I Saw A Rainbow This Morning

I saw a rainbow this morning.

The rain was falling as the morning sun rose and the world sparkled. And I saw those colors in the sky and my heart breathed deep relief as a weight moved off my chest. Those colors, used as they were meant to be. Without realizing it, over the past week I’ve grown to cringe at the sight of a rainbow.

A sign God used to declare His mercy towards sinful man is now being used by sinful man as a stamp, a stamp upon a sin that grieves God’s heart(1 Corinthians 6:9-11), a stamp that shows just how much we needed that sign He gave as a promise of mercy so long ago. 

In a rainbow He promised to spare a sinful world destruction again, a sinful world that was spitting in His face blindly. This sinful world that is spitting in His face blindly. He promised the Cross. And God shows His love and compassion in colors of mercy–in the colors of the rainbow.

A bow. A weapon of destruction.

A bow. With no arrow.


“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand,that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:4-10).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoeverdoes what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God” (John 3:16-21). 

Redemption in Real-time Suffering

I’ve been wrecked lately. Wrecked by pain and sin around me and it’s hit my heart hard; like that real, gut-ache-pain hard. I’m seeing people around me crumble, seeing sin hurt people deeply…unbelievers and believers alike. And I’ve been aching.

I’ve had to reface the questions of “Why would a good God allow bad things (i.e. sin) when they wreak so much havoc in the lives of people?” And I mean, I know the answers.

I know we’re not “good” people.

I know we don’t deserve any good at all.

I know God didn’t create sin.

I know God is sovereignly working all things to His glory and for our good.

But sometimes, we have to reface those questions. Reface those questions when people in our lives break and hurt. Reface those questions when wives are pushed away by adultery, girls are raped, children are parentless and dying, people are murdered in church, families crumble, people face physical pain, and those we love ache deep.

I’ve felt like a young woman in a relationship who just found something out about her man that she’s having to wrestle through, make sense of. Something startling. Shocking. Something painful she’s having to face head on all of the sudden in the growing love she has for him, but it hurts. And it hurts in a very real way.

But that’s where God is different than a man. Different in that He is not tainted by sin and mistakes and regrets. Different in that there are very real answers to very real questions in Him. Different in that He is all-good and all-love and He doesn’t mess up. He has a very real purpose in everything and He is working “all things for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28).

In the midst of tears one night recently I found this article from Lee Strobel on suffering. It helped so much. Helped me remember that God didn’t make sin. But to give man free will, to allow Him to truly taste goodness and love, He had to also allow the possibility of sin. And He did–in His mercy. But even from the beginning of time, He already had a plan for redeeming that sin-possibility that would become a reality. He already was making a way for reconciliation between us and Himself. Between His perfection and our imperfections.

We want to blame God for being unfair. But is He really unfair? When we are dead in sin we chose, denying the Creator, and yet He gives us all life, breath, and blessings? The very fact we are alive should be earth-shaking to us. But our prideful minds refuse to receive the truth. Truth that says we are alienated from God, truth that says we denied our Creator, truth that says we choose sin in that garden, and that apart from God we are condemned to eternal damnation. Truth that says really, we are undeserving.

God, in His mercy, made a way for us. We always know God is good by retracing to the Cross. Always by going back to that pivotal, heavily supported by very real and reasonable evidence, historical moment when God in human form died on our behalf taking the wrath of God upon Him, and all the pressure to live a “perfect” life to be accepted and to measure up.  “No wrath remains for us to face, we’re sheltered by Your saving grace and sprinkled with Your blood” (Sovereign Grace Music).

A good God allows suffering because He knows things we don’t. He knows the individual lives, and He cares. That is one thing that has been hitting hard for me also in this. My heart breaking is just a tiny taste of what His heart does when He sees what He created to be perfect, hurting and in pain due to its own choices. He hurts for us. He intercedes for us. He died for us–for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). Christ knew the joy that was to come, knew the redemption that would be brought to the whole world through His substitutionary death (John 3:16-17).

God took what should have been the most terrible event in history of suffering—a man beaten bloody and unrecognizable, dying…on a cross. Suffocating…facing His wrath—the most terrible thing on earth…..and made it THE redemption story of history.

