Light from the Darkness

Currently, I am counseling a very depressed client. She has had no significant trauma, she is not in crisis. She has a loving, supportive family with money to provide for all her needs. She has friends and is smart. There is really no definitive answer for why she is depressed, nothing to point to on the outside. But on the inside she is drowning. Drowning in self doubt, self hate, lies, confusion. She is searching for truth, not able to recognize it when it stares her in the face or when I point it out to her…she cannot see it…she cannot hear it. Despite all my efforts, she is not moving forward in therapy. I am finding myself frustrated with her, with her inability to change, to see, to hear, with her choices to believe lies, just frustrated with her being stuck.

But then I remembered…

I remembered when I was depressed, so stuck…stuck deep down in the dark. There was no trauma, I was not in crisis. I had a loving, supportive family and husband that provided for me, I had friends, I was smart. There was no answer on the outside to the cause of my depression. And just like her, on the inside I was drowning, drowning in self doubt, self hate, lies and confusion.

I knew the truth but just couldn’t believe it…for almost two decades…

Until I did…until my ears were finally tuned to hear and my heart was fertile soil to receive…

And then… slowly…it was a waking up, a coming out, coming up for air, color, breathing deep, smiling big, laughing loud and hard and being surprised. That’s what coming out of the darkness feels like.

I guess I forgot. Sitting in my chair, facing this stuck client, I forgot my stuckness, my sickness…I forgot I was down deep, in the deep, dark pit. In the darkness where no one knows, no one but Him, no one sees the thoughts, the ones that scare you, that shame you, that steal who you are and try to replace you.

But there is one who does not forget, who sees you there, who is with you there, who speaks to you there. One  who also is acquainted with pain and darkness…

“Jesus saw him, and knew how long he had been sick.” John 5:6

“As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord is thinking about me right now.” Psalm 40:17

He knows, He knows you and he sees you. He is with you right now in the pain and knows how long and how deep your sick is.

No one wants to go there, to the mirey pit, but you learn things in the sickness, in the stuckness, in the dark. Those things have purpose and are meant to be spoken in the light, meant to be spoken over other dark souls. I learned lessons there that couldn’t be learned any other way. Lessons that can be spoken over my sweet client. Instead of being frustrated, in my light I can speak to her what I learned in my dark.

There is purpose in the pain. Are you in pain or stuck or sick? Are you in the dark? Listen, listen for Him, look for the meaning, wait for the word, the words over you in the dark that can be spoken in your light. It’s coming. Just don’t forget there is purpose in your pain. He’s not abandoned you.

He’s not just in the glory, he’s on the ground, even below the ground, in the deep, dark pit…He’s there. He sits with you. Sometimes he sits with you awhile there, because the lessons take time, but it’s sacred, on-purpose time. He waste nothing.

We want to rush and  hurry the darkness away, but know there is work, a new work being done in the night that prepares you for the day, for your day…your day to come out, to come up for air, to see color again, to breathe deeply, smile big and laugh loud. Loud enough for someone else to hear and catch their breath…to hear in the light what you learned in the dark.

David instructs us in Psalm 40:

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me and he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the muck and the mire.

He has given me a new song to sing,

Many will see what he has done and be astonished

I have not kept this good news hidden in my heart;

I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.

The Broken Places

David, a man after God’s heart…David, a man capable of great sin and acquainted with the broken places…David, a man whose devotion and passion for God are evident in the Psalms. He loved God so much that he wanted to build a beautiful Temple to honor Him: “It must be a magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world” (1 Chron. 22: 5).

In 2 Samuel, we see that David, Israel’s leader, sins and the nation of Israel is punished. As a result, 70,000 people die at the hand of a death angel. Crazy, right? The angel is prepared to take more lives, but God relents and we see a strange verse:

“The angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor.” (1 Chron. 21:15)

Then David, in a posture of great repentance, exhaustion and brokenness declares:

“this will be the location for the Temple of the Lord…” 1 Chronicles 21:22

Why would scripture point out where the angel was standing? Why is this detail important? Why does it matter that he was standing on a threshing floor?

