Sep 22, 2020

A Simple Love


Hello Friend!

Happy September 22 (unless you read this later), Tuesday, first day of Autumn (all the feels!), national icecream cone day, and a million other blessings!  Today I have some little, poetic thoughts as I sit here beside my favorite dictionary and dream of who I am, who God is, who we are. 

And that's all - some pretty words I try to compile together and a deeper longing for Jesus. And if life is beautiful and full of autumn's sweaters and cinnamon scents and candles or if you struggle and skim over words and hide away within yourself, still know that there's purpose. You are here for such a time as this and dearly beloved

May your fall be full of that rememberance, friend. *hugs*

I need a simple love. 

Simple, like it says in black ink on this thin page: 

consisting of one thing // uncompounded // unmingled // uncombined with anything else 

Simple love, where my focus is on One, and He is all I see. Like the piercing brightness on this first day of autumn where the sun shines full blast and I squint, see nothing else save that warm whiteness. Or like a drenching storm as I stand under a tin roof and hear that one consistent rhythm, and it becomes all. 

Not a love where I work and strive and struggle to muster it up, but a simple me and Him. A Daddy I sit beside, share secrets. A Friend who holds my hand. A Lover I can’t help but talk about and giggle about and tell everyone I know. 

Like the rain, I forget all. I forget the sun and clouds and stars somewhere in space and become consumed by the pounding drops, shattering like crystals. They soak my hair, my clothes, and I watch the lines of water pulse in invisible wind patterns. The stars are somewhere too, but I don’t see them, don’t think of them, because these glittering galaxies are ones I can touch.

I need a simple love like that.

Or simple, this black ink goes on to define, can be a medicinal herb or plant, and I laugh to think I can go “simpling” down meandering meadows and rolling hills. And yet, walking with book in hand and eyes searching is a singular purpose. I track to find a healing remedy, simples – those medicinal greens – but I’m really seeking the One who heals. The secret One who is so close yet spans the world. Who is invisible yet can be seen in the moments of the everyday. If my love is like that, searching the valleys with ardor for Him, it's enough.

Maybe “simple” could be replaced with “focused” or “singular.” 

But despite the word, I’m seeking that kind of love. Like the sun as I exit the house’s eves and step into brightness, that overcoming light. Like pouring rain that drenches every part of my being. 

I’ll wander through meadows seeking a cure, seeking Jesus. My soul is still, eyes focused, singular purpose for the One who loves me. 

‘tis all and more than enough.

Lord, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.

- Psalm 131


Sep 15, 2020

God Moments || Eight Days of Hope

Look for God moments

And I don’t know where to start or what to write, because God moments are piled up around me, and I’m overwhelmed. 

So here goes: a little journal entry in my life where I followed God’s lead to step out, do something scary, and now I cry because it’s over and I miss it. 


Last week, I had the honor of serving with a team who loves Jesus to support the people of Louisiana. 

I was scared. Really scared. But God lined everything up—my job and schedule and ride—and I found myself at the doors of a Louisiana church with a banner on the front: Eight Days of Hope

The scent of the gulf, wind in my hair, and humidity that stuck to my arms. Savage mosquitos, mounting heat. We drove to Lake Charles, and their world had been devastated. 

Almost every roof was tattered, patched. Telephone wires hung limp and crunched under our vehicles. Trees pierced through homes. And people hurt. They shared stories

They talked of huddling in their homes as the hurricane tore all around them. Others returned from evacuation to find their houses soaked through, musty mold growing in every corner, and they have no options. A single woman with a tree limb stabbing through her kitchen roof, and her backyard is a tornado of branches, shingles, destruction. 

Scared. Alone. Hopeless. 

But I looked for God stories. And they piled around me as I raked the yard, revealing tiny sprigs of grass that yearned for sunshine. 

Jesus was in Louisiana. He was in the hugs we offered to homeowners, the prayers, the way neighbors saw us working and asked if we could help with their homes too. 

He was in the times of worship, guitar strums, as we shut our eyes and praised.

He was in the dirt that stuck to our sweat as we worked hard and loved harder

In traffic and tiredness, late-afternoon showers and clean clothes. In people offering to wash our laundry, in checking temperatures, and wearing masks. In felling trees and dragging branches and hearing a person’s story for the first time. In prayers He answered when I whispered fears, concerns, confusions to Him. And those prayers of praise and adoration, us rejoicing.

We worked and laughed and learned. And the people of Eight Days of Hope became a family as the Church united to serve hurting people for free just because we love Jesus.

It wasn't just individuals being nice. It was people loving Jesus and reaching out to be His hands. That's not just in mission trips or church services. It's in your neighborhood, your home, your room, your phone. 

