Monday, July 6, 2015


It's been a while since I've been in this space.  At times I miss it dearly and at times I forget why I even called this little corner home. But today I'm drawn back as I am processing the words of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  There is a wonderful group of women who meet daily over at IF:Equip to discuss Biblical text.  I am one who follows along and jots down my own thoughts with ink and paper. But today, today is different. I've been trying to wrap my mind around this one verse text all day.

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. 
Matthew 5:6 NLT

I've been parked here all day. ALL. DAY. What is justice, or righteousness? And why do those who hunger and thirst for it become satisfied?  So many ideas of justice float around in my head, many playing out in one's interpretation of the word. Yet there is only One truly Just, only One Righteous.


 I began digging for some interpretation that I could gnaw on for a while. Something that would bring clarity and understanding. Thankfully, I came across a definition of righteousness by NT Wright. Midway through this piece he says,
To have 'righteousness' meant to belong to the covenant, the boundary marker of which was the Torah, and the hope of which was that God, in accordance with his own righteousness, would act in history to 'vindicate', to 'justify' his people by saving them from their enemies.

Today, it hit me, to hunger and thirst for righteousness is to hunger and thirst, to long desperately for, the Covenant Maker, the Covenant Keeper.  My mind raced back to Genesis 15. The Lord made a covenant with Abram. It was not because of Abram's ability to keep his end of the covenant nor was it because of anything else Abram did or did not do, but solely on his faith that the Lord counted Abram righteous.

Hunger and Thirst for the One who is Righteous, not just what He can do. Satisfaction comes when we long for Him. Because when we long for Him, He will meet us and we can trust Him.

Who or what are you longing for?  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Embattled Church

I can’t help but hurt today as I look around social media, my local news and our world in general. So many threads hanging bare.  Stories of war, murder, personal vices.  Stories of poverty, injustice, slavery. And there in the midst of it all, there is a warped view of Christ and His church. 

This idea that God is a demeaning, justice only deity who looks for the opportunity to oppress and enslave. It sickens me. I recently had the opportunity to hear Jo Saxton speak. She said,

“Free people free people.”  

I stood in my living room today wondering, 

“Do people really see the life of a Christ follower as bondage?”  

If any, this is the kind of bondage I am willing to be in - that of following Christ through the leading of the Holy Spirit into the very kingdom of Almighty God. 

 Free (adjective) people free (verb) people.  

One not under the control of the sin nature has the power and opportunity to release another from the captivity that is sin and sinful living.  It is for being out from under the demands and consequences of sin that Christ removed my shackles to sin.


When we take our freedoms and we remove our convictions, we put back on the shackles of sin. Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church was very plain, “You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT)  People aren’t truly free unless they are living in Christ.  That means taking Him at His Word, not placing our thoughts, ideas or convictions into Scripture to make it our own.  It means leaving behind our preconceived notions, our holier than thou attitudes, our refusal to see past our present circumstances and looking toward The Holy Spirit to move in us, through us and among us. 

As Christ-followers we need accountability, community and mission.  We need to battle back to back not face to face. We are slaying the very Bride of Christ when we do battle with one another and who are we to think He will allow that?!  We need to remain vulnerable to one another for the sake of the Gospel. When we argue and bicker over convictions or gifts or freedom in Christ, we turn with open backs to the world and allow repeated influence and attack from the enemy.  When we battle back to back, we can encourage, draw strength from and be reconciled to one another.

Church, let’s be clear, The Bible is God’s Word.  It is living and active. It contains what we need to be reconciled to Christ and one another.  Its demands are freeing.  Its commands are clear.  

Our God is Love.

Grace flows freely.  That doesn’t mean be passive in dealing with sin.  It means deal with sin in such a way the person(s) seeing God as He truly is - compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. (Psalm 103:8 NLT)  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gathered at the Table

There is an old table in my dining area that is in desperate need of some TLC. The top is wearing evidence of meals and memories from years gone by. Each morning, noon and evening my little family gathers there, bowing our heads and hearts to give thanks and enjoy yet another meal.  Gathering at the table, this table, is something for years I have enjoyed with my parents, sister and brother. Dad sitting at the head of the table and my sister and I trying to figure out how to get out of eating lima beans yet again.

