Hope-filled fruit

“May those who fear You rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in Your Word.” -Psalm 119:74

Hope. What is life without hope? We all hope. I hope next year will be better. I hope he wins the election. I hope you feel better soon. For the Christian our hope is a sure confidence in the One whose promises have not failed us and will not fail us. Hope in God is as sure as the rising and setting of the sun. To hope in His Word is to settle into security, a soul calm of refuge because the Christian knows God’s words to be true and trustworthy. We know how the Story ends. 

Along with this treasure of comfort, we have fellowship with other saints. God loves us too much to allow us to live like islands from each other. We are better together, encouraging one another in the faith to fear God and walk worthy. This is why attending church, small groups and discipleship is so important (Hebrews 10:24-25). Here the psalmist notes the importance of relationships. Our vertical fellowship will effect the horizontal ones. As you grow in the Lord, your desire will be to see others grow in their faith also, causing us to rejoice with the Spirit when we see fruit! The result of hoping in God is a life of bearing fruit for Him which will last for eternity. The joy is ours to come alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ glorifying our Heavenly Father. 

Grace upon grace,


Running Free

“I run in the path of Your commands, for you have set my heart free.” -Psalm 119:32

This octave (Daleth) ends on a joyful note. It is a far cry from how the psalmist began, consumed in his sorrow. The difference between an unbeliever and a believer’s grief is hope. Hope in what or whom? The world will look to anything else but the One who created them. Their pleasures are fleeting. Deep-seated joy for a Christian occurs by placing our trust in Jesus Christ. If we know He has saved us then we have experienced His mercy and love. God’s past faithfulness to us helps us trust Him in our pain or when we don’t understand. Only God can set us free from the prisons we put ourselves in. Only He gives us the ability to run after Him to do what we were created to do all along. Running after anything less than your Maker is like living in chains. 

Life in Christ is essential to being fully human. God loves to bless His children with understanding in His ways so that we may walk in them. God blesses us with a love for holiness, a desire to persevere even when we are weary or sorrowful. Our Good God will be with us and help us to the very end (Philippians 1:6). What a wonderful work of grace!

Grace upon grace,


Providential Care

Genesis 50:1- Exodus 2:10; Psalm 21; Matthew 16:13-17:9

God gives aid to His people throughout history and fights for them. In His Divine time and way the Lord orchestrates redemption for chosen Israel- time and time again. Another way we see Him at work is the outworking of our faith. Believers will bear fruit because of the transformation He has done in us. We no longer live for ourselves but for Christ. Faith brings obedience which requires action producing fruit. God blesses those who fear Him, warriors of truth and righteousness, despite worldly consequences.

God is faithful to preserve, protect and bless His children. It may be in ways we don’t foresee or understand, like Joseph’s life. God’s Glory will not and cannot be stifled by man’s plans. The Lord works through our circumstances even when there seems to be no hope. God is our Hope.

The best way the Lord has taken care of us is through His Son. When Jesus went to the cross He gave Himself, redeeming sinners from certain eternal damnation. Christ is the meaning of life, in which we can rightly view everything else in our world.

Make no mistake that God is actively at work today, just as He was with Israel in Egypt, just as He will be tomorrow. The Lord is near. We are merely called to walk by faith and obedience. Observe how the Father has taken care of you. He is our Faithful Shepherd.

Grace upon grace,


Upside Down Blessings

Every Wednesday afternoon I sit in a waiting room for close to an hour while my son has occupational therapy. There’s a bulletin board in the front office with their business public Wi-fi password, upcoming events, and articles related to children with special needs. One article in particular caught my eye since it was an interview from two parents with a special needs child. In it, they shared, “We grieve the dreams lost, but not our child”. I remember wanting to shout “Yes!” after reading that small but powerful sentence. Their words echoed something I had hidden in my heart for years but couldn’t even articulate without it coming off like self-pity.


The truth is, no one wishes for a baby with special needs. We aren’t wired to think that way. So when the diagnosis does come, whether in utero or well into toddler years, there IS a grieving process over future hopes that will never materialize.

