Two Little Lines

TW: Miscarriage

It is sad, really, to think how much money I’ve spent on pregnancy tests. More than sad – it is downright appalling. Expensive ones from the drugstore that *supposedly* predict hormone levels sooner and cheap ones from the dollar store that kind of make you wonder if they even work. I’ve taken them all, at all times of the day, in all different bathrooms (even one in a local restaurant…!). But there is one thing that they have all had in common: every single one has only had one line. Every test, whether cheap or expensive, has been negative and ended up in the trash.

Until December 18th, 2017.

On that day, just one short week before Christmas, I saw my very first two lines, and they literally brought me to my knees. ♥♥

I journaled a little that afternoon, trying to get my feelings together after finding out I was pregnant for the first time:

“To be honest, it doesn’t feel real. It really doesn’t. I’m sitting here writing this and it feels like a joke. I have been waiting for this day for what feels like an eternity, and now that this little plastic stick with two lines on it is staring me in the face, I still can’t make myself believe it. I’m afraid to get excited. Am I really brave enough to dust off the dreams that I’ve spent the last few years folding up and putting in the bottom of the drawer? Because this can’t possibly be happening to me right now.

When you spend a lot of time hoping for something and praying for something, Satan knows. And he will do whatever he can, at any given moment, to pull the rug out from under you and steal your joy. I am trying SO HARD not to let him steal this joy right now, because I have never seen two lines before, and every time I think about that moment on the bathroom floor, it takes my breath away.

As I was driving back to work today after taking the test at lunch, I just decided to surrender my fear to the Lord. It won’t be a one-time thing; I’m going to have to put this in His hands again and again and again, especially for the next three weeks while I wait for my first appointment. It’s terrifying that I can’t know if this is really happening until then, and the miscarriage fear is already intense. But at the end of the day, I don’t have control over much, and I already know that God has used literally every bad experience in my life to help me minister to others and glorify Him in the process. 

I’m just in awe. I keep thinking that I’m going to wake up from this dream, but until I do – Lord, help me remember this kind of joy forever. ♥”

God is faithful, friends. That baby isn’t in my arms today, but praise God, I DO still remember that joy, and He DID use that experience to glorify Himself and help me minister to others in a way I never could before.

Learning how to move on from that loss led into one of the strangest seasons of my life. I’ve never felt lower, but I’ve also never felt more fiercely loved. God called me deeper into the water, asking me to trust Him with the things I couldn’t control, and asking me to love Him more than anything else. When we were sitting in church one morning, listening to Brandon preach over Hannah’s story in the Bible, I was pricked by the hardest question I think the Lord has ever asked me:

“Will you still love Me, even if I never give you a baby of your own?”


I knew what the right answer was. I knew the answer was “Yes, of COURSE I will.” But I wasn’t there yet. I begged God to make things right, to make my heart believe Him when He said His plans for me were good. And although it didn’t happen right away, over the years, God has been faithful to fulfill that request.

Fast forward to April 28th, 2020.

I had scheduled a Walmart pickup on my lunch break and was about to drive home after my groceries were loaded into the car. My thoughts danced nervously to the box of pregnancy tests I knew was nestled in the trunk. I was barely a week late, but I hadn’t gotten my hopes up. After years of trying, I had earned a master’s degree in incorrectly diagnosing potential pregnancy symptoms.

I turned some music on and starting driving home. My throat tightened as I prayed to God, not asking Him to give me a baby, but asking that He would help me accept His will, whatever it was. In that beat-up old Acura, I gave Him my whole heart, as I’ve done over and over throughout my life, and told Him that I would still love Him, no matter what.

Even if I never got pregnant again.

Even if I miscarried again.

Even if I never got to give birth.

Even if I lost everything: my husband, my home, my job, my family, my friends.

“Take it all away, Lord – your salvation is still enough for me.”

And for the second time, God gifted me with a tangible miracle and gave me two little lines again. (And I say that with so much humility and point to God’s sovereignty over all. I didn’t get pregnant because of a magical emotional car prayer. I got pregnant because what God shuts, no one can open, and what He opens, no one can shut.)

But that baby isn’t in my arms either, as you already know. At my first-ever sonogram appointment, my worst fear was confirmed: I had lost my second baby. My hormone levels were off the charts, but there was no gestational sac on the ultrasound, and my hopes for a normal pregnancy were over. To add insult to injury, two weeks later, I started having intense abdominal pain and ended up in the emergency room, where I was told I needed to have surgery immediately. My surgeon originally believed something was wrong with my ovary, but it turned out to be a large ectopic pregnancy, and I lost my right Fallopian tube in the process. If I hadn’t gone to the emergency room, I could have died.

It took me almost a year to use the word ‘trauma’ to describe what happened to me in May 2020. I didn’t feel like I deserved to use that word, especially in light of the worldwide pandemic. What I went through was nothing compared to the things other people in my life and in the world were going through. But IT WAS trauma. Trauma is described as ‘a deeply distressing or disturbing experience,’ or ‘an emotional shock following a stressful event or physical injury.’ The word originated in the late 17th-century Greek language and literally means ‘wound.’ Check, check, and check.


God is good, friends. Just as I experienced with my first loss, I got to watch God love me and Daniel in the most life-giving ways you can imagine. Our friends and families came around us in a way I’ve never seen, and my faith grew stronger than ever, even in the midst of deep suffering. I can do something I would have believed was impossible until now: I can lift my trembling hands to heaven and say, “God, THANK YOU for the gift of suffering and loss. THANK YOU for never leaving me or forsaking me.”

Fast forward to December 1st, 2020. I started another new, hopeful blog post:

I’m pregnant again.


I took a test before church on Sunday, and for the third time (third time’s the charm, maybe?), I got to see two…little…lines. And you know what’s weird? I feel completely calm. The moment I saw the test result, my eyes filled up and my hands shook, but I put one hand on my stomach and lifted the other toward heaven and prayed, “God…if this is really a baby…it’s yours. No matter what, You’re good. I’m holding this with open hands.” And I am. Our strategy is literally to take things one day at a time. If I get to keep this baby, Soli Deo Gloria (glory to God alone). And if I don’t, I still believe wholeheartedly that God loves me, that our families and friends will smother us with support when we need it, and that my identity as a woman and as a wife does not hinge on my ability to reproduce, or even be a mom at all. God has showered me with so many gifts (marriage, friends, family, a home, a dog, a job, biblical community, etc.), but His greatest gift to me will always be salvation. Anything else on top of that is just frosting.

