Stormy Seas

As I sit on the balcony this morning at the beach a storm is about to come through. The winds have picked up and waves crash down hard as if to revolt against the inevitable weather conditions.

Last week at my church we had Vacation Bible School and I got to help lead a group around to their different stations. We learned about the miracles of Jesus and right now I can’t help but think of when Jesus calmed the storm.


He and His disciples were in a boat when all of a sudden a violent squall overtook the sea. As the waters rose into the boat smacking against each wave, the disciples cried out “Lord! Save us! Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

Jesus answered their fear with a question about faith. He tells the terrified men that their faith is small and then proceeds to do the unthinkable- to do only what God can. The Lord controls nature by rebuking the winds and waves until all is quiet like it never happened.

The disciples were stunned with amazement at the miracle they just witnessed still not fully understanding Who it was they were following. Only after Jesus’ resurrection would the pieces of the puzzle start to make sense. Jesus was much more than the political Messiah they had hoped for; He was God in the flesh!

Why did Jesus choose to display His power this way? Right before He raised Lazarus from the dead Jesus said, “Father, I thank you that You have heard me. I knew that You always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent me.” (John 11:41-42).  All of Jesus’ miracles are for the Father’s glory, and for the people to see His power at work, even us thousands of years later. This is why we can still trust Him, even with the storms of our lives.

We may cry out like the disciples, “Lord, help me! Don’t you care that I’m drowning?!” And Jesus lovingly responds with the same answer. More than the surface external circumstances, the Lord points to my small faith amid big fears. He addresses the storms in my heart first exposing my lack of trust in Him.


That day in the boat with His disciples, Jesus demonstrated how to fear less and pray for faith to grow in its place. Jesus knew the storm raged in the sea, tossing the helpless men among the merciless water. But He had complete trust in His Father and therefore was at rest spiritually and even physically sleeping.

We also can rest spiritually when our trials overwhelm us. It’s part of the human existence to experience pain, disappointment, and hardship. You can’t get away from it even when we attempt to numb our feelings temporarily. The only answer is found in God. His Presence never leaves His own. We possess a spirit not of fear but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) because of the Holy Spirit at work in us through Jesus Christ.

And even though we know God holds the stars in the sky,

sets rainbows in the heavens,

fills the ocean with salt water and living sea creatures,

grows trees and flowers and food,

raises the sun each morning to our side of the world and lowers the moon into night,

we still respond with awe and wonder like His first disciples did after witnessing the miracle of the stormy sea.


I read this quote in my Devotional Psalter the other day, thinking it was very helpful and applicable:

“When life overwhelms us, when the bottom is falling out, this is where Scripture takes us: to God.

We do not achieve internal calm by securing external calm. We find internal calm by looking to God.”


Grace upon grace,



Go Deeper: Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:36-41; Luke 8:22-25

Rainy days and Mondays


I love rainy days. We have had quite of few in the past week. My husband jokes that I must be related to Emily Dickinson, but I am certainly not morbid or gloomy. I prefer serious, quiet, and reflective. Occasionally Ms. Cranky Pants, but that is only if I have been sleep deprived (or you take my coffee). I enjoy overcast rainy days because it serves as either a peaceful background noise or reminds me of God’s awesome power. Thunderstorms especially showcase the Lord’s greatness with booms of thunder and cracks of lightning. We need the rain and strong winds to blow away all the excess grime and allow plants and trees to grow. My outside plants would die without the rain, seriously, no green thumb here. They are what we like to call “low-maintenance” foliage.

The rain is a perfect excuse to stay inside and get cozy with a cup of coffee, and a good book. (I’m just kidding I have an energetic four year old). It is ideal anyway. When it is pouring outside I am so thankful that I have a safe haven, a refuge, a shelter to run to during the storm. I am nice and dry in my home, watching the rain fall sideways as it pelts the pavement. Storms in life are essential too for our spiritual growth. It is not always fun, often interrupts our plans, and can sometimes be scary. That is when we run to our Ultimate Refuge, resting in the shadow of His wings. Ever seen a mama bird nestle her young ones under her during a rain shower? She is protecting them from outside elements, keeping those little birds warm and dry. When trials beat down and we feel as though we are drowning, Jesus reaches to pull us up. We run to our Strong Tower, resting in His strength and power.

There is peace among turbulent waters when we meditate on God’s goodness and sovereignty. What Satan uses to harm, God can use for our spiritual good. Even when Mondays roll around and you shoot out of bed like a canon ball going from zero to sixty miles per hour in 2.5 seconds. The day has begun and you already start to fall behind by 7am, unable to catch up with the demands for the day. A lot of times it feels like going around and around in a hamster wheel. You go, go, go, and then look around wondering, what exactly did I accomplish today? For the record, I am not a fan of Mondays. Stress starts mounting and it is only the beginning of the week. Once again you feel yourself drowning. The insurmountable tasks each day, failing over and over again get to be too much. But Jesus is there. He holds out His Hand for you to grab onto. Just like He helped Peter from drowning, Jesus can pull you out also. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ (Matthew 14:31) The trials, the demands, and the stress are a part of life, but Jesus is with you. Have faith and ask for His help. Remember His love for you. Even thank the Lord for the hard moments because that is where spiritual growth takes place. We need the occasional torrential downpour in order to see fruit.

