Room for One More

I don't know my neighbors. I've lived in the same apartment for almost a year now, and I've yet to have a real conversation with them. I met one couple because they helped me move a couch. But we haven't talked since then except to say hello. And I don't know any of the other people in the apartments around me.

It's so easy to head into my home, preoccupied and focused on whatever it is that I want to do at that moment. Maybe you can relate.

In Luke 14, Jesus shares the parable of the large banquet. This banquet is for everyone. Jesus makes a point that we must be generous even to people who may not be able to give us anything in return. We must live generously because God has given generously to us.

If God can invite us as sinners into his perfect Home, then what stops us from inviting our neighbors into our homes here today?

Over and over in Scripture, eating a meal together connects people. In the Old Testament, God uses food to not only bring His people together but to show them more of Him.

There is always room for one more at Christ's table.

Head over to for the full post, inspired by my pastor's recent message.

If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuffshoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life. 

And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.

Truly, He makes beautiful things.

My Life-Changing Week at Camp

Thank you so much for praying for the high school girls and me while at camp. Your prayers were felt, and God was present in countless ways in those mountains. I've been back to Nashville a bit now, thinking about exactly how to share my experience with you. Camp was one of the greatest weeks of my life. I've never been a part of something so physically exhausting yet so spiritually renewing. I kept thinking, "Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to be a part of this."

A few years ago, I never would have dreamed I'd be leading fifteen 15-year-old girls for six days and talking about Jesus with them every day. But there I was. As always, God put me right where He needed me to be. I pray that I helped encourage those girls toward a deeper love of Christ. I pray they take what they learned on that mountain into their lives back home.

A typical day at camp meant we’d wake up early and read the Bible individually, going through the first six chapters of Daniel (one of my favorite books). We’d discuss each chapter together as a group and then head to breakfast and morning worship. I cannot put into words how powerful, moving, and, well, fun, the worship services are at camp. Picture an intimate concert with 500 people, add in hands raised in praise, bumping speakers, and a whole lot of Jesus. That’s camp. We’d sing and then hear a challenging message from one of the pastors. After worship, we’d have another discussion within our cabins. The rest of the day included lunch, ample time for outdoor activities (hello, wave pool), dinner, another powerful worship session, and a final group discussion before bed.

The days were long, but the Lord was sweet. He brought me a co-leader who knew some of the girls and had been to camp before. She who so kind and able to help guide me. And when she had to unexpectedly leave camp early for a funeral, God gave me the energy and the wisdom to lead our group solo—a group I felt God specifically placed me with.

My job as a leader was to help point these high school girls to Jesus. I was there to not only watch over them but to care for them for the week. I thought of them like my little sisters. I wanted to make sure they felt loved and encouraged.

Camp is designed specifically for the students. The thing is, these girls and this camp impacted me, too.

I walked away with a greater love of the Lord and a greater desire to serve him wholeheartedly.

As the week went on, God revealed to me that when your attention is on serving others, you don't have space to stress about the little (ultimately selfish) things you normally might. I couldn't worry about my body, or my bank account, or my job. I didn't have the time to feel anxious about this stuff because I was focused on ministering to those girls and hearing from Jesus.

It was freeing.

Seeing the way hundreds of high school girls and boys worshipped and openly loved Jesus all week long was so beautiful. Their passion and joy for the Lord is contagious. I couldn’t help but lift my arms in praise and dance around with the high schoolers as the worship band played Hillsong Young and Free and other upbeat songs. And when we sang “A Beautiful Name,” I let tears stream down my face as I thought about all He has done for me, transforming me from death to life. To God alone be the glory. The name of Jesus deserves all the praise!

When you witness the pure love a new Christian has for Jesus, it stirs something in you. These students demonstrated the true joy of salvation. The deep desire of so many of them is to share the truth of the Gospel and to share how God has changed their lives. They recognize the fact that news this good simply must be shared. When you’ve been saved from the power of sin and the schemes of Satan and then graciously offered eternal life through faith in Christ, that affects you big-time.

The students reminded me that if you are a Christian, then Jesus is not just a part of your life. He is your whole life. Do you live that way, too?

I carried home a few other lessons from camp, things I plan to continue doing back here in real life:

1. Spend less time on my phone.

We were in the mountains with little service. I could call and send a few texts, but I couldn’t be constantly available like I usually am. You know what? It was great. We could all use time away from our devices every now and then.

2. Start every morning with the Bible and prayer.

This year has been the year I’ve developed the habit of morning Bible reading. Camp helped solidify the importance of that. You can read the Word any time of day. But for me, my day feels off without reading and praying first. My goal is to intentionally set aside 30 minutes before work to read and let the message sink in before I start my day.

3. Eat freely.

Future blog post on this to come! Camp showed me not every meal has to be Instagram-perfect and blow our taste buds out of the water. Sometimes lunch is a blah ham and cheese sandwich, and that’s okay. Food sustains us and energizes us—and meals that aren’t this amazing experience can serve to remind us of the Bread of Life who truly satisfies.

