7 Days of Hope Blog Tour – Day 6!

I’m so excited to be a part of the 7 Days of Hope blog tour! Hope is a theme I’ve always loved but it wasn’t until this winter, in the midst of some pretty significant emotional struggles, that I realized HOW important it is! In fact, it’s at the very heart of the gospel message to the point that it says in Romans 8:24 that “we are saved by hope” (emphasis mine). That thought is pretty amazing to me!

At this time of year, as we celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection, hope becomes even more significant, and I’m so happy to be able to help spread the hope today!

A favourite quote:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” – 1 Peter 1:3-5

Okay, this was really hard to choose! There are so many quotes—especially Bible verses—that bring me hope, and I find myself wanting to quote all of them! However, somehow, when I was looking for a hope-filled verse, this one jumped out at me. The overflowing abundance, joy and life in these verses—when you really stop to hear what they’re saying—just takes my breath away. I love also how the chapter goes on to talk about experiencing that hope and rejoicing even in the midst of suffering. That is something that just gets me excited! We don’t need to wait for Heaven to experience hope—hope is for the here and now! Our eternal, victorious life in Jesus begins the moment we choose to accept and claim His life and victory and we can live in that reality no matter what sorrow or hardship we are called to go through! If that doesn’t give hope, I don’t know what will!

A song that brings me hope:

Again I could pick so many, but one that stands out and is so fitting this time of year is Living Hope by Phil Wickham and Brian Johnson. The version I like is a choral arrangement by Lyle Stutzman that is just amazing and happens to be sung by one of my favourite ensembles!!

I love the power of the words and music, and the harmony is just exquisite. I definitely don’t get tired of this one! I love how vividly it portrays the contrast between who we once were—without hope—and who we now are through the hope of Jesus’ Resurrection and our own future glory with Him! It’s hard to stay sad listening to this song and meditating on its truths!!

As you journey through life, and face things that threaten to steal your hope, I encourage you to remember just how important hope is—just how much we NEED hope—and just how abundantly Jesus stands ready to give us hope for every circumstance and every moment! Hope is real and hope is worth it!

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway here!

Tour stops:

(April 5) Day 1, Monday:

SawyerMarie https://sundropgirls.wordpress.com/

Clarissa Choo https://clarissachoo.com

(April 6) Day 2, Tuesday:

Hannah K https://mylifegodspath.wordpress.com/

Lilly W https://adaughterservingtheking.wordpress.com/blog/

(April 7) Day 3, Wednesday:

Katja https://littleblossomsforjesus.wordpress.com

B https://singingintherain157252239.wordpress.com/

(April 8) Day 4, Thursday:

Brooklyn http://fiveshekels.wordpress.com/

Abigail Harris https://abigailkayharris.wordpress.com/

(April 9) Day 5, Friday:

Anna Grace https://ideasofanna.blogspot.com/

Lauren Compton http://novelsthatencourage.com.au/

(April 10) Day 6, Saturday:

Tara https://towerintheplains.wordpress.com/

Chelsea Burden https://lightinthetunnel476000978.wordpress.com/

(April 11) Day 7, Sunday:

Abby Elissa https://abbyelissa.blogspot.com/

Jenavieve Rose https://livingoutsidethelinesfindingthewritelife.wordpress.com

7 Days of Hope Blog Tour Starts Today!!

Today is the first day of the 7 Days of Hope Blog Tour!! I’m so privileged to be participating this year, and I’m excited to focus on hope for the next several days.

Hope is something I’m definitely learning to place more emphasis on, as I see the effects of a lack of hope in my own life and the world around me. We need hope!

I’m grateful to SawyerMarie and Abby Elissa for putting together this blog tour. They also happen to be writer friends of mine, so that’s also fun!

My post will be coming a little later in the week, but for now, be sure to check out both of today’s bloggers—SawyerMarie and Clarissa Choo (another writer friend of mine!).

And all the tour stops are linked below!

