You say that all I have to do is call to You, and You will tell me things I do not know.
So, tell me: Where are You?
I can’t read the news anymore. There’s so much pain in the world right now, and I can’t help but wonder—where is Your light? You say You have overcome the world, but we still have to live in it, and it is so very broken. I tell my children that You are a good and loving God who will protect them. But then, in the same breath, I have to explain why they aren’t allowed to see their friends or be near their grandparents.
I found myself in Mark 5 this morning, reading about Jesus raising the young girl from the dead. All He had to do was take her by the hand and say, “Little girl—get up!” and immediately, she stood up and began to walk around.
Maybe you know that Jesus wants to resurrect you from something—He’s telling you to get up—but you don’t see the fruit.
If you back up a few verses, notice what Jesus did right before He healed the girl: He pruned. When He told the crowd that she was not dead but asleep, they laughed at Him. So He told them to get out. Scripture says He put them all outside before going upstairs with the child’s mother, father, and the disciples who were with Him. Then He revived the girl.
Not from God, and not from each other. That wasn’t the plan God had for His creation.
We weren’t supposed to lose our mothers, fathers, children, spouses, siblings, or friends. God never wanted us to carry that kind of grief. Our hearts know it—that’s why there is something in us that cries out, “This isn’t right,” when our loved ones are stolen from us. And as we struggle with our sorrow, sometimes we can’t help but wonder how a good God could let us suffer.
In Luke 17:1, Jesus says it is impossible that no offenses will come. In Greek, the word for offenses can mean hindrances, obstacles, or stumbling blocks. And that’s what the spirit of offense does—it hinders our walk with Christ.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I am offended, I lose my religion. I can be having a full-on spiritual revival in my car, listening to my worship music, and feeling the very presence of God. But when someone cuts me off without using a blinker, suddenly my heart loses focus, and I’m yelling out, “Jesus, you better take the wheel because I’m about to rear-end a Pharisee!”
When I first met my pastor, he prayed over me and my husband, Matt.
The two of them had grown up together, but he didn’t know me very well, and I could tell because he specifically prayed over a ministry I was going to have one day while speaking to a crowd. I remember smiling and nodding while thinking, “You have SO got the wrong girl.”
My skeptical response was a reaction based on where I was in my walk with Jesus at the time.
You see, my salvation did not meet my expectations.
Over the past few months, the Holy Spirit really convicted me about my spirit of defense. I frequently felt the need to deflect, deny, or defend, instead of trying to listen with an open heart or empathize with someone’s pain. So many times, I rolled my eyes at something on social media, only to feel a tug in my spirit: Your experiences do not negate someone else’s. So I finally sat down and spent some time in prayer.
This morning was chaotic. We were late for church, and I was trying to get my daughter’s messy hair into a quick braid. As I combed through one of her tangles, she tensed up and yelled, “Ow, ow, ow!” I quickly kissed her head and said, “You’re fine,” as I rushed out the door to finish getting ready. She followed me out and tugged on my dress. As I turned around, my 3-year-old looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “No, I’m not fine. It hurts.”
I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and came across a post talking about abortion. It encouraged people who consider themselves pro-life to show grace to mothers who did choose life, but didn’t do it in a conventional way: the teenage girl who dropped out of high school to have her baby, the married woman who gave her baby up for adoption, the unmarried woman who had a baby with her boyfriend, or the woman using food stamps at the grocery store to support her five children. The writer shared that all of them chose life, yet still get judged by the people who claim to be pro-life because they have a non-traditional lifestyle.
I watch you glance at the clock. Because for now, life runs on time. And your days just don’t seem to have enough. It’s time for a bath and bed, and it’s okay when you feel guilty that you’re glad. I give you just enough energy to make it through the splashes and tantrums. And I hear every word you softly sing over her. I am already answering those prayers for her. Mama, you just wait to see what I do in her life.
Your to-do list is almost complete. And even after all of that, you still come meet me on the couch. I understand that you can barely hold your eyes open, but Mama, my Truth is just the refreshment you need. My Word is the energy you need to love hard tomorrow. And all I need you to do it open it. I’ll do the rest. And I’ll give you rest.
You did more Kingdom work today than you will ever know, sweet Mama.
And you will never know how proud I am of you.
—“Dear Working Mama” by Jessica Satterfield (excerpt)
Three years ago, as a brand new mom in the throes of postpartum depression, I gulped these words down like they were water for my parched soul. Over and over again, I would go back and forth between these words and His Word. My whole life I had been an over-achiever, and it was devastating to not live up to my own expectations.
I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Mexico with Operation Christmas Child. I had the opportunity to visit with several local pastors and lead a team of staff members as we all got to experience the joy of thousands of children hearing the Gospel for the very first time.
One of my favorite things about being a mom is how God uses parenting moments to give me better insight into His relationship with me.
This past week, my husband and I celebrated our daughter’s third birthday. After he picked her up from preschool, she came barreling in the door asking for a “birthday lollipop.” I told her no because we had plans to surprise her with a trip to an ice cream shop that had 20 flavors and 50 toppings to choose from. She immediately burst into tears, devastated that we wouldn’t let her have a lollipop. As she melted into the floor, accusing us of hurting her feelings, I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and say, “If you only knew what we have planned for you!”
“Jesus may have said man shall not live by bread alone, but He said nothing about moms living by caffeine alone,” I joked to my husband while sucking down my second cup of coffee after a hectic morning. Icy roads, school delays, and blow-out diapers had not set us off on the right foot. I was frustrated because I was going to be late to work (again), but in the midst of the craziness, I felt a gentle prompting in my spirit to meditate on Nehemiah 8:10:
I have prayed about this post for a while before putting it out into the world.
Since the ruling in New York, I’ve seen a lot of posts about abortion on my social feeds. I’m not going to debate the morality of abortion, because at the end of the day I am pro-life, but I do want to point out that when the crowd was ready to stone the woman, Jesus didn’t join them just because they were on the right side of the issue. Instead, He stood against the crowd and invited them to self-reflect.
I’m honored to share this beautiful testimony from my sweet friend, Tiffany, who will always hold a special place in my heart. She was my daughter’s nanny for two years, and my husband and I consider her part of our family. Every single day, she was intentional about showing my baby girl the love of Jesus and I will be forever thankful.
For out of His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. – John 1:16
“The Lord keeps giving me a vision of being in the middle of an ocean. I’m treading water and barely surviving. There’s no land in sight; nowhere to go. I begin to get more and more exhausted as I try to carry my life on my shoulders. My past crashes over me like a wave. The pain of sexual abuse, fear, and unworthiness creep into my lungs while I desperately fill them with air. I push my head under the water every few seconds to rest. But then I pop back up, gasping for air, and take up the weight again. I never stay down long enough to let the water fill my lungs.
The other day I found myself asking my toddler this question after she repeatedly refused to put away her new Christmas toys. Usually, she responds with a sullen, “You are.” But this time she smiled at me and said, “Jesus is!”
It was pretty hard to argue with that logic, so my new parenting motto is: Until Jesus comes back, Mommy’s in charge.