4. Share the Truth.

As Christians, we have the greatest news of all time. Not sharing that really makes zero sense. I pray that when people know me, they say I’ve been with Jesus.

When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus.
— Acts 4:13


I’m an ordinary woman, but God continually does extraordinary things for His purpose and His kingdom through ordinary people. I don’t want to be known as a “good person” or a “sweet girl” but rather as a woman of the Lord. Others will only know that if I share with them the Gospel and my own testimony of His saving grace. I have to share my story whenever possible, with whoever possible, especially the people who are already around me.

I want my life—however short or long—to count for His Kingdom.

Let’s be Christians who demonstrate the deep and profound joy that comes from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Let’s proclaim Him with the same boldness of Peter and John, the same boldness of a newly saved high school kid. There’s nothing more exciting or worth sharing.

If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuffshoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life. 

And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.

Truly, He makes beautiful things.

How to Make Godly Decisions

We’ve all been faced with a big decision at one time or another. You might even be there right now. Trying to figure out where to live, what job to pursue, what school to send your child to–the list goes on and on.

We have to make decisions on a regular basis. Yet too often, we turn to Google, we text a friend, or we try to strategize our way through them. What if we turned to God instead? What if we sought His will by spending time in His Word and by asking Him directly?

Head over to for the full post, inspired by my pastor's recent message

If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuffshoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life. 

And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.

Truly, He makes beautiful things.

I'm Going to Camp

I’m going to camp! In fact by the time you read this, I may already be there. Today is the first day of my church’s high school camp in the beautiful mountains of the Cherokee National Forest in East Tennessee. I’ll be there through Monday, and I am so excited. Another woman and I will be co-counselors to a group of about 15 girls. I can’t wait to meet them and get to know each of them throughout the next six days.

This is my first time at a Christian camp. I went on a youth group trip the summer following my senior year of high school, but this week’s camp is going to be pretty different. A few hundred high school boys and girls are expected to attend. We’re booked from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day, praying and worshipping together, learning about Jesus, and of course having fun in the pool, at the ropes course, and on the zip line. The biggest difference about this camp is that we’re focused on discipleship. We want to help these students know and love Jesus and then go forth to make disciples.

I’d love for you to cover me, the other counselors, and these students in prayer. Because I’ll confess: I’m nervous! This is a totally new experience for me. But it dawned on me during these past few days that the things that scare us the most end up being the most worthwhile. God goes before us. He knows all the details that we don’t. He’s paving the way. And He’s called me to camp with a purpose.

Praise the LORD of Hosts, for the LORD is good; His faithful love endures forever
— Jeremiah 33:11b

Will you pray for me?

Pray for wisdom.

Pray that God would speak through me and give me the words to say, especially when counseling girls one-on-one.

Pray for confidence.

I’ll be sharing my testimony. Pray for confidence in what God has done and continues to do in my life.

Pray for joy and freedom.

I get nervous when I enter into new and unknown situations because I idolize control. This week God is totally stripping me of that. I don’t get to control my schedule, my sleep, my meals, my alone time. Pray against anxiety and that I would remember His way is so much better than mine. He’s got this.

Pray I would spread the light of Christ in both my words and actions.

I strive for my actions to match my beliefs. This is especially important this week while I am surrounded by young, impressionable 14-to-18 year old girls. Pray I would show them what it looks like to walk with the Lord.

Pray for patience.

High school girls. Hormones. Need I say more? Pray my co-counselor and I would have patience and extend a whole lot of grace to our group.

Pray for spiritual rest.

Each day is jam-packed. Pray I would find spiritual rest in the Lord, even when tired physically.

Pray for an overflow of coffee.

Just kidding. Making sure you’re still with me. 

Will you pray for the girls?

Pray for a deeper love of Jesus.

For knowledge, love, and obedience of Him. Pray that the girls who do not have a relationship with Christ would turn from sin and surrender to Christ for the first time.

Pray for one girl who struggles with food, exercise, or body image to be placed in my group.

Pray these chains of sin in her life would be broken.

Pray for discipleship.

Pray that each girl would leave with friends who can help hold her accountable and sharpen her as a Christian.

Pray for continued movement after camp.

This is only the beginning as God sends us out. Pray the spiritual high of camp wouldn’t end when we leave the mountains but would grow and catch fire as we head back to our regular lives.

Pray for all glory to go to God.

Lord, keep our hearts fixed on You! To You be the glory. 

I know He will show up in powerful ways this week, and I’m thankful to be a part of it.

You can watch the camp worship services live every night at 8:30 p.m. CT:  

If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuffshoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life. 

And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.

Truly, He makes beautiful things.