So many memories I have around the table.  Just the other night I had the opportunity to gather around a table with a few beautiful sisters in Christ whose hearts are more radiant than even their smiles.  We shared a nice meal on beautiful china, laughing and sharing together in sweet fellowship. It is a picture I will not soon forget.  I'm not one to easily open up and share my struggles, frustrations or fears.  But there was just something about this table, these women.

As we read Scripture and shared gifts of Thanks to our great God, we began to see how the world had crept in, ever so craftily, and robbed some of their offerings to our King.  My mind and heart raced to the twenty-third Psalm, words from the shepherd king.
You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings. ~ Psalm 23:5

This feast, it's for me - prepared in hard places.  It is offered in the place where the world, The Enemy, and my flesh are present - in the daily, small things and in the extraordinary, grand things.


It is the body and blood of Christ broken and poured out for me.  This feast, where I come to give thanks, and live thanks, for that which was broken and poured out for me, is the extravagant grace of Christ. An invitation to invite others to come. Opportunity to hold the gates of praise open that others may be drawn into His presence.

Many times lately, I have seen the evidence of stolen praise. Honestly, I have lived a robbed life. Robbed of seeing the gifts of thanks that surround me - because of my own evil desires. Robbed of others with whom to offer these gifts - because of my own fears, frustrations and struggles. As James wrote to the persecuted church he clearly lays out what true religion, religion in the eyes of God, looks like.
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. ~ James 1:27

Oh that you and I would refuse to let the world corrupt us! That we would not be drawn back from His table.  That our living would be a thanks offering to Christ for Him - His life, His love, His offering, His grace, His friendship, His mercy and the list goes on and on.

Sitting around that table with those women, there was just something indescribable. There was a moment, an offering, a steadfastness that I cannot explain.  As Christ took upon Himself the role of the servant, stooping to wash the feet of His closest friends and one who would betray Him, then serving the meal of the portrait that was truly yet to come, I see community in a whole new light. It is an opportunity to offer to Christ, with others, praise and thanksgiving, inviting those who have not yet refused the world to see glimpses of Christ, tasting His goodness. And sometimes it is inviting back those who have felt the corruption of the world even after experiencing Christ's goodness, reminding them where they belong, at His table.

Whether you gather around a dining table with friends or in the comfort of your living room, driving down the road, or wherever you may be, my prayer for you today is that you would do as the Psalmist says:
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
    for those who fear him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
    but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

~ Psalm 34:8-10

Taste His goodness, take refuge in him, trusting that in Him you will lack no good thing.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

People Matter

The words slipped out of my mouth before I even had time to think through what I was saying.
If we sponsored through them, we'd be pulling our sponsorship.

Just like that, my careless words hung in the air. And my head hit the pillow and fast asleep I fell. Never in a million years could I have foreseen what would happen next.

The next morning it felt like a tremendous elephant was in the room as I saw blogs and articles reporting the actions of this organization. My toes felt danced all over. And my words began to bubble in my soul. I began to boil furiously as I considered what I had said. Were the actions of this "Christian humanitarian" organization heinous enough for me to consider my donation before the life of a child, family and community in need? Sure I didn't agree with their decision.  However, there is a commitment to see the sponsorship the end.

I have boiled over this for days. My thoughts feverishly trying to make sense of what I continue to hear over and over. As for me, I must hold to Biblical truth and stand for what has been ordained since the beginning. I am not condemning an organization, though I do not agree with their initial actions.

Here is where I take issue.

Evangelical church...what are we doing? We fuss over policy changes in an organization that helps lift people, image bearers of our God, out of poverty, yet do we consider how we spend our money? As I pictured our sponsored child's face in my head over and over, staring at his framed picture on my bookshelves, I had to ask myself,
Does my sponsorship matter if the things I'm spending my money on are going toward items made my children in forced labor?

For the one child my family sponsors - prays for, writes to, sends gifts on his behalf - am I the cause of multiple (hundreds of) children being forced to labor for wages that are not even life sustaining?  Or better yet, are they so young that they cannot even make the choice to work themselves?  These items, my shoes, my kids toys, the packaged food I I throwing money at items for my convenience and never considering that the smallest image bearers are being trafficked in order to supply my demand?

