Freedom Friday: Embrace Discomfort

We are in Boston.

I’m back in our condo, the place we’ve lived for the past 6 1/2 years.

It’s comfortable here.

I know where everything is. I know what to expect. Sure, it has its cons, but at least it’s predictable.

As I walked in for the first time in 6 weeks, I couldn’t help but wonder:

Did we make the right decision?

Change is hard. I’ve written about this before.

Since May, I’ve been training for a marathon. I kept thinking that because God called me to register, it would get easier. I’d get faster. Maybe I’d even get that light and fresh feeling that runners talk about.

I have some issues with my legs. They hurt, a lot. They feel like lead sometimes when I run. They never really feel good.

I had a hope that God would heal them while I was running, that He would be glorified in how quickly and how gloriously I finished.

Well, God did not heal my legs while I ran. And while I started off strong, I kept getting slower and slower. My stomach revolted. My body screamed at me for pretty much 20 miles.

But I didn’t give up.

I decided since God called me to run to raise awareness about a cause about which I am deeply passionate, since He asked me to be a voice for the voiceless, it wasn’t about glamor.

As part of our transition to Virginia, I am leaving the ministry that God has allowed me to shape over the past 9.5 years and be shaped by. As I spoke to my dear, dear friends at Alive in Christ this week, I remembered something.

Often we must embrace the discomfort in order to be obedient.

We must embrace the discomfort to get to the Promised Land.  I wrote about this in Stepping into your Jordan (one of my favorite posts, and a timely reminder).  I wrote about it years ago in Craving Egypt.

The Israelites did not want to embrace the discomfort.

Egypt was familiar. Yeah, they might have been slaves, but there are meat to eat there, not this miracle bread from heaven!

And the Promised Land was scary. There were giants there, and rivers at flood stage, and towns with high walls around them.

I finished the marathon. It was not pretty.

And as I spoke to my wonderful perseverers at Alive in Christ the other night, I reminded them (and myself) that sometimes we need to embrace the pain of discomfort in order to take hold of all God has for us.

Today, I pack. Today, I keep answering the same questions: did you sell the condo? Did you get jobs? No and no. This move doesn’t make any logical sense, yet we embrace the discomfort in order to walk forward in what we believe God is calling us to.

Lord, I don’t want to wander aimlessly in the wilderness for decades when the journey need only take 2 weeks. I want all You have for me. Help me to trust, to step out, to take hold of Your hand as You guide and lead. Help us to embrace discomfort, believing that the Promised Land is on the other side.

Last Year’s Freedom Friday: Black Friday Edition


In Thanksgiving 2011, I woke up at my dad’s house, went to a race in his town, and ran a 10K.  I ran a personal best, beating my 10K from 4 months before by 3 minutes.  I went home and had a wonderful day with my family (dad, my sister’s family and my family).

This Thanksgiving, I woke up in a hotel, went to that same race in town, and gave it my all at the same 10K after spending the day before moving.  I once again ran a personal best by 1 minute 45 seconds (I hadn’t raced a 10K since last years).  We went back to the hotel, finished packing and had a very simple Thanksgiving meal in our new home.

So we moved yesterday and the day before and are just now getting our internet set up.  There are boxes to pack and unpack (as most of our things are still in Boston, we will return there in a few days), movers to call, grief to process and a big paper to write.

The race was hard, and I’m sore.  Sore, but also full of joy.

I wish my dad had the opportunity to see me run.  I’m not fast, but I am passionate, and I ran hard.

2012 Ashburn Farm 10K, Finish Line

I miss my dad.

I didn’t even remember it was Friday until I logged on to the internet (thank you, Casey from Verizon for coming out to set up our internet!) and someone had posted about Black Friday.  Then I remembered this post from last year:

Freedom Friday: Black Friday Edition
Please read, especially if you are reeling a bit from the upheaval the holidays can bring.

I miss sharing my heart with you all.  I will get back into it – eventually.

Love to you!

Freedom Friday: Will I Choose to Love?

I first heard the song “Legacy” at a mom’s group I attended.  A member had lost her battle with cancer, and her friends put together a slide show to celebrate her life with all of us.

I wanna leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?

It hit close to home.

I’ve mentioned here in passing that I have a dear loved one battling terminal illness.  A week ago today, he lost his 12-year battle with cancer, but won the race of life and was received into Jesus’ arms.

My dad.

His joyous smile

When my parents divorced, my father was awarded primary custody of me and my older sister.  I was already living with him and continued to do so throughout high school and into college.

Prepping to walk me down the aisle

My father was such a role model to me. What I’ve learned since his death is the impact his life had on so many others.

The comments that have come have been truly astounding. His generosity, humor, fullness of life.  His magnetic presence, his joy, his clear love for his family (including my mom’s 9 brothers and sisters, as my dad was like an older brother to them).

My dad lived a life that impacted far more people than he likely ever realized. He was a role model to many.

