Thursday, December 30, 2021

In Between

I feel so caught in the in between. Christmas is over, but the new year hasn’t started yet. I find myself standing with one foot in and one foot out. I’m not ready to take my tree down, but the Christmas clutter that litters my countertops has me feeling claustrophobic. And as sad as my heart is to see the holiday season come to a close, my head longs for a fresh start, a clean slate. And even still, deep down, a sense of trepidation at what the future could possibly hold. I used to have a plan. 

And so. These in between days when it’s popcorn for dinner and clothes that linger in the dryer cycle after cycle just begging to be folded each time I get them hot but undoubtedly forget. I think for a moment maybe this is how I should feel all the time. The longing, the waiting, the in between. Maybe expectation starts here. A heart made for heaven should long to go home. 

When the fanfare ends, when the bells stop ringing and all is still, what fills the quiet voids of my heart?

Tuesday, December 21, 2021


If there is joy
In butterfly wings
In marigold petals
The song the bird sings-

Where is that joy 
When caterpillar’s cocooned?
When the seed is still buried?
When the egg seems a tomb?

And when the night
Brings weeping and sorrow?
Are we still promised 
Rejoicing tomorrow?

Long may he tarry,
In darkness we wait
But we aren’t forgotten,
For God is not late.

There’s joy in the process,
There’s joy by design
Because our creator
Is gracious and kind.

Even when joy
Feels flimsy at best
I take hold of gratitude,
It shows me the rest.

Protection, provision,
Strength for today
When my footsteps falter,
He still leads the way. 

And so I ask 
For eyes to see
And feet to follow
Wherever he leads

When legs grow tired,
My blistered feet weary
I’ll finish the course
And trust he stays near me

There’s joy in the journey 
Even when the path’s steep
There’s joy in trusting
He cares for me

There’s joy in the flower
Bloom, seed, and bud
There’s joy in the growing
The days in the mud. 

There’s joy in the waiting,
His promise is true
There’s joy for tomorrow
He’s making us new.

For further Reading:
Psalm 16:11
Psalm 30:5
Psalm 32:8
Hebrews 12:1-3
Psalm 145:8
Isaiah 42:9

Saturday, December 11, 2021


I didn’t realize I was settling. This idea of what peace should look like, what it meant, how it felt. I had reduced it to an absence of anxiety, one often inextricably tied to some fixed outcome that my heart and mind agreed was “good.” It’s the reason I watch Hallmark movies… the predictability, comfort, and ease. I thought peace came from this unshakeable sense that things would all work out the way I wanted them to. And so, in this advent season of waiting and anticipation I found myself doubting and questioning. I know the outcome- we all do, but the road from here and now to then and there suddenly became anything but predictable and I got scared. 

I made peace too small. 

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

It was never about a life without fear or confusion. Peace is knowing the war is over. From children of wrath destined for eternal damnation to beloved sons and daughters and co-heirs with Christ! This is peace! Reconciled to God through the precious blood of his Son. So when anxiety’s fiery fingers wrap themselves around my throat and chest in the middle of the night I can rest assured, peace has a name, and his name is Jesus. I don’t know what tomorrow looks like, but I know how eternity goes.

An often quoted line from the Grinch that reads, “What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” What if peace isn’t about the years I spend on this earth, what if peace is about eternity instead. The sooner I accept that there was never a guarantee that my days would be easy and my burden light, the sooner I can live into my purpose and calling and the sooner I stop expecting this place to be heaven. 

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

I think about all these advent themes and the watered down versions I’ve reached for as a cheap substitute. I traded hope for desire. I replaced peace with calm. Joy was reduced to happiness. And instead of love I willingly settled for warm feelings of fondness or general affection. But God is so much bigger and so much greater than our finite minds can fathom, and he lovingly placed eternity within our hearts. We just have to take the time to reach for it. 

For further reading:
Romans 5:10
John 16:33
Romans 8:17
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Friday, December 3, 2021


It’s the first week of advent so I make my morning coffee and then I try to sit and meditate on “Hope,” but the timing just feels a little cruel. I have always loved this season of waiting, the eager anticipation, but this year it just doesn’t resonate like it usually does. There are songs of Bethlehem and the manager, but even the angel costume from the Christmas pageant has a hole in it. Instead I find myself abiding in the 400 year gap. What does it mean to hope in the midst of so much disappointment?

There’s a wedding dress hanging in my guest room collecting dust. And there are thousands of private prayers that feel like they went unanswered. Hearts weren’t changed and lungs weren’t healed and tiny flutters in a hopeful mama’s womb never materialized and dogs don’t live forever so I’m sorry but hope feels about as slippery as the bar of soap in the shower and her suds and my tears seem to disappear down the drain just the same. 

“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

And so. Maybe hope isn’t something solid for our hearts to take hold of, maybe it’s the light that peeks through the cracks the broken things have left behind. So instead of trying to take hold of it maybe we just let it illuminate the path and our hearts while we lean into the darkness, the not knowing, the dreams that never came true and the sorrows that took root in their place instead. In this land of short days and long nights, when all seems lost maybe hope is simply exhaling and saying, “ok.”