Threshing floors were flat areas where the grain would be pounded and stomped and torn apart from its stalk so that it could be used for food. It was broken so it could be used.

Are you catching this? That’s right, the most magnificent and holy structure ever built was constructed on ground of great repentance, exhaustion, and brokenness. The Temple of God was built next to where the angel of death was standing, the angel that was summoned because of David’s sin.  The Temple of God was built on a threshing floor, land that was used to beat and separate the grain from its husk to make it useful! Land where David repented for his sins and was broken over what he had done.

And there’s more:

God told David his son, Solomon, would be the one to build the Temple. In 2 Samuel 12, we see that Solomon was conceived out of David and Bathsheba’s grief over their sin and the death of their first child. This child died because David slept with Bathsheba when she was married, and then David murdered her husband, Uriah.  “Then David comforted Bathsheba and slept with her. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and David named him Solomon.”

Solomon came into this world during a time of his parent’s repentance, exhaustion and brokenness. This child, born out of the broken place, went on to the build the temple built on the broken land.

The symbolism here is incredible. As Christians, we are now called the Temple of God. And we are only made into His temple when we come to a place of great repentance, exhaustion and brokenness. When our sin overwhelms us and we can’t take the death and destruction anymore, we cry out and God gives grace  and we become His temple.

Oh, I can think of so many messy places in my life where I repented, and was exhausted and he just stepped in and built something beautiful on that broken place. 

God is so good to us. He is working on our behalf, fighting for us even in the midst of our sin and hurt and broken places. He was working on our behalf thousands of years ago, when he chose a broken man and broken land and a son born out of brokenness to build his Temple.

He is the Healer of all broken things.

Are you in an exhausted, broken place? Are there unhealed spots in your life that need his care? He will come and he will build something more magnificent than you can imagine on that land that seems barren and useless.

He will say to that place “This will be the location for the Temple of the Lord…”

Will you let him? Are you willing to lay on a threshing floor and cry out and let that barren place be used for his glory? Oh, it hurts and it’s vulnerable but He’s good and He’s kind and he always trades beauty for ashes.

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” – Isaiah 61:3

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

There is always pie…

My friend, Anita, makes these amazing apple pies. No one really knows how she does it, but they really are the best. I’m not sure she exactly knows how it happens because it’s just magic in her kitchen. She combines several recipes to achieve the apple perfection. Her husband gets one every birthday, and Chris has snuck in a few requests on his birthday over the years. One Christmas, she brought her pie for a gift swap and it got ugly really quick! Adults fighting over pie!

A while back, I was a little stuck in life and really just feeling sorry for myself. Self pity is not a good look.  God reminded me of Anita’s pie: How she puts in the best ingredients, takes pleasure in the process and is so generous to offer her apple heaven to her friends and family.  I think God is a really good pie maker too. While lost in pie thoughts, I realized I was living like the pie was going to run out! Apparently, I believed that God had this heavenly pie in the sky with limited pieces, and I had better make sure I got a slice! 

Ugh, when you live like this, like the pie is running out, you live scared. You live frustrated and bitter, but mostly scared. Scared you will blow it, always watching others slices, worried about the security of your slice or afraid you may get no slice at all.

A friend once prayed for me and told me I was struggling with an “orphan spirit.” What the heck did that mean? Well, it meant that I was living like the pie was going to run out. Like I had to race and scramble for my seat at the table and then fight for my slice. She was right and all these years living like an orphan had taken its toll. It wears you thin, and makes you tired, and anxious.

God has been showing me lately that I don’t really trust him or his word. Gut punch! Like really believe it deep down, way into my bones, like know that it’s true, always true, and it’s for me. Because if I really, truly, deeply trusted Him and believed his word, I would know his pie never runs out. After all these years of following him, it’s painful to admit that I missed this. That I missed the truth that there is always a seat for me at the table, and the offerings are plentiful and beautiful and custom designed just for me. And for you! You might not even like apple pie. That’s okay, because he’s got your favorite chocolate cake at your seat!

Today I was reading in John 14 and these three verses struck me:

Vs 1 – Do not be troubled. You trust God, now trust me.