I don’t remember hearing him say an unkind word about anyone. He was not one to complain. Even to the end, he alternated telling jokes with displaying his concern for his loved ones.

Did I choose to love?

He wasn’t perfect, of course.  Neither am I.  We certainly had bumps in our relationship.  But I can honestly say that my grief over his passing is not at all complicated by some of the questions that plague many who lose a parent.  I know he loved me and my sister deeply and was overflowing with pride at what our lives had become.

I just wish he didn’t have to leave so soon.

My father never failed to ask a store clerk, “How’s your day going?” with all sincerity.  He even would ask the nurses and doctors this during his long cancer battle, even when the situation was an emergency, or he was in a lot of pain (I witnessed this myself when I accompanied him to the emergency room).

He once shared with my stepmom that some people aspire to greatness in their lives; he aspired to goodness. This is what he instilled into me from a young age.

This is the legacy he chose to leave behind.

There were other things instilled in me from a young age, though not by my father. Venomous things that taught me to emphasize people’s flaws, to expect perfection of myself and others, that taught me not to trust.

Sometimes that venomous voice is so loud I cannot hear anything else. It’s also insidious. I’m only now starting to recognize the hold it still has on my thoughts.

What legacy will I leave?  Will I choose to love?


On the days when it’s hard to breathe, the days when I can’t imagine taking another step without my dad around to see, I remember his strength battling cancer, I remember his kindness and huge heart.  I remember his daily choice to love.

Oh, Lord, let that be my legacy…..

Dad, thank you for all you taught me, even if it was taught through silence (a skill I need to work on!). While I grieve that you were only here 64 years, I rejoice for the 37 1/2 (exactly to the day) years you spoke into my life. You had an amazing heart, and I can only pray that my life will be a light to many as yours was.  I miss you so much.  But since you are in heaven, give Bunny Boo and Grammy a hug for me, and could you please tell Keith Green I said, “hi”?

Monday Morning Meditation: Remind Him of His Promises


I’m not up for writing a new Monday Morning Meditation, so I’m going to direct you to the most popular Monday Morning Meditation, and my 2nd most popular post of all time:

Remind Him of His Promises

How often do we go timidly before God, as if we somehow   have to beg Him to keep His Word?

Psalm 138:2 says:

I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
by all the honor of your name.

Praying for you all!

Freedom Friday: Who’s Got Your Back?

I’m reading the book of Acts right now.

In Acts 10, Cornelius, a God-fearing Roman army officer (in other words, a Gentile, not a Jew), saw an angel who told him to send men to Joppa to find Simon Peter. The next day, Peter has this vision:

[Peter] saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners.12 In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.”  

“No, Lord,” Peter declared. “I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.”

But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven.

The scriptures go on to say that Peter was perplexed: what did this all mean?  Then Cornelius’ servants arrived. After confirming that Peter was the man they were looking for, we read this in verse 23:

So Peter invited the men to stay for the night. The next day he went with them, accompanied by some of the brothers from Joppa.

Despite having a vision that was clearly from the Lord, Peter used much wisdom in deciding not to travel alone (in Acts 11:12, we learn it’s 6 men).  What he felt God was proposing seemed contrary to what he knew.

He wanted some trusted brothers there to have his back.

The concept of having others come alongside in the spreading of the Gospel, as well as walking with God, was not new, of course.  In Mark 6:7 and Luke 10:1, Jesus sent the disciples out two by two.  Several times in Scripture, the importance of several witnesses is emphasized, both for confirming a crime or an accusation (Deuteronomy 17:6, Matthew 18:16, 1 Timothy 5:19), and as well as for confirming prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:29).

But why is this important?

1. There is safety in numbers.
Jesus told the disciples, as He sent them out two by two, “Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). The disciples didn’t know what they’d encounter out there.  Since our recent move, we now live in an area with few streetlights and incomplete sidewalks.  At our old home, I ran in the dark without fear because there were always cars passing by as I ran on well-lit streets with wide sidewalks.  Here, I run with a buddy.

When Peter returned from Cornelius’ house, he was criticized by some of the Jewish believers for his actions (Acts 11:2). Peter was able to tell them, with the agreement of the brothers who had been with him, what God had done.  He had witnesses to God’s work who had his back.

2. There is strength in prayer support.
Paul asked often in his letters to the churches that they pray for him.  Prayers that doors would be opened to the gospels.  Prayers that Paul would declare the Gospel clearly and fearlessly.  Prayers that he would be rescued.  The author of Hebrews requested prayer that he would be restored to them soon.

Paul prayed of the Ephesians church: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:16-17a).

There is strength is having others come alongside and pray for you: for your growth, for your kingdom work, for healing, and for support.

