what am I most interested in?

Wow. Powerful words, right? So often when we find ourselves in a place of pain or feel powerless, we don’t ask the question, “What can I learn from this situation?” Yet, there is so much wisdom to be gained from that position of humility.

10 years ago I sat in a dark room with the glow of a still ultrasound monitor projecting my changed reality—The baby I planned to give birth to in 3 weeks would not arrive in the way I had envisioned.

This began a new opportunity to lean into pain and ask the hard questions, “God, what can I learn from this?”

The answers came. Not answers to why our sweet Saywer died, but the answers of what we could learn. They continue to come even now, 10 years later.

 

Friends, there are many questions we will never know the answers to in this broken world, but I have learned that God will never fail to redeem and restore His broken children. And I have also learned, that there is still so. much. more. to. learn.

What are you learning today?

perfect weakness

He could have done anything. He was made new after all. Resurrected—a new body, a plan fulfilled, finished. Everything that needed to be done was completed. Redemption realized. Death defeated. Forgiveness extended. Grace fully poured out.

Yet, at the conclusion of His glorious act of love, He makes a radical choice in His perfect resurrection—He retains His scars.

His hands, His side, marked by pain; they remain marred, unchanged.

This goes against my plumb line perception of perfection, does it yours?

Why does our perfect savior retain His scars? While I can’t know His reasons, I can look to His example.

POWERFUL TOOLS

Instead of covering His scars, He used them to uncover the doubt of who He was. Rather than showing weakness, they displayed His power over sin and death and became a powerful tool in His ministry. Where He could have sought physical flawlessness, He focused on relational restoration.

perfect weakness

What does His example mean for our painful past? Could our deepest wounds accomplish this? Is it possible for our scars to be a tool that uncovers doubt about who Christ is? If so, are we willing to use our weaknesses for Christ’s glory? Are we willing to trust that in our weakness, Christ becomes our strength? If His stripes healed us, if He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3), will we embrace that healing? Instead of trying to cover the scars, do we dare to put them on display?

 

Satan whispers,

Hide.

Cover.

Cower.

Deflect.

Deny.

Retreat.

Recoil.

 

Scripture claims,

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 5:15, 16)

Confidence.

Grace.

Mercy.

Help.

Let us be a people who embrace our Savior’s example. In displaying our scars may we find these words, first given to Paul, ringing true for us, “My power is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

What scars do you bare? Are you hiding them or using them?

shocking surprise | Death Valley National Park

Seeking to return to our Idaho roots where we can reconnect with treasured friends and settle into a brief stationary rhythm, we begin a northerly ascent. Leaving the palm tree warmth of Southern California, we are now in search of snowy evergreens. Along our route, Death Valley National Park places an unexpected pull on my curiosity cord and we pause our progress to take a peek.

Death Valley shocking surprise

LOW ELEVATION AND EXPECTATIONS

I know nothing more than the fact that Death Valley is the reigning champion of high heat (134 degrees) and low elevation (282′ below sea level) as we descend into her depths. To be honest, my expectations are also low. I anticipate a dry, desolate, wasteland. Right out of the gate, she shocks us in a way we could never have expected.

Death Valley shocking surprise

EXCITED EXPECTATION

Enough margin is built into our afternoon that when Trent asks if we should stop at the Father Crowley Vista overlook, I affirm the idea and look forward to my first view of the valley. Pulling to a stop, we hop out of the truck. The air at this upper elevation of 4,000 feet is chilly but we don’t expect to linger long. Making our way to the edge of the overlook, the wind whips at my hair as I lean over the railing and capture my first glimpse of Death Valley. Continue reading “shocking surprise | Death Valley National Park”

the sea of sanctification | Ventura, CA

Perched atop a wall of immovable rock, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, I watch as my kids create an imaginary world.

sea of sanctification

Each child sets up shop in a different location, collecting treasures: sea glass, red wood, seaweed, and driftwood.

Their shell currency allows them to conduct commerce amongst themselves while they build and expand their rocky residences.

BEACHSIDE TREASURE

I’m invited to peruse and shop at my leisure. Soon, I’ve discovered a brilliant excuse to invest in the purchase of driftwood: new curtain rods. Over the course of the afternoon, my living room becomes more personalized as the factory rods are replaced with decorative driftwood.

Later, as I walk through the campground I notice that I am not alone in my driftwood acquisition. Nearly every RV I pass has a stash laying about. In a lifestyle that fosters minimalism, the popularity of this beachside treasure does not escape my notice.

PAINFUL PROCESS

What could be easily overlooked, however, is the inherent pain represented in each piece of wood. Devastating wildfires, followed by substantial rains resulting in fatal mudslides have recently swept through this coastal area. An influx of driftwood debris has ensued.

Birthed from deep devastation and death, a treasure trove has washed ashore. Continue reading “the sea of sanctification | Ventura, CA”

comparison crap | my first 5K

I’ve never done this before. In fact, the concept still seems to lack a sense of sagacious* forethought.

my first 5K

Nevertheless, I have woken up at 5:30 in order to be ready to take my place behind this starting line. In all ironic honesty, I paid money to wake up early and stand behind this line.

my first 5K

I can’t help but wonder what the high-school version of myself would have thought of this unexpected twist. I–the girl who saw no logic in running unless it was from something dangerous or toward home plate–is about to run 5 Kilometers for the pure challenge of it. Continue reading “comparison crap | my first 5K”