Tour Stops

(April 5) Day 1, Monday:

SawyerMarie https://sundropgirls.wordpress.com/

Clarissa Choo https://clarissachoo.com

(April 6) Day 2, Tuesday:

Hannah K https://mylifegodspath.wordpress.com/

Lilly W https://adaughterservingtheking.wordpress.com/blog/

(April 7) Day 3, Wednesday:

Katja https://littleblossomsforjesus.wordpress.com 

B https://singingintherain157252239.wordpress.com/ 

(April 8) Day 4, Thursday: 

Brooklyn http://fiveshekels.wordpress.com/ 

Abigail Harris https://abigailkayharris.wordpress.com/

(April 9) Day 5, Friday:

Anna Grace ideasofanna.blogspot.com

Lauren Compton http://novelsthatencourage.com.au/ 

(April 10) Day 6, Saturday:

 Tara www.towerintheplains.wordpress.com

Chelsea Burden https://lightinthetunnel476000978.wordpress.com/ 

(April 11) Day 7, Sunday:

Abby Elissa https://abbyelissa.blogspot.com/

Jenavieve Rose https://livingoutsidethelinesfindingthewritelife.wordpress.com

Is There Still Light?

It’s been a rough couple of days. A lot of emotions. A lot of pain. A lot of things that don’t make sense. A lot of reasons to doubt, to feel frustrated, to wonder when life is ever going to get better.

I’ve been tempted to lose hope. I’ve heard in my heart once more that dreaded whisper, “It’s not worth it! Hope is killing you. Being disappointed time after time is killing you. You can’t do this any longer!”

But if I lose hope—what is there left to live for?

I’ve lost other things these last couple of days. Peace. Joy. Even love, sometimes. It’s so hard to be at peace, to rejoice, to give and receive love, when you don’t have hope. When you close the door to hope because it hurts so much.

I knew it all in the back of my mind, as I gave vent to the frustrated emotions that wanted to lash out against all the things that are hurting me. I knew it—but it wasn’t until today that I faced it out and realized what it all really meant.

Almost three weeks ago, a mentor told me something that really struck me. She said that the reason I feel far away from God when I allow myself to get angry, is because He’s still waiting for me in the pain. Only by going back to the pain that I bypassed through anger, can I find the One I’m really looking for.

That was powerful. I knew it was true. I wanted to do it.

But I didn’t. Because I just couldn’t face the pain.

And so I lost hope. I lost peace. I lost joy. I lost love. I lost the only things worth living for and instead chose to ruin the life I have through anger, struggling and helpless lashing out against the things that I thought were ruining my life. Only they weren’t. Yes—they changed my life, and made it more difficult—but they can never ruin it. Only choosing to run away from the pain and the One who is waiting for me in it, can do that.

That light in the tunnel that I was so sure could be found—it wasn’t there these last couple of days. I missed it.

The strange thing is, that yesterday, in a random, impromptu practice session for my newest hobby—hand lettering—I gave myself the answer I wasn’t willing to see until today.

There is light in the tunnel if you have a Guide.

The implication, of course, is that you have to have a Guide. You can’t run away and be the pilot of your own ship Anger-and-Frustration if you want to have light in the tunnel. You’re going to have to go where the Guide is.

And if the Guide is in the pain, and you are in the anger, you aren’t going to have light. You just aren’t.

Today is Good Friday—the day the Light came to deliver us from darkness.

He doesn’t want us to stay in the darkness. He doesn’t want us to stay in the anger.

He’s waiting for us in the pain if we’re brave enough to meet Him there.

“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” – 1 Peter 2:9

He bore the pain for us and He still “bears our griefs and carries our sorrows” today. He’s waiting for us in the pain—and when we meet Him there, He will turn our sorrow into joy and we’ll find that the pain wasn’t really as bad as the anger, after all.

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” – John 16:20

Friend—have courage to meet Him in the pain, and the promise of everlasting, undestroyable, joy-that-cannot-be-taken-away will be yours.

I’ve been listening to this song and it comforts me so much—yes, the road is hard, yes, the tunnel is dark, but there IS a light when we walk with Jesus—He has borne our pain and He is holding us!

