when the world feels too big


A couple years ago, one of my professors gave us the assignment to choose a movie clip that visually and emotionally helped conceptualize what helped us to push through difficult circumstances in life.  Immediately, I knew which clip I would choose.  Living in a household with my five sons, we watch a lot of super-hero films, and one scene in one particular “Superman” always has stood out to me, and moved my emotions as it resonates so deeply with how I have weathered the storms of my life.  As I googled looking for the clip, ironically the clip was titled, “The world’s too big, mom.”  See, in my life there have been major storms I’ve weathered, disappointments that have cut so deep, gut-wrenching pains that seemed too big to face… fears that left me wanting to hide away.  Feeling like a little helpless child that doesn’t know what to do, faced with big people decisions that I don’t want to face.  I’ve called out to my Father during some of these moments, “It’s too big.  It’s too difficult.  The darkness is too much.  Where are you?”

And, He’s always there.

He’s always reminding me in so many ways that He only needs me to take the next step, and even then He will give me the strength and light needed for that next little step.  Not simply giving me more strength…. He is my strength.  Make it small.  What are you facing today?  Breathe in, breathe out.  Seek Him. Read His words to you. Rely on Him.  Hear His whisper.  He will get you from this moment to the next.  The world is big.  The world can feel overwhelming.  I may feel very small and frail some days, but my Father is strong, good, full of love for me, and an ever-present help.


Man of Steel (2013)


Two Kingdoms & Hope For A Weary Heart

img_8382Straddling two kingdoms. Some days I feel my legs stretching into the splits as the crevice between the two grows farther and farther apart in my heart. Looking down and wondering about a free fall. The tears flowing down my face from the pains of this one, while I gaze into the bliss of the other. When will there be no more dying, no more pain, no more ugly… and oh God, I cry out… where is the justice? The windshield wipers clicked back and forth in the rain… I wish I had one for my eyes too. Where is the justice? For children who suffer abuse around our world, for those suffering mental health that are judged and criticized while they are suffocating, for the hurting and the rejected. For the kids who hear whispers behind their back about their clothing, hanging their head in shame.. Don’t you think they wish they had nikes?? Or clean clothes? Don’t you think that they see the differences? Don’t we understand that no matter how tough the exterior is everyone would love a comfy bed like yours or a hot shower in the morning to be a norm? Don’t we know that every soul on this earth is struggling along every day just wanting to know true love… just like me and you?

But, oh the screaming and labeling. The shouting and the angry voices. The fear… the insecurities.

And so where is it that my heart lives? In this struggling, fighting, insecure world? Or does my Saviour invite me to look elsewhere?

Seek His kingdom now. We are in this world… not of this world. My heart is breaking for us as we straddle the two, but oh that we might more and more gain sight of the kingdom He offers!

We must awake all our senses to this gift. Take a deep breath, and inhale the fragrance of His grace. What we don’t deserve, but so freely given. My pastor this past week in his sermon said, “free, not cheap.” No, not cheap – this costly, precious exchange of His life to give us ours with feet set firmly in a new kingdom! May we stretch out our arms and let it flow… We have the opportunity to be the healing hands of Jesus.

For those struggling with mental health who need to be carried!

img_8386For the poor and rejected!

img_8385For the neglected and forgotten!


For those without a voice!

Aren’t these the ones that Jesus reached out to? Didn’t He come to seek and save the lost.. the broken.. we that are in need?

img_8310Because the kingdom that He invites us to seek.. Oh, my friends! This is the kingdom of a radical Saviour who sees the value of a soul!

It’s a kingdom of hope!

It’s a kingdom of peace!

It’s a kingdom of joy!

It’s a kingdom of love… love that is patient and kind. Love that isn’t selfish or rude, or seeking its own interest. Love that isn’t boastful or conceited. Love that doesn’t get excited over wrongdoing… running in corners to whisper or delight over tragedy. We know the passage.. but do we really sink into the passage? Do we see how God pours out that passage lavishly all over our own lives?

Oh God, Your kingdom, come..

