The Lord’s People on His Day

This morning we have the joy and privilege of worshiping at Trinity Reformed Church, where a longtime dear friend of my family is pastor. It is the liturgical church that has continued to deepen our love of and desire for beautiful old church liturgy. While we were looking for a new church home a year+ ago, we were able to visit Trinity Reformed Church a little more regularly (it’s a 2 1/2 hour drive each way, so not exactly a place we could call our own church home unless we moved), but we have been settled at Christ The King Church now (and it’s only 50 minutes away, so very reasonable for being our church home) for so long that we have not visited our friends at Trinity since July! Until today. What a joy and blessing. The Lord is good.

And just because these two blog snippets from Pastor Sumpter were so liturgically pertinent, I have to share them.

You have not been summonsed here to make a respectable appearance in a religious assembly. You have not been summonsed here to go through the motions of some ritual. You have not been summonsed here to mechanically repeat your lessons. You have not been summonsed here to compete with others, to gossip, to envy, or to worry. You have been summonsed here this morning to worship. You have been summonsed here to make a joyful noise to the Lord. You have been summonsed here to serve the Lord with gladness, so sing to Him with all your heart and mind and soul. You have been summonsed here so that you might remember and know that the Lord Jesus, He is God. He made us: we are His sheep. You have been summonsed here to thank Him, to bless Him because He is good.


…in Ephesians, [Paul] says that our inheritance is in Him, and in Him we have forgiveness, and in Him we have the Holy Spirit, and in Him God is uniting all things. In other words, we can’t move or think or breathe or eat or drink apart from Him. Our identities are completely bound up in Him. This is what it means to be a Christian: that we no longer live for ourselves but now we live for Him because we live in Him. But this means that all of our human interaction is also in Him. We talk together in Him, we walk together in Him, we eat together in Him, we work together in Him. This is why Christian friendship, Christian marriage, Christian family, Christian business, Christian community is all about sharing Christ in and through the various activities we engage in. And this is not just a way of speaking; we are confessing fundamentally that God is here with us. God is present in us and around us. He is here.

So, on this Lord’s Day, worship the Lord because He is good, and may the Lord be with you all. Amen.

Sipping Light

This is a praiseful realization:
love is bit and bridle, despair, the beast.
To live well is to learn how to ride,
how to lean into grief.

That is how one of the opening pages in A Small Cup of Light first introduces you to the author, Ben Palpant, as he opens a window into his life for you to peer into some of the work the Lord has done. Speaking of his wife early in the book, he says, “she set aside her fears to speak into my own” (p25), and that is what A Small Cup of Light is all about—setting aside personal fear to step into pain with someone else—bearing burdens together as one way to share the light of Christ.

God. Help. Me.
Nothing but me and my need stated frankly and simply. I have since wondered if, perhaps, this prayer is the most elemental of all prayers. Perhaps this is the most indispensable form of any petition. (p93) Now I know that God is always present. I’ve known that since I was a little boy. But I do not think we feel His presence very often. I certainly had not until that moment. (p95)

My family has the sweet privilege of personally knowing the author, of having worshipped alongside his family for nearly a decade, and while we knew he was suffering in some ways, we had very little information about it at the time, mostly just knowing that he was in a place of pain & vulnerability—and it made him one of the most empathetic people we bumped into on a weekly basis. One of the most personal ways Mr. Palpant has blessed my family is through prayer. Through the years—particularly during six of my recurrent miscarriages—he has encouraged us to pray along with him, in church and in less official places—and I have long thought that his prayers have even helped shape my Gabriel’s prayer life specifically when he was a toddler—the most stunning example being a prayer vigil that Mr. Palpant organized in our front yard when I had just delivered our tiny son Hosanna back in 2010.

