Faithfully Afflicted

“I know, O Lord, that Your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” -Psalm 119:75

God faithfully afflicts those He loves. This seems counter-cultural in our world of comfort and ease, especially in the West. But to be brought low and dependent, for our spiritual vision to be sharpened, we generally need experiential training on the ground. The psalmist sees goodness in all the Lord’s dealings. How can he not trust the One with all wisdom? The God who made him and loves him best? How can we not trust in our Father who gave up His only Son to make a way for creatures like us to come to Him in peace? Jesus suffered the greatest affliction on the cross, paying the believer’s sin debt as the Father poured out His just wrath, forsaking His Son until it was finished. His ways are surely righteous and good even when we do not fully understand why we must endure a particular sorrow.

The Lord also disciplines those He loves. His rod and staff guide us to His pleasant pasture. Earthly fathers who love their children discipline them for training- to be respectful under authority, to know the difference from right and wrong, to be humble, and learn how to treat others. If these are the standards a father uses for his children, how much more loving and gracious are the ways of our Heavenly Father? All He does is for His glory and our eternal good. 

When you are afflicted, rest in this truth- God is conforming you to look like Jesus. This is our sanctification. We are being refined to practice what our position in Christ already is. He is faithful to complete this work no matter what it takes.

“being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 1:6

Grace upon grace,


Grow deeper: Psalm 23; Hebrews 12:3-15

Sanctifying Obedience

“Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying Your decrees!” -Psalm 119:5

Verses 5 and 6 in Psalm 119 are an interjected prayer of lament because the psalmist knows too well his sinful nature. He cannot perfectly keep the law. To be steadfast in obeying the Lord means to be immovable, unshakable, and constant. Yet we are fickle, finite creatures overcome with fear, worry, and the cares of this world. I once heard the Christian life compared to a life-long practice of who we will be in Heaven someday. This is our training ground. So what are you practicing today? Is it contentment, self-control, taking captive prideful thoughts, harnessing a gossiping tongue? If you and I run into another breathing soul today it is likely we will have practice in our sanctification. Am I learning to bear with others in love? To be quick to forgive, slow to anger? There are many times I have not practiced well which is why I need the Lord’s help every day.

We echo the psalmist’s lament in our own strength, yet have hope in Jesus our Mediator, High Priest and Friend. He will continue to intercede for us when we fail. Our Lord guides the tenderhearted, strengthening His lambs according to His Word.

Grace upon grace,


Strangely Glorious

The more I press into God the more I realize how little I know of Him. You think it would be reverse. Yet He is so vast, so rich and inconceivable to the human mind and heart. The Lord reveals to us as much as we can stand, to behold His Glory.

Just like my sin, if I really understood the horror and magnitude of it all, it would crush me. So God graciously puts believers under the knife of life-long sanctification. Some incisions cut deeper than others, but all are necessary to shed the dragon layers that keep us from complete intimacy with Him.

As when Moses’ face shone with the glory of being in God’s Presence, God knows His Shekinah Glory is more than mortals can bear (Exodus 33:12-23; 34:29-35). Instead, He mercifully shines His reflection in the face of Jesus- and there we behold Him. It is through the loveliness of Christ we see who we really are.

I am covered by His blood and can say I am His daughter. Simple though I am, He is patient to teach me for eternity (Isaiah 54:13).


Grace upon grace,


Caution: Sanctification in Progress!


I like to sleep, perhaps too much. Slowly the Lord is stripping away this desire toward slothfulness. You see I am not really a morning person. I do try to get up early to have quiet time but not always. It is hard to get going some mornings! I am definitely not a night owl either, that title goes to my husband. An ideal evening for me is to be in bed by 8:30pm. Sweet blissful sleep! I think I can be most productive around 11am, but even that is iffy.

Part of having a son on the autism spectrum is his inability to stay asleep through the night. He seems to not require a whole lot of it, which for me is bad news. I can be pretty cranky if I have not slept well, especially if those sleepless nights occur one after another. Let me re-phrase that: I am downright ill without sleep (Southern translation: “mean as a snake!”).

I have a beautiful life and I am abundantly blessed, but my life is also messy and broken. Lack of sleep has shown me more than any other trial just how ugly I am in my flesh. God has used this to peel back the layers of my sin. Just when I think I am “doing okay” and “spiritual enough”, I get hit with a holy 2×4 to knock some sense into me!

I do not remember my son having problems sleeping through the night as a baby until he was eight months old. I distinctly remember this because it was over the Christmas holidays and we were visiting my in-laws. Oh my stars that was rough! From that point on it has been a struggle for the little guy. Since Jesse does not sleep well at night he falls asleep sometimes in the most random places. He is well known for catnaps at restaurants, and on other peoples’ couches. A few times he has fallen asleep in the church nursery, on the floor. The other kids did not seem to mind, they just continued playing around him. No big deal.

It has definitely made me thankful for the gift of sleep when everyone in my house does get a good night of rest. Those moments in the middle of the night when he is up for two to four hours, I have a choice to make. I can become Hulk-like in my anger or I can earnestly pray for wisdom and compassion. I admit I often fail to extend grace to my little guy at 2am so when I have a supernatural work of patience and love I know it is from the Holy Spirit. Too many times I would get frustrated with him because I thought he was being disobedient. I would say, “Go. To. Sleep!!” for the 100th time without any success. However, I have learned as a fairly new parent a few things: I cannot make him sleep. I have also learned that his struggle with sleep is not his fault. It is a symptom of an autistic child and research still cannot answer why many with autism have this problem. Is it neurological, psychological, physical, or environmental? The list goes on.

When something as essential as sleep is taken away I see my truest self…and my need for Jesus. More than once I have had to apologize to my four year old for getting angry with him over this issue. I do not know if he even understands, but I say I am sorry anyway. I bend down to his level so his eyes meet mine, and sign ‘sorry’ to him. He signs it back. I explain to him that even mommy sins and I need Jesus too.

It has been a humbling experience to see how truly sinful I am. But then morning comes and God’s mercies are new, His grace is fresh. I am functioning on empty for the most part and yet on those days especially I feel His strength and sustaining grace.

I often have conversations with the Lord (sometimes in frustration) related to His Sovereignty and power to help Jesse sleep through the night, and why this is still an issue. I expect Him to fix it. And yet, God has a much better plan with how to use this trial- April’s sanctification. (Groan). No really, I am thankful for spiritual growth however small it may be, it is just the growing part that can be painful and inconvenient. It is a pruning process, necessary for the best fruit. Jesus is the Vine and His chosen ones are the branches. I must cling to Him as if my life depends on it, because it does.

So, to the mama with a newborn who has yet to sleep through the night; to the parent of an autistic child who sleeps poorly like mine; and to the parent with a child who has trouble sleeping or refuses to sleep, God sees your weary spirit and tired eyes. You offer up a plea to make this stop partly out of frustration and the feeling that you just might go certifiably insane if you do not get relief soon. God sees you and He knows your situation. It may be for a season or it might last a whole lot longer than you hoped. But friend, God can and will carry you through it! I do not know exactly how in the specifics of your life but trust in Him anyway. Those days you find yourself on survival mode, think of a Scripture verse or a worship song to sing over and over again until the attitude of your heart is at peace. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3 ESV). God is with you exhausted as you are. Remain in Him and see His grace at work. There will be beautiful, vibrant fruit in due season.

Grace upon grace,