The Comparison Game


I moved to Nashville nine months ago. In that time, I have received three couches from friends and family. Yes, three. My initial thought was one of gratitude and appreciation. I have a new couch! For free! But if I’m honest that very quickly dissipated and morphed into, This couch doesn’t fit with my aesthetic. This isn’t what I’m going for. My apartment doesn’t look good enough to invite friends into. I want the clean, white, perfect Joanna Gaines home that so many other people seem to have.

Hello—talking about a couch here. Interior design. A first-world problem if there ever was one.

I’d say to myself, I’m a 27-year-old woman living in my first apartment alone, and I want it to look good.

It didn’t take long for my boyfriend to call me out. Leave it to a male to speak the obvious truth:

Why does it matter?

Desiring or possessing a nice house or apartment is not an inherently bad thing. We’re allowed to have living spaces that fit our style and make us feel at home. But I think it’s important we ask ourselves the state of our hearts in desiring these things and building them up.

Surely you can relate, whether with your home, your body, your job, or your relationship status. After all, we live in an image-focused world. I read a statistic that Instagram has 600 million users, 400 million of whom are active every day. And 95 billion images and videos are shared on Instagram every 24 hours. How crazy is that? We’re inundated with images from other people—some authentic but many not. Images of fitness routines, “clean” meals, beauty tips, high fashion, celebrity lifestyles, career accomplishments, perfect homes—the list is never-ending.

I look at Instagram and compare myself to women who “have it all”: a successful blog or book, a cute body, great fashion sense, a perfectly decorated home, a nice husband, and maybe even a sweet little one.

These things will ultimately pass away. That vintage clawfoot tub and the number of blog followers aren't coming with us to heaven. We’re not guaranteed our six-pack abs are either. I don’t want to store up so many treasures for myself here on earth that I’m reluctant to leave them behind when I’m called to glory and life eternal with Jesus Christ.

Let my wealth be in the Cross.

This truth applies to any of our ventures. I know when I am not on guard and spending time in God’s Word, my tendency to compare can take deeper roots in my life. I imagine comparison like a nasty weed that makes its way into the flower bed and destroys every blossom. It digs in, plants roots, and grows deeper and wider until it has thoroughly wrecked the entire garden.

At that point, my comparison turns into jealousy and envy.

My friend Paul Maxwell had this to say about jealousy:

"Through jealousy, God shows us two things. First, he shows us himself. He is a jealous God (he even says “my name is Jealous” Exodus 34:14). It is part of his character as the covenanting God to take on the pain and hurt of experiencing his bride’s unfaithfulness (Hosea 4:13–14). Through our jealousy, we experience a communicable divine emotion (Deuteronomy 32:21).

Second, he shows us ourselves. Through jealousy, the deepest desires of our hearts are elicited and amplified (Genesis 22:12; Psalm 66:18–20). The fire of jealousy burns away the distractions of life’s details to show us the things we treasure. This process of internal emotional suffering—of jealousy most pointedly—can help clarify and bring to the surface all that we would otherwise have kept hidden from God and even from ourselves."

My jealousy indicates where my desires are. My jealousy for someone else’s beautiful home is about more than decor. At its core, it’s about approval, recognition, and admiration.

I even get jealous about friend’s successful blogs, books, and creative pursuits. Deep down, I want God to widely use me and my writing, to allow me to publish a book and to impact other women. The jealousy that can come from that desire is not a pretty place for my heart to be.

In 1 Kings 20 and 21, we see Ahab fiercely jealous of Naboth and his vineyard. Ahab wants what he wants, and his wife Jezebel encourages him to assert his power to make it happen. God had commanded earlier,

Walk in my statutes, execute my ordinances, and keep all My commandments by walking in them.
— 1 Kings 6:12

Ahab and Jezebel completely disregard God and pursue their own desires in selfishness and sin.

Later, Ahab repents and walks around subdued—and The Lord honors His humility. God is just, yet He is full of mercy. He wants our humility and reliance on Him over our own pride. And He wants our contentment to be in Him, not in what other people have.

Immorality comes into my life through comparison, jealousy, and pride. Can you say the same?

I want my focus to be on my holiness, my becoming more like Jesus and more consistently in step with Him. This has to be elevated above any striving for success, approval, or acceptance. 

This is what the Lord says: Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool. Where could you possibly build a house for me? And where would my resting place be? My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being. This is the Lord’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word.
— Isaiah 66:1-2

God created heaven and earth; He created us and every part of our lives. He's looking for the person who is humbly willing to follow Him. When I notice myself in the trap of comparison, I ask Him to create in me a humble heart and a spirit of obedience to His will. I need His help so that my focus rests on Him, not on others. Let my life be about Jesus and the things He wants for me.

Rather than compare to others or long jealously after what they have, we can root ourselves in the Lord. When we align our hearts with His, we understand and experience what He wants for us.

This is the long game. It's not an overnight process. It takes work, and it takes continual turning back to Him.

When we do that, we get to rest because we're not constantly striving. We get to experience real peace in a way we cannot with anything else. While it may not garner us a bestselling book or a cute home like the comparison game could, it will allow God to use us as He sees fit, for our overall good and the good of His kingdom.