She had invited herself into my suffering so she could empathize with me, walk with me, and speak to God on my behalf. (p99) Many such moments, unexpected cups of light, made my heart weep for joy and glimpse the sun again. Each moment reminded me that my weakness, my perceived failure, was bringing about a new birth not only in me, but in those around me. (p99) I am learning slowly to see life as God sees it. God is giving me new eyes. (p101)
I am an arrow shot from a bow string. I am a bird in flight. I am a falling leaf. (p122)

Though night may again fall upon me suddenly, You, O God, will be my refuge. Though I find myself in a desert, stumbling beneath a starless sky, still, I will listen for the shy song of that small bird, Hope. I will follow it, weeping and singing. So it is and so it will be. Weep and sing. (p126) Despair is not the only viable response to suffering. I offer a different one: celebration. (p126) Suffering is a night, a brooding blank on the soul’s staring eye. Those who have suffered deeply remember the constriction, the immobilizing fear and doubt. A million moments of laughter and pleasure in life may slip from memory, but we recall the pain with ease. (p129) Joy sometimes saddles despair’s back. (p129)

After having only occasionally run into him over the last year—one time being able to snatch his autograph on our copy of A Small Cup Of Light—we were overjoyed when we found out that Mr. Palpant was going to be coming to our church for weekly Lenten lectures this year between Ash Wednesday and Holy Week, to share some of the dark corners and deep honesty from his book, from his life, from how the Lord has brought beauty from his suffering.

Most of what he shared at the weekly Wednesday night gatherings are things with which I am (and perhaps you are too) familiar—whether it is the emotional, the physical, or the spiritual side of suffering. He does tell snippets of his personal story, but I think he knows that most of us had already gotten our hands on his book & the majority of us had read through it rather quickly, so he mostly has gone less from him and more to the journey. Rather than telling us again all about his particular story of suffering, and all the paths the Lord prepared for him and how He has carried out this story of life through this one man & his family—he gives us lessons that he has gleaned by God’s grace through his own story, which apply to all thirty or fifty of the other stories gathered in the room where he is speaking.

No child in the history of mankind, when asked what he would like to do when he grows up, has ever responded, “I want to suffer.” (p29) What really terrified me was that divine hands, against which I was simply powerless, had created that fissure into which I felt myself sliding. (p36) …The dilemma that kept barking at the back door of my mind was this: A good God is fine when life is tropically blissful, but what when the hurricane comes? Where is the safe haven then? What are we to do when chaos bangs against the windows and when the roof of reliability is ripped off? What to do with all this suffering? C.S. Lewis called pain God’s megaphone. John Piper has called pain God’s pedagogy. “God, I am listening. Teach me. Speak into this bewilderment.” (p43) Hawk and hen, God made them both. (p47)

We converse with one another—other image bearers of God the Father, Creator of us all—over bowls of soup and fists full of bread. Often, it seems that these are opportunities to get beyond the normally casual conversations between mere acquaintances, allowing us to delve into new corners of companionship, comradery, actual fellowship (which isn’t just talking, but spurring one another on to love and good works, in the spirit of Hebrews 10:24-25). And then someone serves us by donning an apron (and let me tell you, when our pastor dons an apron, and washes the feet of Christ’s disciples by cleaning up after our messes, it serves as a truly wonderful embodiment of a shepherd caring for his sheep by humbling himself & laying down his life—when I was personally blessed by that for the very first time a couple weeks ago, it struck me with so much grace and joy) to clean up the messes we have made, and we shuffle our chairs until we can look at Ben Palpant, and all listen with our ears & our hearts—because every single one of us suffers. We have different stories: we are an entire library of biographies gathered in one room, each story being unique and enthralling in its own way, with its own climaxes and culminations. But we have common threads. And the Lord’s working in our lives takes the shape of suffering at various points and in various ways—but none of us is spared from it. Oh! Lest we grow haughty or callous, none of us can escape the hand of the Lord. If you haven’t felt it yet, you will yet someday. Some way.