Vs 2 -There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home.  

Vs 31- Get up. Let’s go. It’s time to leave here.

God has been ministering to me all morning from these verses. He is saying, “So, Kimberly, do you trust me? Do you trust my word is true? That there is plenty of room for you? That there is more than enough for you and all my children? That the pie won’t run out? Get up, sweet girl, let’s go and leave this orphan state! You are a child of the king and it’s time to leave here! We have things to do!”

Oh, friends, these are good words from the Father! They bring such rest! He has pie for us all!  We don’t have to live as orphans, we can run knowing he is good and has more than enough for his precious children!

“No, I will not abandon you as orphans-I will come to you!” John 14:18


There’s something I love about laundry (and Costco granola) but anyway, laundry, yes…I don’t enjoy putting it away, but the process of making the dirty clothes clean just feels right to me. As my friends and loved ones know, I am not one to clean, in fact, I hate cleaning. It is NO fun to me, and I only do it out of necessity (aka, when Chris looses it and I have to). I like things to be clean; however, the process of cleaning, is well, just awful. But laundry, I love! It’s very predictable: things go in dirty and they come out clean. Laundry is measurable and feels so productive: 10 pieces go in, 10 pieces come out. (except for those socks that always go missing) and I can get a lot done in a small amount of time.

With laundry, things go in smelly and wet and dirty and come out fresh and warm and soft. It’s just wonderful! And then there is the folding. The clothes are sorted and smoothed out and stacked and then everyone gets their clean clothes. For me, it is a very satisfying thing I do for my family. Weird, I know. Again, I am not a chore lover, but laundry makes me feel productive because it’s predictable.

If only life was like this, right? Productive and predictable, alot accomplished in a small amount of time, sorted, smoothed and stacked and done! If only, but I am in an unpredictable state these days. I have entered the workforce after 8 years at home, my days have changed and my schedule is a little unruly. Speaking of unruly, I have 3 boys that are anything but predictable or productive. They are all over the place, making noises and smells, running in the house, refusing to do homework, doing cartwheels in the living room, tracking in mud. And every day is different. Nothing is the same.

Unlike my lovely laundry, sometimes the smelly, wet, dirty things of life don’t always come out fresh, warm and soft. Sometimes they stay smelly, wet and dirty for way too long. 10 goes in and sometimes only 2 come out. Life is unpredictable and can seem unproductive. And God is teaching me to embrace it all.

I looked into Sam’s big, blue eyes today with a new perspective. He was reciting his ABC song, and for just a moment, I saw his future. I saw that how I love him, speak to him, and teach him, impacts his future. That it matters. My mom impacted my future. What she poured into me, how she served me, protected me, taught me the gospel and introduced me to Jesus, all of that was for my future: here on earth and for eternity. It mattered to her.

Today I felt a great sense of purpose looking at Sam. For a long time, I have selfishly parented thinking about myself and how frustrating it was that the smelly, wet, and dirty things weren’t getting fresh, warm and soft like my precious laundry. The smelly things of my life, the unpredictable things, were frustrating me and keeping my eyes on me. But as I stared at Sam today, I became a little more okay with the unpredictability. I became okay with just sitting and grinning while he sang the ABC song, because I knew he saw me…he saw me watching and listening…he saw my big grin…and it made his sweet heart feel fresh and warm and soft. And it mattered.

Sometimes laundry has stains, and we have to scrub a little harder or soak a little longer, or call a friend to get stain advice…so that what goes in comes out fresh and warm and soft. That’s it, that’s the productivity and predictability I am looking for in life…especially in this season of parenting…to know that these sometimes smelly, wet and dirty boys will be okay. That the world won’t get to tight of a grip on their hearts and minds and ears and eyes…that all the prayers and words and warnings and hard conversations…that all this stain fighting will work…that they will be washed white as snow by the precious blood of the Savior who my mom introduced me to…that they will meet Him too and come out of this spin cycle of a world all fresh and warm and soft.

This unpredictable life of motherhood wears me out sometimes. But it’s for their future and it matters and I get to steward that. I get to help sort and smooth their stacks and point them towards God’s good plan for them. 