One Year Ago

One year ago.

The words conjure up a different image for each of us. For me—it is a feeling of longing.

Just over one year ago life was normal. Life was good. Life was looking up.

And then it happened. I don’t even want to talk about it, and I don’t have to, because you all know what it was. And life—everything—changed.

I’ve spent a whole year wishing life would go back to the “normal and good” I miss so much. It’s been a hard year and a dark year and I don’t want to minimize that reality.

But a few days ago I realized something equally true and a lot more beautiful. This year I never wanted or asked for and which I resisted almost at every step—it brought something good.

I find I like to idealize the past and negativize (yes! that actually is a word!) the present. I like to think back to the “good old days” and wish I could return to them.

But reality always has two sides, and this week I flipped the coin and took a good look at that “other side.”

What I realized was simply amazing. That normal, wonderful one year ago that I long for so much had another side to it.

One year ago I was still struggling to find stability after a church plant caused major upheaval in life and church-life as I knew it. I had just completed the first draft of a novella that I wrote to prove to myself that I could actually finish a book. I still hadn’t finished a novel. I’d spent eight years struggling with chronic illness and I couldn’t work a full day—not even a half-day really. I felt inadequate, inferior and useless. I wondered why I wasn’t doing something in the world—why I couldn’t reach and help people and make a difference. In the midst of all that “good and normal” I felt different and discouraged and unfulfilled.

It’s true. I just don’t like to remember that side of the story.

This year. Where do I begin? The past year of struggle and discouragement has borne fruit if I’m willing to look for it. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone so many times and now I step more willingly—some of the time, anyway. I know the good things to be gained by that step are well worth the discomfort and so I step. Whether or not I feel ready.

I’ve made tons of friends. Yes, you heard that right. In the year I had to spend at home I made more friends than any of the years previously! I joined an amazing writers’ camp that started up and made friends with many wonderful ladies and girls! A few of them have become close friends that I’ve built meaningful friendships with. We have a writers’ group for whenever camp isn’t running and the encouragement I’ve gained from that wonderful community is immense. If I’m struggling, or discouraged, a quick prayer request will reach SOMEONE in a matter of minutes—often many someones—and there are a lot of stories of answered prayer as a result!

Another friendship cemented this past year has been a tremendous blessing to me and continues to give me hope and strength from day to day. I video chat with that friend pretty much once a week—how amazing is that?

The struggling writer who couldn’t complete a draft is now preparing to launch the first three books in her series this summer and fall and feels far more competent and able than ever before.

The purpose and vision I was looking for? Somehow, I don’t feel so useless anymore. I have friends who need me—people to encourage and point to Jesus—I have my writing and it’s oh, so close to really making a difference in the world.

Yes, I still have my struggles and some days, it feels like that is all there is. But it’s not true. This past year has taught me that in God’s perfect timing the years of preparation melt away into the purpose for which we were created and trained. It isn’t a flip of the switch, but it happens. And it’s worth it.

I don’t say all this to boast—I know far too well that it’s got nothing to do with me. It’s God. I would have been far too impatient and would have leapt into my work without the preparation He saw fit. Even today, I couldn’t do one thing without His Spirit speaking through me. I pray for His blessing on my work and that His words would be spoken instead of mine. HE does the rest.

But I say it all to remind myself—and others—that the season of purpose and fulfillment comes at last. It really does. Yes, the journey is hard and long and sometimes it seems like we’re being “prepared” for a lifetime, undergoing hard things that seem to make our life-work impossible. But God knows what He’s doing.

As it pointed out in my favourite devotional, Streams in the Desert, Jesus spent thirty years preparing for a three-year ministry. God just doesn’t count time the way we do.

Friend—maybe you are still in training. Maybe a hard discipline seems to block out all hope of anything else and you wonder why. You believe God has a purpose, but you struggle to see. You want fulfillment, you want a purpose, you want to work.