It’s been different this time. We’re walking the blurry line of cautious joy with a little more peace. I haven’t jumped into googling everything, and I hesitated before downloading a pregnancy tracker app for the third time, wondering if I would just have to delete it again in a couple weeks. But I decided to download it anyway, because if this is finally the real thing, I don’t want to look back and regret spending the whole pregnancy in a mental state of “Whatever, it might not even happen.”

That time WAS different, and yet the same. I knew the risks. I struggled to feel joy, but chose to trust God anyway. When the bleeding started, I knew God would sustain me because He already had before. My friends called me strong, but I didn’t feel strong – I felt hollow. I went through my daily routines in a fog, knowing the right things to do and continuing to do them, but wondering why, after three times, I still wasn’t 100% confident about what my next steps should be. When I mentioned this half-jokingly to my fertility specialist, the halfhearted laugh in my throat was replaced with a lump when she touched my shoulder and said quietly, “You shouldn’t know what to do in this situation. Nobody should.”

Several months later, I realized that my internal thought process about the future was no longer “When we have a baby.” It had shifted to “If we have a baby.” My mind was begging my heart to catch up to what my body had been trying to tell me for more than seven years, to accept the reality that biological kids might not be part of the plan. I felt confused, angry……….and weirdly, relieved. I had felt so much pressure to have a baby for so long, and the guilt and shame I felt over not being able to have one was unbearable. Some pressure was self-inflicted, some came from well-intentioned friends and loved ones, and some was simply a result of social norms. What was I supposed to do next? Getting married and having babies was Plan A. I had no backup plan. How do you let go of a dream you’ve had since you were five years old?

Could I really accept childlessness as a gift from God, instead of the soft, blue-eyed, rosy-cheeked gift I thought I wanted?

Fast forward to today: December 28, 2022.

The answer, my friends, is YES. I could. And I did.

Two years ago, I *should have* been celebrating Christmas with a giant round belly, wondering if my water would break while playing Connect Four with my nephews. I should have been recovering from a labor and delivery that most assuredly would not have gone according to my birth plan because of who I am as a person, my rainbow babe surrounded by adoring fans, turning in early on New Year’s Eve because I just couldn’t hang, trading a party dress and a glass of champagne for a robe and a rocking chair. Two years ago today, I should have had my second baby.

I not only acknowledge but accept that this is never how things were supposed to go. 

Plants can only produce their intended fruit, and I spent waaaaayyyy too much time trying to get strawberries to grow from a blueberry bush. God knew what I needed most, and it was never a baby. It was more of Him. I thought I knew what God wanted to teach me through all of this. But I know now that I have only gotten a tiny glimpse of the garden He has been cultivating behind the scenes.

Guess what? Kids ARE in my future. I’ll spend the rest of my life loving kids: my nieces and nephews, my friends’ kids, the kids in our church ministry, our future foster kids, and any adopted or biological surprises God may send our way. But I’m done with holding God hostage and demanding that they come into my life on my terms. I have so much to share with you all, and I can’t wait to continue bearing witness to the beauty, sovereignty, and wisdom of God’s master plan as it unfolds. For now, all I’ll say is that finally, finally, finally…I’m content.

Soli Deo Gloria.

A Hug from God

Have you ever wished you could hug God? I have. Many times. In moments of sadness and joy, I have felt my heart swelling AND tightening, somehow at the same time, still too small to hold all of my feelings. But I never really realized that a hug was what I wanted until March 10, 2022.

I was driving home from the gym after teaching my dance fitness class, and I wasn’t really thinking about anything in particular. Out of nowhere, I was overcome with thankfulness for how God has walked with me and chased me down and protected me over the last few years. I felt God’s presence in the car with me – that’s the only way I can say it. I know from His Word that He is always with me, but I felt His nearness in a new way that night. It felt like He was standing behind me, arms around my shoulders, His chin resting on top of my head, and all I wanted to do was turn around and throw my arms around Him. Tears sprang to my eyes and my breath caught in my throat. I slowly reached my left hand up and put it on my right shoulder, half-expecting to actually feel His arm underneath.

I’m a visual person, and I have had a handful of experiences like this with God throughout my life. Let’s dub them ‘visually tangible.’ I hesitate to call them visions because that word sounds more mystical and ‘woo-woo’ than I want it to, and I don’t believe I have the spiritual gift of prophecy. But to explain it in basic terms, it’s as if I have images or videos playing in my head. Think of it almost like a movie montage. I’m not watching anything happening physically in front of me, and I’m not being transported to another place mentally. It’s just like I’m experiencing a really powerful memory. (But sometimes I see things that haven’t actually happened yet.)

Total transparency – I laughed nervously to myself as I typed that last sentence. Please don’t write me off just yet.

ANYWAY. I was having this moment with God in my car, and I was suddenly struck by other similar moments when I recognized God interacting with me on a human level. For example, I remembered that horrible day in 2020 when I found out that one of my best friends and I had both miscarried our third baby on the same day. I was sitting cross-legged on my bed, my head in my hands, grieving and trying to pray but at a complete loss for words, when an image of God with me flashed into my mind. In this picture, He was sitting across from me on the bed, also cross-legged, forehead pressed against my forehead, His big hands on either side of my face. Just sitting there with me, grieving with me. It still gets me choked up just thinking about it.

These moments are spiritual monuments for me, figurative piles of stones to remind me of the faithfulness of God when I am tempted to forget. And boy, have I needed them. In the last year, my heart has broken over and over. I have felt the ache of intense loneliness. The ache of others moving on with their lives and settling comfortably into new seasons, while I feel stuck in the same place I’ve been for years. The ache of watching dear friends and family suffer the consequences of poor decisions. The ache of friendships changing. The ache of knowing that Daniel and I will never be those two young, dumb kids again. The ache of unfairness. The ache of what should have been, but isn’t.