He is sovereign over every pain and could stop it in a second, and one day He will. But right now He is waiting. Waiting patiently that more may come to Him (2 Peter 3:8-9). Waiting patiently before He brings the final judgment. God didn’t send His son to condemn the world. But to save it.

To save it. He saves in suffering. Apart from God, there would be no hope in suffering. It would be purposeless, meaningless, hopeless. But He takes suffering and makes it beautiful. Over and over in the Bible believers are commanded to “count it all joy” and “rejoice” when they face sufferings because in those sufferings they are being molded into the image of Christ. And in those sufferings is where the world sees a difference in believers verses unbelievers.

God sees. God sees the little boy I’m yearning to call my son. God sees the prodigal. God sees the lonely. God sees the abused. God sees the hungry. God sees the abandoned. And He loves them. Loves them more than I ever can. Loves those He died for…”For God so loved…”

So when I’m overwhelmed by pain and suffering around me, oh, may I journey to the Word and the Cross. And may I trust a Sovereign God who in His perfect wisdom is working out–always–redemption in suffering.

“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word.
What more can He say than to You He hath said
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled…

How firm a foundation
How sure our salvation
And we will not be shaken
Jesus, firm foundation.”

(Want Scripture for your soul? Read Psalm 22).

Body Image & Shame Free

“I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

I went running this morning. And I had been on the internet before and seen a really stunning picture of a beautiful friend and the day previous I had seen pictures of myself that left me feeling really insecure…to put it simply, overweight. I was struggling with my body image as ‘Dawn Light’ by Zachary Bruno played and I began my first steps as the sun rose.

Shame. Insecurity. All those messy words that leave you feeling worthless, because all that matters is beauty, right? I mean, I know that’s not true, but sometimes my heart feels that way.

Feelings. Man, sometimes they seem like the only voices in one’s head and where to find reason in it all? God, breathe truth. Breathe freedom.

I prayed as I walked my warm-up. I feebly asked Him to give me His perspective, was trying to remember He made me the way I am, that the world puts too much value on beauty alone, oh yeah–and all that Chris, our teaching pastor, has been saying in Sunday School about Esther these recent Sundays? God mades us each exactly the way we are. Just like He had made Esther beautiful for a specific purpose.

Oh, but wait. What about the weight on my face, stomach, hips, and thighs that’s there due to my lack of self-control…my sin. What about the other things that leave me feeling worthless, dare I say it: ugly? Maybe for some girls, it’s what about the scars made on their skin by choice in deep pain? Or…add whatever it is for you.

It’s easy to remember God made me the way I am–fashioned and formed me in His perfect wisdom and as a Master Artist–but that whole thought process crashes when I realize my sin has made me the way I am too.

But then, I get home from my run, rest and stretch. Denying myself in those last steps…man, what a battle of the mind near the end of my workouts. That last mile I can be so whiny.

I sat down on the floor and decided to go to my shereadstruth app and read the Women in the Word: Old Testament devo of the day. Technically, it’s Day 4, but I read Day 2 because I’m behind. After the scripture passages for the day which were focused on Eve and the Redeemer who would come [take a moment and read…Genesis 1:27, 2:18-25, 3:1-24; Joel 2:26-27, Isaiah 53:11-12] the devotion opens with:

“What would it be like to live free from shame? Not in a way that denies the existence of the Lord’s commands, but in a way that receives the freedom of His mercy?”

I don’t think the message really sank in until I read farther down.

“Genesis 3:7 says, ‘Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked,’ so they made a covering for themselves to hide their nakedness. But all the fig leaves in Eden wouldn’t hid the sin in their souls. Adam and Eve were ashamed to be seen by God–they were ashamed of their sin.

“Shame is a powerful force. Like Satan himself, it tells us all kinds of lies. But isn’t it interesting: Satan has a way of making us feel less ashamed of our sin (the thing that separates us from God) and more ashamed of ourselves (the thing that links us to Him).

“When we face the world, we are ashamed of our image, God-given though it is.

“And when we face God, we are ashamed of our sin.”

I realized the shame about my body that has really been weighing on my heart is not so much shame of feeling unlovely or unbeautiful, but shame over my sin. Shame over how I have failed to responsibly care for that which God made in His image, also coupled with shame that that image then looks even less appealing to the world.