What will your heart given to the complete trust and reign of God look like? Take a minute to ponder that… Seek His kingdom first, Christ says. And all will be added. So, we look at the line we straddle, we lift our eyes up to Him, take a deep breath… and free fall into His love. His kingdom. Every choice, every thought, every talent.. all His. What’s in your life that you can place to use in His kingdom? Why, simply your all. All. All. How shall we walk in one kingdom, and live in another? That’s the miracle He offers us. Seek His heart today. Openly look to Him with eyes afresh and clean…not clogged up by the media, fear, or our own understanding. Lean in; freefall in His love. God will guide you as you navigate this messy world with a pure heart to fight in His kingdom for the news of this love.

For meditation: 1 Cor 13, Proverbs 3:5-6, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 John 4:18-19, Matthew 6:33-34

Emotions, Memes, and Three Treasures of Joy

screemI’m perusing Facebook, when BAM! There it is.  A cleverly worded meme, complete with lovely background image, and 782 previous shares telling us of its validity.  “You choose happiness today! You have no one to blame but yourself! Happiness is a daily choice!” You’ve probably seen them too, maybe even shared them, or created them in a loving attempt to encourage and recreate your journey to help others. But I’d like to share a perspective from my heart, and I hope it speaks to yours.

First, a thought on happiness.  Happiness is an emotion. A feeling. An instinctive God-given gift to us as a result of thinking patterns, hormones, core beliefs, and experiences.

Emotion is defined by Webster’s in this way: /əˈmōSH(ə)n/ “an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate or the like is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.”  

This tells me:

Emotions are real.  

Emotions are necessary.

Emotions are a natural response.

We can work to control our thoughts and help guide our emotions, but we cannot control our emotions themselves. They are a response, like pain receptors in our physical body that tell us when we touch the curling iron, “Watch out! That’s hot! It will burn you!” Our emotions work the same way. Anger, used in a good way, can help us allocate justice when things aren’t fair. Sadness helps us grieve when we’re lost in this tired, difficult world. Happiness helps us celebrate the good, wonderful things in our lives. Like it or not, all of our emotions are gifts that work for us. God gave us this marvelous way to guide us in our soul journeys.FullSizeRender (60)-001

Personally, when I see cleverly worded memes that tell me to “Choose Happy Today,” I’m brought back to some of my
darkest hours. Days that were rugged and broken, when legitimately sad things were happening. Days when, on top of the emotions I was experiencing, I added on shame. Shame that told me I wasn’t a good enough person, or that something was wrong when I couldn’t shake the sad feelings and trade them for the happy. I wore a smile, and tried to ignore the looming sadness. But I needed the sadness. I needed to allow myself to wash and splash some of the pain and loss down my face with cleansing tears. I needed the sadness to help me process the sad things I was experiencing so I could move forward. Through the support of loved ones, and God’s grace-filled guidance, that happened for me during those days.

Maybe today you’re in that place. Life can be such a struggle. Emotions surge high and crash low, and sometimes, if we battle against them instead of leaning into them, they seem to overtake us. And maybe like me, you’ve found yourself overwhelmed in the storm of struggle. As we identify and acknowledge the need to sort through our feelings, we can begin to look at what’s at the core. And yes, vulnerability and being real with oneself can take courage, but the freedom is glorious as we lay bare before our Father, sharing our deepest pains, our greatest fears, and even our happiest moments. We are created to “bear one another’s burdens,” (Galatians 6:2) so please reach out, my friend. You were not made to walk alone. Sometimes this process will show you the need for help from friends, family, counseling, mentoring, loving groups, and maybe medical professionals. Please don’t be ashamed! Support is one thing we all can share with one another. One of the most freeing things ever spoken to me was, “Just take the next right step. That’s all you need to do.”

sunsetcaymanHappiness is an emotion that is so pleasant to have. I mean, who doesn’t like good things felt and experienced? But even on days when I’m feeling the loss, fear, or hurt that some experiences afford, and happiness is far away, precious joy is always there. I’m so grateful that I can trade my shiney, “perfect” mask for vulnerable, honest, real me resting in each step found in my Saviour’s care.  Not me choosing to be happy…. Joy finding me.  Joy that helps me see these emotions as gifts, and offer them up to God to discover how I can grow as I acknowledge His design in emotions for me.  

Three special ways that joy has impacted me through my journeys:

1) Joy has given me tranquility.

A contentedness that sings to my soul, “All is well.” Storms come and go, that is assured, but His love is always with me. Where He has me today, I can be assured His grace is with me. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phillipians 4:11-13)

The waves can’t drown me, for He is holding me.  Even when I can’t feel it, He is there.