I want to encourage you that it will come. It just might take longer than you want it to. But when the moment finally comes and you look back and see just how far you’ve come, just how much God has changed you and trained you through the things that you never wanted and resisted all the way—when your longings for fulfillment melt into a wondering adoration at all that God is doing in you—remember. Remember that the journey was worth it. Pause to realize how much has changed and how perfect was the plan that brought you here.

Yes, it’s hard. But I promise you that when that moment finally arrives, you’ll be able to say with all your heart, “It was worth it! Praise God for His work in me!”

Hope is a Living Reality

I’ve been thinking a lot about hope lately. Some days, I’ve felt like it was really far away. Something I longed for. Something I dreamed of. Something I almost despaired of ever finding.

Hope. What is it really? A bright, brilliant vision of things to come that trembles on the distant horizon of our lives? A dream of all that we long to become and achieve? A fleeting fancy borne away on the rough, rude winds that sweep through our lives, stripping us bare of all that is tender and beautiful?

This last year has been a very difficult one in our world—and in my life. Hope is something I lost this year. It was just too costly. Too painful. Too devastating to cling to something that slipped through my fingers again and again. Disappointment after disappointment. Surprises and shocks and unthinkable happenings—completely undermining all I thought I knew about the world I lived in.

Life didn’t make sense, and things I deemed too impossibly horrible ever to happen broke wave after wave over my stunned, aching heart.

I stood in shock, hardly knowing how to respond, how to process the series of events left me breathless with shock, wondering what would happen next.

At times, I was too numb even to feel the full force of pain, and other times I sobbed until I thought my heart would break.

And gradually, imperceptibly, I let go of hope. It just. wasn’t. worth it. If you hope, you have more to lose. More to suffer. More capacity for pain. The higher you rise the farther you have to fall. And sometime, it hurts too much to try.

But you can’t live that way. Not really. When you cease to hope, a part of you dies. Perhaps you insulate yourself from pain. A little. But it’s not worth the death of all that loveliness within you.

We need hope.

I’ve discovered what happens to you when you lose hope. You keep on sinking and sinking until the depths before you are so frightening you can’t face them. And then you have to reach for hope or perish.

The wonderful, beautiful thing about it all is that hope is there, just waiting for us to reach up and grasp it.

Hope isn’t a wishful dream, an imagination too frail to stand the touch of real life. It isn’t a “castle in the air” that comes crashing down and leaves you devastated.

It’s a beautiful, living reality that brightens more and more into an ecstatic, almost unbelievable confidence in something too wonderful to be true, which at the same time is the truest thing of all. It’s grasping hold of God’s promises and allowing ourselves to live in their glorious light. Yes, it takes faith. Yes, it can seem scary. Yes, there are times when hoping will open us up to pain. But most of all, it’s a confiding of ourselves and all we are into the Hand that can never fail—and being content and joyful in the certainty that His will is truly sweetest and happiest.

It’s daring to believe that God really meant what He said, and that those unbelievably beautiful promises are as real as they are unimaginable.

It’s meditating on truths so much greater and more profound than anything on earth and allowing ourselves to realize the gloriousness set before us.

It’s looking up into the night, and saying, “I know there is a purpose, I know there is a God working all for good—even these dark, difficult things that seem to hold nothing but despair and bitterness—I know that in the end, Christ will be victorious in me!”

Hope, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

I’m still learning to reach for hope. Still learning to catch myself in the midst of pain and confusion and frustration and say, “Yes! I will hope! I choose to hope, no matter what! Think of all that Jesus has promised me!” But as I do, I’m discovering that hope is just as real as fear. It’s just as real as despair. It’s just as real as sin, and gloom and destruction. It’s just as real and far more powerful.

Remember, friend—Jesus has already overcome.

Reach for hope. Meditate on hope. Live hope.

Look up into the darkness and dare to be undismayed. Dare to believe that there is a purpose that is going to be so beautiful, so incredible, so unbelievably glorious that ever second of pain and confusion and suffering will be so worth it and you will even be glad of all you went through for the glorious afterward!

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I cling to this verse. And the more I think of it, the more inexpressible it’s beauty and meaning becomes! I have staked everything on its reality. And that, friends, is what hope really is!