Botox or God?

“The priests could not continue their work because the glorious presence of the Lord filled the temple”. 1 Kings 8:11

Let’s read that again, because it informs this whole post and is informing my whole heart right now.

“The priests could not continue their work because the glorious presence of the Lord filled the temple”. 1 Kings 8:11

Mind racing, restless nights, teeth grinding, morning headaches, tight shoulders, clenched jaw, swollen gums. The Dr. says it’s TMJ and Botox in my jaw muscles will help. But I know these are all physical symptoms of a spiritual problem: hands closed tightly around whatever future and life I think I deserve, what I think is best.

Pride. He’s been my new bff.

Productivity, significance, achievement- all fuel my exhausted brain. Do you hear voices? Sometimes I do. They say, “Let them see, let them know you are something. You deserve to be noticed. It means you have worth and contribute.” All this is exhausting. But what do you do when the clients don’t come and the chair sits empty, the boys are crazy and life moves slower than you thought? What do you do when the door is shut and you know it’s meant to stay closed for now? What if no one ever noticed again? What do you do when The Voice whispers, “Wait, sit still, watch with Me, do you trust Me? Do you want Me more than what you want?” What do you do when patience and waiting and the unknown simply tighten your grip on what you think can control?

What is the lie? What is the stronghold that keeps me clenched up, unable to rest, to release, to rely on the God of the universe? He whispers again, “Kimberly, do you love Me enough to trust me with you?” What would it look like to let go, to open the closed fists, to breathe, to surrender to the unknown, surrender to His pace and to wait patiently for His hand to move instead of mine, to not be able to continue because His presence is so thick.

What does it look like to be overwhelmed by the presence of the almighty God, so much so that you can no longer work, but only worship? Mary knew it, sitting at His feet while Martha stayed busy. Martha missed it: the presence of the living God in her own living room.

What does it require of me to open a door so He can fill the space, invade it even,  and consume it in a way that I am prostrate, and chains are broken and unclean lips are made pure? Do I want that? Will I let Him do that?

In his presence there is fullness of joy and at his right hand, next to his Son, are pleasures forevemore (Psa. 16:11). 

I want to get acquainted with His right hand. If there is pleasure forevermore there, why, why would I look elsewhere, need anything other than Him? “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God  I love. Here’s my heart, Lord take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.” Seal it for what? For Thy courts. It’s for Him, His glory alone, not mine. There’s the lie- that any of this life is about me.

Lord forgive me, that any eye would look on me, other than for your glory. The redemption of me, the marriage I make, the boys I raise, the client chair in my office-is just for You, to make You shine brightly.

What if the most important act in this moment, in this season, is bringing Him glory? What would that change in us? What does that look like for us?

That’s the question, “What in my life invites your presence and brings you the most glory?” Then let’s do that. Let’s lay it all down, stop the working, the voices-because He is so near, all we can do is worship. Live a life of surrendered worship, whatever that means. Even if it means, the chair stays empty, the door stays shut, and no one sees but Him. Can I do that? Am I willing? 

Somehow, somewhere I stepped on the throne and thought I needed a crown. I seemed to forget the crowns are laid down in his presence and all that can be said is “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Rev. 4:10-11). 

Take a listen: When You walk into the room by Jesus Culture

Slow and Steady

They say “slow and steady” wins the race but what about “scared and stubborn”? What happens to those of us that don’t learn the first time, or the next, or the next? What happens when the same lessons keep showing up and you just can’t learn what is trying to be taught? What happens when letting go of what feels so true and right and comfortable is too difficult and so you just stay stuck?

I was reading back through my journal today, reflecting on what all has happened in 2018, looking for glimpses of  growth, success and movement forward. There were some of those, but what struck me was the repetition of many prayers and verses that kept landing on the pages. From one month to the next, the same requests to God and he continued to give me the same responses. I seemed stuck. 

I saw that I was scared in my prayers and stubborn in what was required of me. Scared to let go, to trust Him in the waiting, in the staying put. And stubborn in not wanting to let go of my way, my plans and my agenda.