Oh, the mess of sin.

I was ashamed of my body and self-image, because I am ashamed of the sin that has made it what it is. And for some crazy reason, I hadn’t applied Gospel-grace to this specific area of my life.

“Jesus bore the shame of the whole world–including our Eve’s!–on the cross and took it to the grave with Him. He defeated sin and shame and death itself so we can be presented blameless and unashamed before the Father.

“The prophet Joel told of a time when God’s people would never again be put to shame [Joel 2:26-27]. Isaiah promised a sinless and shameless Man who would come bear our iniquities and transgressions [Isaiah 53:11-12]. Jesus closed the door on shame and opened the door to repentance and freedom!

“Yes, yes–we still absolutely need to cover our bodies in modesty-so everyone keep your clothes on! But sisters, hear this and never forget it: The door has been closed on shame for good. You never need to hide form God [as Eve did]. Repent and believe and be free from all the lies the world will tell you about not being smart enough or pretty enough, good enough or clean enough. No sin or even a lifetime of sin excluded us from the freedom the Cross of Jesus affords. Yes, we are undeserving of God’s rich mercy, but Jesus makes us deserving. His goodness alone makes us good enough….live as people who are FREE!” (Women in the Word: Old Testament, Day 2: Eve, Raechel Myers).

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; stand firm, therefor, and do not submit to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

Oh girls, in Christ, covered by His blood, we are free from the shame of sin. I can rejoice in how I am made, because He made me the way I am and even though sin has shaped some of that too, that sin is covered by redeeming grace and so I can rejoice in Him taking what should be death in my life, and making it a reason for me to draw near to Him. Because I am His, when He looks at that sin He sees Christ and therefore all of me is beautiful, forgiven, shame-free.

Being free of shame, does not mean continuing in sin. For me, it means I’m in a season (and I’m sure will be for the rest of my life!) of learning to exercise self-control–not just in areas of food and exercise, but in every area of my life. But in Christ, I don’t have to be ashamed of my body image–the exact ways God made me, and also the repercussions of my sin manifested in how I look–because Christ died for that. So every time I look at how sin has manifested itself on me, I can be reminded of a Savior who died for that sin and sets me free from condemnation, and be motivated all the more to obedience because I love Him and He loves me so. I can rejoice in Him making me fearfully and wonderfully because even the sin is fearfully and wonderfully redeemed and paid for.

His wounds paid my ransomed. So oh, dear hearts, let us live free from shame.

“Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the righteous One, my Servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will dived Him a portion with the many, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore the sins of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:11-12).

“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame” (Joel 2:26-27).

Never again be put to shame. Oh, what a glorious Christ.

A Rocky Mountain Engagement: Skip and Makayla

Last fall, I was sitting on my bottom bunk at the ranch one night, chilling on my computer after what I seem to remember being a long day of work. I heard Makayla come in excited. I mean, I knew Skip was coming to surprise her. They had been separated or a while now–her working here and him at home–and I know it had been hard for both of them. Really hard. I had happened to be in the office the day Rob had been talking about him asking to come with Becky and Molly. But what I wasn’t prepared for was what I heard next:

random ranch staff girl: “*deep gasp!* It’s SO pretty!!!!”
I think I had hopped of the bed and was headed out the door in less than half a second. Needless to say, Skip hadn’t just surprised Makayla. He had surprised her, and asked her to marry him.

They were married a few weeks ago.

These pictures have taken such a long time for me to get up. Shortly after their engagement, Makayla, Skip, and I headed up to where Skip proposed to capture the engagement scene (I mean, parents wanted to know and see where it had all happened!) and then off to Lily Lake as it began to lightly sprinkle mountain rain.

(Did I mention Skip is an awesome fellow? I am so happy for Makayla…for both of them. One of my favorite memories of Skip is watching a ton of kids pile on top of him as he played with them so naturally down in the nursery while we babysat one day; having a lot of little brothers must help. And as for Makayla…the sweet chats I was able to have with her were really a blessing during our time at the ranch. And I really loved stacking wood that day with the two of you for hours. That was genuinely a great time. ;) ).