Here is one of many songs that is bringing me hope right now!

Renouncing Fear

My theme for 2021 is Renouncing Fear.

I’ll be honest—it scared me to death to pick that theme, and it scares me even more almost one quarter into the year.

It’s ironic, I know. Being afraid to renounce fear. But I think there’s a deep truth hidden beneath that somewhat ludicrous-sounding statement.

The hardest thing about renouncing fear is the fear itself.

These last few days have been evidence enough. Of all the things I’ve been afraid of (and there have been a lot of them) it’s been the FEAR of those things which scares me most.

I’m afraid of being afraid. I’m afraid that being afraid will make me more afraid. And I’m afraid that being afraid of being afraid will make me the most afraid of all!

(If you had to read that sentence twice to understand what I meant, you probably aren’t alone!)

And that’s when you really know it’s time to renounce fear.

Back in December when I was choosing a new theme for the year, fear seemed like a really good option. Throughout 2020 I had chosen to Embrace Imperfection, and I felt like I reached that aim in so many areas. Oh, it meant struggle. It really did. It meant realizing just how imperfect I was, and battling through a whole lot of brokenness, pain and hard things.

But I felt like it was worth it. I learned to be okay with not being okay. It’s still a journey, but something valuable was achieved.

And then I realized something—fear was the one big obstacle standing between me and all that I longed to be.

I thought that if I turned my back on fear and renounced it once for all, I would find the freedom and joy and fulfillment that I’d spent my whole life chasing after, and that finally seemed to be dawning on my horizon.

But I was still scared.

I knew that renouncing fear would mean facing fear, and that scared me. But of course, you don’t begin renouncing fear by being afraid of renouncing it, so I took the plunge anyway, and made a simple resolve that has been really difficult to carry out sometimes:

Not to make any decision based on fear.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to make any decision when I FEEL fear—but fear is not going to be the determining factor. I’m going to have to find another better reason to make any decision that fear is prompting me to make.

I haven’t always succeeded, but that’s my aim. And it felt empowering to make that aim. At least for a while.

The problem is that 2021 has faced me with fear after fear after fear—each one seemingly more crippling and devastating than the last. I’ve told my family several times that I feel like I’m afraid of everything now. Even things I never used to fear.

Because fear will do that to you. The more hold you let it have in your life, the more it will demand. The more you give into it, the stronger it will grasp. There is absolutely no way to get free from that.

Oh—except there is one way.

Renounce it through faith in God and it will vanish.

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7

I read a book this winter that has totally changed my perspective on spiritual warfare. Click through to the Sheep Among Wolves blog if you want to read my review! It just happens to be written by a lovely friend of mine, and today is also release day!! So if you want to hop over to Amazon to check out the ebook and paperback versions, click on the links!

It was about the power of the spoken word in the spiritual realm. There were moments when I found it overwhelmingly vivid—mostly because of the struggles in my own life right now—but the incredibly simple yet beautiful lessons stuck with me in a profound way.

“Indeed, that is the very tactic of the enemy of our souls. He walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and yes, he wants to devour you. But we know him. We know who he is in reality. He’s a defeated foe. And when we call him out as a defeated foe by the blood of Yeshua, all power over us vanishes instantly.”

Victory’s Voice by Erika Mathews

A few days ago I experienced a really intense struggle with fear. It seemed so strong and I was so weak. I tried praying, I tried reading God’s Word, I tried everything I could think of, and nothing worked. But the more I thought about it the more I realized the struggle was not with the thing I feared, but the fear itself.

And I thought I’d try it. Renounce fear, resist the devil, triumph in faith.

And it worked!

It really did.

When I truly renounced the fear and refused to give it audience, it vanished. Oh, I know it will come knocking at my door again. It has already. But I don’t have to open the door to everyone who knocks.

The door is mine, and I get to choose what I will allow to enter. I can give into fear and let the devil get an advantage on me, or I can refuse. I can stand up to him and claim the victory that Jesus has already won for me!

I don’t know where the journey will lead me. I don’t know what fears I’ll have to battle and what obstacles I’ll need to overcome. But I know this:

The devil only has power if I give him power.