But we’ve joined a club we didn’t sign up for and we’re here- so now what? Does it change the way I love my son? Of course not. It just means there will be a plan B that isn’t laid out yet, in which there is little control or foreknowledge. I know that sounds very much like parenting a typical child, but I’m convinced there is more of a blueprint for raising children without a disability than with one. It’s not to say that parenting in general isn’t soul-draining- it is.

Yet the future for most children is that they will one day tie their own shoes, converse in complete sentences so that others understand them, and become independent fully functioning adults in society. There is a broad but knowable path laid out here. Autism, Down syndrome, OCD, ADHD, or physical handicap is even bigger. No two special needs persons are alike in their diagnosis which makes parenting feel more like a desert wilderness. It’s harder to swap “what did you do when she was 3 and this happened…” stories to learn from.

I’d like to say that 7 years into this I never get sad. But just as the parents in the article said, you do grieve over broken dreams… and the daily struggles too. And yet, my son is a gift I can’t imagine living without. He teaches me how to see people, to not be so self-conscious and to love unconditionally.



My son is what I like to call, an upside-down blessing. God often teaches us through suffering and disappointment. This is part of the upside-down kingdom effect. I lean more into Him, cry out when I don’t understand, in the times I’m flailing because my faith is shaken.

It stretches my trust in God, the Sovereign Creator. I’ve even lately begun to see secondary infertility in a new light, because maybe my ministry is to take care of the one. Even as he gets older his dependence on me hasn’t changed- so maybe, just maybe he needs all of me right now and God knows that.

In the end, this piece of life and how we respond can be for God’s glory and our good. The growing pains are real, and will probably never go away this side of heaven. For me and my husband our Christian faith keeps us going. We believe that one day our son’s mind and body won’t be disabled anymore. One day he will be fully restored as will we. For the Christ-follower, there is always hope. Because hope becomes sight when we see Jesus face to face; and all the dreams I thought I wanted will pale in comparison to the very thing my heart always hungered for.

Grace upon grace,


Hope Made Sight

When I was a little girl I marveled over the way sunbeams streak through the clouds at sunset. It looked heavenly, like a glorious staircase made for the Lord to return on. Riding in the car, I would gaze out the window, certain Jesus was coming back today! Well He didn’t come that particular day, but I still long for the actual Glorious Return. One thing I do know is today is closer to this reality than yesterday.


Sometimes my faith wavers when I’m caught up in the weeds of this life so much. Doubt creeps in too, uncertain that the Bible will play out as God says it will. It all sounds too good to be true: an eternal life (my finite brain can’t even comprehend that); a sinless existence; a world without disappointment, hardship and suffering? And yet I still believe, no matter how small that belief is.

When fears fly in my soul, threatening to snuff out hope, I combat with remembering all the ways God has been faithful to me. Simply listing them, either mentally or on paper brings comfort that God always keeps His Promises. His character does not allow Him to contradict Himself. He is safe to trust. The times I question God’s plans are the moments I’m not fully trusting Him in the first place. Like Eve in the Garden, I began to lean my ear into Satan hissing, “Did God really say…?”


We live between the already and the not yet portion of history. Christians today have a remarkable viewpoint to see how Christ has already fulfilled His promise of salvation. And yet I still struggle to picture how full redemption and justice unfolds.

This world is broken and heavy under the curse of sin. It’s easy to forget sometimes Who wins at the end of this Story. Believers and all of creation groan, waiting in eager expectation for Jesus Christ to return.


One day redemption will be complete in glorified, sinless perfection.

One day God will restore everything as it should be, like returning back to the Garden of Eden.

One day we will gaze into the face of Christ, sit at His feet, see His scars that were meant for us.

Until that Glorious Day happens, we stay faithful and wait patiently in hope, that our faith will be made sight.


Grace upon grace,


The Life We Never Expected


          The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson is an honest confession inside a home with two special needs children – both have different forms of autism. The Wilsons write about real life experiences mingled with sadness and hope. They taught me that it is okay to grieve the dreams I had envisioned for my son; the things all parents look forward to for their kids: little league sports, college, independent living, marriage and grandchildren. Some of those may eventually come true, but right now a typical life is not one of them.

Andrew, a pastor in the UK, is transparent with his own struggles, coming to terms with the life he never expected. All the “big” ministry opportunities he envisioned, traditional parenting, and a regular life, was thrown out the window. Rachel writes in a vulnerable voice, acknowledging that this is hard and messy; but they find moments of humor and sweetness too.

