The Most Authentic Me

On Saturday I had the honor and joy of being able to share my heart with a handful of Youth Leaders/Pastor and volunteers at a NextGen training; the whole day was incredible!  As I drove home that day I couldn’t help but feeling as though I had experienced deja vu, there was something in my experience on Saturday that seemed familiar.  And this morning God reminded me…

Skydiving.  About 3.5 years ago, on a sunny day in June I went skydiving.  I read all the FAQs, carefully chose my outfit and headed out the door.  There are experiences in our lives that change our lives forever and skydiving was one for me.  Skydiving for me was my first experience of joy without fear.  As I was free falling towards earth there was only room for freedom and joy.

Niger.  Niger was another adventure that changed my life forever because of the people I met, the things I saw and the God that I encountered.  But my life was also changed because I found myself ministering and living out of a deeper trust in God and security in myself.  Although I wasn’t free falling to earth this time, my time in Niger was filled with freedom and joy.

And this Saturday as I drove home it was as though I was reminiscing of these two adventures.  Saturday was filled with a sense of freedom, security and joy.  Driving home I realized that in those three instances I had been the most authentic version of myself: passionate, vision-filled, secure, free, joyful, but mostly, confidently reliant on God.

These are just the start as I continue journey living more of my life as the most authentic version of myself.  Today though, I celebrate and hold dear these adventures where God invites me to encounter the real me.

Have you had moments where you could say that you were the most authentic version of yourself?

Have you experienced times where all you knew was freedom and joy?


With no training wheels.

Earlier this week I was hanging out with my neice and we were talking about bike riding.  She dramatically exclaimed that she WOULD NEVER ride her bike without training wheels.  She is my mini me so no one should be surprised that this was dramatically stated.  But as she made the statement I knew there had to be more going on and so I asked why she said that.

“Because it’s scary.  I need someone to always be holding on because it is just too scary.”

And with those words my heart broke.  I remember those times, the fear and the life that those fears stole from me.  I also know that fear still tries to steal life from me.

“Did you know that Auntie gets scared sometimes too?”

“You are?”

“I am.  Do you know what Auntie does when she is scared?”  Auntie prays because even when I am scared God is with me.  I don’t have to wonder or question if He is always there because He is.  And so even when we are scared we can ask God to help us and thank Him for being with us.”

There was so much more I wanted to say and to share but I prayed with her, hugged her and watched renewed joy come into her face.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”    2 Timothy 1:7 

What caught me about this exchange was how I can see areas of my life where my reaction is the exact same as my neice.  I want the training wheels of life to stay on and I want others to be with me holding the bike balanced so I don’t fall and get hurt.  I’m afraid to fall, to fail and to get a little cut up.  But it is in the being willing to fall and to fail that I find out that I can do what God has called me to do…. because He is with me and has given me all I need.

He is with me as I wobble to get started and start down the street.  

He is with me to pick me up when I fall and brush me off.  

And He is with me to celebrate as I go further and faster with every try.

And so, as I prayed with my neice and encouraged her to continue trying to ride without her training wheels I was also speaking to myself.

Keep trying even if it means falling and getting a little cut up.  

Keep going forward even when it means getting a little dirtier than I had intended.  

For God is with me and He has given me His Spirit, of power and love and self-discipline.

Where do you need to risk and begin riding without training wheels?

Face of Failure.

This may seem surprising to many who know me but there have been many different periods in my life were I struggled with feelings of failure.  I always felt as though I didn’t measure up and I wasn’t good enough.  I felt as though I wasn’t doing enough to make an impact.

The most recent of these seasons was when I first moved to New England and had just become a youth pastor.  There are so many things about that season of life that was hard for me.  I was struggling to gain a voice, to trust myself again and to see that God could use me.  God lovingly placed me in a job that both challenged me to become myself and cushioned me as I tried and sometimes fell.

Almost three years ago life shook for me.  I was transitioning out of my job and God was calling for me to step down.  Step down from a church that was going through turmoil.  To walk away to an unknown future both for myself and for those around me.  Mostly He was asking me to trust those I loved and cared for in His hands even when it didn’t make sense.