Humor became a kind of relief valve in our home, momentarily warding off mountain fears. Tenderness coupled with laughter became a balm even to me. (p79) I thought of the fatigue that came from trying to live and the fear that came from not trying. (p85) How easily we forget how much mental strength is required to argue, to complain, to kick against God. (p91) Suffering is personal. Although a community, a family, an entire people group might face the same loss, each member must taste the wormwood on his own tongue. The bitterness is individualized, tailored for each of us. A mystery. (p92)

And so with one common storyline being emphasized, that of suffering, we listen to Mr. Palpant offer encouragement, exhortation, observation, challenge, comfort, grace. And it is a time of souls and stories mixing together, hearts softening, sometimes theologies bumping into one another. It has been a time of great conversation starters too—questions about God’s ordaining, allowing, creating (or lack thereof) of suffering, devastation, catastrophe, calamity, even evil. I have had really great conversations about these things over the last couple of weeks with my husband, a few people from church, a friend online, and my sister-in-law.

God does not look at our suffering from afar. It is an intimate event to Him. (p48) [Jesus] is after much more than happiness in our lives. He is after a sustaining joy and He will give us that joy by giving us Himself, whether through the small gifts of life that bring us gladness or through the dark night of suffering. Sweeping affliction under the rug of our heart, therefore, is simple denial, an act of cowardice, and an act of ungratefulness. We must dare to look it square in the eyes. (p50) If we try to comfort ourselves in our need instead of leaning fully on our God and Savior, God promises to make us taste that need full force. (p78)

Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi, in Scripture, plainly believed that the Lord Himself brought the calamity of multiple bereavements upon her (Ruth 1:20-21). Isaiah, inspired from the mouth of the Lord to speak on His behalf, proclaimed that there is no god but Yahweh, and that He forms light and creates darkness, makes well-being and creates calamity—it is the Lord alone who does all these things (Isaiah 45:5-7). In some translations, verse 7 even says “I make peace and create evil”—try that on for size for a conversation starter in a Christian church setting. 🙂 Pair it with Amos 3:6 which says,

Is a trumpet blown in a city,
and the people are not afraid?
Does disaster come to a city,
unless the Lord has done it?

Clearly the Lord does all these things, even calamity and disaster… yet Christians are pretty diverse, I’ve noticed, on the interpretation of the Lord’s involvement here. As though we are not to take Scripture for what it plainly says! But following that up with reading Psalm 135:5-7 (and the examples that follow, through verse 13) is pretty great:

For I know that the Lord is great,
and that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases, He does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps.
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
who makes lightnings for the rain
and brings forth the wind from His storehouses.

Mr. Palpant reminds us that, to put it bluntly, we are not the center of the universe—our entire point of life is to glorify God. Like Isaiah 48:10-11 says,

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
For My own sake, for My own sake, I do it,
for how should My name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.

So for the last five weeks, we have been weekly blessed to share fellowship with people on a level that has been intimate—discussing the vulnerable, sacred places of our lives that are, well, terrible. And it has been good to enter into the terrible things with one another, to get past the shallow and the superficial, to encourage one another to see Christ in the darkness and sip His light!

How long must I learn to carry this grief in faith? How lasting is suffering’s effect on the soul? Heaven promises to be a place without grief, without tears. Does that mean that I forget my story in Heaven? I don’t think so. (p134) I have a hunch that we’ll spend eternity remembering our own suffering also, learning how to wear it well, remembering that Christ’s suffering redeemed our own, and realizing how our trials worked to glorify God, the great Story-Teller. All our singing will be prompted not by forgetfulness, but by thankfulness. (p134) Suffering in every form is meaningless and hopeless unless God is in control of it. (p148)

This book is good drinking, er um, reading. Steven read the whole thing one long, restful Sunday afternoon. I read it in snippets over numerous evenings, because I could only swallow so much at a time. But take a sip, a gulp, drink it up—you won’t be sorry you savored it, because in the drinking, You will taste the sweetness that comes from bitterness shared, and the blessings that God intends for us even as He glorifies Himself in the darkness when we see His light.