Skip proposed to Makayla near what we fondly call the Upper Meadow at Wind River Ranch.  The wildflowers on the mudslide were in full bloom and it was such a gorgeous setting.



Skip had written Makayla a note and I don’t remember exactly how she got it….I think her dad had put it in the hammock per Skip’s request. Makayla had gone to the upper meadow for what she thought would be just getting a special something from Skip he had sent with her parents (who were visiting at the time), and she sat down and began to read as the sun set. However…Skip was literally right near by behind a pile of brush he had built, and he jumped out and surprised her and got down on a knee.

I just have to post these first few for entertainment purposes. Here are some pictures of them re-enacting the proposal for the parents. We were dying laughing. Or I was. They were being so goofy.








I also wanted to try and capture what Skip saw from his hiding place when oblivious Makayla was walking to the hammock before he proposed. She had no idea what was coming, but he did. Waiting, nervous, excited.



And now just for those sweet, candid, and “I’m just melting” pictures that were so fun to take.



















The premise for this photo was “what if people shook on it” for engagements.







My focus is off on this next photo but I wanted to post it anyway. ;)








Skip and Makayla…I am so happy for both of you, and really grateful we go to share some time together last summer. I feel so privileged I was able to take these photos for you all. <3 May God richly bless your marriage as you both continue to pursue Him!

The Spiritual Duty of Enjoyment| Purity and Truth

by Jesse Jost at Purity and Truth

“When I read about the persecuted church or people suffering because they’re deprived of basic needs, I look around at the crazy abundance and health that I enjoy. And I feel guilty. Why was I born into this era and this family? I could have been born in the stench-filled belly of a slave ship, or grown up in daily terror of tribal warfare. I wrestle with what my response should be to this unfair situation. It feels wrong to enjoy comforts and delights in such excess when there are billions living without.

One possible response to this – that honestly turns my stomach and makes me very uncomfortable – is the thought that I should sell all my possessions and give them to the poor (Matt 19:21). Should I sacrifice my every comfort attempting to alleviate as much misery as possible? This is certainly one path that God calls many to. But being a father and husband complicates the issue. First Timothy 5:8 warns that he “who does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (NIV). Yes, I could sell everything but I also have a duty to keep my kids and wife warm, fed, and clothed. There is also the question of education and the protection of their spiritual and emotional well-being. It appears unwise for me, in this stage of life, to uproot them and move them all to a red-light district. But then again the gospel is about risk, sacrifice, and loving Christ above your family.

These are thorny thoughts that I would rather block out of my mind. I feel reluctant to thank God for the gifts he has given because I’m not sure it is right for me to enjoy them. The larger issue, of course, is not “doing what I’m comfortable with,” but living life the way my Creator wants me to. How does He want me to respond to this material abundance?

Made to worship

We are commanded repeatedly to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” David said, “I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be on my mouth” (Ps 34:1). We are told that giving thanks for all things is God’s will for us (1 Thess 5:18).

Rejoicing, praising, and giving thanks all flow from deliberately choosing to enjoy God’s gifts to us. God created our desires and the corresponding pleasures that satisfy these desires. He made us dependent creatures, hungry for food and something to worship. Our longing for beauty and pleasure is not an evil we need to fight, but a gift meant to turn our gaze upward.

Do Not Love the World…

James cautions that “whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). At first glance, it seems that a desire to enjoy material goods is at odds with our relationship with God. But elsewhere John clarifies what is meant by “the world”: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

The worldliness that the Bible condemns is not the enjoyment of God’s creation but lust for the things we don’t have and shouldn’t have. God creates a desire and then satisfies it in a way that strengthens our relationship with Him. Satan stirs up desire for the things we don’t have and that will forever be out of reach, or if attained, will poison us, so that we will be in perpetual misery and discontent.

If these are the battle lines – slavery to endless lust on one side, and satisfaction in God on the other – then the most powerful spiritual warfare we can enter into is to seek enjoyment in the things God wants us to enjoy.

Throughout history, Satan has deceived men and women into thinking that this material world is evil, that true enjoyment of God can only be found in renouncing all physical pleasure. But this ignores the fact that God is the creator of the physical realm. By tuning into our five senses and savouring life with gratitude and praise, we are proclaiming to the spirit world that God is the Creator of heaven and earth. This world belongs to God and it is good, because God is good.