My youth group at that church had always been small but I had seen God show up in some mighty ways.  At this very moment three girls from that youth group are in bible college and I am amazed at the women of God that they are.   God was faithful in it all AND YET I walked away feeling like a failure and have carried that with me for the past few years.

Looking back at that season and that transition was hard.  I struggled with being able to reach out to those girls because I felt as though I had failed them because I had left.  I prayed and I loved them from a far but my heart ached.

But thankful, if we press into Him, God doesn’t want to keep us in those places.  And while I have wrestled with those feelings of failure God has been doing a deep work in me.  A work based on understanding that if I did nothing but come to Him, that would be enough.  That I don’t have to try and “succeed” but instead if I just love Him, love others and follow His lead then I am following Him in this life.

God began to dig up that I had always felt like a failure because I was always trying to live up to and earn His lavish gift of grace for me.  I was trying to pay God back when I didn’t need to.

And as God has shown me this trying to succeed for Him part of me He brought me back to this period.  This time of feeling like a failure and quietly said,

“You only failed at living up to your expectations.  To me you did not fail, you did all I asked of you.”

And in one simple statement all my striving and my hurt and my failure melted away.  I had done what God had asked of me in both the staying and the leaving.  It had not looked as I had expected or wanted but I had been faithful to follow my King.

Often our view of failure is based on our own expectation and desires.  I wanted to leave that church with everything tied up in a bow and better than when I arrived.  But I left when God prompted; I left and had to trust He knew and cared for them more than me.

 “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success.” Proverbs 3:5-6

We all deal with feelings of failure at times.  Are you willing to allow God to show you the reason why?  Sometimes we have failed and we have to get back up and try again but sometimes, our failure is only not living in reality.

The fire within us.

Over the past month or two I have been thinking a lot about fire.  You see although I currently live in New England I grew up in the deserts of Eastern Washington.  I always find it interesting to try to explain what dry heat feels like and I often forget that where I live the scare of raging fires doesn’t exist.  You see I grew up with fire season.  I grew up with summers ending with fires raging across the country side and families loosing their homes.  And this summer as I prepared to come home to visit I was again reminded of the reality of these fires in our lives.

Scripture has a few things to say about fire as well…

Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden.  For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” 

Deut. 4:23-24

“Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds.”

Jeremiah 4:4

“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.”

Isaiah 48:10

“For the LORD will execute judgment by fire And by His sword on all flesh, And those slain by the LORD will be many.”

Isaiah 66:16

And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

Zechariah 13:9

“And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.”

Acts 2:3-4

“So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

1 Peter 1:7

What I see here are two types of fire.

The first type of fire is an all consuming fire of God’s vengence and wrath.  It is a fire that utterly consumes and destroys.  It is a fire that snuffs out hope and consumes life.

The second type of fire is a refining type of fire that is birthed in God’s love and care for His people.  It is a fire that consumes the unnecessary and dangerous to create a space of renewed life and dedication.  It is a fire that encourages true growth and protects life.

The same is true in life.  The fires that I grew up witnessing were much like the first type of fire.  Each fire consumes all in it’s path without care of who are what was involved.  Once a wild fire starts it is hard to control due to uncontrollable wind, dry underbrush and hot air.  A wild fire doesn’t care what or who is in it’s way but will rage until subdued and then conquered.

Thankfully there are precautions that can be made.  Often unnecessary fires are kept to a miniumum and people watch both their land and those around them for signs of fire.  There is also something more proactive that people can do and that is something called “controlled burning.”

Prescribed or controlled burning is a technique sometimes used in forest management, farming, or prairie restoration. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters.

Fire is a natural AND necessary part of life, both physical and spiritual.  Controlled burning clears away what a wildfire would consume and encourages the true vegetation to take root.  

In our lives we must allow the Holy Spirit to control burn the things that are not of Him so that the truth life in our lives can take root.  We must allow God to burn away our hurts and our pains, to burn away our sinful nature so that the true life can take place in our lives.  If we don’t allow God to control burn in our lives then we will experience devastating wildfires that will rage and consume all in their path.

In our lives fire will come.  The question is will our land be ready for it?

