Our God Is

Fiercely protective. Unflinching. Gentle and compassionate. Impressive. Utterly good in every aspect. Reliable. Simultaneously strong and beautiful. Victorious. Completely just. Active. Holy. Enduring. Determined to rescue. Merciful. Avenging. Creative. Adventurous. Full of wisdom. Sheltering. Surprising. Unchanging. Absurdly generous. Sovereign. Faultless. Matchless. Relentless.

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Thinning the Forest

If you’ve never seen me operate a tractor, you’ve missed out—not because I’m some kind of mechanical savant, but because it’s hilarious watching me try to figure out what the heck a clutch is meant for, even after having it explained to me twenty times. I can safely say I did not miss my calling as a farmhand. Be the lack of my heavy equipment prowess as it may, I recently found myself perched at the helm of a large orange Kubota, my father, poor trusting soul that he is, riding around in the bucket with a chainsaw. Our task was to clean up the bases and trunks of beautiful old pecan trees mired in brush. It was hot. It was tedious. But it was crazy how different it looked in the after pictures.

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Label Maker

You know those “Hello, my name is ____________” tags you stick to your shirt, forget to take off, and find in shreds days later all over the washing machine? (That never happens to you? Oh. Cool. Me either.) We fill those out for ourselves as we navigate life in the dust—not with names but with false identities. Hello, my name is Competent. Hello, my name is Anger Problems. Hello, my name is Insecure. How many times a day does your heart change name tags?

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Redeeming Control

Being called a control freak doesn’t hurt so much if you’re not one.

Oh, but if you know your heart has struggled there for so stinking long, that label can mangle you. It becomes a second heartbeat, one with palpitations. Oh no! I’ve been found out! Red alert! And what does a control freak do when she feels threatened? We typically grasp for more control. If things can be just so, we’re safe. The world will spin on. Is this a foreign concept to you? Stop and consider the crushing weight it might add to your daily life, believing that everything depends on your. getting. it. all. right. It really is a brutal cycle that bullies self just as much as it bullies others.

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When God’s Plan Comes with a Beard

“The strength of a man is first a soulish strength—strength of heart. And yes, as he lives it out, owns it, inhabits his strength, he does become more handsome. More attractive. As the fruit of an inner reality.”

(John and Stasi Eldredge, Captivating)

Rear end wearing out the same pew for most of my childhood, I wondered what God’s plan for my life would look like. I assumed it would involve a shiny one-way plane ticket for overseas missions. My twelve-year-old brain was convinced I’d make a hut my home and teach African bush children how to speak English. (Not super sure why African bush children would need to know how to speak English, but that’s beside the point.) Divine direction would come singing my name so clearly—in Swahili!—and I’d dance my way into a glorious kingdom legacy.

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The Well-Tended Garden

Self-care has been weighing on my mind like a quick-ripening fruit recently. John Ortberg’s Soul Keeping and The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner sit dog-eared nearby. Small pockets of peace wait around my home—a facial mask, some doodling pens, the Bible study I’m loving entirely too much to not be considered a nerd. Bits of beauty scattered throughout my space and schedule. I used to think the whole “me time” thing was for weenies with lame theology and weak wills. (Grace abounds, friends, even for this brand of self-righteousness.) The longer I’m in ministry, though, the more crucial tending my own heart feels to me.

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A Few of My Favorite Things

June poured in with swollen clouds and full-blown blooms on the rhododendrons out front. Ice cream shops have thrown their doors wide open. Golfers rejoice, my husband leading them with wild whoops. Girls laced in white float down church aisles across the nation. All this beauty birthed out of waiting. As we inch our way into the golden haze of summer, ask God to nudge you, pointing out the pieces of redemption He’s gifted to this world in the unlikeliest of places. I’ll help you get started.

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Mountain Song

“We all go up on the mountain and turn into wilder versions of ourselves. It’s why we go: to be unleashed from everything that has a hold on us.”

(Jilllian Lukiwski)

I’m knee-deep in one of the busiest seasons I’ve ever known. Deadlines, responsibilities, new chances to minister love to the neglected. While the load is sweet and necessary, it creates an awareness in me of my ache for Jesus. Specifically, my need to be alone with Him and cared for by Him. I feel a pull to the mountain.

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