 As though I made it to the other side of the trial and can now move on. At some deep place inside, we’d like to simply get through our suffering and move on, but this does not accurately picture reality. (p130) It is a mistake to think that I can just get through my trials. We are the accumulation of our experiences and we do ourselves a disservice if we embrace only the happy parts of our story. The dark moments of our existence are also worth valuing because they are an essential part of the story that a good God is telling. They are not an accident of existence. (p131)

Anticipating death and calling it gain, Christians are evangelists of the grotesque. The very hope of the Gospel rests directly upon our ability to imagine a world in which suffering serves as the soil from which resurrection springs. (p133) I think another lesson I learned is that life is not so much about what I’m doing for God as much as it is about how I’m learning to see what God is up to in my life. I try too hard to please God by my efforts instead of letting my efforts spring naturally from a kind of thankfulness for what He has done is doing in my life. Perhaps the hardest prayer I’ve learned to pray is this one: “Lord, I’m ready for You to do whatever You must to draw me close to You.” It’s a terrifying prayer for some reason, but it’s also very liberating to vocalize. (p150)


I got goosebumps when reading this post on Preparing Him Room, as we delve into the season of Advent.
And while I am a CREC girl at heart, attending an ACNA Anglican church now, it is really great to see some of the Advent nuances making an impression on my family. Yesterday the liturgy at church was different, it began with the lighting of the hope/prophecy candle, and the vestments had changed to a rich purple color which inspired my little Asher to gasp “the church changed its clothes!” when we walked into the sanctuary.

We had our first Advent feast this weekend, and had the joy of sharing it with my parents & grandparents. We also have little chocolates as a family each night, reminding the kids that Christmas is coming ~ Jesus has come and changed the world, and soon we will once again share in a glorious celebration of that, but we still also get to look ahead to when He comes again and anticipate the enormity of that feast and wedding!


And we have a mite box to collect money to donate for well digging in needy countries. We are donating shoes to a local community center that provides for local needy families. We have activities and music and games and readings.
And we have decorated our home to remind us that this season of the year is special, set apart.

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So we’re in the midst of preparing and anticipating. And it’s a joyful thing. And boy oh boy, are we eagerly looking forward to the culmination of it all on Christmas day! Just ask my kids ~ they’re counting down. 🙂

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My Wounds

I may have written this post a good while ago (not long after Heritage died), but it feels just as fresh, and my wounds are picked open and oozing even now. But the point is this: the wounds are not for naught. These wounds will be redeemed. There is a reason that I can not see. And God wants me to use these wounds for Him, His glory and His Kingdom, and I can not sit here silently licking my wounds in a corner. He calls me to share them, to utilize them, not to waste them.

These wounds scab over, and they will scar someday. The pain and trouble they bring will change over time. That’s what God is in the whole business of doing. And I’m thankful to put my pain to good use.

The scar will be knit into my skin, reminding me that I am not the same as I was before. God tends to scar me over in particular ways, as though He were creating a pronounced alignment within my soul in a single direction, toward a specific goal. Each baby of mine that has died has left me with a gaping wound—and each one has also eventually left me with a pronounced scar. While the scars are most obvious to me—sometimes they even make me a little self-conscious, a little embarrassed, wondering if I stick out amongst the crowd—others notice the scars too. Some people comment on it, some people notice but keep it to themselves. I used to think I had to hide my scars, but now I know better: now I know that God did not give me these scars to be hidden away. They are not something to be ashamed of, but something to be utilized.

And so I wait for the scar—I wait for the relief that it will bring, for the hope it will carry, for the unique way God will use my newly knit skin for His glory. I am crying to Him for this blessing, and I trust His grace to extend to me in the form of healing. I have no control over when or how, but I believe His Word, and I know that His favor is for life, and He delights in bringing mornings of joy following night (Psalm 30:2-5). May I bleed and scab, scar and heal for the greatness of His mercy and the furthering of His Kingdom—may He give me pronounced singleness of direction as I toil for Him, even in this.

