“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4
I don’t think I ever fully understood the depth of this passage until just recently. I grew up with this unrealistic view that heaven was for everyone and everyone will eventually end up there. Maybe, just maybe, they wouldn’t end up in heaven if they were really bad; I mean really really bad. But, for the most part, the gate was wide open.
Read at a surface level, this passage may have proven my point – Don’t worry, my Father’s house has plenty of rooms. It’s this wide open, doors unlocked mansion, and I’m making it ready for you, so just chill and meet me there someday. So casual, so welcoming, so open. If you read it like that, than you are missing the whole point. Continue reading Preparing A Place
Constant life transitions, depression, and apathy have stolen my consistency in my time spent before Jesus’ feet over a few years. I just couldn’t seem to get it together. Sure, I had periods of being more consistent and the fruit of that was evident in the blogging I did during that time. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve also read posts about my struggle with the Lord. I prayed and prayed for God to help me find a way to be consistent in my time praying, journaling, and studying His Word because I’ve experienced how it can bring me life and shape the way I live. Then, a series of events and the influence of three women finally helped me get back on that path in a way that only God could have ordained. Continue reading Finding My Sacred Space
While the phrase “hit rock bottom” has become a bit cliche in our culture, I find it a rather accurate description of my experience with depression. I most definitely hit my rock bottom seven years ago. My depression became so severe I pictured myself as a helpless child curled up in fetal position in the bottom of an abandoned well, much like what you’d see on TV or the movies wherein a harrowing rescue effort would ensue. These scenes usually ended with frazzled parents embracing the frightened child encircled by a cheering crowd of dirty rescuers.
The only difference between the movie scene and my reality was that in a movie the child can’t wait to get out of the well, whereas I found safety in my pit, as dreadful as it was. I was too frightened that if I sought help, I wouldn’t be able to face myself, or the cheering crowd of rescuers. Thankfully, peering down from the top of the pit were a handful of people who coaxed me out with God’s grace. It happened very slowly during which time I did my best to hide in plain sight. I moved to a new city and spent a lot of time at home. I found a large church where I could blend in with the crowd and avoid any kind of meaningful conversation. I kept at distance from my peers, avoiding making friends. Continue reading Receiving Help at Rock Bottom and Preventing the Fall
Many people are posting memories and notes of encouragement and love on Facebook to a dear friend of mine who is dying of cancer. Each and every one of them touch me deeply. Many make me choke up with a strong combination of joy and tears as I identify with their sentiments.
It’s a joyful occasion when a believer in Christ gets to meet Him face to face for eternity in heaven, but it’s sad for those of us who are left behind in the absence of such a wonderful person like Michelle.
I quickly realized a Facebook post just wouldn’t cut it. Michelle Beckman made too much of an impact on my life to be summed up in a few sentences on a Facebook post. So, instead, I decided to write a letter to her, here, on my blog. I hope this letter is an encouragement to you, even if you never knew Michelle, because of the great truths she showed me along the way.
Continue reading Saying Goodbye with Joy and Tears
I could die of a ripe old age, my life fulfilled. Or, I could die in a tragic circumstance that traumatizes a country.
One day before my 16th birthday, I sat in front of the TV with my after-school snack. I was probably hoping to watch an episode of Saved By the Bell before going to my room to do my homework. That changed. Continue reading It Could Be Me, But I Will Not Fear
Be patient. Wait. Put one foot in front of the other, and be led blindly down the right path. Trust. Have faith. This has been the theme of my life for the past three years.
It wasn’t so hard at first. Short seasons of the unknown are to be expected in life. It’s when they drudge on month after month, year after year, that the need for faith increases and yet seems to be harder to come by. I realized quickly, and often, that faith in my own strength is not faith at all – that I needed to surrender my own strength to Jesus and let him fill me with the faith I needed to lead me through my job, my service to him, and my family life; all areas that were so hard and seemed so uncertain over these past three years. Easier said than done, as they say. Continue reading Doubt: Sin or Path to Righteousness?
At church with my family, I had my first encounter. I’m not sure if this particular incident triggered the fear or if it was simply the first time having experienced it. I was only four years old, after all.
I believe it was Christmas Eve. After the service, holding one of my parents’ hands, I walked with my family into the lobby of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in DeWitt, Michigan. It was also my preschool – a place I was familiar with. Being there with a bunch of adults walking around me was different than being there with a bunch of kids. Walking into the enclosed coat room as tall people rifled through the racks for their outer garments, I suddenly became afraid. I saw my dad’s legs and grabbed on tight but when I looked up, I didn’t recognize the thin man with the dark bearded face. I started to cry and strong familiar arms quickly swooped me up into safety. End memory. Continue reading The Shy Extrovert: My Journey with Agoraphobia