Will we allow God to do the hard work of burning away the unnecessary so that the fires of life will not consume and so we can experience truth life?

When the Promise is dead.

Over the past few weeks I have been stuck thinking about one of my life journal entries and today I thought I would share.

“Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.  (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)  So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’

When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”

John 11:1-5

Let me break this down for you.  Lazarus was a follower of Jesus but not just someone in the crowd, Lazarus and his sisters were people who Jesus loved and cared for deeply.  When Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus it wasn’t just someone hoping that Jesus would have mercy on them but was a very personal request to their friend.

At their message Jesus proclaims something that we all want to hear: that the sickness wouldn’t be terminal but instead that He would be glorified through this sickness.  That was the promise – that death would not prevail but instead God would be glorified.

“So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.’”

John 11:6-7

Okay wait.  When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick He stayed where He was?  On purpose?  Jesus, the Messiah, stayed where He was, on purpose, when He knew Lazarus was sick?  Would you, on purpose, stay where you were if someone you LOVED was sick and you could help them?

Thankfully the story doesn’t end here.

“So then he told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’”

John 11:14-15

“When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”

John 11:32-33

“Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and 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.’

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’ “

John 11:40-44

There are so many things in this passage that I saw in a new way this past year.  Here are the high level ones:

ONE: When Jesus is talking with His disciples He tells them that He is glad FOR THEIR SAKE that Lazarus died.  Lazarus’ death and the seeming death of a promise wasn’t even about Lazarus but instead was about others.

We often get stuck in what a promise means to us that we don’t stop to think about how a promise AND it’s fulfillment brings about believing in those around us.  Although God’s promises to us are birthed out of love for us they also have a grander plan of bringing God’s glory to all those who surround us:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Community

SECOND: Jesus was deeply moved by Mary’s emotions.  Even though Jesus knew the final outcome and knew the joy that would come He was still moved and mourned with Mary.

The same is true in our own lives.  Jesus knows the joy and celebration that is to come and yet He is still moved to mourn with us in our moments of sorrow.  And as we look at the lives of others and see what God is doing we should not loose sight of mourning in the moment as we wait for the joy that is to come.

THIRD: Jesus speaks out and prays to God not for Himself, but for the benefit of others.

Sometimes when God is doing something in our life and WE KNOW what He is doing it is still important to PROCLAIM it so that others may join in and believe with us.

FOURTH: Lazarus wasn’t raised to life as a zombie or having to wear his grave clothes for the rest of his life.  He was not only raised to life but He was redeemed back to who He was before.

When God redeems our once dead promises they won’t be zombie promises.  We do not have to settle for less than the fullness of all that God has for us.  Jesus states in John 10:10 that He comes to give life and life to the fullest (in abundance, in the fulness of all life can be).

We all experience at one moment or another a promise that looks as though it is dead.  The truth is that it MAY BE DEAD but thankfully our God is the one who brings the dead back to life.

We don’t have to be dismayed even when our promises are laying dead, for God in His plan will bring them back to life, and in the process others will believe.


My Give.

Over the past few months I have been haunted by an idea, a phrase that came about from a journal reading.  The idea came from Exodus 35 and 36, specifically 35:21 and 36:4-7…

“Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.” Exodus 35:21

“Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses, saying, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.”

So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.” And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.” Exodus 36:4-7

How incredible.  As they were working on creating the tabernacle for the Lord – the place where the presence of God would dwell (!!), the people with willing hearts gave of what they had.  As each person gave from what they had, both possessions and talents THERE WAS MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR WHAT WAS TO BE DONE.

More than enough.

Nowhere in this passage did it say that the people judged their gift based on what others were giving but instead it says that they brought freely from what they had and all together it was ALL they needed for ALL parts of the tabernacle.  Actually, it was MORE THAN all they needed.

I think too often we look at our “give” and we judge it against what we see others giving.  We judge the type, we judge the amount, we judge what looks to be the quality... and often in this judging we judge our “give” to not be enough and so WE DON’T GIVE IT.  What we forget is that it takes many types and qualities and quantities of GIVES to make complete the calling of God on His people.