Because hope was never meant to be the balloon that carried us blissfuly to our hearts desires, but the anchor that holds within the veil. So I stop making it about my hopes and dreams and rest in His faithfulness, believing we serve a good God who is still at work making all things new. At times it is an act of bravery to let our hearts hope, even more so, an act of courage to let our hearts heal. 

The twinkle lights on my Christmas tree stay lit all day, but you can’t see them gleaming from outside my window until dusk settles. Hope shines a little brighter when all around feels bleak. So I tuck a handful of tissues into my purse before I head into church, and when the hard feelings come- when I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall… this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. 

Our solace in so much darkness is that heaven shines brighter still. 

For further reading:
Lamentations 3:19-33
Isaiah 9:2
Matthew 4:16
Hebrews 6:19

Monday, November 29, 2021

Unpublished 12/21/15

I wake up in the middle of the night. Something stirring me from my sleep, eyes opening: Darkness. In the still quiet I hear the soft, shallow breath of my dog curled up beside me. My heart fills with love and warmth and peace.

I think back of the sleepless nights of months past, fearful, fretful hours spent pondering and wondering.

"She laughs without fear of the future..."

I don't know why it took me so long. To listen, to obey, to rest.

Peace is a gift, but we can't unwrap until we submit to obedience.

Friday, November 19, 2021

On Broken Faucets (and waiting)

Things are harder than they have to be. Faucets break and disposals jam, I feel like I’m flying from one task to the next in a hurry to fix one thing before another one breaks, but in the frantic frenzy to pull my toolbox out an entire bottle of ammonia gets knocked over and noxious fumes fill the room as it pools under my dryer. It’s supposed to get easier. Things are supposed to work out for the good and people are supposed to keep their promises and damnit nobody ever said it would be this hard. 

And so. On hands and knees I sop up the ammonia with the dirty dish towels that have accumulated in my hamper. And then I try to replace the cartridge in the broken faucet and every piece that the nice man on the YouTube video says should “slide right out” is stuck. And it’s my first time and I’m doing all this alone so I open another tab and google “why is my cartridge stuck?” And I’m reassured by Men Who Know More About These Things that I could break it if I try to force it so the best thing to do is douse it in white vinegar and give it time. And that’s only hard when you feel like you’re running out of time or when you think maybe you’ve missed your chance. But they know more than me and I’m absolutely terrified of breaking something else so I let it sit a while as I stew over my big mug of tea. It’s warm and comforting and it feels like a hug, but in this moment I feel so very alone and abandoned. 

By the time I reach the bottom the soothing liquid’s gone cold. I hold my breath and give the cartridge a gentle nudge and I see her budge ever so slightly and then release. It feels like a reminder from God and the universe to be patient, to not force things, and in that moment I want to flip the whole wide world the bird. Instead I rush to finish fixing the faucet and damn if I get that thing reassembled and my hot water still doesn’t work. 

Refusing to accept defeat I take it all apart again, this time it’s easier, the pieces that are supposed to slide right out do just that and it’s my second time taking it apart so it all feels natural, familiar. And yet- I don’t rush. Slowly, methodically, piece by piece I go all the way back to square one. I take my time, painstakingly cleaning out every nook and cranny. The cartridge is new, but the same sediment that jammed the old one is still lingering in the dark places of the faucet’s heart. Carefully, lovingly I remove the debris. Slowly, methodically I put it back together again. On my knees, I turn the valve and say a silent prayer. I push the handle and water springs out, warm at first and gradually heating as it flows over fingers that reek of ammonia and vinegar. Before I know it it’s even hotter than the tears that stream down my face. 

I look up at the letter board that sits above the sink and notice the “F” in “Thankful” is crooked and it only irks me for a second before I find it oddly amusing, like it’s given its last “F” too. I can’t help but laugh. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Crazy to think, one year ago today we made our way through pouring rain and rising floods to pick up the part of my heart I never knew was missing.

I could tell you the story of heartbreak, of hard days and lonely nights, a year of tough decisions, of struggle, of hardship. Aint it just like a dog? To turn my life upside down. The story of the past year looks so different now- such sweet mornings and belly laughs, new experiences, a love I longed for but failed to fathom.

I’ve said it a thousand times: he’s the best gift I’ve ever received. The reality though? So much more. He’s been such a promise of what’s to come, a down payment, proof of God’s faithfulness, the giver of all good gifts… Oh to think what else He has in store!

I can’t end without a thank you—To my amazing mom, who braved the (literal) storm and made the trek to Lynchburg with me to pick up my boy. To my sweet aunt (and uncle) who hosted us on the way home that first night, reassurning and kind, feeding us pizza and calming my nerves as I stressed about the possibility that he might pee on their rug (he didn’t!) To Q’s precious foster mom who opened her home (and her heart) during his transition. To countless friends and family who encouraged me along the way (and understood when I cancelled plans because I had left my dog home alone all day and couldn’t justify leaving him again.) Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, but please know that I am blessed because of you. 

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
Roger Caras


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