Fear only has power if I give it power.

And thanks to learning those two beautiful truths through reading my friend’s book, I’m strong enough to stand against it. Through Jesus, I have everything I need to overcome!!

Fragility and Faithfulness

I’ve been feeling very fragile the last few months. Oh, I’ve known I was sensitive for a long time now, but recently it hasn’t seemed to take much to make me crumble. A word. A look. A strong opinion expressed counter to one of my timid little ventures at independence. In the physical realm, one tiny misstep is enough to send my health into a tailspin from which it sometimes takes days or even weeks to recover.

Fragility.

In a world where strength, stamina and independence are at a premium, and “weakness” is scorned and devalued, it can feel very scary to be fragile. Very vulnerable.

About a year and a half ago, a wise friend told me never to feel guilty for being sensitive—because that’s the way God made me. I cherish those words and often think of them when I’m tempted to look down on myself for being so sensitive.

But there are still times when I wonder. Is it really a part of God’s plan for me to be this broken and shattered—unable to stand the slightest shock? Or is it merely the affects of the curse, interfering with the dreams of us both?

A few days ago we watched a documentary film called “Metamorphosis” by Illustria Media. The movie is a stunning and captivating exploration of the miracle of the butterfly as evidence for a Creator.

I’ve seen it several times, and I always marvel at the intricacy and complexity that point so clearly to the power of God.

But this time, I seemed to see it all with new eyes.

The first part of the film walked us through the miracle of metamorphosis itself—an absolutely mind-blowing transformation that is aptly used as an illustration of what happens when a sinner turns to God. Perhaps that image influenced the thoughts that came to me as we watched.

The second part of the movie follows the incredible migration of the “Methuselah generation” of monarch butterflies each autumn, down from Canada and the northern U.S. all the way to the Trans Volcanic Mountains in Mexico—a journey spanning thousands of miles and requiring these hardy little flyers to live fully nine times as long as their parents and grandparents throughout the preceding summer.

What—short of a miracle from God—could make that possible?

But as the documentary showed compelling evidence of God in these spectacular butterflies and their epic journey, another little parable was unfolding itself in my mind. And the lesson I carried away was this:

Fragility doesn’t have to mean ineffectiveness. Sometimes it’s the seedbed for a miracle.

I tend to think of fragility as a bad thing. Something to be avoided at all costs, minimized if it can’t be avoided, and at the very least concealed from as many people as possible. I don’t like to be fragile, and I don’t like to admit it when I am. It feels bad and wrong and shameful.

I guess it could look like a bad thing for those butterflies, too.

I mean think about it. On average (Methuselah generation excepted) butterflies live two to four weeks after emerging from their chrysalises. They aren’t very hardy, can be injured by a touch of your finger, and though beautiful, really don’t have much lasting value or purpose.

But their very fragility sets the stage for an incredible miracle.

Picture it. A tiny butterfly, no more than a few inches across, and almost as thin as paper—setting out on a journey across a continent that will require it to live nine times longer than its parents or grandparents.

Foolhardy. Insane. Ridiculous. Blind credulity imagining it can accomplish the impossible.

And yet—God can’t work miracles unless there is an impossibility first.

Throughout history that’s been the pattern. The Exodus. The conquest of Canaan. Daniel in the lions’ den. The Resurrection. Weakness, defeat, impossibility first—then a miracle!

I think of the man who was born blind.

“And his [Jesus’] disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” – John 9:2,3

This man was born blind so that God could work a miracle in him! He spent all of his life until adulthood with an infirmity as crippling as blindness, just so that God could show His power through him!

And I wonder . . . is that the case with all of us? Our weakness, our fragility, our need—is it really the seedbed of a miracle, and we miss it because we hide our fragility instead of bringing it to God and saying, “Here I am, make me a miracle!”

The little monarch butterfly is too weak and fragile to make it on its own. If it set out for Mexico on its spindly little legs it would die long before it got there. But it doesn’t rely on its own strength, it takes the leap and spreads its winds and lets the mighty currents of air waft it on a journey so startling and incredible in its magnitude that the watching world stands back and marvels.