I'd take that any day. 

If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuffshoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life. 

And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.

Truly, He makes beautiful things.

A Follow-Up on Body Image and Recovery

Friends—thank you so much for reading my blog post on body image. I really think God was using me for that post, and I am glad His Word was such an encouragement for so many of you.

After publishing it, a couple of you reached out to me to ask for more specific advice. You wondered about any helpful suggestions I might have for someone going through recovery from an eating disorder or disordered eating.

First of all, for each of you who confessed to me that you have struggled with body image or eating and no longer want to walk that path, I want to say I am so proud of you. Being honest and admitting body image struggles, exercise addiction, or an eating disorder is the hardest part and the first step to recovery. And I would encourage you if you are reading this and thinking that you might be struggling, too, would you confess that to someone? Share this burden with someone else. Invite them in and push back some of the darkness that has a hold on you.  

Give up your struggle to the Lord. Cry out to Him. Talk to Him specifically about what you’re going through. Someone once told me you have to claim your struggle—meaning you have to name it aloud and ask very intentionally for healing. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we wield. Use it. Don’t let sin and Satan’s grasp keep you trapped.

I think that has been one of my biggest revelations in recovery—the knowledge that I cannot do it alone. Other people are not here to judge you; they want to help you.

Even more so, God is here for you. If you are a Christian, you have been sealed with His Spirit. He dwells within you! Take a moment to soak that in.

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
— Ephesians 1:13

God hears you, and He loves you so much. He doesn't want you to spend your life hyper-focused on your body and your weight, your fitness routine, and your food intake. He has so much more in store for you. You have to believe that. If you are wrestling with the same struggle again and again, continually hitting a dead end, and you are not a Christian, would you consider how a relationship with Jesus changes your life? How He enables your healing, recovery, and redemption?

Read my story. I can’t make this stuff up—I’m alive today because of Jesus. I’m still a work in progress, and I will always be. But He has given me new life. You can have new life, too.

If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and you proclaim that, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

My next step for you would be to start meeting with a non-diet dietitian in your area. I cannot emphasize enough how much my dietitian has helped me and continues to lead me on the road to full freedom. When seeking out a dietitian, be sure she has her credentials and really does specialize in eating disorders and intuitive eating. If you cannot find someone in your area like this, there are some great RDs who offer phone/Skype sessions. Consider Robyn (a friend and fellow church member from New York City!), Kylie (adore her), or Reba (my dietitian!).

Another thing that was super helpful for me was doing a detox for my mind. I re-evaluated all the media I take in, and I looked specifically for healthier outlets that would encourage me and build up my body confidence. I now regularly read blogs like Imma Eat That and The Real Life RD, and I listen to podcasts like Food Psych with Christy Harrison. I look for books on recovery, such as Life Without Ed (could not recommend this more), The Eating Disorder Sourcebook, and Intuitive Eating (a game-changer for everyone, not just those who struggle with an ED).

I stopped following a lot of people on Instagram who made me feel guilty about the food I eat or the way my body looks. I stopped following most celebrities. I often found myself comparing my life to theirs, and it wasn't healthy. About a year ago, I stopped all my magazine subscriptions. I read magazines here and there, but not the way I use to legit study them from cover to cover. I even stopped watching "The Bachelor/Bachelorette"—I know that sounds silly, but it's helped! I didn't realize how much I compared myself to the "real" women on those shows and held them as a standard for what I should look like and what men desire. Let me tell you: That could not be further from the truth.

I have to take solace in the real Truth—God's Word. Psalm 139 and Proverbs 31 are beautiful reminders of who we are as precious daughters of Christ. Our worth is so much more than our weight or the food we eat. Pick a verse that especially speaks to you and memorize it. Pull that out when you’re tempted to fall back into old ways.

For me, that’s 1 Samuel 16:7:

But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.

Remember who you are and whose you are. Keep fighting. Recovery is a battle, but full freedom and restoration are possible.

If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuffshoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life. 

And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.

Truly, He makes beautiful things.

What Does The Bible Say About Body Image?

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a long time. I haven’t written it because, well, there’s so much to say. I’ve written plenty on body image in the past, but not always from a Biblical standpoint. I’ve written about honoring our bodies and how to talk to a friend who has an eating disorder. I’ve encouraged us to quit dictating the morality of food and to forget about weight loss resolutions.

But talk about the Gospel and how that affects body image?

It’s a tougher topic entirely.

A writer at Christianity Today had this to say about the issue:

“Every time a woman turns on the television, strolls past a magazine aisle, watches the numbers rise on the scale, or spots that first gray hair, the battle wages on.

I cannot speak to the experience of men, but studies show that men fight this battle too. Images of six-pack abs, athletic builds, trendy clothes, and perfectly styled hair are all over the media…and if we're being honest, in many an evangelical pulpit.

