When the only way to grow is to tear something down

Why must growth almost always necessitate the tearing down of something?

  • In order for muscles to grow, their small fibers must be torn down.
  • Forests often grow as a result of fire tearing down that which has been growing for years. The fire releasing needed nutrients from the forest floor, opening the canopy to sunlight, and releasing seeds from certain trees.
  • The seashore grows by the constant tearing down of shells and rock.
  • Buildings grow larger as walls are torn down and expanded.
  • People mature at the tearing down of self-righteous and destructive strongholds.

So often I find myself wishing that there was another way. If only we could grow without pain, grow without change, grow without having to experience the tearing down of something. And yet, I cannot think of any instances in my life when growth came as a result of maintaining the status-quo.


Yet, even knowing that growth requires a tearing down of sorts, I naturally resist the tearing down, often even becoming downright offended by the very mechanism which will ultimately lead to growth!


As I sat in our church worship center this morning memories wrapped around me like a comforting embrace. The room (which I keep reminding myself is just a room) holds a most special place in my heart. For it is the place where God has spoken to my heart countless times through His Word, through others sharing from His Word, through music, through testimonies, and through quiet times of prayer. It is the room where I first felt God’s whisper to write-for Him. It is the room where I had the honor of watching my two children take their first Lord’s Supper after trusting in the saving work of Jesus. It is the room where I am left in tearful wonder each Christmas as candles are raised to the chorus of Silent Night. It is the room where my husband was commissioned to be a deacon. It is the room where we have said painful earthly goodbyes to friends, as well as joyous welcomes to new life.



It is, of course, just a room. But it is a room full of memories, love, hope and the Presence of the Living God.

And it is a room that must now be torn down so that new growth may occur.

God continues to grow our church, our vision, our passion, and our calling. And with that call to growth, comes the practical need of a larger space. I know it is right. I know it is needed. I know it is a calling from the Lord. And yet…..

I hesitate.
A tear escapes my grasp for control.
I long to wrap my arms around the four walls and say “NO! Let’s find another way!”

As the powerful lyrics to “It is Well” drift through the room I love, I look at my son whose 6 foot frame now towers over my own. My arms ache with the memory of holding him, just 8 weeks old, during his first ever church service. I glance at his sister who reminds me daily that she is soon to be in double digits. Yet, I still remember the delight of watching the evidence of her moving and kicking to a worship song while safely snuggled inside my womb.

“There is no other way,” I hear the LORD whisper to my heart.

My kids smile at me (completely aware of their mama’s difficulty with letting things go.)

Change is hard. Growth is painful. Letting go can be excruciating.


But, God does not tear down for sport. And He is most gentle with us.


God is in the business of life and hope. And so if God tears down it is always so that new life can begin. 


And so, I take one last look around the room that has meant so much to me. I breathe in the familiar, soul-soothing scent. I thank God for bringing us to this place that has become like family. And I walk away….toward the future.

Toward growth.

Toward….new life.


This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Much love,




When we need to pray like a child

“Mama, can we pray?” my almost ten year old asked me as I checked on her before heading to bed myself. She had been tucked in two hours earlier, and I was surprised to find her awake.

“Sure baby,” I answered, snuggling myself into her twin bed. “Whatcha need to pray about?”

Her brow was furrowed, worry evident on her lightly freckled face. She chewed her bottom lip before answering, “Awards,” she whispered.

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Her blue eyes looked up at me, hoping that I would understand her one word answer.

I did.

I gave her a sympathetic smile—a smile that conveyed I knew exactly what she was talking about. I pulled her close and kissed her head.

“Do you want me to pray?” I asked.

She shook her head. “I think I need to, but will you pray after me?”

I nodded, wrapping my arms tightly around this little girl who (although she has her moments) can leave me breathless with her faith.


“Dear Jesus,” she began, “Please help me not to be jealous this year when some of my friends get the special awards. I really want a trophy, but I don’t think I’m gonna get one, and I really don’t want to feel bad or mad or jealous. I just want to be happy for the people that do get them. But it’s so hard.” I opened my eyes to look at her. Her head was bowed, her eyes squeezed shut, her blond hair making a curtain around her serious, pleading face. I could only stare as she continued, “Jesus, help me be able to cheer for my friends and not be sad on award day.” She paused for a moment. “And if it’s ok with You, can I maybe get a trophy someday too?”