2) Joy has given me freedom from guilt and shame.

I fail, and I grow weak. Physically, emotionally, and mentally I can’t be all things at all times, and I have loads of limitations. And that’s ok.  Because, “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” (Psalm 73:26)

Praise God, I don’t rely on me; my hope is in Him.

3) Joy has given me deep, deep delight, and pleasure indescribable.

The more I see His love for me, the more I rest in Him, and the more I experience His love in the most secret places of my heart, the more deeply I delight in every moment I have to know Him.  The darkest days are easier to face as I feel the close presence of my Saviour.  “And though you have not seen him, you love him, and though you do not see him now, but believe in him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9)

I can’t explain it all, but my heart knows well His Love.steppingstones

Friend, you are on my heart today.  Don’t let the weight of those cleverly worded memes, or your own fears keep you from reaching out and working through your experiences today.  Emotions are a gift, and a signal that attention is needed. Find the precious joy of steadfast tranquility, freedom from guilt, and deep, powerful pleasure as you embrace this journey.


All you have to do in this moment is take the next right step.  

If you are reading this, and need help right now, or have had thoughts of complete hopelessness, please reach out. Call a loved one, or one of the confidential contacts listed below. You are loved, and there are many who want to share your burdens, just as many of us have had our burdens shared.

To Write Love on Her Arms


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1 (800) 273-8255

National Child Abuse Hotline

1 (800) 442-4453

National Domestic Abuse Hotline

1 (800)799-7233

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network

1 (800)656-HOPE


“Who is she?

She has potential…She has hopes and dreams for her life.  She has her own beliefs and value system.  She is created in the image of God, and is a unique and special individual.”

Who is she?

She is the young, single-mom that is your cashier at the store.  She is working a double late-shift to pay for a tire-repair. It was expected, her tires are threadbare…Every-time she had to drive she said a prayer. But, what’s a girl to do with three little hungry ones, stacked up bills, and no family that can help.  She rings up your one can of soup accidentally three times.  You can feel you eyes roll, your irritation spilling out on your face.  You don’t know who she is.  But, you know that you are late for your gym class.sad_wallpaper_1274792857

Who is she?

She is the woman standing on the side of the road with a sign.  The plea for help doesn’t even make sense to you.  Probably a scam, you mutter.  Then on a phone call with a friend later in the day you giggle, recounting the event of a misspelled sign, dirty clothing, and unkempt smile.  But, you don’t know who she really is.  She was diagnosed at 15 with Bi-Polar disorder.  She ran away from her abusive home a few years later… never having even a semblance of what some would call a “normal” life, and unable to see hope for a life that is “normal” anywhere in her future either.  All she knows is to try and survive today.

Who is she?

She is the young college student.  She seems firey, and driven by beliefs that seem so wrong to you.  It’s not what you know, or anything that you are familiar with..  She wears t-shirts that don’t make sense, and you deem her with rebellion to the system that’s “right.”  Yet, she struggles to be heard.  She wants others to understand that there are hidden pains that others don’t seem to care about.  She may seem to be yelling, and she is.  She wants to be heard.  She wants to help others be heard, too.

Who is she?handsshadow

She is the woman with four kids at the park, who can’t seem to control them.  Her kids have snot running down their face, the baby is in a diaper that is overdue a change, and the constant shrieks and chaos is interrupting your nice time.  You keep throwing glaring glances. You hope she’ll notice and leave.. “What is wrong with folks?  Why can’t they get it together?”   She feels the looks, but sends one right back at you.  Glare for glare.  Do you know who she is?  She lost her husband last year to suicide.  She works two minimum wage jobs just to cope financially, and every day is a battle just to get out of bed.  She hates the hopelessness she feels… she never even cares if her hair is clean, or anything is tidy. She is beyond tears. She feels so alone. She falls deeper into depression questioning why she can’t shake all this. Why isn’t she strong enough to pull them out of this horrible, spiraling mess. Maybe I can take the kids to play at the park, and think for a minute.  But, where is the time…or peace… to even process anything with the overwhelming, daunting wall of this life?

Who is she?