I find myself singing a hymn from a children’s cd that I play for Jesse in the car, because really I need the reminder too. It goes: “Count your blessings name them one by one. Count your blessings see what God has done. Count your blessings name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done.” So do not let rainy days and Mondays get you down. (Bonus points if you get the reference). Find something to be thankful for even when it is hard to see. Keep practicing a grateful heart. Jesus has given us so much to thank Him for.

Grace upon grace,


moments of grace

545803353There are times in my life when I have seen the Hand of the Lord specifically on me. I can look back and remember how He kept me safe. It is important for believers to take time to reflect on God’s grace in their lives. It is good when you recognize God at work, because those moments will encourage your faith. It has given me a grateful heart to know I have personally experienced the Lord’s mercy and grace.

I gave my life to Jesus when I was 7, but for most of my years I did not take my faith as seriously as I should have. In my teens especially I was rebellious and insecure. Looking back on the time I wasted, I also see how God protected me from going down a destructive path. I was like a sheep wandering away from the fold and the Good Shepherd drew me back to Himself. What mercy! What grace!

Fast-forward a few years later to when I was pregnant with Jesse. I can’t remember how many weeks along I was, like 8 or 10, when the doctor told me two things. First, the placenta had torn and I was ordered to not lift anything over 5 pounds for a few weeks to allow this to hopefully repair on it’s own. The second piece of news was that I had an ovarian cyst, 8cm to be exact. By the time I had my son the cyst increased to 10cm. The nurses were dumbfounded that I never had any pain. In fact, I did not feel it at all, but there it was on the ultrasound each and every time in all its glory. That was a moment of God’s grace. A lot of women experience pain with an ovarian cyst that is only 2cm in size. I am so thankful He allowed the cyst to remain painless, so I could enjoy my pregnancy at least through the 2nd trimester. The placenta also healed and did not harm Jesse or me.

After I delivered him he stayed in the NICU for 2 weeks. That was mid-April in 2011. On April 27, 2011 tornadoes ripped through the South. I just so happened to be visiting Jesse at the hospital that day. When the storms turned into tornado threats the hospital executed a specific code to remain on lock down. This meant that no one was allowed to leave the building until further notice. NICU nurses frantically pushed teeny tiny little babies in their carts with all of their wires attached, to the center of the unit. They tried to keep everyone away from the windows. In the middle of the commotion with lights flickering on and off, alarms wailing in the hospital, and tornado sirens, I managed to find the head nurse. I asked her if I could please just hold my baby for his safety. She quickly agreed and then kept marching forward focusing on her job of protecting the precious little ones.

I remember thanking God that I was with Jesse, holding him through his first tornado. I also prayed for the parents who were not with their babies at that moment and the sheer panic they must have felt. I also thought about the nurses, who were not allowed to leave, possibly worrying about children at home, spouses, or parents. It was chaos.

I had to leave Jesse later that night after the weather calmed down, driving though a city and to a home all without power. But God was with me the whole time. Even when I held Jesse in the middle of the NICU I had a sense of calm. I kept praying as everyone waited in uncertainty of the tornado’s path, and had an unexplainable peace. This was God’s grace. I am usually a worrier and control freak, so to be so serene was quite a different approach.

The next day Jesse had his MRI. The hospital ran on generators, as the rest of the city remained shut down. The cysts on his brain were no longer there and he was released from the hospital. (See the full story about his cysts in The Healer). Finally. The only problem was that being a new mom, I had to take my newborn baby fresh out of the NICU to a house without power.

By God’s grace He sent us help through my mother-in-law, Charolette. She was in town visiting us and received word that her area had power. My mother-in-law lives over 2 hours from Huntsville and we had less than half a tank of gas. Lesson learned: Never leave your tank under the half mark in case of a tornado and you have to run for the hills! We made it to her house on gas fumes, again thanking God for His protection and indescribable grace in keeping us safe. My husband’s parents allowed us to stay with them for 5 days until the power was restored in our city. I don’t know if I ever told Charolette, but I am so grateful for her help and service to us during that time. I was an emotional wreck, and needed help with taking care of a new baby. She was there for me, an instrument of God’s grace.

What are some of the moments in your life that you distinctly remember the Lord’s provision or protection? His grace is all over us, we just need to take time to notice and then thank Him. The very fact that you and I are even breathing right now is by God’s grace. Every day you wake up and every night when you go to bed is a testimony of His grace on your life. He keeps you. He upholds you in the middle of a storm. He loves you with an everlasting love. Never forget that. For the unbeliever there is common grace, yet for the child of God His gifts are so much deeper and richer! It is like an unbeliever receives just a taste of God’s goodness, but for His sheep the dam breaks wide open. I’d love to hear how the Lord has specifically worked in your life. Look for His Presence.

Grace upon grace,