So what happens now? Do I just keep writing the same worn-out prayers and having Him respond with the same truth-filled verses? How do I get unstuck, how do I move forward in growth and success?

As I prayed through what felt like grounded feet in really thick mud, I kept landing on the word ‘trust’.

Trust- to place confidence in, to surrender to, to entrust, to give into the hands of, to permit, to allow…

Psalm 37:3 “Trust in the Lord and do good.”

Psalm 37:5 “Commit everything you do to the Lord, Trust him and he will help you.”

Prov. 29:25 “Whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe.”

Psalm 91:4 “I will cover thee with my feathers and under my wings shall thy trust.

Rom. 15:13 “You will have joy and peace as you trust in him.”

There are some messages floating around out there telling us to work harder, that we are the authors of our success, that we can make it happen. And yes, it is important to work hard and stay focused, but it seems God’s economy tells us something different. God adds another beautiful layer to our work. God’s economy tells me to let go, to rest, to surrender the results to Him.

Instead of holding on tight and digging in my heels, I am to open my hands and trust him with the outcome. Instead of taking my dream and making it happen, I am to lay the dream as an offering at his feet, to give it back to him instead of running ahead. Oh how hard that is.

What a paradox, that the hardest thing is to let go and rest.

However, if I operate in complete trust, if I trust He is who He says He is, letting go becomes the easiest thing I can do. The pressure is off. It’s no longer up to me, but up to the Creator of the universe, Abba Father.

What a breath that creates for me, for us! How unstuck I would feel if I functioned in trust.

My word for 2018 was Rest. I have battled and worked so hard to learn rest. (Did you catch that? I have even made the word “rest” about work!) And here, as 2018 is drawing to a close, he is faithfully showing me what it means to rest. It means to trust: to place confidence in, to surrender to, to entrust, to give into the hands of, to permit, to allow…But will I? Will I lay it all down, rest under his wings and trust him for the results?

Slow and steady, with him by my side, I will win this race because “He is my God and I am trusting Him.” Psalm 91:2

In perfect timing today, a sweet friend reminded me of these lyrics from my childhood:

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.



Glory to Glory

5 years ago today. 5 years ago today he left us. 5 years ago today he ran for the first time in a long time. He ran into the arms of the one who loved him more than life itself. 5 years ago today he finally had no pain, he breathed deep and rested, finally rested.

But, 5 years ago today my heart broke, my spirit ached, my faith weakened, my miracle left me. All the prayers for healing, all the mustard seeds I’d offered to God, the mountain I begged to move, left me. That’s a holy, hard thing, to know dad’s miracle began but to be left behind wanting your own.

I’ve been working on that lately, working on my broken faith. I thought I had dealt with it, processed it like a good therapist does, but it’s been creeping up lately. The memories, the things we saw that we shouldn’t have seen. The pain he endured that was so unjust, the way his body was ravaged so unfairly. It’s been creeping up and I can’t quite handle it like I want to. God, in his wisdom, is bringing it to the surface because he is good enough to want me whole.

That’s strange, isn’t it? That God would reveal in me my angst toward Him, my questions, my doubts that He is good? Why would He do that? Why would He expose something that doesn’t honor Him? That’s brave isn’t it? He isn’t worried about his reputation. He could leave all this buried in me, keep it under the covers, but He is a cover lifter, as I have said before. He’s a light shiner, He breaks up darkness, even when it might reveal that we aren’t sure if He is good.

Don’t stop is what I want to tell you. Don’t stop moving towards holiness, wholeness and having your broken places mended. It’s holy, hard work. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it and God can handle the wrestle. We are wrestling now, me and God. I am wrestling with Him on my broken heart, my faith that was chipped at, the miracle I believed for but didn’t receive, the medical trauma dad endured, we all endured. I have doubts and tears and He can handle them. He is so good to not let them consume me. He is so good to bring them to the surface after 5 years because he wants my healing, my own miracle.