To read the rest, hop on over to Mommies With Hope, where I share Wounded straight from my own broken-yet-blessed heart.

He’s the Daddy of Twelve

One thing I adore about my husband is how much he loves his children. All twelve of them. I love how being father of 12 is one of the top things he would describe about himself (for instance, in his Twitter intro), in true Psalm 127:5 form. And it was basically seven years ago that he became a father for the first time… although it would be a couple more weeks until we knew about it.

Today, you can read at Mommies With Hope, about the heart of my husband as I see it, and as I see him, in his fatherhood and his imitation of his Father in Heaven.

This Father’s Day, I want to honor my husband for the father that he is—the father of twelve. I want to praise the Lord for His compassion toward us, for His provision, for remembering our frame. I want to bless my husband and bless our Father in Heaven for their love and their servanthood. I want to tell the world about the heart of a daddy—one that rejoices fully, grieves deeply, loves steadfastly, shows compassion, gives abundantly—the heart of God Himself, also reflected in the human form of my husband, thanks to God’s grace and God’s gifts. The Lord is King and rules over all things from His throne in Heaven, and whether your arms are full or empty (or both…) this Father’s Day, it is my prayer that the fatherly heart of God would extent His compassion and love toward you—that you too would know His Kingship both in the valleys and on the mountaintops.

Darling Steven, I love you, and am so thankful that God chose you  to be the father of my dozen little darling olive branches. I love seeing God in you. I love seeing you in my babies. I love that you walk with me just as tenderly in grief as you do in joy. This Father’s Day will not be all about “happy” ~ but it will definitely be all about thankfulness and honor for the journey God has given you in your fatherhood. It’s been glorious: in the valleys and on the mountaintops, each in their own ways. Cheers to you, my Steven, and may God grant you more arrows in your quiver and more Father’s Days for God’s glory.

Remembering His Faithfulness

“As we deal — as we all must do — with troubles, affliction, difficulties and so on, the toughest thing to remember is that God is handstitching these problems for us, and He is doing this so that they will fit us perfectly.” ~Pastor Wilson

What a perfectly timed blessing from God my gracious Father, to give me this post to read this morning as an encouragement to my trembling heart, as I seek to walk by faith through the various handstitched days and trials and joys He has prepared for me.

“Present temptations have a way of banishing past deliverances from our minds, and that is what Puritan theologians used to call “no good.” We pass through our trials, if we do pass through them, by faith (Heb. 11:29). This means, remember, that we cannot prove our seemingly “unwarranted” confidence beforehand. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). If we are to be faithful in our generation, this means that we are trusting God to deliver us from our particular circumstances.” ~Pastor Wilson

One of the biggest challenges I am facing these days is the simple act of remembering. (And a quick search in a Bible app shows me that in the ESV, the word “remember” shows up 234 times! That’s repetition…)

Psalm 77:11  I will remember the deeds of the Lord;  yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past. To His people. Including my family. And little old me. His faithfulness has looked different at different times, but…







“the task before us is to remember that we have that proof in hand as we round the corner into our next trial.” ~ Pastor Wilson

When Anticipating Mother’s Day is Bittersweet…

If you find yourself in a position of anticipating Mother’s Day this weekend with a bittersweetness in your heart and a catch in your throat, I’ve been there. And this morning I wanted to share from my heart with you something I wrote called Two Pearls, posted at Expecting With Hope, as I recall my very first Mother’s Day six years ago… and even as I anticipate this coming Mother’s Day. These days, I look like a mom. 🙂 You’ll see me babywearing or pushing a stroller, my purse is really a diaper bag, my kids’ outfits & hairstyles are much more put together than mine are, and a glance in my car at three carseats squished side-by-side in a single row would confirm that I totally drive a mom car.
And I embrace that with so much thankfulness and joy! But when someone sees me in the grocery store parking lot with my three little miracles and smiles with a comment like, “you’ve got your hands full, mama” they really have no idea. My hands may look full, but my heart is even more full.