She squeezed my hand, informing me it was my turn to pray. But the words wouldn’t come.

“Mama,” she sighed, mild exasperation evident in her tone, “Why are you crying now?” (I may or may not have already cried that evening over a touching episode of The Goldberg’s, a #tbt photo of my babies as babies, and a friend’s emailed prayer request. Apparently, in my daughter’s mind, I had used up my allotted tears for the evening!)

I gave a half-hearted giggle, “Sorry, sweetie,” I said trying to put my thoughts into words, “I guess my tears are because God just used your prayer to teach me something.” I tried to force my emotions into submission.

She sat up against her white headboard. “How did God teach you something from my prayer?”

I thought about telling her how I struggle daily with comparison and jealousy. I thought about telling her that just that day I had received a call from a friend who wanted to share wonderful news, and I had to fight hard to suppress the jealousy that was striving to rear its ugly head, so that I could earnestly rejoice with her. I thought about confessing that every time I see a friend further along than myself in her goals, whether ministry, writing, fitness, home decorating, or financial, I must fight against comparison and jealousy. I debated telling her that praising God for His work in His other children’s lives does not come naturally for me, and is instead a constant willful practice.

But I didn’t.

“Because baby,” I said instead, pushing her wheat-colored hair behind her ear, “Awards and trophies come in all shapes and sizes for grown-ups. And grown-ups get jealous sometimes too.” Her eyes widened with this information. “Your prayer is something I need to remember to pray more often, because you’re right. God does want us to celebrate with others.” She snuggled back down under her dragonfly quilt. “And besides,” I added with a smile of realization, “Jesus is way better than a trophy, right?!”

Her sweet face tilted toward the right as she studied me. “Mama,” she said, reaching up to tuck my hair behind my ear, “Do you want me to pray for you?” she offered.


I nodded.

“Jesus,” she began again, “Please help mommy not to be jealous or sad if she doesn’t get a trophy, or whatever it is that grown-ups get. Help her to be happy for her friends who do, and help us both to see You as better than a trophy anyway. In Your Name, amen.”

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Amen, indeed my wise little prayer warrior! (Now if I could only get you to put your clothes in the hamper!!!)

(The video is several years old, but it captures my girl perfectly! It was taken when she was in kindergarten. When her amazing teacher taught the entire class to recite Psalm 100!)

Much love,


The Breath of God

{This is a devotional I wrote for our church. Just wanted to share it here too.}

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Breath of God.

Have you ever thought of the Bible you hold in your hands, or set on your table, as being the very breath of God?

We are told in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all of Scripture was breathed out by God. This means that when we hold our Bibles we are, in a way, holding the very breath of God. And when we open God’s Word, we are inviting Him to breathe onto us and into us.

Breath of God.

The same breath that spoke the earth and all its inhabitants into existence, then breathed life into Adam and Eve; the same breath that took on human form and dwelt among us and then breathed out “It is finished” from the cross; the same breath that called out Mary’s name that first Easter morning and then breathed out the Holy Spirit upon His people—that same breath, thousands of years ago, exhaled onto parchment paper, taking on the shape of letters and words so that we might have life and hope.

My very wise Grandmother once told me (just a few years before going home to be with her Savior), “Sugar, there are a right many books in this world, but God’s book is the only one you can’t live without.”

While small in stature, my Grandmother was mighty in faith and wisdom!

And while, of course she was right, I will confess that there have been times in my life when I have questioned her assessment. After all, as a first time mother, no matter how hard I searched God’s Word I could not find a chapter on sleep-training, or a verse about how to pick the right preschool. And I still haven’t found a section of Scripture that talks about when to get your child a cell phone, when to go back to work, or how to help your teen through Algebra!

Yet, while God may not answer every specific question we may ever have, He does something far better in His Word: He points us to Himself.

For it is in God, and through His Word, that we find strength to face difficult situations, comfort in trials and rest in seasons of anxiety. In His Word we find wisdom to know how to make decisions, and discernment to seek His will. In God’s Word we find joy, peace, life, hope and love; we find everything we need to live for Him, to teach others about Him, to identify sin, to turn from sin, and to grow in faith and righteousness. And in God’s Word we meet the life-changing—eternity changing—person of Jesus Christ.