I’ve needed a lot of God hugs.

And you know what? I’ve gotten them.

Every year, I create a new note on my phone to keep track of special memories. I started doing this in 2020 when I needed a reminder that there were still good things happening in the world and in my life. This year, I added a section called “Moments I savored” to capture specific moments that I was keenly aware of savoring, since ‘Savor’ is my word for the year. Moments like…

The first little snow flurry in January.
Laying on the couch with Daniel, our adopted stray cat sleeping between us.
A quiet night at home, fire in the fireplace, reading a good book.
My heart racing as hid in the shadows, waiting to film Cory and Vic’s engagement.
Scream-singing “Take Me Home Tonight” in the car on the way home from Sherman.
Baylor Briggs falling asleep on me.
Breakfast with the Throners on the day of John and Amanda’s wedding.
Walking in the woods.
Boat rides on Lake Texoma, wind in my hair, drink in my hand, Daniel’s arm around me.
Reading at Opera House Coffee and watching the August rain we desperately needed.
Sitting on the back porch of an Airbnb, listening to the world wake up.

THESE are my God hugs.

Whether we feel Him with us or not, God NEVER leaves us, and our knowledge of that truth should lead us to thankfulness. His unfailing love is a constant comfort (Psalm 119:76). When we learn to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness, despite the fact that ‘bad’ things keep happening to us, we start to recognize good gifts from God more quickly. Good things don’t have to be big. And the biggest surprise of all is that sometimes, ‘bad’ things are actually good things in disguise.

My Social Media Fast Recap

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png

Hello, friends!! It’s been a little while, but I promise I have a good reason.

After completing the 40-day sugar fast earlier this year and having such a great experience, I knew I didn’t want my improved discipline and stronger desire to spend time with God to end! So I did the most logical thing: I kept fasting. And this time, it was from social media. Keep reading to see how those 40 days went…

Day 1: Okay, so here’s what I’ve given up: Facebook and FB Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, and 95% of Pinterest. (I can still use recipes I’ve already pinned, but I’m not mindlessly scrolling.) Today, on my first day of the fast, I conducted an experiment. I wanted to test myself, just to see how many times I would normally check those apps, particularly Facebook and Instagram. I kept tally marks for every time I caught myself looking at my phone for that reason, and guess how many times I did it in one day? 24 TIMES. I didn’t even have a good reason! 99% of the time, it was a combination of muscle memory and boredom. I’ve conditioned myself to open those apps every time I’m waiting for something, like the elevator or standing in the grocery check-out line. Truthfully, I think that number was smaller than it should have been, because I wasn’t picking up my phone as much since I knew I couldn’t open those apps. Regardless, even if I only spent 5 minutes in those apps each time I wanted to open them, that adds up to a minimum of TWO HOURS spent on social media per day. Ouch.

Day 2: The chapter of the book I’m reading during this fast said the following today: “The temptation to take your eyes off of Christ and His buoying Word will be constant. Loneliness may even threaten to capsize you, but what a joy it will be to step out of your boat and follow Him in this countercultural, faith-building, water-walking way!” I’ve already realized something about our use of social media as humans. We medicate and distract ourselves with social media because it’s NUMBING. With all those other voices in our heads, we aren’t forced to confront the silence and deal with our own deeply buried issues.

Day 5: Ugh………well. I did something. Initially, I didn’t give up watching TV by myself because I rationalized it as ‘not social media.’ But after four days of feeling convicted, I finally listened to God’s prompting and surrendered that habit for the remainder of my fast. I am not excited. But I am doing it.

Day 7: It struck me today how perfectly my word of the year – SAVOR – fits with this season of fasting. This fast in particular presented itself at an opportune time, what with Daniel being in school and me feeling a pull to quiet the noise in my heart. There have already been multiple sweet, tiny moments I would have missed out on if I had been on my phone like I normally am, like reading with my cat Chess sleeping on me, having good conversations with Daniel in the car, and talking with friends more.

Day 9: All I can say is WOW. I had the most pure God moment in my car on my way home from the gym. I have already started a separate blog post about this experience, but all I can say for now is that I have never felt so so seen by the Lord. I wished I could physically hug Him. I have noticed my desire to spend time with God is so much stronger, and it’s no coincidence that this change happened at the same time I put down all the noise and started picking up His Word more often.

Day 11: I was sitting in the living room, prepping for Cory’s proposal to Victoria, getting the flower petals ready and listening to instrumental music, and a slow, tender, nostalgic song started playing. Before it was even halfway through, I knew I had to make sure that song was playing when they walked in the door. I was suddenly filled with emotion over how special that moment would be, and how prepping for it wouldn’t have been the same if I was watching TV instead of listening to music. And that moment WAS so special. I got the honor of capturing the whole thing on video. However, after the ring was on the finger and the champagne was poured, I had the strangest thought: “I won’t be able to ‘like’ their social media posts…!” But immediately after thinking that, I had a second thought: “Why do I care?? Why should I be sad? I was there! I literally watched it happen. Who cares that I can’t see it on a social media platform!”

Day 15: Today, I asked myself, “What am I actually using social media for?” Is it really about connection? Or is it because I want to create a certain perception about myself? What a gift it is to realize that (1) I don’t owe anybody anything on social media, and (2) I don’t need to be reachable via social media all the time. While some messages are time-sensitive, most of them aren’t. And I would much rather spend time connecting with people in person than in a virtual world.

Day 18: I miss TV. I reeeeeeally miss TV. I miss it more than social media. This is why God wanted me to give it up. *sigh*

Day 21: I had to pray a lot today. This day was already set aside for fasting and praying over a friend, but I had to pray for myself at least 50% of the time. I prayed that God would help me want to want to obey Him, because today, I really don’t. I want to do whatever I want and not have to pay the consequences. Even though I’ve given up social media and watching TV alone, I’m not being disciplined in other ways….(It’s food. Why is it always food??). And I know God is after my whole heart, not just one area of weakness at a time. The goal was not to surrender one idol and immediately replace it with something else. This is just a “HARUMPHHH” of a day.