Enjoyment: the great safeguard against temptation.

Paul cautioned against those who try to overcome their sinful lust by mere denial and regulations, “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle.” He went on to say, “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh” (Col 2:21, 23).

Don’t flatter yourself. You are not strong enough to go against your God-given hungers for pleasure and worship. You must worship something. You must seek pleasure. You cannot change your dependence. But by God’s grace, you can direct your hungers to God and His gifts. Our cravings for illicit worldly pleasures are not best defeated by starvation, but by finding satisfaction in the things God wants us to enjoy.

Isn’t seeking enjoyment and happiness selfish?

Making our own desires and emotional well-being our number one priority is self-centered and destructive. Jesus said that the most important commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27). God wants us to have a relationship with Him. A healthy relationship is based on enjoying each other. To truly love someone is to want them to enjoy life. We forget that pleasure, delight, joy, and happiness were first God’s idea and have been experienced in the love-giving flow of the Trinity for all eternity. Misery, depression, and guilt are ugly corruptions introduced by Satan’s fall. He masquerades as an angel of light claiming that pleasure and happiness are found most fully in joining his rebellion, but it is all a devastating lie. God is the source of all good gifts (James 1:17).

When God is inviting us into the abundant life He offers, wallowing in guilt and misery is self-centered. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). God’s gifts are meant to show us His loving kindness and reveal His great and generous heart.

We were made to worship and adore and even to delight in being entertained by God’s creativity and humor. (If you doubt that entertainment can be from God, you need to spend more time around babies!) We are not miniature gods who are self-sufficient. If we are not worshipping God and gratefully delighting in His gifts, we are guaranteed to become idolaters. The only way to defeat idolatry is in the enjoyment of God. What is truly selfish is to not seek to enjoy God and His gifts.

I want to be clear: God can be enjoyed by enjoying His earthly gifts, but only when our enjoyment is accompanied by gratitude and praise. When we neglect to give thanks to God for His gifts and fail to turn our enjoyment into praise, we fall into idolatry, and the gifts meant to satisfy our thirst will turn into salt water. Pleasure and happiness pursued for their own sake lead to boredom and apathy. We will burn out our pleasure receptors and moan with Solomon, “All is meaningless.”

Enjoyment vs. Accumulation

Jesus warned very strongly against the dangers of covetousness. “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15 NIV). He commanded us to not lay up treasures on earth but in heaven (Matt 6:19).

Satan and his cohorts (not to mention the hundreds of ads we face daily) are always shouting at us, “Enjoyment is only found in getting more and better stuff.” But true enjoyment and satisfaction is always only a prayer of thanksgiving away. Actively enjoying what you have is the best remedy against the deception of greed. (If only I wasn’t so frequently forgetting this simple truth…)

Jesus said we must deny ourselves to follow Him. What about taking up our cross and sacrificing for others?

Jesus calls us to take up our cross. However, this does not mean carrying around a burden. A cross only meant one thing; imminent death. The original sin for Adam and Eve was wanting to be God. Since the fall, that is the default nature we are born with. We want to make the rules; we want the glory and fame. This state of mind cannot align with God who refuses to share His glory with another (Is 42:8). Before we can be made right with God, we have to die to this natural state. We have to lose “our self,” that inborn desire to be the god of our little domain. The New Testament also calls this repentance.

Our pride robs of so much joy because we think we can only enjoy what we have earned or what we deserve, and we become jealous when others receive gifts we don’t think they deserve. But the essence of God’s story to us is undeserved grace: We deserve his wrath and punishment but instead receive His forgiveness, and an abundance of treasure and spiritual wealth. Instead of the dungeon or slavery He adopts us and makes us His child. Our pride and the resentment that accompanies it must be killed before we can truly enter the abundant life that is found in God.

Doesn’t God want us to live for others and make their happiness a priority?

Yes, but the only way we will have the strength to serve others is when we are strengthened by the joy of the Lord. Nehemiah told the Israelites, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

When are you most likely to serve others? When you are miserable and depressed or when you are feeling joyful? The more we are in fellowship with God, I think the more we will be filled with His joy and delight in life (John 15:11). And the more we are filled with His spirit, the more we will seek to serve and make others happy.