This Mother’s Day, I am mommy to twelve: eight singing in heaven, three running around my ankles, and one fighting for life in my womb.
This Mother’s Day, I continue on the journey of knowing what the past held and wondering what God holds for our future.
This Mother’s Day, I fully embrace the gifts the Lord has given me, both here and in heaven, and pray for His grace to joyfully accept what His sovereign hand delivers into mine.

As I wrote in my journal, “it was my very first Mother’s Day—although I did not have either of my children in my arms, I fellowshipped with one in heaven and held the other in my belly…”

So as another Mother’s Day arrives, I remember those of you who are in similar shoes—who have loved and lost and now love anew, who know what the past held and wonder what the future holds, who have Mother’s Day fears and Mother’s Day hopes, who know you are a mom (perhaps of many!) even if you have “nothing” to show for it but memorabilia like my two pink pearls. Those pearls were my reminder of what God had done. Those pearls continue to be a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness. And I still get joy out of telling my son how one of the pearls was for him and one for his big sister he will meet in heaven where we will see the most beautiful pearls imaginable (Revelation 21:21).

Guest Posting “My Story”

This week I was asked to guest post (a new thing for me!) in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, and it was a real joy and honor to spend a couple of hours writing my story out for this purpose. It is always beautiful when I feel like God is just giving me specific words to say and a particular message to share with His people, especially those who are suffering. May the Lord be praised, and may His people be encouraged by what I can share of the story He has written for my family.

Snippets and teasers until you pop over here to read my story yourself:

One of the big things about “infertility awareness” is the whole idea that we aren’t all completely aware of what infertility is. We may not know how to define it. We may not understand what it’s like. We may have no real idea who is affected by it. And that’s one of the interesting things about my story, my angle on infertility—at first glance, you may well not think of my story as one of infertility. And that’s why my story, and others like mine, are told, especially during times like National Infertility Awareness Week—to help open eyes, advance knowledge and understanding, to nurture fellowship and empathy amongst women who so often suffer in misunderstood silence.

This is my story, that God wrote for me before I was created in secret (Psalm 139:15-16)—the story that He reveals to me chapter by chapter, that I live out before Him by faith, that I don’t completely understand but that I embrace because I know He is good. I recognize that my life, my joys and my suffering, is for the purpose of glorifying Him (1 Peter 4:12-13, 5:10).

All of a sudden a new chapter of the story of my life was unfolding. It was unlovely and unfamiliar. It felt cold and harsh. Its very essence was isolating and debilitating. I cried myself to sleep so many nights, and found it hard to drag myself out of bed in the mornings. I had a living son—my womb had managed to produce life before! And, thus far, it had never taken more than two cycles of trying to conceive before the Lord filled my womb. How could infertility become part of my reality?

Whether we are facing another chapter—or perhaps simply an interlude—of uRPL in our family or not, we have realized that we just don’t know what the chapters in our story are going to look like; we can’t predict their endings; we may not always understand the storyline as we’re going through it (and maybe not even when looking back). But infertility will always be part of our story, as God has used it to shape us and use us in ways we would not have otherwise been used in His Kingdom.

If you look at my family picture, you probably would not automatically think, “I wonder if that family has ever struggled with infertility?”—which is just another reminder for us in the midst of National Infertility Awareness Week that we really are unaware of so much about infertility, its effects, its forms, its reach. My arms are both full and empty. I have children on earth, but more children who reside in the glories of heaven. I know the miracle of getting BFPs (that’s infertility-speak for “big fat positive” which is code for a positive pregnancy test), but I also know the depth of anguish that comes from my naïveté being stolen and understanding that being pregnant does not necessarily mean I am having a baby.

And that is one of the reasons why I feel God calls me to speak out about it, to share in others’ similar journeys, to offer words of encouragement and empathy on this path, so that others can share in the comfort of Christ (2 Corinthians 1:4) which He has offered to me through these locust-eaten years (Jonah 2:25) as well, even as He continues to reveal my own story to me little by little.