What would happen, I wonder, if instead of crawling along on trembling human legs, you and I would leap into the arms of Everlasting Love and let it waft us on a journey so miraculous that watching worlds would whisper in awe, “there has to be a God!”

God loves to undergird our fragility with His faithfulness.

Friend, I don’t know what you are facing today. I don’t know what mountains loom impossible before you, or what fragility is holding you back. But I know this.

God can’t work miracles for the strong and capable. He can only work them for those who are willing to entrust Him with their weakness and find it the source of true strength.

And I challenge you—in whatever it is that looks impossible to you right now—lift up your eyes and be on the lookout for miracles.

Because right where we’re willing to place our fragility in All-Capable Hands, God is ready to do the impossible.

In the Tunnel

All my life I’ve heard people use the phrase “Light at the end of the tunnel,” to describe the distant hope that keeps us pressing on through the tough places in life. And naturally, that little phrase sifted down into my worldview and affected the way I perceived reality and formed my expectations.

You see, you have to press through the darkness in order to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

And that’s where sometimes the adage seems to fall a little short.

Believe me, I’ve tried it. I’ve spent years of my life pushing through the darkness to find the “light at the end of the tunnel,” and instead finding only darkness. A subtle mistake in paradigm—born from that simple, oft-repeated phrase—had me thinking two things that were really quite mistaken.

  1. The tunnel will come to an end, and,
  2. I can’t be happy until it does.

The reality I’m just learning to accept is that the tunnel never really does come to an end. Not on earth, anyway. Yes, trials pass and difficult times fade from our horizons but usually by the time that happens, there’s something else we’re tunnelling through that seems just as challenging and just as dark as anything we’ve been through in the past.

The tunnel of my life has been a hard and long one, and I’ve often felt like giving up. The last five years have been especially hard, and the last year probably the hardest and longest of my entire life.

It’s been a dark and difficult journey, and many times I’ve despaired of ever finding the “light at the end of the tunnel.” If I spend my life predicating happiness on reaching the end of the tunnel, I’m going to end up disappointed and unfulfilled, wondering why the darkness never gives way to light.

The good news is that’s not how life really works.

I’ve said that these last few years have been the hardest of my life, and it’s true. I’ve been through darker, longer tunnels than ever before, and it’s been hard. Really hard. Some days I haven’t been sure how to get through one more day, let alone a lifetime. The light at the end of the tunnel has seemed very far off indeed.

But there’s another reality that’s just as true as the hardness and far more beautiful.

These hard, hard years have also been the most rewarding, most fulfilling years of my life. They’ve seen the most growth and they’ve witnessed the most gleams from Heaven.

In the darkness.

Because the truth is, as Christians, we’re not looking for the light at the end of the tunnel—although that will be glorious!—but the light IN the tunnel. The hope IN the struggle, the victory IN the seeming defeat.

The power of redemption IN the midst of weakness and suffering.

That, my friends, is the true secret of freedom and joy. We don’t need the light at the end of the tunnel, because we carry our Light with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He will abide with us forever. He is the Light and WE are the Light when we are in Him.

I don’t know exactly what this blog is going to look like in the weeks and months ahead. I’ve been thinking and dreaming of it for a while now, and in the last few days several thoughts clicked together and I decided to take the plunge. I have no expectations, I’m only excited to see where the adventure leads me.

One thing I do know, however, and that is, that there WILL be darkness in the coming days. There will be hard times, there will be tunnels, there will be moments when I feel like giving up and wonder how to make it through another day. But, by God’s grace, this blog isn’t going to end there. It isn’t going to stop with the darkness, nor is it going to press on in hopes of finding light at the end of the tunnel. That’s just not a realistic way to live a life.

No, my aim in writing this blog is to stop right here in the darkness and find light IN the tunnel. Because that’s the only way to be truly happy.

Welcome to the journey, friend!

“Unto the upright there ariseth light IN the darkness” – Psalm 112:4