He’s kind like that, he moves us from glory to glory. Don’t stop. Dad never stopped. He always found the fight in him to keep going, until he just couldn’t anymore and then he stepped into His glory. Glory to glory. That’s how God works, at least that’s what I am learning.

Sometimes glory doesn’t look like what you think though. Sometimes glory looks like old memories coming back, tears, time in the counseling office, time writing down the words, more tears, hard conversations, bold conversations with God, telling Him your angry and you aren’t sure if you believe Him when you’ve believed him for 32 years. More time with the counselor…And then there’s glory.

Out of the wrestling, there’s glory.

Like when dad finally stepped into glory after all those years. All those years of wrestling with his body, wrestling with fear, wrestling with his maker, he finally stepped into his glory. Glory to glory. Please don’t stop. Don’t stop moving towards the One who can handle it, who can handle you and your wrestle and all your broken places.

Just please don’t stop. 

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18


Watchtowers and Waiting

This week I have been reading back through my journal from the past year.  It has been a blessing yet also very humbling: A blessing because I can see God’s faithfulness and his hand woven through all my many prayers and circumstances throughout the year. But also humbling because there are still areas of my life that haven’t changed, still places that lack faith, still spots in me that need more pruning, still hurts that need healing. He is not done yet, and I am not done. However, if I want to move forward I MUST press in. I MUST find the time to steal away to be with him, to give him the space to do his holy work.

I was reminded of a Bible story this week and I thought I would share. It is from Habakkuk 1-2. We see in chapter one that Habakkuk is complaining to the Lord.

He says, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen!”

Have you ever felt that way? I did as I read through my journal and saw those prayers that seem to stay on repeat without the answers I want.  

Habakkuk then states in 2:1 “I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.”

Watchtowers were used during biblical times as places of safety or security during war. They were high and set apart so that guards could keep watch for the oncoming enemy. Habakkuk is bold in his questions to God, then he steals away to a quiet place to watch and wait for God’s response. I love this. I love Habakkuk’s wisdom and confidence. His wisdom to get away from the noise, his confidence to complain and cry out, and his confidence in knowing that God will answer his complaint in his waiting. On Sunday, the pastor said, “Our bold requests stir up the bold responses of God.”  

The Lord does respond to Habakkuk in 2:2 “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time…it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”

So, what do we see here? What can we learn?

  1. We must be bold in our asking. There are only a few weeks left of 2018. What’s left to press into? What more do you want God to do in you? Through you? Be bold in your asking and watch for his bold response.
  2. Steal away to a watch tower. Find the place where you are not distracted, where you are protected from the enemy, and ready yourself to hear from God, and wait.
  3. Right down the vision so you and others can then run!  God will honor the time you devote to him and he will respond to you. Posture yourself with ears and hearts to listen. His response will require you to act. I noticed many of my unanswered prayers stayed that way because I did not act on the vision God gave me to write down!
  4. Trust him in the waiting and watch with him.

Steal away, watch what he does, record it, steal away, watch, record. Repeat. What a beautiful rhythm.

I am praying for you friends, praying that you find that sacred space to sit with him, lean in and catch the vision, his vision for you!

P.S. Some of you have asked and here is the link for Regina’s mentoring ministry and the story of how her journaling impacted mine:


Par-a-dox- “a situation, or person, or thing that combines contradictory features of qualities.”

“I will not be made sad by the very ones who ought to give me the greatest joy.” 2 Cor. 2:3

Ugh, we had a tough night. It’s been a tough month really. Such a paradox. I read this verse this morning and it jumped off the page. Like Paul was in my head. He has had to discipline the church he loves so much. He disciplined because he loved, and he tells us in verse 4 that he was “heartbroken. I cried over it. I didn’t want to hurt you, but I wanted you to know how very much I love you.”

I’ve always been told parenting is physical exhaustion on the front end and mental, emotional exhaustion on the back end. I am feeling…every….ounce…of the back end today. Feeling the paradox- the one who ought to give me the greatest joy has made me sad. He is halfway to 22 and over 60% of his way to 18. (I had to do some math for that one.) He doesn’t need our physical help anymore. But there is a mental, emotional investment that has to be made on behalf of his heart and that…is…hard…work.