Day 23: Matthew 5:29-30 convicted me. I’ve always read this verse in relation to sin and bad things that were always bad to begin with, but the truth is even good things can become bad if we misuse them. It’s better to completely cut something off/out rather than to indulge it and let it consume you. We are fools to think we can control ourselves without God’s help. If something tempts us even a little bit, maybe it’s better to just stay away from it completely.

Day 29: Meh….I’m kind of over this. I’m doing fine without social media, but I still really miss TV and games on my phone. (Oh yeah – I gave those up too.) I’m not getting as much out of this fast as I did the sugar fast. At least that’s how I feel today. Maybe I’ll feel differently tomorrow.

Day 33: Daniel left for Boston today and I REALLY want to watch TV. I’m thinking about breaking that part of my fast early. This is going to be a long week.

Day 39: I absolutely SHOCKED myself this week. Every day, I woke up and thought, “I didn’t watch TV yesterday. And I’m fine. I could do that again today.” And I have!! I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts instead and stuck to my original conviction to give up binge-watching TV alone. This week has been long and busy. I can’t wait to see Daniel tomorrow!!

Day 40: I SURVIVED!!! Since I opened my first social media account in 2006, I’m pretty sure this is the longest I’ve ever gone without opening any of those apps. I’m really proud of myself.

Day 41: It’s the craziest thing – I’m allowed to get on social media now but I honestly don’t really want to. I spent about 30-45 minutes going through all of my missed notifications on Facebook, Instagram, etc., and at the end of that time, I didn’t feel happier. I felt scattered and overstimulated. I watched some funny videos and saw some life updates from friends, but as I scrolled, I thought, “How did I spend hours doing this before?? I’ve only been here for 20 minutes and I’m already tired of it all.” The more I think through the last 40 days, I realize that I learned more than I thought I did. I didn’t really miss social media. And I felt convicted about how much time I devote to noise: things that are empty and a waste of time.

Biggest lessons learned:

  • WHY was I posting? WHY was I scrolling so much? Before I started the fast, I don’t think I would have said, “I’m trying to fill a void”….but I’m pretty sure that’s what I was doing.
  • I realized during the fast that I was less distracted when I read God’s Word. I didn’t know how cluttered my mind was before, and it’s no wonder I had such a hard time paying attention to what I was reading. Now, I’m not mentally ‘full’ from consuming social media and TV all day, so when I open God’s Word, I’m ready to read and listen and process. Consuming that is so much better than the other things I was consuming. My desire for the Word is stronger than ever. I changed my pattern and made my Bible app the first one I open in the morning instead of Facebook and Instagram. Keeping my social media apps off of my home screen and turning the notifications off, even though I didn’t have many turned on to begin with, was also a gamechanger.
  • In one of her chapters, Wendy said, “We’ve all turned to things to quench the ache and kill the pain, to tell us we’re worthy, or to meet some other deep need. Except they never do, which is why we keep cramming more in. We’re always hungry but never satisfied.” I wish I had the words to describe to you how fulfilling a relationship with God is. Nothing and no one else satisfies like He does.
  • Want me to get really personal? You totally do. I know you do. I’ll tell you what I have made god instead of God. I’ll confess my own little-g gods to you, and I encourage you to consider what yours are so you can surrender them to the Big G, the OG, the God of Gods and King of Kings, the only true God who loves us at our worst and sacrificed everything to make us part of His family. Ready?
    • Social media.
    • Snacking.
    • A drink.
    • TV.
    • Filling the silence.
    • Sugar.
    • Attention and verbal affirmation from others.
    • Games on my phone.
    • Eating out.
    • Trying desperately to be perfect and worthy of respect.

GOD. IS. BETTER. We are wasting too much time trying to make ourselves happy with other things. They won’t work. God is who we’ve been looking for all this time. Let’s chase after Him from now on, yeah? ♥

If you want to know more about the 40-day social media fast, click here.

Fully Known, Fully Loved


I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve spent way too much of my married life trying to change my husband.

We’ve known each other for well over a decade now and have been married for 8 years, and I love him more than I’ve ever loved anybody in my entire life. But if you asked me what I wish he did differently, I could come up with a list really quickly.

All of us grew up doing things a certain way, and although we may not always say it, we intrinsically believe that ‘our way’ is the best way. But sometimes, it isn’t. Human relationships, and marriage in particular, have this curious way of drawing out our flaws, of revealing the parts of your person that God wants to lovingly chisel away.

Marriage in particular is one of the most intense ways God makes us more like Him: He takes two jagged-edged sinners and uses each of them to refine and smooth the hard edges off of the other. Marriage is NOT putting on the most attractive version of yourself, playing immature games with each other, and only looking to the other person for what you can get from them. Marriage is two people committing to out-serve each other for the rest of their lives. It’s reprogramming your brain to instinctively strive for what’s best for the other person first, instead of putting yourself and your needs first. Mike Mason’s quote from The Mystery of Marriage is absolutely spot-on:

“What is most unique about the tenacious fidelity of marriage is that it allows for such a really brutal amount of ‘sharpening’ to take place, yet in the gentlest way imaginable. Who ever heard of being sharpened against a warm, familiar body of loved flesh? Only the Lord could have devised such an awesomely tender and heartwarming means for men and women to be made into swords. Yet for all its gentleness, marriage is still a fire and a sword itself, a fire which brands, and a sword which inflicts a wound far deeper than any arrow of Cupid. For it is a wound in a person’s pride, in a place which cannot be healed, and from the moment a man and woman first stand transfixed in one another’s light they will begin to feel this wound of marriage opening up in them. The Lord God made woman out of part of man’s side and closed up the place with flesh, but in marriage He reopens this empty, aching place in man and begins the process of putting the woman back again, if not literally IN the side, then certainly AT it: permanently there, intrusively there, a sudden lifelong resident of a space which until that point the man will have considered to be his own private territory, even his own body. But in marriage he will cleave to the woman, and the woman to him, the way his own flesh cleaves to his own bones. Just so, says the Lord, do I Myself desire to invade your deepest privacy, binding you to me all your life long and even into eternity with cords of blood.”