And yet, if we do not read our Bibles, or apply the truths we find there, we will not reap the benefits of His Word. For we need to be in His Word daily, allowing it to transform us, so that we can breathe in His truth, His love, and His instruction.

Studying God’s Word on our own is an important part of the Christian walk, but so is studying His Word with others. Rich growth happens when we open the word together and allow God’s breath to exhale over us. Maybe even now God is drawing you to His Word. Maybe even now He is calling you to disciple someone or be discipled by someone. Don’t delay. Run to His Word.

For the fact is, my sweet Grandmother was right; the Bible is the one book that you truly can’t live without.

Breath of God

Relationship over religion

After attending a powerful women’s conference over the weekend, I have SO much I want to process and share here. But time is a valuable commodity these days as we fly at warp speed to the end of the school year, and so my thoughts will have to continue spinning around my head for a little while longer 😉

Instead, I would love to share with you a post I wrote for She Believes that highlights the importance of choosing a relationship with Jesus over the practice of religion.

You can find the post here:

The Most Important Relationship You Will Ever Have

Much love,


This Man

Ah, the fairytale.

“I want a man like that,” young me would declare after watching a Disney movie, unconcerned with plot points such as a prince who falls in love with a fairy-dusted pretty face and an uncomfortable pair of shoes.

“I want a man like that,” teenage me would croon while dreaming of being whisked on stage by Jordan from New Kids on the Block.

“Oh to have a man like that,” newly married me would sigh, while turning the pages of a novel, where the highest titled duke inevitably falls for the poor, yet strong-willed and completely gorgeous country girl before promptly escorting her into society on his well muscled arm.

“If only my man was like that man (ahem, vampire),” new mom me would whisper while being swept away by the love story that was Bella and Edward (ok, that feels a little embarrassing to admit!)

Books, movies, commercials, ads, all point us to the “perfect” man. A man whose entire goal in life is to adore his woman while simultaneously working out constantly and somehow earning a fortune. (and of course overseeing his vampire and/or werewolf family!)

How many times have I allowed that “perfect” man image to distort reality?

How many times I have welcomed discontentment by putting out the welcome mat for the “perfect” man facade? 

The prince made Cinderella a queen (but did he even know her real name or favorite food?)

The rich duke catapulted his love interest into society’s most glittery balls. (But how did they spend a boring Tuesday night? Were society balls enough for her?)

And Edward (ah, Edward) how can any man compete with the kind-hearted, crazy rich, super-human self-sacrificing boy turned vampire man? (the idea of comparing Edward to any real man is well….absurd, completely absurd)

In my 19 years of marriage I have learned a few things:

  1. A real prince is a man who loves you even when your fairy godmother is nowhere to be found. A real prince holds your hair while you heave from morning sickness, ignores the spit-up stains covering your shirt, and tells you your beautiful when you feel anything but.
  2. Being whisked on stage is nothing compared to being held in the fortress of your man’s arms while your heart is broken from the pain of searing loss.
  3. Being escorted on the arm of a duke might be all well and good, but I would much rather link arms with a man who serves others in humility. A man who will pick up a hammer to repair a fence for a neighbor, take the dog out at 4am, or sit up all night with a sick child is far more attractive than any title could ever be.
  4. And vampires, werewolves, zombies, superheroes….they all belong right next to the other made-up characters like Pinocchio, Humpy Dumpty and Santa Claus. A real man—a human person who changes your tire in the rain, comes home from work to deal with an overflowing toilet and unloads the dishwasher before heading to a job he’s not loving at the moment, but goes to everyday in order to support his family and your dreams…that man far surpasses that of any fantasy!

So, on this my 19th wedding anniversary, I celebrate and thank God for this man:


My real life, perfect-for-me husband.


This man who loves his family more than his own comfort.




This man who supports my dreams, no matter how unobtainable they seem to me.



This man who loves his children for who they are, as they are, while encouraging them to become all they can be.


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This man who takes my car to get new tires so that I don’t have to deal with it on our anniversary.


This man who holds me when I cry, laughs with me when I laugh and does all that he can to provide for our family.


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This man who is my best friend, my confidant, my greatest supporter and the calm to my crazy.


This man whom I love more than I could ever express, flaws, faults and human-ness (just as he loves me flaws, faults and human-ness)

Happy Anniversary baby! I love you and thank God for giving you to me.