Having a child with any kind of disability is isolating. I feel like I’m in a foreign land most days, unable to relate to another parent’s struggles because we are on completely different plains. When I’m not in the right mindset seeing my son’s typical peers wrecks me. This book has been a lifeline to help me remember that I am not alone. Sleepless night after night? Yes. Multiple therapy appointments? Yes. Hyperactivity, missed social cues, and seizures? Yes, yes, yes. Sometimes it’s comforting to identify with someone else going through a similar situation. I highly recommend this book as an oasis for any parent with a special needs child. Furthermore, family, friends, and the church can glean a helpful inside look on what daily life is like in upside down parenting.

The hope Andrew and Rachel possess as believers is contagious. They live with a mindset focused on eternity – in a world free from autism, epilepsy, wheelchairs, tube feeding, or any kind of suffering. One day their precious children (and mine) will have fully functioning minds where normal conversation is possible. One day they will be finally and completely healed. The Wilsons have given me a breath of fresh air with their raw and truthful words. For that I am grateful.

Here is an excerpt from Rachel:

“We are, at best, sailing desperately into the fog, with ever-changing winds, choppy waters, blank maps, and no real idea what we’re doing.

But God is the Captain. He is the navigator, mapmaker, and expert […] as uncertain as our voyage is, there are solid landmarks ahead that are knowable and concrete because of the Captain.

[…] I know He will journey with us to the very end, at which point everything that is perishable and incomplete will be gloriously resurrected and healed.

So I fix my eyes, not on what is seen but on what is unseen. And I take a deep breath.” (p. 148)


Grace upon grace,




The Perfect Passover



“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.” –John 13:1


They wanted You dead

and You let them

take You away.

Questioned, accused, lies,

mocked, betrayed, beaten,


I helped.

The world was not worthy of such

a King.

You made this place Your home

for a little while

to reveal Yourself as the

Son of God.

You taught, You healed, You served,

You loved, You wept;

You obeyed God the Father.

“Hosanna!” they cried, “Save us!”

they pleaded.

Just as the Israelites selected an unblemished

lamb to cover their sins,

so God sent You, the Perfect Lamb

to cleanse our hearts.

Sin requires blood so You gave

Your lifeblood.

It is written, “The life is in the blood.”

Murdered. Resurrected. Redeemed.

Now we are made holy

because You were born to die –

To Save.

“Hosanna” was their shout,

Salvation is Your gift to me.

Hope lives

because Jesus has won.

Grace in Trials

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Sometimes in the heavy life stuff or even the drudgery of rainy Monday stuff we long to see grace in the midst of it. Like longing for water in the desert, so we need to be sustained in the hard moments. This is a prayer from The Valley of Vision that is helpful to me right now and maybe it is for you too.

Whatever your struggle, know that your response has the potential to become valuable fruit for Jesus. The Lord says He prunes the branches that bear fruit so that they will bear even more fruit. Pruning is a painful, uncomfortable process, and if I’m honest I’d rather escape from my skin to avoid it. But life is messy and hard and trials are inevitable. The good news for believers is that we have a Hope that does not fail us. Perseverance produces character, and through character, an everlasting hope. Thinking of you all today and praying that your trials are not in vain, but will somehow serve the Lord and will turn out for your good. May you receive grace upon grace today.


Grace in Trials

Father of mercies,

Hear me for Jesus’ sake.

I am sinful even in my closest walk

with thee;

it is of thy mercy I died not long ago;


Thy grace has given me faith in the cross

by which thou hast reconciled thyself to me

and me to thee,

drawing me by thy great love,

reckoning me as innocent in Christ though

guilty in myself.


Giver of all graces,

I look to thee for strength to maintain them in me,

for it is hard to practice what I believe.


Strengthen me against temptations.

My heart is an unexhausted fountain of sin,

a river of corruption since childhood days,

flowing on in every pattern of behavior;


Thou hast disarmed me of the means

in which I trusted,

and I have no strength but in thee.

Thou alone canst hold back my evil ways,

but without they grace to sustain me I fall.


Satan’s darts quickly inflame me,

and the shield that should quench them

easily drops from my hand:

Empower me against his wiles and assaults.