I think the reason I didn’t see my selfishness as clearly prior to marriage is because I was playing a game. The “Look How Great I Am” game. I never would have admitted it out loud, but I was basically just trying to impress Daniel with all of my *amazing* qualities, and it wasn’t until getting married that I realized how little I actually had to offer. My good qualities weren’t nearly as good as I thought they were, and my bad qualities were a lot worse than I thought they were.

Before marriage, I had never had to be that deeply vulnerable with anyone. Sure, I opened up to my girlfriends and shared my joys, sorrows, and sins with them, but they weren’t as strongly affected by them the way Daniel is. The mirror of your spouse is often the hardest to look into, because (in a healthy marriage) that person isn’t your enemy. It’s your best friend, your person, pointing out your weaknesses. They are directly impacted by your selfishness in a way that no one else in your life is.

The really beautiful thing is that because of Jesus, I don’t have to fear that kind of vulnerability. I am fully seen, fully understood, fully known – and yet still fully loved. Daniel is a tangible piece of God’s unchanging love for me, and when he tells me he loves me, it means infinitely more now than it did on our wedding day. I have done things that have really hurt him, and the fact that he still says “I love you” and means it, in spite of my bad choices and unkind words…well, nothing can top that. And I know that Daniel’s love for me is a tiny match flame compared to the blazing forest fire of love that God has for me.

In one of my favorite books, The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller describes this mystery of being fully known and fully loved in perfect detail:

“The reason that marriage is so painful and yet wonderful is because it is a reflection of the gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once. The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope. This is the only kind of relationship that will really transform us. Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us.”

When God shows us the depths of His love for us, it gives a whole new meaning to our human relationships and lays out the map for how we are supposed to love each other. He is the perfect example for us, loving us IN SPITE of the fact that we have done nothing to earn His love, and can’t ever earn it. Loving someone because of what they have done for you is shallow and worthless compared to loving someone because of what God has done for you. That kind of love will change the world, my friends.

It’s Okay to Believe in Impossible Things


Traffic conspires against you and makes you late for work the day of your big meeting.

Your kids are unyieldingly defiant, no matter what tactic you try.

Your car is stolen in broad daylight.

No medical explanation exists for the infertility waging war on your desire for children.

You don’t get the job, even though you were qualified.

Your spouse makes no effort to have a healthy relationship with you.

A global pandemic affects your ability to get basic necessities at the store, takes away your source of income, steals the joy out of planning your wedding, forces you to deny yourself all physical and social interaction.

We’ve all been there.

Every single day, unfortunate things happen to us, through no fault of our own, and we don’t know why. Even more unsettling is the reality that we may never know why. After awhile of being continually disappointed, we start to feel suffocated and disillusioned by our own expectations, and we may even start to wonder why we ever thought things might go our way. In those moments of doubtful wondering, if we aren’t careful, we take the first step down a very steep, sloping hill toward a valley of bitterness.

Why, God?? Why me?
How could you let this happen?
Don’t you see my suffering?
Don’t you hear my cries for help?
Are you ignoring me?
Do you even love me?

Does this sound like you? If so, I have two things to say.

#1. First, God is not scared of your big, hard, scary questions. You can’t intimidate, overwhelm, annoy, or stump him with your Whys and your What Ifs and even your Where Are You Right Nows. …………BUT. Even in your most hurt, angry, lonely places, He is still the God of the universe with ultimate power and authority over everything in existence. And if you are a Christian, you are still expected to exercise control over your tongue. Yes, even when you’re mad. There is a difference between coming to the Lord in brokenness and asking Him to heal and restore your bleeding heart, and coming to the Lord in malice, hurling insults and blaming Him for things that go wrong.

#2. I can’t speak for you, but when I start to spiral into an angry valley, it always boils down to the same thing: I don’t trust God. I don’t trust that He’s good; that He’s still on His throne; that He’s controlling every moment of my existence; that His way is better than mine. I stop believing that He genuinely loves me. I stop believing that He can do impossible things.

To tell you the truth, I think we’re all scared to believe in the impossible because we’re too prideful. We just can’t stomach the idea of being caught off guard, of looking foolish, of praying in expectation for something that doesn’t end up happening. We don’t want to get our hopes up. We’d rather protect ourselves in safe, comfortable layers of realism and acceptance of what we can make sense of in our own minds.

But therein lies the question. Since when are our minds the pinnacle of knowledge and wisdom?? Are we really so naive that we would spend our entire lives only believing what we can see and feel?

Take a walk with me, faith family. Let me take you a few thousand years back and remind you of a few impossible things you already believe.

I’m not talking about believing in things that are simply improbable.

I mean things that are literally not possible.

An obedient man built what was probably the largest boat that’s ever existed in human history without having any idea of what a flood was. And that flood ended up covering the entire earth.

A husband and wife who were 100 years old and 90 years old, respectively, conceived their first baby.

An exceedingly deep body of water, as deep as about five Empire State buildings stacked on top of each other, parted in half for people to walk across on bone-dry ground.

A man was swallowed by a whale and lived.

During one of Israel’s battles with the Amorites, the sun and moon stood still in the sky without moving for almost an entire day.

A man prayed for a drought, and no rain fell for more than three years.

The same man completely drenched an altar, wood and all, with gallons upon gallons of water, prayed again, and fire instantly consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the water, and even the stones.

A woman’s flour and oil continually refilled themselves in the midst of a famine.

A man spent an entire night in a pit of starving lions and survived.

Three men were thrown into a furnace so hot, it killed the men throwing them in, and they came out without a single burn or scorch mark.

An army of 300 men defeated an army of over 135,000.

A virgin conceived and gave birth to a baby.

People who had been blind, deaf, or crippled their entire life could inexplicably see, hear, and walk.

A couple loaves of bread and a few fish fed tens of thousands of people – twice.

A man’s ear was cut off and then immediately put back on, fully healed.

People who were really truly 100% dead took their second first breath and came back to life.

Can I tell you something? It’s okay to believe in impossible things. It’s okay to get your hopes up. It’s okay to know that the odds are stacked against you and still choose to trust that even if you don’t get the happy ending you’re asking for, God is able and He loves you. Our God is unstoppable. What He shuts, no one can open, and what He opens, no one can shut.

