Itching for More Joy

I’m still itchy and quite uncomfortable no matter what I’m doing. When I turn my head, I hear the skin on my ears and my neck cracking and crunching and it makes me want to cry, but the Lord is meeting me there. In the cracks and crust and tears.

Gross, right? Gross and grace, though.

My life is not overall a difficult one. I’m blessed in more ways than I can sum up here. Even as I spent another day at home, yesterday the Lord showed his grace and goodness to me: there was softly falling snow, and flowers brought by my mom, and many text messages from friends checking to see how I am. Blessed.

I know I am blessed and I am growing in thankfulness. But I still feel pain and itching and confusion. I still wonder where this is going, why it hasn’t stopped, and what I’m supposed to learn.

In my tears, my heart’s cry has been this: Lord, please meet me here. In my brokenness, in my questions, in my pain. His constant answer? I am here. I know. I see. And I have a purpose and a plan.

I have a quiet peace about this. It isn’t forever, and it’s not for nothing. 

We didn’t go to church on Sunday because of the infection, and God still met us in our living room. We worshipped at home with the live online service. This could never replace the gathering together on Sunday mornings with our church family… never. But to be sick at home and with my husband and covered in grace and truth? Blessed.

And the sermon? It was on joy. JOY. We heard about bearing fruit, and abiding in Him, and seasons of pruning. Oh, the painful pruning.

But it is good and it is for a purpose: that I would bring more glory to God.

Here’s the thing: Apart from Jesus, you and I can do nothing (John 15:5). Nothing eternal, nothing worth doing. Certainly not attaining joy. So, what am I trying to do apart from God? What is he calling me to in this difficult season? What is he calling YOU to in the season you find yourself in?

For me, so far, the answer is rest. 

See… a God who is loving and gracious is pursuing me and using a difficult season to prune, to cause me to bear more fruit, to bring true joy to my life. I believe this, and I'm praying He will meet me and help me in my unbelief.

Do you believe he’ll meet you in yours?

Unspeakable Joy (Vertical Church Band featuring Meredith Andrews)


A New Season: Infection, Rest, and So Much Grace.

My head hurts. I don't know if it's because of the TV or the infection or the antibiotics. My doctor says it's impetigo.

In this, God has revealed idols. Sin. I'm attached to my health. I value my appearance. I find comfort, since infancy, in holding my ears. In some ways I take it all for granted. In some ways I put too much stock in these earthly, seen things that cannot compare to the unseen I have in Christ. I don't take great care of myself - partially out of laziness, partially out of denial that I need care and rest.

The denial of that need comes from a broken place that says my value is in what I do, what I look like, how healthy I am.

But I'm learning. I'm humbled. I'm broken.

And I see my value and my worth crumbling - at least my definition of these things. In its place I'm truly learning, my heart is healing. My eyes are opening, and my soul is embracing - even if only for today - that my value and worth have been ascribed to me based on my Creator and my Savior.

Nothing more and nothing less.

His righteousness covers me, saves me, defines me, and changes me. It also reminds me and teaches me again when I've forgotten and lost my way.

I'm learning God's love for me is more important, more meaningful than my outward appearance and the approval of people. I may never fully get this, but today, this week, I'm growing.

I have been trying to balance everything. I have been striving. And God made me rest. I'm to be still and know He is God. And He is good.

This week I've entered a new season. A hard and good one. My sinful guts are being exposed and I have a choice to make. Do I let my idols go or shove them back inside? Do I hang on? How much do I love my sin and pain and shame?

Each day I get to choose. Grace allows me to make the good, right choice. I let them go. And God replaces my sinful guts with Himself. His peace. His grace. His goodness.

This painful season has a purpose; secondly for my good, but first and foremost for His glory. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less.


Your name makes it so.

I know with every fiber of my body + heart + mind + soul that You are good. You are worthy.

Tears well up knowing hardship will come. And I know You are good still; you are working and fighting on my behalf.

You stand for me, Jesus, and You say, "She is mine." I am spoken for. I am redeemed, I am made new, I am victorious.

Your name makes it so.

They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region; they did not find a way to an inhabited city. They were hungry and thirsty; their soul fainted within them. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses. He led them also by a straight way, to go to an inhabited city. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good. // Psalm 107:4-9


New day.

Today is a new day.

I have been up since 5:15am, and I slept less than 4 hours, and today is a new day.

This is the first time I've blogged in 8 months, and today is a new day.

There's this new thing that's been happening to me in the last year or so. When I start to feel anxious, and inadequate, and incapable, and fearful, I start to feel constricted. I have too many layers on and the blanket is trapping me and I won't be okay until I'm down to my undies. I have a friend who has the same experience and she calls them fat flashes. Suddenly you feel too fat for any article of clothing. Anything is too much.

Writing my first post in 8 months has that effect on me. 

But too much is happening to let a little anxiety (or a lot) keep me from writing. What's happening in my life and in my heart, it has to be shared.

Last night I stayed up reading. First it was for class, then it was for me. 

We went to bed at 9:30. Jordan was asleep before his head hit the pillow. I spent two hours reading about organizational structure and management and teams and conflict resolution. Jordan woke up and told me I should go to sleep. I said okay and kept reading, determined to finish what was assigned this week for class. Just before midnight I finished the chapter, and without hesitation picked up Bread and Wine and read the author's note, intro, and first two chapters of Shauna Niequist's latest. Now it's 12:30am and my head and my heart and my soul... They are full. Recipes and ideas of gathering with friends and also building a team and managing and training a team, all of this swirls in my head. And then I think: I want to write.

So I did, and then it was 1:00am, and my brain would not shut off. The last time I saw on the clock was 1:34am and it's at that point I decided to start reading The Lives & Prayers of Catholic Saints. As predicted, it had me asleep in minutes, though I'm sure in better circumstances I might enjoy reading about Francis and Anthony and whoever else.

All these things and more have brought me to the place I find myself in this morning.

I recently won a giveaway on my friend Katie's blog, and one of my prizes is credit toward redesigning my blog. Another prize was a free media kit, from another blogger. She recently wrote this post about being real and sharing life instead of giveaways and link ups. It's also about inspiration and what to write about when you're uninspired. 

I think she gave me permission to blog and not be driven by empty stats and giveaways. She didn't really say that but somehow I feel more free this morning to write what I want and what I feel and not feel insignificant because I'm not linking up or writing a guest post or facing an audience of 1000+. 

My audience is around 125 and that's more people than I ever thought would want to hear what I have to say. 

I'm glad you're here and I'm glad you stuck around while I figured some things out and I hope you'll come back. I have a feeling God is at work, and fat flashes or not, I will be here, ready to meet with Him and find out what He has in store.


On planning, and other things.

I am not a planner by nature. I must discipline myself to create a plan.

But I want to learn to plan. Plan well. And maybe even (gasp!) be happy about having a plan.

Marriage, of course, is teaching me many things. It's the most sanctifying relationship by far (they weren't kidding when they told me that), and one of my biggest points of needed growth is in my planning.

Because to plan is to be disciplined. To plan is to be prepared. To plan is to be self-controlled.

In striving to be the type of wife who sacrifices and serves, I am learning that these are things I want to be.

More on self-control to come...

Like a city that is broken into and without walls
is a man who has no control over his spirit.
Proverbs 25:28