When we are truly filled with the love of Christ we will be moved to relieve suffering wherever we find it. If we don’t care, we should be concerned about our soul. “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17)

God cares about the women caught in sex slavery, the millions of babies being slaughtered, the children starving to death. He calls us to action. But the pain and misery of this world needs to be healed from the inside out. To meet the physical needs of people without leading them to the spiritual healing that can only be found in God is only a short term fix.

Before we can bring Christ’s healing to the nations, we must first follow His example of putting our fellowship with God first. If we try to serve others without being filled by God, and refreshed by His joy, we will become ineffectual, burned out, and cynical.

What about suffering?

If God wants us to enjoy life, why do we suffer? Why have so many of the great saints had chronic bouts of depression? Only God knows the complete answer to these questions. He sees our vulnerability to turn His gifts into idols and forget their greater purpose: to turn our eyes in worship to Him. Losing one or more of His gifts is a painful wake up call to our creaturely weakness. Nothing humbles us and shows us just how much we are not God like suffering does.

Times of deprivation and suffering can also lead to times of heightened enjoyment. We are always adapting to the pleasures around us and becoming numb to them. Suffering can reset our ability to find pleasure in life by making us able to appreciate, by contrast, how good we have it.

God also uses suffering to save us from greater misery. The worst kind of suffering is not in sorrow or loss of earthly goods, but in the loss of fellowship with God. To be enslaved to your own guilt and self-obsession is true misery that leads to masochism and suicide. Just like the pain of having an abscessed tooth pulled heals the greater pain of a gum infection, so God uses external suffering to heal our soul and call us back to Him.


Yes, life is unfair. You have been given far more than you deserve. And yes, God will at times ask you to sacrifice some of your gifts for the good of those around you. But the response to your abundance should not be guilt or mere self-denial. God’s overwhelming love for you means that He wants you to find delight in Him. He loves you with a more ardent passion than the most star-struck lover, with a tender care far deeper than the most sacrificial parent has. He created you to worship Him, to be enthralled with His beauty, to crave the pleasures only He can give you. In the eternal Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is an unending river of joy and delight. God made you to enter into this joy-drenched fellowship.

Do not mope around in guilt, hoping that God won’t notice how good you have it! Don’t magnify your own sufferings and trials to make yourself feel worthy of your good gifts. Don’t try to equal the scales of justice by self-flagellation and denial. Instead, be mindful of the gifts that God is giving you right now. Are you holding a giggling baby? Treasure that soft skin, and praise God for what babies teach us about our weakness and His tenderness. Are you wrapped up in the warm embrace of a spouse? Relish the moment, and praise God for the gift of bodies and how marriage reveals God’s love. Is your tongue dancing the tango as each taste bud is tantalized by exotic flavour? God designed your tongue and the flavours that enchant it.

Finally, as believers, one of our greatest sources of enjoyment is God’s story. History is full of unbelievable cruelty and grief. But God is in the midst of a rescue operation that will ultimately undo the misery our rebellion has caused and restore this planet to lasting peace, harmony, and beauty. God is on the move; His love and wisdom will have the final say. We were enemies and orphans but now are invited to be the children of an indescribably kind and tender Heavenly father.


God is good.

Shout it to the heavens, shout it to the rebellious fallen hosts. God is good and greatly to be praised!”


PIcture stolen from Facebook. Taken by their wedding photographer.
Picture stolen from Facebook. ;)

Really, I have an older sister in Kyna.

And as I sat here thinking about what to write about tonight, the Lord brought Kyna to mind, and I thought I’d take a moment to sing the praises of a woman I know who would never sing her own.

I met Kyna maybe 6 years ago. Wow. It seems like that was another lifetime.

We are given so many beautiful examples of godly women in the bible–Abigail, Sarah, Esther, Ruth, Rebecca, Mary, Mary Magdelene, Tabitha, etc. Women who were all imperfect, but women who served our God. And when I think of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, if there is someone in real-time that I would picture as that woman, it would be Kyna.

Stink. I’m gonna start crying.

Kyna. I wasn’t able to be there for your wedding; didn’t get to stand by you and watch you marry the man who was everything you ever dreamed, waited, and prayed for. You don’t know how much I regret that. But how much it meant that you really understood.