Keep me sensible of my weakness,

and of my dependence upon thy strength.

Let every trial teach me more of thy peace,

more of thy love.


Thy Holy Spirit is given to increase thy graces,

and I cannot preserve or improve them

unless he works continually in me.


May he confirm my trust in thy promised help,

and let me walk humbly in dependence upon thee,

for Jesus’ sake.



The Overflow of Joy


What is the joy you long for? Do you recognize it when it’s staring you in the face? A recent sermon helped me to see that we all have our brokenness. That is really the only thing we have to offer God. He takes it, gently picking up the pieces cradling our very hearts close to His. Some of the pieces we smashed, other pieces were destroyed by another or many.

You ever pay attention to the verses in Scripture that list our deadness and hopelessness, and then the words come, like a rushing waterfall quenching our dry, parched souls – “BUT GOD”! It’s there in black and white, the turning point in the whole redemption Story. He has not left us to ourselves. The Lord really does save the day and He really does ride in on a great white horse fighting for His Beloved, the Church, you. I know this because as I read the pages in Ephesians the words leap out, asking me to take notice of the treasure of joy right in front of me.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved –“ (2:4-5 ESV)

The sermon I heard acknowledged that every person has hurts, struggles, or sicknesses to battle. Sometimes in the fog it is hard to see anything else especially in the thick of it. And then words of hope ring out: “But God…” The pastor who spoke that day told us of our need for Him. He presented Christ as desirable and lovely. He pulled back the curtain and helped me see King Jesus in all His Glory, Beauty, and Majesty.


You see, for the believer there is always hope no matter how dark the night of the soul gets. From our living hope springs an unexplainable joy – sometimes quiet you barely know its there. If you sit still long enough you’ll hear the whisper of Him who knit you together in your mother’s womb, “I love you. I have loved you with an everlasting love. You are my joy. Trust me and let Me be your Joy.

Deep joy is steady. Its believing when believing doesn’t make sense. When you keep the faith others take notice and that joy you’ve been wondering about? Surrender. Wait. Rest. Things of this importance take a lifetime to cultivate and recognize. And when you finally see your own joy come to life again, give thanks. Keep seeking Christ the King. Before you know it, that wellspring of joy will bubble right over and splash the feet of everyone around you.

Grace upon grace,


Personal prayer

Beloved. Is that what You call me?

I’m known as one who is loved by the

Great God of heaven and earth, Who orchestrates

the cosmos, setting the stars in their proper place,

causing the rise and set of the sun,

and yet You have placed Your salvation,

Your deep affection on me?

I am overwhelmed. Help my

disbelief. Let me see it as true.

Help my heart accept this ocean

of love that tempts to consume

my soul as I long for it to.

I need You. I need Jesus my

Savior. Engulf me in the tide of

Your grace. Let my deep-seated joy

overflow because You are the

fountain from which it comes.




My Prayer for you

When you realize that you can’t do it

on your own

and that maybe you aren’t enough.

Know that the God of Heaven is.

The Great I AM who is an All-Powerful

Consuming Fire

loves you like a protective mama bear

over her cubs.

I pray for you, the one who wonders

if they are noticed-

the one who feels inadequate

in his responsibilities

the one who struggles with a heavy addiction,

that dark stain which dishonors God.

May you go forth this week

washed in His Word,

dipped in the blood of the Lamb

so you come out

like fresh fallen snow

pure and clean.

You don’t have to be enough

because God is.

That is why Jesus came.

He lived to die so that you might really

start living forever


It’s weaved in and out of history

with a crimson cord of love

and He holds it out for you too.

Salvation is not just for those

who think they are good enough

or strong enough

because they aren’t,

we aren’t.

What we deserve and what we are offered

is the difference between life and death.

I pray you know Him.

I pray you see the Christ King

Who will one day make everything right.

He touches that heart

battered, bruised and betrayed

by the world,

opens it up and places Himself inside.

My prayer for you

is that you comprehend the deep well of love

lavished on your soul

by the sweetest name on earth: Jesus.

Look for His Handprint

today in everything

good and beautiful.

He points us to Himself that way

so that we can enjoy our Gracious God

and rejoice, again I say rejoice!

Re-Joy always.

Grace upon grace,