Just for today, will you let these incredible, historical, real events give you hope for the impossible things in your life?




What I Know For Sure.


Let’s start this off strong.

I don’t know a lot.

In fact, I feel like the older I get, the less I actually know. Does anybody else feel this way?? It’s like my brain is pulling a Benjamin Button. In every new life stage, I’m both the smartest and the dumbest that I’ve ever been.

But there are four things I know for sure:

  1. I’m not ‘enough.’
  2. Life is a series of waiting rooms, metaphorical and literal.
  3. The ‘hustle’ culture is overrated and damaging.
  4. I literally don’t know what I would do without God.
  5. I’m bad at math.

One of my goals for the year is to take a break from TV at least one day per week, and take a break from all social media platforms at least one day per month. Yesterday was my day off of social media, and I was shocked to discover how many times my fingers mindlessly wandered and opened those apps throughout the day. Of course, as soon as I did it, I would snap out of it and close the app. But still, I reflexively tapped those apps probably 20 times, and for no other reason than that I was bored. I wanted to know what was happening in the social world that day. I didn’t want to miss something ~iMpoRtAnt~ and be left out or left behind.

Adulthood is hard. I’ve talked a lot about that in various posts, but it bears repeating, especially because of the savage mischief-maker that is social media. Don’t get me wrong, it has its perks; after all, you’re probably reading this post right now because of some form of social media. And yet in spite of all the new connections it may spark, we’re lonelier and emptier than ever. I’m convinced that no generation has been more aware of all the things we don’t have. We are bombarded daily with hundreds of things that we’re supposed to know, be, have, and do. And a lot of us actually manage to keep up, or at least look like we’re keeping up. Sort of. But behind all of our photos and memories and virtual transparency (because it’s cool to be *real* now), we’re all still secretly terrified that it’s not enough. We don’t know enough, and we’re not doing enough.

Worst of all, though, is the fear that we ourselves are not enough.

And you know what? I think that fear is justified.

Because deep down, we already know that we aren’t enough.

We can’t create, curate, fabricate, or initiate enough beauty, humor, authenticity, popularity, or overall goodness to overcome the fact that

W E .  A R E .  N O T .  E N O U G H .

We will never be funny enough, pretty enough, smart enough, athletic enough, or good enough when the measuring stick is our own self-perception or the rest of the world’s standards. Telling ourselves we’re enough in the mirror or slapping the phrase on a t-shirt does little more than bury our fear underneath a mountain of self-focus and self-help. Ultimately, our merit and abilities won’t get us very far if the focus is on what WE can do, because at one point or another, we will inevitably fail. Our skills are limited. Our energy will run out. We can’t fix other people’s problems. We can’t even fix our own.

Guess what, though?

“Being enough” was never our job.

Jesus is enough for us.

He is strong enough, smart enough, worthy enough, perfect enough. We are made whole only through a relationship with Him, and until we surrender to Him completely, we will never be able to relieve the taunting, lingering ache of “not enough.” If Jesus was enough to satisfy the debt of every human being’s sin, once and for all, then He is enough for our day-to-day. And when we bravely and humbly tear down our altars to ourselves and lay our pride at His feet, we learn that our strength to do literally everything comes from Him. We discover that the absolute best place to be is NOT behind the wheel.

The truth is, I’m not in control. I want to be. But I’m not. And that is so counterculture. We are conditioned from an early age to believe – genuinely believe – that we have control over the outcomes in our lives. We are told that if we do A + B, we WILL get C. Our DIY #bossbabe world screams “You can do anything!!” and encourages us to hustle hustle hustle to get what we want, and we buy into the lie that if we work hard enough and believe hard enough and pray hard enough…we can make God do whatever we want Him to do.

That’s what we’re really saying.

It’s ugly, isn’t it?

We want so much to believe that we know what’s best, and that if God would just get on board, then everything would be golden.

But that’s not how it is.

The Bible says that God’s ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), and His sovereign Will always plays out exactly the way He planned from the very beginning (Proverbs 19:21). But we have hope, because He loves us (Ephesians 2:4-5) and everything He does is for our good (Romans 8:28). In the face of that kind of love, we can let go of the burden of trying to be enough for others, ourselves, and even God Himself. We can release our desperate desires to be famous for something; our need to be liked, respected, or envied; our unrealistic expectations; our selfish aspirations. We can be free, truly, and live a life marked by real joy and real peace.

It sounds contradictory, I know – giving up your autonomy and yet also being free. But it’s real. The most freedom I’ve ever felt in my life has come when I stop trying to control everything, surrender to God through prayer, and remind myself that not only is He big enough to handle my wants and my needs, but He is also worthy of my trust because He has a perfect track record and has never, ever failed to do what is best. If He thinks I need something, He’ll give it to me. If He thinks I don’t need something, He won’t give it to me. And even though I may not like it or understand it at the time, I will still choose to believe that He is right and He is worth following. After all, I don’t really have any right to hold anything back from a Person who gave up everything for me, who died so that I could live. I owe that Person everything, I think. ♥

Behind a Happy Marriage


I’ve got a question for you. Married or not, think back to a season when you were unattached. At that time, what came to mind when you thought about marriage? What did you imagine married life would be like? Personally, I pictured lots of Instagram-worthy adventures, a perfect balance of laughter and tender “sharing our hearts” conversations, fancy date nights, a nice house, beautiful kids, and singing in perfect harmony while cooking together in our could-be-a-screenshot-from-Pinterest kitchen. And also I would be lying if I didn’t include the presupposition that we would constantly have the hots for each other. But mostly, I imagined that we would be completely and perfectly and incandescently happy together.

Fast forward to the present. Not to scare you single folks, buuuut….marriage hasn’t looked much like what I imagined, although we do laugh A LOT and our house is a total hidden gem. It’s not that our marriage has sucked, because it hasn’t! It just hasn’t lived up to my (unrealistic) expectations. We’ve been on a handful of really great adventures, but my photos of them are rarely anything special. And we haven’t had nearly as many fancy date nights as I had anticipated. Daniel can’t carry a tune in a bucket, our less-than-impressive kitchen can only fit 2-3 people in it at a time, and we’re still waiting on those kids. We’ve had harder conversations than I could have ever imagined anyone having with the person they love most in the entire world.