You don’t know how many times I’ve come home after fellowshipping with you…crying with you…laughing with you…and just written in my prayer journal what a blessing from the Lord you are.

Because sister, I see Christ in you in a way I have never seen Him in anyone before. I know it is only by His grace. But I cannot thank Him enough that He has given me you as a friend, sister, and pilgrim on this fleeting journey.

As my friend, you have never ceased to speak truth in love. You have challenged me unceasingly to honor, obey, and love my parents, to pursue Christ and dig into His word, and to delight and enjoy in all that He is. You’ve identified compassionately with me in our similar struggles, and shared the wisdom God has given you in being a few years ahead of me and having already walked through many of them, seeking after Him.

You’ve challenged me to really know truth for myself, and to serve and love God well. I cannot emphasize how many times Your wisdom has led me to prayer and then action, and how I have seen God bless my seeking Him based on your counsel and example. In his bible commentary on Proverbs 31, Matthew Henry writes:

“…she opens her mouth with wisdom; when she does speak, it is with a great deal of prudence and very much to the purpose; you may perceive by every word she says how much she governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others; and this not as assuming the authority of a dictator, but with the affection of a friend and an obliging air: In her tongue is the law of kindness; all she says is under the government of that law. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, but it shows itself in the tongue; if we are kindly affectioned one to another, it will appear by affectionate expression. It is called a law of kindness, because it gives law to others, to all she converses with. Her wisdom and kindness together put a commanding power into all she says; they command respect, they command compliance. How forcible are right words! In her tongue is the law of grace, or mercy (so some read it), understanding it of the word and law of God, which she delights to talk of among her children and servants. She is full of pious religious discourse, and manages it prudently, which shows how full her heart is of another world even when her hands are most busy about this world.”

I feel like this captures you and who you are so, so well. And if I think of one verse that describes you the most, it is the following:

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26). 

When you were single, I saw you training to be a woman of God whether you were ever married or not. And I have seen how much that is a blessing now in your marriage. Sometimes I wonder if there is anything you DON’T know how to do. You loved showing hospitality and were constantly evaluating areas of your life and how you might most honor God in every sphere of it..and still are.

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27).

Now, as a wife, I have seen in you–in these first 6 months of your marriage–a desire to truly love Jonathan through the beautiful, joy-filled, and yet hard and self-denying moments that Christ might be exalted. As much as you are constantly talking about the joys and sweetness of marriage, you also haven’t said it’s been all roses with no challenges. And yet even when you speak of the things you two have worked through together, you never in any way show dishonor for your beloved, and only speak with the greatest respect…quick to acknowledge your own sin and find little fault in him.

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:10-12).

As you just purchased your first home with Jonathan (*insert happy, happy smiles*), I have seen you nestling in and making it a true home, delighting in all the hopes and desires you have for this spot on earth you can call your own. I cannot imagine how many people will be blessed in that special place (see Proverbs 31:13-22).

Kyna, you’ve constantly challenged my much-like-you performance geared self to rest in Christ, while never excusing a lack of pursuit of honoring Him. Somehow you always seem to know how to encourage me in that perfect balance of resting and trusting in the Gospel as sufficient, and yet also honoring Him through obedience because of the Gospel.

Proverbs 31 wraps up with the following verse:

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

Kyna, I know you’re not perfect. We so often find ourselves confessing sin or sharing struggles with one another. But I wanted to take a moment tonight to praise and encourage you in the areas I do see God’s grace so bountifully manifested in your life. You are a treasure and no words will truly be able to capture all you mean to me. I love you so much. Each memory…of sewing together in those early years, of spending the night and you making me your omelets just because you know I love them, to each cup of hot tea, to talking about ASL, to poem-reading, to comfy lounge chair discussions, to cleaning together, and even today…you helping me with scholarship essays just because you can…I will treasure forever. No matter where our future paths take us, know that you will always be my sister at heart and a friend I will never forget and am so, so grateful for. And if you are thinking I shouldn’t have written this, the above verse says a woman who fears the Lord “is to be praised” so technically, I’m obeying scripture. ;P (*mischievous, quiet laugh*)

Love you. <3



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