For these two reasons—physical and spiritual—Christians need pastors to talk openly and thoughtfully about body image. The problem is, very few are doing this.

I can only speculate about why church leaders are largely silent about body image. Perhaps it's seen as a ‘women's issue,’ whereas the majority of pastors are men. Perhaps the topic is just too sensitive. Perhaps it speaks to a theology more concerned with the spirit than the body. Or perhaps it is an idol so entwined in Christian culture that we hardly even notice it.”

I definitely notice it, and if you’re reading this, I bet you do, too.

I thought moving from New York City to the Nashville area would mean I’d escaped the pressures of an image-focused and success-hungry society. That has been true to some extent. But the reality is the same across America: We are hyper-focused on our bodies. We are bombarded with images and headlines on a daily basis that tell us what to look like, what to eat, and how to work out.

Christians are not immune to this. I’ve heard beautiful, Godly women many times compare their diets and discuss the things they don’t like about their bodies. Men may not be talking about their body dissatisfaction in the same way, but body image is still a part of their lives.

So while I am not a pastor, I am a woman of the Word and a woman who loves the Lord. I’m also a woman who has experienced the deep pain and destruction of an eating disorder and poor body image—and the immense healing a relationship with Christ brings.

Throughout my years of struggle with food, exercise, and body image, the thing that has brought me the most comfort and encouragement is the Word of God. My identity is rooted in Him. When we accept Christ and live our lives for Him, that changes everything—including body image.

Paul writes in his first letter to Timothy, 

for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 
— 1 Timothy 4:8

This verse always stands out to me. It’s been helpful for me whenever I think “I just ate [insert “bad” food here] so I better [insert strenuous exercise] to burn those calories.” That sort of thinking is not the way God created us! I cannot stress this enough. That thinking comes straight from the devil. It tempts us and tricks us; it certainly doesn’t make us more like Christ.

Exercise is an amazing thing when done with a joyful heart and a true approach to health. But when exercise impedes your holiness, it’s time to take a step back. Reading the Word and praying has to come before time at the gym. Physical fitness and clean eating are not number-one priorities in God’s book, despite what culture may have us believe. We don’t need to work out six days a week, or sculpt six-pack abs, or force ourselves to run a 10K when we don’t even enjoy running. Those actions don’t make us healthy. God has created us with a beautiful mind, body, and spirit. Physical training of the body can only go so far when it comes to eternal life. I don’t know about you, but I don’t picture weight machines in heaven. Godliness, on the other hand, is with us for forever.

How much time do we think Jesus spent meal prepping, pondering his next workout, or deciding what He was going to wear? If I had to guess, I’d say approximately zero percent of His time was spent on this. He knew His Father would provide. He was concerned with His ministry and fulfilling the Father’s will. He wasn’t stressing about such relatively insignificant things as weight and clothing.

We know through through the book of Matthew that Jesus said,

“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?... For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6: 25-27, 32-34)

I love this picture Jesus gives us so much. Life is more than food and the body more than clothing. And God provides what we need.

Over and over in the Bible, we see God using the small and the weak. He picks the most unexpected people and utilizes them to advance His kingdom. He’s not looking for the people who look good and seem successful by societal standards. He’s looking for the people who love Him with all their heart.

Think of David, who becomes King of Israel and whose line leads to Jesus.

But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.’
— 1 Samuel 16:7

One of David’s seven older brothers would have been the logical choice for King. Yet the Lord chose David, the youngest and smallest, who was out tending to sheep at the time. David, the one who no one took a second look at.

We don’t have to look a certain way for God to see us or use us. What God cares about more than anything is our hearts. When I find myself tempted to restrict my food intake or believe the lie that I am weak because I don’t adhere to a regular exercise routine, I try to remind myself of this verse. What is my heart motivation behind eating healthy and exercising? What drives me to do these things—godliness or something else like public perception, approval, physical beauty? 

Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

I pray I honor the Spirit within me by treating my body with love, kindness, and respect. I know that when I stand before God on judgment day, He won’t ask me about my dress size or how fast I can run a mile. 

From the very first book of the Bible, we see that:

“God created mankind in His own image; in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

God created us in His image.

The Creator of the universe, the almighty, all-knowing, and all-powerful Father, is perfect. He created us to reflect His image. That means He created us perfectly, too.

He created us in a remarkable and wonderful way. He knit us together in our mother’s womb before we were born. Psalm 139 reminds us of how much the Father cares for us in the way He created us. Our bodies, our minds, our personalities are all from God. They are not an accident. I believe God designed us exactly as we are—what we view as flaws are precious in His eyes. That extra skin around the waist of your jeans, those strong and muscular calves, that thick and curly hair, those smile lines around your mouth and eyes—all are beautiful in His eyes.

If God sees us as precious and beautiful, and we care about His opinion more than anyone else’s, then why wouldn’t we see ourselves as precious and beautiful, too?

If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuffshoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life. 

And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.

Truly, He makes beautiful things.