3. There is comfort in companionship.
Paul often sent believers to various churches to encourage and uplift them.  Here is one example:

“But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow workerand fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill.  Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.  Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety.” Philippians 2:25-28

And another:

“Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything…. I am sending him to you for this very purpose…… that he may encourage you.” Ephesians 6:21-22

Paul also requests that people come to him.  He asks for Titus in Titus 3.  He tells Timothy, “do your best to come to me quickly,” he tells Timothy (2 Timothy 4:9), and then lists several people who have deserted and harmed him.  And then he said, “Do your best to get here before winter” (v.21). 
Timothy, my dear apprentice and friend, so many have deserted me, but I know you are faithful. I need you.

Who has got your back?

Some Non-Partisan Post-Election Day Perspective: Isaiah 40

My scheduled Bible Reading today is Isaiah 40 (NLT). It seemed very appropriate after Election Day.

Whether you are saddened by the results or encouraged, may these excerpts from Isaiah 40 be a timely reminder of God’s view of this world.

“The grass withers and the flowers fade,
but the word of our God stands forever.” 

Who else has held the oceans in his hand?
Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?
Who else knows the weight of the earth
or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? 

The earth as seen from Apollo 17

Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD? 

Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
Has the LORD ever needed anyone’s advice?
Does he need instruction about what is good?
Did someone teach him what is right
or show him the path of justice? 

No, for all the nations of the world
are but a drop in the bucket.
They are nothing more than dust on the scales.
He picks up the whole earth
as though it were a grain of sand.

To whom can you compare God?
What image can you find to resemble him?
Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold,
overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains?
Or if people are too poor for that,
they might at least choose wood that won’t decay
and a skilled craftsman
to carve an image that won’t fall down! 

God sits above the circle of the earth.
The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!

“To whom will you compare me?
Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.
Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
not a single one is missing.

O Jacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles?
O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?

Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Monday Morning Meditation: Prisoners of Hope

Good morning, my blog readers!

Monday often brings such mixed feelings.

If you have a Monday through Friday job you like, Monday likely brings excitement and anticipation of what the week brings.

Most of us, though, are left wondering where the weekend went!  Some of us head off to jobs we dread or situation that appear hopeless.

One of my dear friends who is going through an extremely challenging situation posted on Facebook, “Do you need hope today?”  Don’t we all?  He posted a few Scriptures, and I added one of my favorites:

“Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope;
even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.”
Zechariah 9:12 (NIV1984)

Prisoners of hope! What images does that bring to mind?

What are you a prisoner to?

If your hope is waning today, make yourself a prisoner of some of these Scriptures below. Let God breath life into them and you. Let the God of hope transform any hopeless areas of your life.

Let hope illuminate itself within your soul like the glimmers of the sun as it rises in the morning.

Be blessed!

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.” Psalm 62:5

“You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.” Psalm 65:5

“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19

“You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.” Psalm 119:114

“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” Romans 12:12

“This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.” 1 Timothy 4:10

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5

Freedom Friday: What is Abundant Life?

Today, we are continuing the Jesus series as part of Freedom Friday.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

What is abundant life?  What exactly did Jesus come to give us?

Abundant life is not free of pain or trials or heartache. Instead, it’s full of perspective.


How do you view your life? How do you view the challenges that you face?

As I began typing this, I immediately thought of Wosne.  I read her story recently in this blog post.  When her husband and the father of her 4 children died suddenly, she had no way to support herself or her family.  She wished God would end her life.

Let’s stop at that point in the story.

I have never been in this woman’s shoes, not even remotely, though I’ve certainly had situations where I wished God would just come and take me home.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy……

But God had other plans.

Two of her children were able to get sponsors through World Vision.  She was able to buy chickens and make a living by selling the eggs.  She bought more chickens, and then a cow, selling its milk. She eventually was able to purchase a modest four-room house for herself and her children: dirt walls with a tin roof.

The post describes Wosne this way:

The day we met Wosne she was radiant. Her children encircled her and quietly sat as we spoke through an interpreter. She shared her story of hardship yet beamed as she recounted God’s provision for her family. 

She had become so prosperous, in fact, she had adopted two other children in the village. She even had a couple of pieces of used furniture and electricity—a single bulb hanging from the ceiling. 

By our standards, she was still living in abject poverty. By the standards of her village, however, she was one of its wealthiest citizens.

A typical Ethiopian village

She was asked:

“Wosne, if you could have anything else, what would it be? How can we help you?” Her answer stunned us. 

“Nothing,” she declared. “Nothing at all. I have everything I need. I am the happiest woman in the world.” And she meant it.


When I started writing this post a month or so ago, I thought I’d write that abundant life is bountiful joy and overflowing peace and lavish love.  And it does bring all those things, if we keep a godly perspective.

Following Jesus is so much about how we choose to look at things.  Do we choose to look at our lives through His eyes, through the truth of His Word?

What frames your perspective?

There are many, many posts here about the way we think.  Here are a few to help you flesh out what I’m saying.

Think Like a Free Person, part 1 & part 2
Resources for the Journey