Sunday, October 9, 2022


 𝐌𝐘 𝐅𝐈𝐑𝐌 𝐅𝐎𝐔𝐍𝐃𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍:

One beautiful benefit of sorrow and brokenness has been this unshakable discovery:

𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐚 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬 𝐛𝐲 𝐦𝐲 𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞.

The larger the quake, the more steady the Rock, 𝐚𝐧𝐝, 𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬, 𝐇𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝐆𝐢𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐚𝐫, even when the Richter Scale measured total devastation. 

𝐈𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞. 𝐈𝐦𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐧𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞. 𝐈𝐦𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞.

Whatever came my way, 𝐇𝐞 𝐚𝐛𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐛𝐞𝐝, leaving me whole and completely intact.

𝐍𝐨 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐟𝐫𝐚𝐢𝐝 of the aftershocks to come, I hide behind Him, and claim His promises 𝐛𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐜𝐥𝐮𝐭𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐬. I have found no more faithful Fortress than He. 

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”𝐏𝐬𝐚𝐥𝐦 𝟔𝟏:𝟐

Friday, October 7, 2022


𝐏𝐀𝐑𝐀𝐃𝐎𝐗:

I was by my sweet Jimmy’s grave yesterday and came upon this as I was leaving. 

What unexpected beauty awaited me there, in the 𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 same place that also holds such sadness!

God whispered to me the lesson in the paradox. 

Grief and grace. Peace and pain. Sorrow and solace. 

One does not negate or nullify the other. They 𝐜𝐨𝐞𝐱𝐢𝐬𝐭, combining powerfully, in ways that honor and validate both. 

God 𝐝𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐬 in paradox, and, we, the undeserving beneficiaries of His grace dwell 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐇𝐢𝐦, abiding safely in the shadow of the Almighty. 

There, He lavishes peace that prevails, grace that governs, and solace that soothes, 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 in proximity to grave markers. 

“Paradox is truth standing on her head to get attention.”
~ 𝐆.𝐊. 𝐂𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐨𝐧


 𝐁𝐈𝐑𝐓𝐇𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐀 𝐁𝐎𝐎𝐊: 

𝐀 𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐚 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐫. 

I love the collaborative process of writing, sitting at the keyboard with Jesus, 𝐩𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐮𝐭 what He pours in. 

My fur babies are present for every keystroke and my Jimmy Carroll is never out of sight. 

I love my writing setup, by the way. I have an overbed desk which offers plenty of room with ready access to my books. 

I wanted a pretty, peaceful space that would be conducive to writing. This is how it turned out. It is comfortable. It is lovely. 𝐈𝐭 𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐦𝐲 𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐭. It feels like home. 

Austin prepared the technical aspects for me, mitigating things that I struggle with but he excels in. His daddy would be 𝐬𝐨 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐝. 

In life, and in writing, 𝐢𝐭 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐚 𝐯𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐠𝐞. For those who chose to come alongside us in our grief, 𝐈 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐤 𝐲𝐨𝐮 for walking with us, day in and day out. Today, I salute you, and whisper prayers of blessing and gratitude over 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 of you, our faithful friends and fellow villagers. ❤️

"Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences."

~ 𝐒𝐲𝐥𝐯𝐢𝐚 𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐡


𝐖𝐇𝐎 𝐑𝐎𝐃𝐄 𝐖𝐈𝐓𝐇 𝐘𝐎𝐔 𝐓𝐎 𝐂𝐇𝐔𝐑𝐂𝐇 𝐓𝐎𝐃𝐀𝐘?

Sundays are hard days for me, for myriad reasons. Today was no exception. This past week brought with it fresh wounding, so I knew that today’s playlist would need to be on point. 🎶

Don Mclean and Neil Diamond both rode shotgun with me today. I was at the dentist earlier this week, and American Pie and Sweet Caroline both came on. I wanted so badly to sing along, but couldn’t for obvious reasons. 

SO, today, I did! Loudly, dramatically, and enthusiastically. I sang all 8 minutes and 32 seconds of American Pie, and Sweet Caroline was so good, so good, so good! IYKYK 😉

1,2 Step, and Missy Elliott came next. She was rocking the beat, alright, and I was rocking the car. 💃🏼 She came on while I was waiting at a stoplight, surrounded by other cars. People gawked. I danced anyway. 