He Is Risen

If you’ve been around Christians long enough, you’re probably heard or been asked, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?”

Maybe you've even been asked, “Have you been saved?”

And maybe you’re wondering what on earth these people are talking about. I’m going to be as real as possible with you and try to explain that the best way I know how.

To me, having a personal relationship with Jesus means He is the center of your life. He is everything to you. You live your life for Jesus, to become more like Him every single day. You know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’re going to spend eternity in heaven with Him. You believe He rose from the dead, and that one day, you too will be raised from the dead by Him.

Having a personal relationship with Jesus means more than saying God is real. It’s more than thinking there’s someone up in the clouds making the world go around. It’s more than believing in heaven and hell. And it’s a lot more than going to church every Sunday.

A personal relationship with Jesus Christ changes everything.

I know this because I’ve experienced that radical change in my own life.

A few years ago, while I believed in God—even the trinity of Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit—I had no idea how much He could change my life. I didn’t grasp the magnitude of His presence or His actions in my life right now. 

I didn’t read the Bible on a daily basis, and I didn’t have a desire to. I didn’t go to Him in prayer. Even though I believed in God, I relied fully on myself. I didn't see myself as a sinner in need of salvation. I controlled my life, and by most people’s standards, I was pretty good at it. I was successful in every area. I was a good person. What did I have to worry about?

It took everything falling apart and me hitting rock bottom—plus years after that with God continually pursuing my heart—for me to finalize realize what I was missing and Who I needed. 

I needed Jesus. When I began to see that, my life began to change.

Grace came into the picture, and I finally realized I could experience a deep sense of hope every single day. I didn't have to be perfect because I have a God who is perfect, a God sees me as perfect in Him. 

I had to understand the full picture of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to enter into a saving relationship with Him. You see, the resurrection changes everything! Jesus was fully man and fully God. He was perfect; he never sinned. Yet He died the most horrible death imaginable for our sins. Because, like you, I am a sinner. We all are sinners in need of our Savior. 

Jesus died, and on the third day, He rose again! He was resurrected and ascended into heaven so that we might have eternal life. His blood was poured out for us. He was the ultimate sacrifice, and He died the death that we deserve. He is the only way we can have eternal life with Him, rather than eternal separation in hell. Our sins are what nailed Him to that cross. 

As my pastor proclaimed this Easter Sunday, Jesus loves us so much that He went to the cross. He is the only religious leader on the planet who rose from the dead. You can go around the world right now to find the remains of Mohammed, Confucius, Joseph Smith, and every other leader. But if you go to Israel and you look into Jesus’ tomb, you won’t see a thing. No bone, no remnant, no nothing. He is ALIVE. He is alive and active!

He is not here! For He has been resurrected, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.
— Matthew 28:6

We see in the book of Matthew, as well as the gospels of Mark, Luke, and John, that Jesus rose from the dead. Hundreds of eyewitnesses accounted this. And do you know who the first person the risen Jesus revealed Himself to? A woman. He showed up to Mary Magdalene, a woman who was once possessed by demons and who Jesus healed. She’s someone who society would have looked down upon in every way. Yet Jesus made Himself known to her. This is no ordinary man, and this is no ordinary story. Had a human written this story, written the Bible, I can guarantee you that Jesus would not reveal himself to a woman. Even more so, He wouldn’t have died. He would have instead been the typical hero we picture: strong and mighty and unable to die.

But that’s just it: Jesus is the strongest and the most mighty. And He hasn’t died—not really. He was resurrected on the third day, and He reigns over heaven and earth!

He demonstrated this power in the Messiah by raising him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens, far above every ruler and authority, every power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the age to come. He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.
— Ephesians 1:20-22

We have access to God today through His word, through prayer, and through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is not some far-away God in some far-away place. He’s living and breathing in our lives right now. We can open up the Bible, read it aloud, and hear God speaking to us in this very moment.

God’s Word is so clear about what we must do in order to be saved. Baptism doesn’t save you. Repentance doesn’t save you. Going to church doesn’t save you. None of these works will give you a personal relationship with Jesus.

If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
— Romans 10:9

A personal relationship with Jesus—a saving relationship with Him—comes down to our faith. You know you are a sinner, you believe Jesus is Lord, and know in your heart that the Father raised Him from the dead. That truth changes your whole perspective.

Will you declare that with your mouth? Will you speak it aloud? Will you proclaim Him as Lord and Savior over your life?

You don’t need a pastor to do that. You don’t need a priest. And you certainly don’t need me.

You need Jesus.

You can invite Him into your life right now—and I pray you do. My heart breaks for the lost, and lately I’ve felt particularly burdened for those who live their lives just like I used to—successful, independent, in control, and yet totally oblivious to the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and how He changes everything. That was me. I was lost. I didn’t have this great hope. I didn’t have absolute assurance that I’d be spending eternity in heaven with Jesus Christ. I kept striving, looking at one thing after the next to fill me up: my job, my body, my relationships, you name it. Here's the thing: Nothing ever did because nothing compares to Jesus.