But guess what?

We are still super happy.

Wanna know what’s made all the difference for us, behind the scenes?

1. Sometimes, we go to bed angry. But we always go to bed together.
“Don’t go to bed angry” is one of the most repeated pieces of advice I’ve heard from my parents’ generation about how to succeed in a marriage. But there have been multiple nights that we have gotten absolutely nothing accomplished by staying awake. It was better in the long run for us both to shut up, sleep on it, and pick the conversation back up the next day when we were in a better frame of mind. However, we have always gone to bed at the same time, even when we’re frustrated with each other.

2. We check in with each other.
Every Sunday, typically, we walk through our weekly calendars together: what’s going on for each of us at work, lunch plans with friends or coworkers, church responsibilities, weekend activities, etc. This ensures that we’re on the same page for the week and don’t accidentally double-book ourselves or each other. We also text and email throughout the work week, sometimes to touch base about the day and sometimes just to say “Hey, I love you!”

3. We prioritize time together AND apart.
In our busy seasons, we make a point of planning evenings at home together, even if it’s something as simple as making a big bowl of popcorn and watching through the Harry Potter series (which we do every fall, by the way). But we also intentionally put guys-only and girls-only activities on the calendar too! For example, Daniel has a long-standing Buffalo Wild Wings night every other Thursday, and I usually hang out with the girls on Sunday nights.

4. We ask for help.
When our relationship starts drowning under the weight of selfishness, hurtful words, unmet expectations…really just sin in general, we don’t try to weather the storm on our own. We bring in the cavalry. We don’t confide in anyone who would encourage us to do things like punish or ignore the other person, take our rings off, flirt with a coworker, or take a break from each other. Instead, we humbly invite the advice and prayers of our closest friends who have a healthy view of biblical marriage and will lovingly call out sin, challenge us, and cheer us on.

5. We do ministry together.
The really funny thing is throughout our marriage, we’ve discovered that we don’t have much in common. (Those of you who know both of us well probably just snort-laughed.) We have different taste in music, movies, food, hobbies…almost everything. But one thing we have in common is our love for the Lord and our church family, and that is one of the strongest foundations (if not THE strongest foundation) you can have in any relationship. We have individual ways that we use our gifts to build up the church, of course, but we’ve experienced some of our greatest joys in serving together over the years at the BCM, leading multiple small groups, and helping facilitate Lakepoint’s marriage and pre-marriage ministries. 

Our happiness isn’t dependent on the state of our finances, where we’ve lived, the health of our relationships with friends and family, physical appearance, our ability to start a family, or even overall compatibility. Every one of those things has changed multiple times since we met, and if we tried to find happiness or security or comfort in any of them (especially compatibility), we would be severely disappointed.

Happiness can’t be found in things that are constantly changing. It must, instead, be found in something unchanging. Something constant. Steady. Unshakable. Enduring.

Our happiness in marriage is fully dependent on one thing – or, rather, one Person. 

Our gracious, never-changing, ever-faithful God. ♥




Are You Willing to Hike?


I had a moment with the Lord today, on Pinterest of all places.

I was looking through my friend Jordan King’s boards, and since I was in a particularly wanderlust-y mood, I went to her ‘Adventure’ board. As I scrolled, something about the photo above caught my eye, so I stopped and clicked on it. As I looked at it more closely, a quiet, whispered thought filled my head:

“Some of the most beautiful places in the world can’t be seen unless you hike to them.”

Whoa. What?

Let’s just clarify now that I know absolutely nothing about hiking. And up to this point, I really haven’t had any desire to learn anything about hiking. I’ve heard enough stories (including the one about Daniel’s four-day, rain-soaked, 40-pound-pack nightmare on Eagle Rock Loop) to know that trekking uphill for hours on end doesn’t sound quite like my cup of tea.

But for some reason, I couldn’t take my eyes away from this picture.

Who knows when that photo was taken? It could have been right as he reached his destination, or it could have been before he even started his journey. But regardless, it’s obvious that he is ready to work. He’s got the boots, the pack, the poles – he knows this is going to be more than a leisurely stroll. He’s prepared. And he’s willing to put in the time and effort because he knows what’s coming at the end.

“Some of the most beautiful places in the world can’t be seen unless you hike to them.”

It has always amazed me that God has the ability to speak with a still, small, quiet voice, and yet it has the impact of a strong, powerful, roaring voice that you can’t ignore. I stared at the mountains, the river, the rocks – dumbfounded. How many beautiful places have I never seen because I haven’t WANTED to hike to them? A simple thought, but a dagger to the heart.

How many times had I given up on something because it just felt too hard to do?

How many times had I not even attempted something because it sounded like too much work?

How many times had I been unwilling to put in the effort for something I knew would be beneficial in the long run?

It’s no secret that I struggle with self-discipline, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but this truth bomb really hurt. Genuinely mature adults are willing to not only work, but work HARD, and they don’t make excuses like ‘I just don’t want to’ and ‘That’s just how I am’. 1 Corinthians 13:11 really drives this point home: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” Did you catch it? That action verb, gave. Maturity didn’t simply happen naturally. A decision was made to give up childish ways. We aren’t doomed to stay exactly the way we are for the rest of our lives, but we can’t just sit around and wait for magic lightning to strike us and make us grow up. True adults recognize that their actions affect people they love, and they take responsibility for figuring out what parts of their character are ugly, lazy, or immature, and then learn how to fix them.

But isn’t that exactly how life is supposed to be? Why are we so surprised when something requires work from us? After all, pretty much everything good in life comes as a result of a lot of time and effort:

A thriving family.
Publishing a book.
Building a house.
A healthy marriage.
Good eating habits.
Exercising consistently.
Starting a business.
A flourishing church.
Lasting friendships.

None of these things happen without a lot of perseverance and commitment, and they will always require a sacrifice of self – your time, money, energy, emotion, and preferences. All truly good things will cost you something. Maturity means deciding that those ‘good things’ are worth the hike.