She is the aging woman who lives across the street from you. She loves to tell you stories of yesterday. She seems odd, and you hate having to stop to speak to her.. it inconveniences you, and slows you down during your busy schedule.  You pretend you don’t see her when she waves at you across the street.  “Please don’t let her see me, or call my name,” you think.  Then you wonder why you feel that way, irritated and ruffled… It’s because you don’t know who she is.  She has lived a long life and watched most of her loved ones pass, her body aches daily with the cares of her age, and she spends all her days alone now.  She is content with her days alone, but she also loves sharing her beautiful life stories with others.  She wants to give, and receive companionship with others.

Who is she?

child eyesShe is the three year old clamoring at your knee.  Begging you wide-eyed to just “read it one more time!”   She peers deeply into your eyes… looking to see if you truly are going to read it again.  Looking to see if you are truly, fully and whole-heartedly there with her in this moment. She smiles with delight, as you pick up the book, pulling her close to you with a smile.. to read it just one more time.  That’s who she is.

She is you, and she is me.

She needs others.

She needs hope.

She is important.

She is valuable.

She is loved.

She is a miracle.

She is specifically, and beautifully created in the image of God.


*Quote taken from Serving with Care and Integrity

band-aids, peroxide, triple a ointment & Psalm 73


Little word… that can affect in a big way.  And, it affects all of us at some point in time.

It cuts.  It stings.  It swells.  It burns.

We cringe.  We limp.  We cry.

For some reason with physical pain, however, we realize that we need help.  We realize our need for a doctor’s care, stitches, surgery, medication, and  proper cleansing to keep away infections.  When I broke my wrist, the pain was great.  I cringed.  I cried.  I went to the ER, hoping they could alleviate the problem, and alleviate the pain quickly!  As you know, I have five boys (yea, we’ve had a few ER visits here and there….) and I would never think to leave a bleeding wound dirty and open to infection, or a splinter in the skin to fester…..

So, why do we hide the pain in our hearts so quickly?

Why don’t we understand that pain points to a condition that needs healing?  Pain shouts to us that it in itself is not the problem…. it’s only alerting us that something deeper is going on, and it needs attention now.  Yet, we live with those signs day in, day out.  We carry our pain with us to the grocery store, work, the gym, the movie theatre, and out to dinner — we tell it to be quiet, and then we put on a big smile, cos “I’m ok.”

We also seem to think that sometimes how we care for our pain is determined by “how” the injury occurred.  How silly would it be if I only cared for a gun-shot wound if it was only the result of some-such horrid accident out of my control?  What if my mind-set was that I did not deserve help, care or attention to the wound if it was the result of my mistake?  Picture this:  a bleeding wound, life-threatening, pain beyond control… yet, I do not allow myself to have proper care, because it was inflicted by me.

Sounds silly, huh?

But my friend, we do it every day.  We have pain. We have hurt.  We have burdens.  Yet, we bury them deep inside — “How dare I even think about that wound?!  It was my mistake! I’m so stupid… how could I even think of speaking to anyone about it for help, and God surely doesn’t deserve to hear me cry out about this!  It was me!”

Even worse…. I surely wouldn’t ever poke into an open, gaping, bleeding wound causing another one even more pain than they are currently having. Rather, I would rush them to immediate care!   They might be responding to the pain with tears, anger, quietness, or reaching arms.   It would not matter;  friend, foe, stranger, or best buddy. Right?  We would find the help that they needed, and quickly!  Yet, we feel the need to look on others who are hurting inside, and might be demonstrating it in different ways, quickly with judgment, criticism, and often not the help that they need.  Let’s think about that.  The kind words of others have carried me through many dark times.  Smiles, hugs, and words of light gave me hope…. Hope that doesn’t disappoint.  Hope that said “Hold on.”  Hope that said, “Just because you don’t always feel God, doesn’t mean He isn’t there.”  Instead of being the one who places more burdens and weight on others, let’s breathe life and hope.

Are you hurting tonight?  Do you hide the pain inside… sometimes not even looking at it really yourself, let alone someone else?  Please hear me tonight.  You are not alone.  You are loved.  This life is tough, and sometimes things can feel so foggy that there seems to be no way out.  I’ve been there too.  I’ve hurt silently, and I’ve had pain that feels like no end is in sight.  But, care is possible.  I promise you.  Light can be found… even in the darkest, lowest places.  So, I say to you tonight… Reach out.  Don’t suffer in silence.  It doesn’t matter how the pain came about, or who is to blame… healing for your heart is possible.  There is cleansing, ointment, and beauty that comes and changes our scars forever.

 “Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:23-26