Jesus' love for us and His call for us to follow Him is summarized so clearly in one of my favorite worship songs, “O Come to the Altar”:

Are you hurting and broken within
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin
Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well
Jesus is calling

O come to the altar
The Father's arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ

We get to come to the altar. We have access to God right here, right now. We can have a personal relationship with Him, and we can be saved. Every single one of us is welcome. This salvation isn’t for a select few— it’s for the broken and the hurting and the man and woman like you and me.

I’m praying for you. I’m praying you would know and love Jesus. I’m praying you would accept Him into your life and finally receive the peace and hope you’ve been searching for all along. I’m praying your eyes would see and your ears would be open to hear.

If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved!

What are you waiting for?

Still have questions? I’d like to invite you to read these other resources:

If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuffshoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life. 

And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.

Truly, He makes beautiful things.

For the Woman in the Wilderness

I have talked to a lot of you who right now are in the wilderness. You’re journeying through a really difficult time in your life, dragging a lot of baggage, a lot of dirt, a lot of mess behind you—and the end seems nowhere in sight.

My life feels pretty even-keeled right now, but I have been in your shoes before and I’ll be there again one day. Our lives are a constant ebb and flow. Whatever wilderness you’re in, this post is for you.

For the woman who is struggling to make end’s meet, who doesn’t know where her next paycheck will come from or how she’ll secure a reliable source of income, trust that there is hope.

For the woman who hates her job and longs for something different, know that you’re where you are for now with great purpose.

For the woman whose deepest desire is to be married, but she can’t seem to land a date, believe that your worth stems from something greater than your relationship status.

For the woman who tries again and again to bear children, yet each pregnancy test comes up negative, there is redemption for you.

For the woman who is chasing the next best job, the next highest title, the next largest salary, the next biggest house, you can stop your striving and find peace.

For the woman who believes she is not enough, know that He is.

Jesus is in your wilderness—He himself went through wilderness. He was tempted by Satan, and he needed to rely on His Father to get Him through it.

He actually quotes three very specific passages in Deuteronomy as he battles Satan.

"He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat, which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord." (Deuteronomy 8:3)

"Do not test the Lord your God as you tested Him at Massah." (Deuteronomy 6:16)

"Fear Yahweh your God, worship Him, and take your oaths in His name." (Deuteronomy 6:13)

He proclaimed His faith and spoke God’s name out loud—and the Devil left Him.

Jesus has been exactly where you are, and He gets your situation better than anyone else can. He understands pain, longing, betrayal, exhaustion, disappointment, hurt. He sees you. He is working on your behalf.

As I read through the Old Testament, I notice a theme. The Israelites turn away from God time and time again. Not only that, but they worship false gods. They stop teaching their children about Yahweh. They behave in the complete opposite way that God told them to.

God is not blind to their sin; He is a just God after all. His anger comes out, and He releases His wrath. But eventually, the Israelites cry out to God for deliverance. They ask for help. They ask for saving. They ask for a miracle.

Time and time again, God delivers.

Do not be afraid.

Do not be discouraged.

Be strong and courageous.

Stand up.

I am with you.

He is with those Israelites even when they screw things up.

My dear, He is with you, too.

The Promised Land looks like a dream. Milk and honey flow abundantly. The manna is so sweet. But the Israelites don’t get to this amazing place until they’ve spent 40 years journeying through the wilderness.

They consistently ask God to take them a different way. They’d rather be back in slavery in Egypt than deal with the difficulties of the wilderness any longer. But God has a plan and a vision. He sees the entirety of the situation, while they see just a speck.

He promised them redemption, and He doesn’t go back on His promises.

Do you believe that?

Do I believe that?

The redemption comes full circle with Jesus, who died for our sins and rose so that we might have eternal life. We’re not guaranteed a happy life, and we’re not even guaranteed tomorrow. But we can stake our lives on a greater hope and keep our heads held high.

I think lives would be transformed and our world would be a better place if we walked around knowing that truth in our core and living each day with that freedom in our hearts.

Let me put it in a slightly different manner. Remember the 2006 Rodney Atkins country song, “If You’re Going Through Hell”?

"If you're goin' through hell keep on going
Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there

I've been deep down in that darkness
I've been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons breathin' fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled I'd fall right into the trap
That they were layin'

But the good news is there's angels everywhere out on the street
Holdin' out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one's that you've been draggin' for so long
You're on your knees might as well be prayin'
Guess what I'm sayin'..."

He goes on to sing, “face that fire, walk right through it.”

The song might sound cheesy (okay, it totally is), but that’s precisely what we get to do with Jesus! He gives us the strength to walk through fires. He takes us through wilderness before we can reach the Promised Land. We won’t necessarily find that Promised Land here on earth, but we can bank on the fact that it will be the most glorious kingdom we’ve ever set foot in when we do get there.

Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
— Joshua 1:9

We hear this verse all the time. You’ve probably seen it written on artwork, journals, and coffee mugs. Take a second to recognize the full depth of it: The Lord is speaking directly to Joshua after Moses’ death. It’s now Joshua’s job to prepare the Israelites to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. God reminds Joshua He has been with them the entire 40 years in the wilderness, and He will continue to do so.

God doesn’t forget His promises. His Word is true! We need to remember that in our own lives right here today. We have to encourage one another in that. When we’re praying to Him, reading His Word, and listening to His call for our lives, He’s right there beside us. His Spirit dwells within us. We have nothing to fear.

If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuffshoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life. 

And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.

Truly, He makes beautiful things.

Love With All Your Heart

I’m jittery. There are butterflies in my stomach, and I feel somewhat nauseated. My heart is pounding. My palms are slick. A slight sweat forms across my brow (and definitely in my armpits).

I’m totally enraptured. I can't focus on anything else but that one thing. That one person. I think my heart may have actually skipped a beat.

Do you know the feeling I’m talking about? Do you know that sense of excitement and adoration? It’s love, and there’s simply nothing else like it.

Listen, Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is One.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.

These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…

Be careful not to forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.
— Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 12

You’ve probably heard this passage before. It’s quoted all the time. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength.

But as I read it today, the words carried more weight for me. I saw the full context of this command for the first time, and I could grasp why it’s so very important.

Moses spoke these words after God brought the Israelites out of slavery and gave them a new life. He’s about to bring them to the Promised Land! Moses has been leading the people, and he’s instructing them to obey the Lord before they enter the land. He’s telling them the greatest command: Love God. This is no small task. He tells them to feel this deep in their hearts and souls. Teach your children. Wear this feeling proudly for all to see. Display it daily in the way you walk. Let your home be evidence of your love for God. And don’t ever, ever forget the darkness and the slavery that God delivered you from.

This is deep, life-changing, soul-enrapturing love.

This is the kind of love that changes your whole life and forms the core of your very being. This is called the greatest command for a reason.

What’s even more amazing is the fact that God loves us a million times deeper than the kind of love we’re capable of. We’re fickle humans; we love, and we forget. We love other things more than God. But God, He actually is love. He loved us so much that He made His son, Jesus, fully man to take on our sins and die the horrific death we deserved. He took on the cross for us. He rose to heaven and grants us eternal life!

Matt Chandler says,

“Listen to people talk all the time. They fell out of love. ‘I just don't love him anymore.’ In fact, the thing that's probably most frowned upon in predominant culture when it comes to love is someone who loves by will, what the Hebrews called ahava. It was a love of the will. It was ‘I'm not going anywhere.’ Don't romanticize that. That's not rose petals and violin and candles being lit and, ‘Oh, honey, I'm not going anywhere.’ All right? That's something on fire over here, a knife flung past your head, you're hunkered down, there's chaos everywhere, and you say, ‘I'm not going anywhere.’

Ahava says, ‘I've seen the ugly side of you and I'm staying.’”

Ahava is what Jesus did for us, and it’s the love we are privileged to receive if we accept it and believe it.

We have to love Him in return. That’s the greatest command.

I love my family. I love my friends. I love taking walks, I love drinking coffee, I love watching This Is Us. I love all these things, and I’ll talk about them all day long. Where does Jesus fit into that? Are we willing to talk about Him the way we talk about these lesser things? Do we love Him and look at Him with that jittery feeling we do when we’re in love?

I know I often fall short. I get way more excited about stuff that ultimately doesn’t matter. I let my other loves come before my love of God. There’s nothing wrong with loving your family, your friends, or even This Is Us. But when the order of our loves is upside down, we’ve made a mistake. We’ve forgotten the ultimate commandment.

With the world we live in, it’s so easy to get caught up in cultural commands. Man’s commands tell us to make money. Be successful. Find a spouse and have a nice family. Be healthy. Be pretty. Be strong. And make sure you have it “all together.” Achieve balance.

I don’t see those commands in the Bible. I see God telling us to love Him and to let our love for Him pour of our lives in everything we do.

Remembering the darkness that the Lord redeemed me from is what allows me to love Him first and foremost. He brought me, just like the Israelites, out of slavery. He made me into a new creation. Praise God for that. He loves me with ahava love. He changed my life; He called me into His Kingdom. I want to tell about His goodness all the day long!

My prayer is that I never forget the love God shows me and the freedom He gives me. I pray you won’t either. Think about the depths He called you out of and the new life He’s granted you. If we realize God loves us that much, how could we not love him with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our strength?

And if you are reading this and you’re thinking, I don’t know if I have been given a new life, then will you tell God that? Will you ask Jesus into your heart right here, right now--will you profess Him as Lord and Savior, and let His love transform you from the inside out?

Read my story. Read the stories of these beautiful women. Watch my pastor’s story. God is powerful, and He changes people’s lives every single day.

He loves you, and He wants your love in return.