It is harder than tying his shoe, pouring him a bowl of cereal, cleaning his face or picking out his clothes, all the physical mom tasks that pile up and leave you physically exhausted. I know how to do all those things and do them well. But this, this heart health, this training, this preparing him for the man he will become…is hard. It makes my brain tired, it requires too much head space, and it keeps me on my knees. And he didn’t even do anything too terrible. But we see glimpses of pride, disrespect and anger, and we want to see humility, honor and kindness.

And so like Paul, the one who should bring me much joy has made me sad. The discipline has left me heartbroken. I have cried over it. I didn’t want to hurt him but I want him to know how very much I love him…I love him so much that I will not let him get away with pride, or disrespect, or anger towards his family…I love him so much that I want his heart ready and aware of what it takes to be the best version of him, to become the man God intended. That’s the call I have on me now and it makes me tired because I’ve never done it before and I want to do it right.

Life is full of paradoxes. The gifts of life can feel like white elephants. The food I love can make my body sick. Social media can make me feel connected yet leave me envious. The people we love the most can leave us angry and wounded.

“For I cried out to Him for hope, praising Him as I spoke.” Psalm 66:17

This Psalm was written after a victorious battle. This warrior has seen death and “fire and flood” and “great abundance.” He has seen the paradox of battle – the pain of fighting for something you believe in and the joy of victory.

He has cried out to God and praised him at the same time.

The holy things and the hard things can co-exist.

We can cry out to God and praise him in the same breath. The things that bring us the greatest joy can also bring great pain. There is still a great battle going on friends. A battle for our souls, a battle for our hearts, and battle for our minds. It can leave us tired and weary, but it is so worth the fight.

Paul, with his weary, worn out battle-ridden heart says, “but thanks be to God, who leads us along in Christ’s triumphal procession…” 2 Cor. 2:14

Thanks be to God, we are not alone. Thanks be to God, Christ is a victor. Thanks be to God, I am being led alongside Him.

Alongside the one who lived the greatest paradox- the divine in a human body, the king of everything born in a dirty manger, the one with holy, healing hands using them as a carpenter and to touch the sick and broken things.

Life is a paradox, the hard and the holy are one. The hard things lead us into the holy things, keep us on our knees, crying out for hope, praising him as we speak.   

God’s Heart

Do you trust me? Really trust me? Do you believe I formed you exactly how I planned? Do you believe I hold your future in my hands and I always have? Do you believe I already formed your future? You past is the future I created when I breathed my breath in you.

Did you know that, did you know that the King of the world breathed His breathe in you….on purpose?

So many things intended for you long ago, your past, but the future I gave you when I formed you. Do you doubt that my plans are good for you? Do you believe that you can get in the way of my plans? Pride, that’s pride my child, to think that you could halt my plans for you. I am Almighty God. Why do you doubt my concern for you? Do you know that I see you, I care for you, I delight in you?

I am a Promise Keeper, a Truth Teller, a Heart Healer and I hold you close, so very close.

I am full, complete and I offer that to you, not a shattered, unplanned or unorganized life. If you choose me, if you listen to me, I offer you whole, pure and good things. Can you trust me with what I have chosen for you, your life, your people?

Do not think you know better than me for I am the Master Planner and I plan all things well.

I hold your heart.

I see the broken pieces, the empty spaces and I long to breathe life there if you will let me, child. Please let me.

Something broke you, long ago. You don’t even know, but I was there, I was there when your heart was broken. This is a broken world, and my children get hurt and they don’t even realize it. The enemy is a heart breaker and he wants my army bruised and battered.

But I am the heart healer and I am putting you back together child. Piece by piece. Piece by piece. It takes time, it keeps you close. Trust me with my timing as I put you back together. It draws you deep, deeper into me. Stay in my shadow, draw near as I put you back together.

I have plans for you, my love, good plans, and I will use your brokenness for my glory, to draw in my other loves. I do not fail. I am Good. I am Glory. I am Forever. I am your Father, your Abba, your Papa. I haven’t forgotten you.

I am closer than you know. Breathe me in.