Miracles in the Mundane

Miracles in the Mundane
Everyone loves a good testimony —the miracles, the love encounters, the crazy coincidences that all point to God’s goodness.
Testimonies remind us that God is good. They remind us that God is real and working today.
Yet, sometimes we overlook the fact that testimonies are usually centered on a particular event or a moment. Although we are supposed to remember those moments (Deuteronomy 8), sometimes we can easily place them on a pedestal, without really understanding the implications for our everyday lives.
On Sunday mornings, you may have heard an amazing sermon about radical faith and were challenged to be more radical, wholehearted, excellent for the Kingdom of God. Yet, afterwards, you leave the sanctuary and you go to lunch. After your lunch, you go home, watch a few episodes of Netflix, and then you go to sleep to start the following week. And you don’t know what radical faith looks like afterwards.  
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Repentance to Redemption (Part 3: The Work of Restoration)

Repentance to Redemption (Part 3: The Work of Restoration)
A while back, when I was a volunteer at a ministry, I was faced with the need to take a step back from serving the church in order to allow some sanctifying and healing work to be done in my life. I was going through an extremely low season that led to my making poor choices left and right. Consequently, my pastor at that time recommended that I step down from my serving position to go through a “year of restoration.”
If I were to go back, I would have asked him to clarify what a “year of restoration” actually entailed. To me, it sounded like time-out, a probationary period where I held the responsibility to earn my “good girl” status again. And although this pastor most definitely did not intend it to be so, this placed me on a year’s journey of attempting to rebuild my life through my own striving. During that season, I did anything I could to fix myself, and I definitely failed. If anything, the attempt just left me more burnt out and jaded.  
Most Christians desire to be holy in character and pure in heart. Most would desire to be in good standing with the church community and their pastors. Yet, once the choice to repent is made, one still faces the challenge of rebuilding what’s been broken. This part can be hard.
Restoration is work.
But, it’s important to know that it’s God’s work.

Continue reading “Repentance to Redemption (Part 3: The Work of Restoration)”

Beautiful Failures

Beautiful Failures
My firstborn plays the piano. She started at the age of five, and she’s always loved the challenge of learning music. However, one day, I saw her fumbling over the keys during practice, and, although it was dinner time, she refused to leave her seat. I figured she just wanted to finish practicing and did not think much of it. But, by the time the rest of the kids were done with their dinners, Moriah silently closed her books and quietly left the piano to sit at the table. She whispered, “Okay, I’m done,” her face downcast and half-hidden behind her long, tangled hair.
I knew in my heart that something wasn’t right, so I took to her to a private place on the stairwell, and I brushed her hair back to see her face flushed and her eyes brimming with hot tears. In the midst of how hectic it got during mealtime, I did not realize that she was extremely stressed during her practice. I asked her what the matter was, and she just released a deep, sorrowful cry.
“It was too hard. I hate it when I make mistakes. I just hate it so much.”
I don’t know how a 7-year-old could have such high standards for herself. Yet, I was able to resonate with her pain, the pain of not seeing progress and only seeing failure.  
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Repentance to Redemption (Part 2: Reclaiming Your Identity)

Repentance to Redemption (Part 2: Reclaiming Your Identity)
God is an excellent Creator. His intentions for humankind were nothing less than spectacular. After Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden, they were not commissioned to just survive and eat their way through existence. They were created to thrive, conquer, and expand their lot. Life was supposed to be about victories and progress, never-ending fruitfulness and unadulterated peace (Genesis 1).
In other words, you were created to be amazing, which makes sense because we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Continue reading “Repentance to Redemption (Part 2: Reclaiming Your Identity)”

Repentance to Redemption (Part I: Trying to Change)

Repentance to Redemption (Part I: Trying to Change)

What if you just can’t change?

If the need to change wasn’t an issue, then Christianity would be a cinch. Free ticket to heaven? Great! Jesus loves me? Amen! He has a hope and future for me? That’s what I want too!
But, I shouldn’t be conformed to the patterns of this world?
I need to repent?
Put off my old self?
That’s much more difficult to embrace.

Continue reading “Repentance to Redemption (Part I: Trying to Change)”

How Chosen Do You Feel?

How Chosen Do You Feel?
I’ve always struggled with the idea of being chosen by God.
I know He saved me.
I know He has a seat for me in heaven.
Strangely enough, I used to believe that because of His charitable goodness, I could just be a recipient of God-given welfare, rather than be someone in His genuine favor. It’s easy to feel that God cared enough to save your life, just the way we allow a bug to live or place a fallen bird back in its nest. However, to feel that He favored me like you would favor your own child, that required a breakthrough of faith.
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How I Find Strength…

How I Find Strength…
I frequently get asked, “How do you do it?”
“It” being how I juggle being a wife, mother, pastor, and pastor’s wife.
In a certain season in my life, I was a full-time youth pastor, full-time grad school student, and a full-time mother, all the while trying to also be a supportive wife to a pastor with his own ministry as well. I was also pregnant for the majority of those years.  Admittedly, it was a lot of hats to wear for one person.
But contrary to popular belief, I’m not very strong.
Continue reading “How I Find Strength…”

Is it well with your soul?

Is it well with your soul?
I’ve been a bit numb these days. I think we all have that in our spiritual walk time to time.
I think at this point in the game, I know what to do when I’m not “feeling it.” I just try harder. I shift my mindset. I make the right choices. I die to myself and take up my cross daily.
We are constantly taught that the spiritual way of life is one of peace and joy. But, let’s be real… sometimes it’s just easier to be indifferent. Perhaps, it’s because being indifferent is one step more acceptable than being angry, discouraged, or anxious.
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When Choosing Sacrifice…

When Choosing Sacrifice…
I don’t like pain.
I’m the type that would avoid any level of discomfort at all costs.
So, when I initially chose the life of ministry, I feared that the losses would be too heavy. Indeed, this included a fear that the humble circumstances would be too much to bear.
Nevertheless, I’ve been relatively spared up until now. Compared to the strife endured by the persecuted church around the world, I live a simple and easy life. We have a home. My children are receiving an excellent education. Both my husband and I have a steady paycheck, and we live the average, middle-class lifestyle in the suburbs of New Jersey. We get the occasional Starbucks drink.
Certainly, there is a cross to bear on a daily basis. Nothing comes easy in ministry. Yet, I haven’t quite fought to the literal point of bloodshed just yet. And to be honest, I did not want to. The idea of shaking things up was the last thing on my mind. Continue reading “When Choosing Sacrifice…”