelo carving out his famous statue of David. When Michelangelo was asked how he knew which pieces to hack off and which ones to keep on the monument, he simply stated, “I just chipped away that which did not look like David.” J.P. drew it all back in by saying that this in our lives that don’t look Christ.

Right now, I’m building. So are you. I’m a member of Christ’s body, so I know that I’m building upon the proper foundation (that is, Christ). All the same, I’m building. Each activity I’m in, each relationship I influence, every conversation I have, and each thing I do are all materials I’m building with. The question is this: Are all of these materials in line with the heart of God, since that’s what truly lasts? Are these materials ‘gold and precious stones’ or ‘hay and stray’? Am I being cautious with how I build and invest?

Dolly is one special woman. She speaks of Jesus often, but I don’t know where her heart is. I may never be famous, in fact, I doubt I ever will be. Dolly is though. Again, Dolly is famous and I am not. So, Dolly must build on the foundation of Christ as a famous person and I must build on the foundation of Christ as a not-famous person. In the end, the fame and the fortune won’t matter one bit. What will matter in her life and what will matter in mine is the same. We both get one life, and, in that life, God’s glory is what matters. It’s what we both were made for.

“So you better get to living” (Dolly Parton). Good reminder.