Recently I was reminded of this passage and an incident found in Acts.  There are currently many situations and people in my life who are going through hard times.  They are going through situations that I can’t fix.  I feel worthless because I wonder what I have to giveto them.  And it is in these moments that I remember a time where Peter, like me, didn’t have what a situation looked to need… but what he does have, he freely gives.

“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'” Acts 3:6

Peter doesn’t have money but what he has is more powerful.  Peter doesn’t have physical resources but he has miraculous resources that go beyond time.

Although I don’t always have money to give, solutions to the problem or even words to bring comfort, I don’t have the immediate resources, there is something I do have and like Peter it goes beyond…. I have God.  I have His presence and power inside of me.  Like Peter I have the miraculous resource of the presence of God within me who brings peace and healing.

My give is not dictated by what I think I have or don’t have but instead my give is dictated by His Spirit inside me.  In Him there is fullness and He enables me to give what is needed in those moments.  And so, I give of what I do have, Him.

What is your give?

Roots Down Deep.

For as long as I can remember trees have always fascinated me.  I love the grace with which they swayed in the mind.  I loved watching them survive and change throughout the seasons.  I LOVED listening to the wind whisper through their leaves while on the golf course.

Trees have always fascinated me.

It shouldn’t surprise you then that over the past few years God has spoken to me a lot through the image of a tree and the idea of roots down deep.


When I moved to New England there was something that happened within me that I could only explain through the picture of the transplanting of a tree.  Transplanting a tree takes a lot of commitment, forethought and follow through.  The roots of the tree have to be pruned the season prior to transplanting, a new hole must be dug and prepared, the plant must be positioned correctly and will need adequate care after the move.

What I found in my move to New England was that although the pruning was uncomfortable and the move was restricting and hard, once transplanted I finally had room for my roots to dig down deep and the ability to bear more fruit than I thought possible.

God had been purposeful both in the preparation beforehand but also in the where and the when of transplanting me.

And now, 2 1/2 years after I was transplanted I could see that my roots were deeper and my leaves were fuller.  And yet, there still seemed to be areas where there wasn’t much fruit, areas where there SHOULD have been fruit.  I began to ask questions of why I act and respond certain ways in different situations.  Questions of why I struggle with certain sins.  Questions of why I wasn’t seeing the type or amount of fruit as the care and conditions should see.  These questions birthed from a place of believing that there was more for me than I was seeing and that this “defect” had to come from somewhere.  The asking wasn’t consuming but I was becoming convinced that there had to be a reason why, there had to be a source, and God could show me.

And so, a year ago God began to answer.  And it was through the picture of a tree that God answered me.

God showed me, that I had become a stable tree.  My roots were deep and my leaves were healthy but there was an area that wasn’t seeing it’s potential.  He showed me deep into the root system, to the very beginning.  He dug down deep and revealed that sometime in the infancy of my tree a strong weed had taken root and that it had wound itself around my roots and pretended to be a part of the tree.

The weed hadn’t hindered my trees overall root strength or tree healthy but it caused areas to go without nutrients and to produce less fruit.  It wasn’t that anything was wrong with me and it wasn’t anything I  had done.

But it was time for something to be done.  My roots were deep enough and I was strong enough to survive the deep work that He needed to do.  If He had tried before I wouldn’t have been strong enough.  God needed to dig down deep and separate my true roots from the impostor.  He was going to rid me of the weed forever so that the areas that once lacked vitality and fruitfulness would now bear all the fruit that was intended.

Over the past year that is what God has done.  He has gone deep to rid me of the weeds.  And as He has worked He has also continued to speak to me about Roots Down Deep.  It is only if I will allow my roots to continue to go deep that I can withstand His rooting out the weeds deep within.

Growing up in the desert I was always amazed at the depth of roots some plants (and weeds) could produce.  The lack of water forced their roots to go deep.  The easy nutrients were found above but the life sustaining ones were found deep down.  Even in the driest of times, if you dig down deep you will find the nutrients for life.

The work is hard and painful and is taking time but the results I can already see and are worth it.

The only way to survive being transplanted, survive the weeds being dug out of life or the dry seasons that inevitably will come is to have roots down deep; to go beyond the easy and momentary to the eternal and everlasting.