I threw in some Kanye, because Jesus walks with me, with me, with me, with me. 

Next was Gladys Knight and the Pips, Midnight Train to Georgia. It is one of my all-time favorite songs. I played it all the time in the house and on trips, and Jimmy would chime in every single time with a well-placed “woo woo woo” or an “I know you will.” He sang his parts with all the groove and flair of a real life Pip. 

Those sweet memories brought tears, so I knew I needed to end on a joyful note. I brought it home with F.U.N., belting out every word to At Least I’m Not As Sad As I Used To Be. 

And then it hit me. I’m NOT as sad as I used to be. I am getting better.

My grief over losing my Jimmy will never lessen. It is palpable and all-encompassing. It is an intrinsic part of me because 𝐡𝐞 was. He was as much a part of me as my blood type or my eye color, and I will grieve him until I draw my last breath. That sadness has not abated in the least. 

But the sadness over the losses that followed Jimmy’s? That is definitely fading. 

Day by day, the sadness recedes, and joy creeps in, mediated by a God with a soft spot for the crushed and the broken. 

Day by day, He ameliorates my pain. 

Day by day, He whispers, “What you’ve lost, pales in comparison to what’s in store.” 

SO, day by day, I carry on, vowing not to miss a single moment of what God has planned for me. One day, I believe with all my heart, I will look back and echo the words of my precious Jimmy Carroll, “Thank you, Lord, for not letting me miss this.”

Until then, at least I’m not as sad as I used to be. 

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

~ 𝐂.𝐒. 𝐋𝐞𝐰𝐢𝐬


 


 𝐌𝐈𝐑𝐀𝐂𝐋𝐄𝐒 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐖𝐎𝐍𝐃𝐄𝐑𝐒:

This was my view last night, shortly before I typed my last keystroke. The One responsible for such extraordinary beauty was with me every step of the way. 

Writing a book is not for the faint of heart, especially one written from a grieving widow’s perspective, but His grace continues to prove sufficient, and His faithfulness abounds, steady and unwavering. 

Your prayers were evident throughout, bolstering me and allowing me to press on, when the pain of excavation weighed heavily. 

There is no mistaking that what prompted this book is pain in its numerous and varied forms, but its resounding message is one of hope, freedom, healing, and celebration. 

This book will be a chronicle of triumph, and a witness to the unparalleled mending and transformation that occur, when God is allowed unfettered access to all that has been rent. 

And we, the grateful beneficiaries of His painstaking rescue and repair, will be furnished a new calling and commission that never would have been ours, absent the pain. 

We can thank Him for what has been, as we anticipate what’s to come. We rest in the guardianship of a God ever faithful to redeem what He allows—a miracle maker and a wonder worker, indeed.

Your Mender is Working


 Yes! Brokenness never gets the last word. It is merely the avenue through which growth and glory manifest. On the other side of brokenness is mending and purpose you cannot begin to imagine now in the detritus of your shattered dreams. As you survey a landscape filled with remnants, shards, and fragments, just know, it won’t always be this way. Your Mender is at work.


 𝐓𝐀𝐊𝐄 𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐑𝐓, 𝐅𝐄𝐋𝐋𝐎𝐖 𝐁𝐑𝐎𝐊𝐄𝐍 𝐎𝐍𝐄𝐒:

Redemption ensures that our suffering matters and is never for nothing. 

Our Father is not unaware of what befalls us on this journey from cradle to grave. He has not turned His head. He is not asleep. 

Our pain is neither wasted nor overlooked, for He vigilantly watches over His own, especially tender to the wounded and the broken. 

He sees. He notices. 

He, moved by our sorrow, bottles our tears and bears our burdens, redeeming them all for His glory and His Kingdom purposes.

It won’t always be this way, beloved. It won’t. The pain won’t always be at a fever pitch. The sorrow won’t always crush. The fear won’t always consume. 

Hang on! He is up to something new, just on the other side of suffering, as He painstakingly works for each of us, “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 

II Corinthians 4:17

Friday, August 26, 2022

 ❞𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧 𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮.❞

~ 𝐌𝐚𝐲𝐚 𝐀𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐮

So I bleed, praying my bloodletting becomes a vehicle of peace and healing for those also living with the agony of untold stories. 