Sharing, “Beauty From Ashes”

The interweavings that the Lord gives us with various people, the odd connections that seem to pop up in His people, amazes me sometimes. For instance, I called my grandma yesterday to chat and she said that she had just been listening to a Focus on the Family program and heard something she thought I’d be interested in: she said, “I think the woman’s name was Teske Drake, and I thought you’d really be blessed by her story, she sounded so much like you.” I had to giggle, and I told Grandma, “I know Teske. Via the internet, but I know her. She recently recruited me to be a contributor to her online ministry, Mommies With Hope, and so far she has accepted four articles from me, and the second one is about to be published online.” Oh, God’s ways. 🙂

With that said, my real introductory post for Mommies With Hope was published today, called “Beauty From Ashes,” and I would love to share it with you. As I responded to one of the comments it has received already, I could not have written this post even just a couple of years ago. The Lord has continued to mold me and shape me, to give me acquiescence to His will because I know that He does all thing well. Not that that makes it easy or simple or happy to walk these roads ~ just that my worries, fears, doubts, tears, and anxieties do NOT have the last word. Amen!

I have the incredible blessing of having eleven children—a blessing that I did not know I ever wanted, and honestly, part of me still doesn’t know I want it. But it’s the wonderful, painful truth.

The Lord has continued to sharpen, hone, and strengthen us so that He can continue using us as His tools. This is a true testimony of His beauty—seeing Him redeem the days the locusts ate by granting us growth in Him, ministry among His people, and the ability to reap joy after sowing years of tears.

…here I sit in the ashes, with tears streaming down my face once again. But this time I not only hope and look for beauty, but trust and truly believe, that there will be more beauty—that it doesn’t end here in the ashes, but that these ashes are here precisely because the Lord intends to draw beauty from them. So I’m weeping with my eyes open, because when the beauty begins to rise, I want to see it and rejoice (Psalm 119:74-77).

May God continue to give me eyes to see His handiwork, so that I would be able to praise Him for His good works, so that I would pray with integrity that His will would be accomplished, so that the beauty around me would glorify Him and bless His people, no matter how deep the ash heap has gotten.

Psalm 50:1-2

The Mighty One, God the Lord,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
    God shines forth.

“Singing” today

God’s timing is always amazing, isn’t it? This morning after spending some time in prayer, I was feeling like singing… but felt conflicted, not knowing what kind of song my heart and lips needed to pour out at God’s feet. I felt hope and joy colliding with doubt and fear. And then I remembered that something I wrote was being published on a blog today, titled “Singing.”

I wrote, “I often sing through my tears and in my confusion. This is one of the reasons that I have been drawn to the songbook of the Scriptures—the Psalms. The psalmist David encompasses such a vast variety of human experiences and emotions in his songs, and I cling to that example with thankfulness and relief,” and today the Lord used my own words to speak to myself and remind me to sing.

So I sang with the man after God’s own heart, I sang of His law, of my love for Him, of my trust in Him, of my fears of stumbling blocks around me. I sing because I can, because I need to, because I want to, because He commands me to, because He loves me to.

Psalm 119:165-176

Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I do your commandments.
My soul keeps your testimonies;
I love them exceedingly.
I keep your precepts and testimonies,
for all my ways are before you.

Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
give me understanding according to your word!
Let my plea come before you;
deliver me according to your word.
My lips will pour forth praise,
    for you teach me your statutes.
My tongue will sing of your word,
    for all your commandments are right.
Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
I long for your salvation, O Lord,
and your law is my delight.
Let my soul live and praise you,
    and let your rules help me.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.

Please take a few minutes and visit Expecting With Hope, which is a subdivision of Mommies With Hope, a ministry where I am a contributing writer online, and sing along with me because “even when we are speechless, the Lord gives us His book of psalms to bring us back to singing.”