If you have struggled with why God would wait to deal with or heal something in your life, I hope this image gives you hope and strength.  It is God’s love that waits as we become strong enough and it is also His love that goes deep to rid us of those weeds.  His timing is perfect.  His ways are eternal.  His love goes beyond even our pain.

Will you trust God and allow your roots to go down deep?  Will you push past the momentary and trust the Everlasting.

Keep trusting but don’t stop asking and believing for the fullness of His healing and love.


Deep Cries Out to Deep.


Deep calls to deep… this was a devotion that I wrote a year ago and as with most devotions, it still speaks to me.

We have all been there, when the depths of who we are are steeped in pain and despair.  Sometimes the pain is actually growth, painful and time consuming periods of growth.  Other times that pain and despair is God’s prompting for surrender.  Surrender to the healing that can only be found in Him.  Regardless of what the pain and despair seem to be, It feels as though whatever is going on will never end, will never let up.

It is in this spot that we often forget who God is and what He has done. We forget that our God is steadfast, that His love looks beyond the moment into eternity, that He can and does the impossible daily.

God’s love is hard to understand because it is a love that has all understanding.  Our vision is clouded and minimal in distance but His not only encompasses all there is but sees in all of time.  He has all of us and all of eternity within the scope of His love.

And it is in light of that love and in those moment of pain and despair that  deep calls out to deep.  The deepest part of who we are calls out to the deepest of His love.  Where the roar of His life and love can drown out any other sound.  It is here that His grace and love pour over us and where, if we allow it, His mercy can wash the dirt away.

As deep calls out to deep, His mighty waters drench my soul, His great love allows me to surrender my plans to His and trust.

For even though the storms of life rage, my God calms the waters with a word and stills the raging sea with the soles of His feet.  

Will we surrender in the waters and allow them to wash over us?
Will we allow our deepest parts to cry out to Him?
Will we allow Him to remind us of who He is and who we are in Him?

Sabbath: Trust. Rest. Be. Create.

This post is a post that I started well over two years ago.  I was exhausted.  I worked full time serving the churches and pastor’s of our district and then I was also the youth pastor at my own church.  If you looked at my planner you would see that I was scheduled from one event to another.  There was not much room for breathing.  But then God spoke and did some amazing things.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

That scripture has always been on my heart, for as long as I can remember.  It has been a phrase that has spoken to my heart of who God is.  Probably partially because I’m a bit of an overachiever.  I go, go, go until I can’t go any longer.  I work and work and work for God but when it comes to the sitting, waiting and listening part well… let’s just say I don’t gravitate to that easily.

Sometimes I get so caught up in doing something for God that I lose sight of knowing God.  To know someone you have to spend time with them which is lost when you are go, go go.  The idea of being still to know that He is God spoke something to me that I didn’t realize until the last few days…

When I’m still I don’t just get to know God more but I know that He is God because when I am still, it means He must be working instead of me.  When I am still then it shows His glory not my own.

It all started several months ago as I sat in my review at work and they asked one simple question, “How would you like Monday’s off?”  It was like a breath of fresh air!

I had noticed myself becoming increasingly more tired and run down because most weeks I didn’t really get a day to rest and relax.  Monday through Friday I was working in the office and then on the weekends I was preparing and attending to church and youth group things.  I was exhausted both physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I was drained and there were moments where it seemed like I wouldn’t be able to pour out because there was less and less within.

Well I am exhausted no longer. 

Although I no longer work at this job and I no longer have a specific day of Sabbath I can speak that what God spoke to me in this period has stayed with me today.

I look back and I see that God was moving on my behalf, 
even in ways that I could not see.

Shortly after this time I found out that the office would be closing and I entered a time of intense emotional wrestling.  Without God moving on my behalf I’m not sure how I would have made it through.


I now make time to stop and just be with God.  

I now make time to know God and be known by Him.  

I now make time to be still so that His glory may be shown.  

I now make time so that what I do could be out of a peace that only comes from His presence.

Be still.  Know that He is God.  Be still.  Know Him and be known by Him.  Be still. Be.

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