❞𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭? 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐨𝐨? 𝐈 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐨𝐧𝐞.❞

~ 𝐂𝐒 𝐋𝐞𝐰𝐢𝐬

You’re not, beloved. You’re not. 

God, the author and keeper of our stories, writes away and writes a way, redeeming every moment—every word—for His glory. 

❞𝐎𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐆𝐨𝐝 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐚 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐝𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞.❞

~ 𝐉𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐬𝐨𝐧

Sunday, August 21, 2022

𝐒𝐀𝐍𝐂𝐓𝐈𝐅𝐈𝐂𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍:

“What we love we shall grow to resemble.”

~ 𝐁𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐫𝐯𝐚𝐮𝐱


Replace “what” with “Who,” and a beautiful portrait of sanctification emerges. 

We love Him and are called to be like Him. Our love for Him, which originates 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐇𝐢𝐦, activates obedience. 

This love-motivated obedience then becomes a vital component of a life 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 being conformed to the image of Christ. 

Never content to let us coast, God persists in His work to grow us up. As His image bearers, His aim is 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫: To produce in us an uncanny resemblance to His Son. 

Lord, let it be so!

Through our love and obedience, coupled with circumstances and afflictions we might not choose, God 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐩𝐬 𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐲 the things that hide the majesty that lurks just beneath the surface. 

He works 𝐭𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐥𝐲 in our lives to make the vision a reality. It is a unique, but universal, 𝐥𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞, and we, the glad subjects of His craftsmanship, rejoice over His painstaking care. May He never cease to find us yielded and pliable in the process. 

“Let Him put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision.” 

~ 𝐎𝐬𝐰𝐚𝐥𝐝 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐬

Monday, June 6, 2022

 𝐔𝐍𝐄𝐗𝐏𝐄𝐂𝐓𝐄𝐃 𝐋𝐄𝐒𝐒𝐎𝐍𝐒:

I spent the afternoon at Jimmy’s grave today. There was quiet, cloaked in sadness, but there was joy, too. 

I remember clearly when the tree that towers over it 𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐢𝐭𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟. A gaping hole was left behind, the only remaining evidence of 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧. 

I sat there today, feeling grief and peace simultaneously, and took notice of the tree for the first time in a long time. 

That tree has been through some stuff. Its scars bear witness to just that, and 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐲 𝐬𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬—it didn’t magically fill back up. 

𝐁𝐔𝐓, do you see it there? Just above the hollow space? Do you see it? 

𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 occurring. 𝐅𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐡 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐭𝐡 on display. 

In the 𝐮𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐬𝐭 of places. 

I sat there today on my blanket, pouring out my heart to the Lord about my 𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐨𝐰𝐧 scars and losses—weeping over the inescapable fact that my love, 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐞, is gone. 

And God, in the sweetest, most personal way, showed me that there is 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 that transcends loss, and 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐭𝐡 that cannot be thwarted. 

He reminded me that I don’t have to live at the 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐲 of cavernous holes and persistent scars, when I am 𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐲 from the One who stands ready to 𝐫𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐞𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦. 

So, I lay my head on my pillow tonight with a fresh awareness that class is 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧, and with a renewed gratitude for mercy that endures 𝐚𝐧𝐝 for a Father who is ever faithful to redeem what He allows. 

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” ~ 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧 𝐋𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

𝐓𝐈𝐌𝐄 𝐀𝐅𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐓𝐈𝐌𝐄:

 

How many times will I rise and fall,

stumble, win and lose,

embracing what awaits me

in this life I didn’t choose?

 

How many times do I start again?

As many as it takes. 

How many times can I be made whole?

As many as I break. 

 

How many times must I forge ahead?

Both tomorrow and today. 

How many times do I turn around?

Each time I lose my way. 

 

How many times will I miss the mark,

though lavished by Your grace?

How many times shall I bend my will?

Till I see You face to face. 

 

My life and times are in Your hands. 

Each moment, now and then,

is governed by Your purposes,

redeemed time and again. 

 

So, now’s the time to rise above

grief’s sorrow and lament,

and dream new dreams as You repair

and mend what has been rent.