Pinterest and Jesus never cease to inspire me. ♥

Married Monday: How to Pray for Your Husband


As a young wife, I like to think about ways to show Daniel how much I love him. Some things are easy, like hiding a note in his wallet or taking his favorite snack to work. Some are a little more subtle, like always folding his laundry first so that if I run out of time and can’t finish it all, at least his stuff is done and he has access to everything he needs. But probably one of the absolute best things we can do for our spouses – if not THE very best thing – is to pray for them. It seems very simple, and I think Satan tries to convince us that it doesn’t really make much of a difference a lot of the time. But if we are faithful to do it and trust that God works powerfully through prayer, it can be life-changing.

I was convicted this year about how little time I was spending lifting Daniel up to the Lord in prayer, and to help keep myself on track, I did what I always do: I made a list! And I decided to share it with you all, because I know there are other people like me out there who love looking at someone else’s pre-written lists. They make tasks seem so much easier to accomplish, am I right??

Each number correlates to the day of the month, and for the months that have 31 days, I just pick a random one from the list, or whichever one I think he needs most at the time. Please feel free to use this as inspiration and add any of your own unique prayer needs for your spouse!


Did I leave off anything important? Let me know in the comments!

This post is part of “Married Monday,” a series I started in order to expose myths and lies we’ve been told about married life, celebrate moments of joy and growth, chew on hard truths and sprinkle them with grace, and remind others (and myself!) that marriage doesn’t work without Christ in it. I have lots of ideas, but I’d love your input too! What topics would you like to see covered?

The 7-Year Itch (and 7 things I’ve learned)

Daniel James Hendrickson and I have officially been married 7 years this weekend.



I think it feels like an accomplishment because of the “7-Year Itch” people always talk about – that stereotypical rough season in a marriage when things can start to fall apart if you aren’t careful. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is hard no matter how long you’ve been married. But I think the 7-year mark was stigmatized for good reason. The honeymoon season is over, and you’ve probably entered parenthood and learned how challenging it is. In the busyness of life, you might feel like your relationship is on autopilot. You may start to feel distant from each other and wonder if this is all you have to look forward to for the rest of your life.

For anyone wondering: it doesn’t have to be that way.

In some ways, I kind of feel like we’ve beat the odds. There are so many things stacked against marriage in the world today, especially biblical marriage, and I’ve watched A LOT of marriages end in my lifetime. In my honest human moments, I’m proud of us for sticking together through the good times, the really good times, the boring times, and the really really really NOT good times. But at the end of the day, I have no right to be proud, because we couldn’t have done it in our own strength. Without God writing our story and guiding our steps, one or both of us probably would have called it quits a long time ago.

I am really thankful that Daniel and I have a healthy friendship after almost 10 years together and 7 years of marriage, but the two of us – the selfish, broken pieces of the puzzle – could not have manufactured enough of our own warm bubbly love feelings to survive the valleys we have dragged each other through, things that tear many couples apart. We aren’t still together because we’re amazing at relationships (although…I mean…come on, we’re pretty great). God has been very good to us. Not to say that bad things haven’t happened, but in the hard seasons, He has humbled us, refreshed us, and sustained us, and we are so much better for it. ♥

7 things I’ve learned in 7 years of married life:


Marriage was designed to last for a lifetime, and a lifetime is (Lord-willing) a really long time. Make sure you pick someone who makes you laugh!


Keeping score (even if it’s only mentally) is a terrible idea, because nothing in marriage is equal at all times. One person is almost always giving more. That’s just how it is. Chores probably won’t be divided up 50/50. Neither will child-rearing, or cooking, or money-making. And you know what? That’s okay. Marriages aren’t supposed to be each person giving 50%. The best marriages come from couples who both give 100/100. And yeah, your spouse may be giving 45% on one particular day, but you still need to give 100%, because that’s what you promised you would do on your wedding day. I’m willing to bet that you didn’t say, “I promise to keep my vows as long as you keep yours.” You can’t control what your spouse is doing, but you can control what you do.


Conflict does not mean something is permanently wrong with your relationship. Conflict is just a natural byproduct of two sinful people blending their lives together. Remember that you are teammates: you’re both on the same team! It’s “the couple vs. the problem,” not “the husband vs. the wife.”


Some things are worth getting upset about (harsh words during an argument). Some aren’t (eating the last brownie). Learn what’s worth having a discussion about, pray for a soft heart and willingness to admit when you’re wrong, and let the rest go.


You aren’t just marrying one person. You’re marrying dozens of people. You might think you’re only marrying the person who’s standing across from you on the stage on your wedding day, but you’re also marrying the person he is with his family members, the person he is at work, and the person he will be 15 years from now. It’s about much more than loving who is in front of you right this minute. “That’s the unspoken miracle of marriage: you vow to keep loving someone who keeps growing into a mysterious stranger” (Ann Voskamp). Your vows are not just a promise of current love, but a promise of enduring love.


If your goal in marriage is to make yourself happy, you will literally never be happy. Sorry to disappoint you, but when you sign that marriage license, you aren’t signing up for a lifetime of someone else meeting all of your needs and fulfilling of all of your desires while you run around doing whatever you want. Marriage is meant to be a lifetime of intentional, loving service from BOTH people. The point should never be to ‘get something out of it’. Dare to be the one who does more, the one who outserves, the one who outdoes the other in showing honor (Romans 12:10).


This last one is probably the hardest one. Sometimes, YOU are the one who needs to change. Movies and TV shows have given us unrealistic expectations for the things our spouse is ‘supposed’ to do and say and be, and you need to know that for every expectation you have for them, they will have one for you too. Just because you feel very strongly about something does not automatically mean that you are right. If your pattern in marriage is finger-pointing and never accepting responsibility for your own failures and mistakes, you have effectively put a cardboard box over a plant, starving it of any chance to grow. Pray for humility and maturity, and ask God for the strength to apologize to your spouse and ask for forgiveness. He WILL give you that strength. He’s in the business of reconciliation, after all!

Thanks for putting up with my sass for 7 years, Daniel. You’ll always be #1 in my heart! ♥

If you’re married, which of these lessons has been the hardest for you to learn?