I go home and miss people. I scribble notes in my journal, remember, look at pictures. I remember the beauty - in beachy air and sea birds flying, in houses with roofs tarped like quilted blankets, in pulling up a seat with a smile and, "I'm Hosanna, it's so nice to meet you," hearing their stories.

I find God stories.

They’re everywhere: in serving, at home, abroad, God working and using us when we surrender, rest, follow His leading. He answers prayer.

Friend, look for those God stories. Step out even if it scares you. Be part of the Church, rising up to love recklessly and serve unreserved.

Live today with the prayer of "live in me, Jesus." Surrendered, letting Him live instead of ourselves.

Maybe it's traveling across states or walking across the room. Maybe it's loving someone by wearing a mask or snuggling in a hug or praying right where they are.

But when we let go of ourselves and let Him live, it’s amazing.

Look for God moments, friend.

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. 



Sep 8, 2020

Battle Plan for Fear (+ Story Snippets!)


My little sister sits at the top of “big slide”, two year-old fat-rolls on her legs, and she peers into the dark.

I wait at the bottom.

“Ready, Neena?” She calls to me, making sure I’m there.

I answer her, but she waits, hesitates. Her blue eyes widen.

“Scared.” She stands, backs away from the dark hole of “big slide.” “Neena, I scared.”

So I climb up, hold her on my lap, and we slide together, bodies tight. At the bottom, we laugh.

“See how fun it is?”

She nods and runs to the ladder, scrambles up with eager eyes, reaches the top of the slide again. But then she slows, shoulders fall, and she says it again. “Neena, I scared.”

I smile. “It’s going to be so fun! I’m ready to catch you, baby!”

She slides.

And then a hundred more times.

The fear disappears, and she asks me to take her to the “big slide” every single day.

Because the fear was that I was asking too much of her. That she’d get hurt. That she couldn’t trust me. But when she did, all that vanished. She trusted, and fear turned to excitement.

Now I have to convince her to stop sliding.  =)

You know if you’re afraid. You know what keeps you up at night worrying. And that single idea or person or situation is the very thing you’re not willing to trust Jesus with.

Because fear comes when you don’t think God can handle something or you’re not sure His handling of it will be what you want.

And there’s a three-word solution:

trust. surrender. Jesus.

It reminds me of a scene in The Torch Keepers, the allegorical fantasy novel God lead me to write. Chapter 9 is one of my favorites, added later in the editing process because it was just this simple yet precious picture of our relationship with Jesus. The scene starts with Ka-Dara experiencing her first thunderstorm.

Something rumbled, like when my tummy made funny noises, but this was deeper. It began low and then got louder.

And then a crash. Light lit up the room, pale and yellow…

“They-They’re gonna get us.” I whimpered between sobs. “Like they got me and Ka-Mama. They’ll burn everything and kill us.”

… “My child,” he said, “You are safe. Nothing can touch you when I am here. You must trust.”

My jaw quivered. “but they took away my daddy and mama.”

He nodded, and a shadow came across his forehead. “Your King has a plan. He has a purpose.”

“I don’t think—,” I hesitated, chewing on the back of my knuckles. “I don’t like His plan very much.” I looked up quickly. “Is that super bad?”

Lines creased his face. “The King still loves you.” He stood. “Let me show you, my child.”

He still held me in his arms as he walked toward the door. Opening it slowly, the outside world met us in a breath of cold air. The flashing light had gone, but the loud pounding continued. In the light of the fire, I saw the enemy—only drops of water falling onto the roof.

The rumbling sounded, but it was far away. Father smiled. “This is a rain storm, and you are safe.”

…I blinked and giggled. “I like this rain,” I said. “It’s fun.”

He rubbed water off my forehead. “The King made it for you. He knew you’d dance in it. He knew you’d love it.”

My mouth gaped. “Really? How’d he know?”

“He just does,” Father said. “He loves you.”

I grew serious. “Does the King know I was scared of his rain?”

“Yes.” He nodded soberly. “But that’s okay. A lot of people’s fears are silly when they realize it. But the King knows, and he loves anyway.”

“Big people too?”

“Especially big people.”                


Dear friend, just a reminder for me, for you.

The King knows our fear, and He loves just the same. And that beautiful Love vanquishes, casts out fear.

That’s an incredible place—where our fear, anxieties, are drowned in His perfect love. And when we trust Him and surrender to His will, it’s glorious.

Make the decision to trust. Rest in His love.

That relationship is all that matters.


You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 

We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

- 1 John 4:4-6

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

- 1 John 5:4-5