I am furious! Church what have we become?  We fuss over policies and procedures of organizations yet our own lifestyles do not reflect Christ. From the message the Lord spoke through Jeremiah, his prophet:
This is what the Lord says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors. Quit your evil deeds! Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent! ~ Jeremiah 22:3

For the one child our family is able to sponsor, we are grateful.  But now it's time to turn our attention to the ones we are oppressing. It's time to END IT! We need to educate ourselves, families, friends, communities and put an end to this.  We need to live our lives by the two greatest commands given.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  ~ Matthew 22:37-29

Join me in educating ourselves on child labor and which companies go against the cause of Christ.  You can find more information here and here.

How are you in it to end it?  What resources have you utilized to make a difference for others?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I've never been a numbers person. Ever. Like my whole life. They frustrate me. And that's exactly why I took a job at a bank shortly after receiving my bachelor of arts in communications. Though the job was better than I expected, the interaction with customers was definitely the highlight.

These hands have counted millions of dollars over a period of years. And these hands have also been through countless bottles of hand sanitizer. One thing I learned through my years in banking is that one truly is the loneliest number. (Thank you Three Dog Night for the use of your lyrics!)  To have one bill or coin left in a drawer is frustrating. Especially at the moment when you realize that you need multiple of that one item.  Though counting one is easier and less time consuming than counting multiples, it was never meant to be just one. Over the last few years, I've learned just how lonely it is to be one.


I am one woman. Some days I wonder if having multiple of me wouldn't be for the greater good of my family.  There is expectations and obligations that are solely on me. I am wife to Anthony and mom to our three boys.  That is four people who daily depend on me to provide for their needs.  Clean clothes, warm meals, sweet snuggles, homework helper, tidy house, spiritual role model. And that's just to name a few. My day is packed from sun up to sun down...and beyond, honestly. Since my obligations reach beyond my home, others depend on me as friend, teacher, leader, helper.

Sometimes I get so caught up in the roles that being just one is lonely and isolating. And I know I'm not the only one who has felt or will feel that way. There is an account of a man in the first book of Kings that has been a reminder to me of what my one feels like and the truth of God regarding it. Elijah, a prophet of Almighty God, zealously served the Lord, speaking truth and putting his life on the line to prove the Lord is the God of Israel. After the Lord showed Himself at Mount Carmel and the 450 prophets of Baal were slain, Elijah feared for his life and ran to Mount Sinai. It was there that Almighty God revealed to Elijah that he was, in fact, not alone. God had reserved from Himself 7,000 in Israel that had never served or worshipped Baal.

Over the last few days, weeks and months even, God has been faithful to show me that I, too, am not alone. Community is vital. He continues to amaze me with beautiful connections via social media and surprise me with new friends who live just a few miles down the road.  And while our journeys look different, we are all running the same race. Seeking the face of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  And in my Elijah moments, when I look at little ole lonely me, I can praise my Jesus for these women who are walking  running along side me.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Friday, March 7, 2014


God is wrecking me. Wrecking. Me. The last six weeks have been one difficult conversation with The Almighty after another.  Some are continual...most are continual. And today is no different.  In His grace, God has allowed me to participate in the season of Lent leading up to Easter for the past few years. This year my wonderful husband and I are going through a YouVersion reading plan.  (I highly encourage a devotional reading plan as part of your Lenten experience.)

Over the past few weeks, I have begun to hear God gently whisper that the gifts and dreams He has given me are not for myself.  They are my position on the field of play. And today, in N.T. Wright's devotional, he says,
It's very easy for people to imagine that they can be 'religious' — they can say their prayers, they can go to church, they can read the Bible — but basically they are looking on, spectating, while God does what- ever God is going to do.

And I cringe.  My soul just wants to curl up in this ball and cry.  I've been called out of the more spectating.

I should be in the game. Focusing my attention - head and heart - on Christ, alone
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. ~Matthew 4:19-20

He's called me, as prepared or unprepared as I feel at times, to follow Him.  His call isn't to be religious. But to allow Him to make something of me that I cannot make of my own accord.

Are you a spectator or on the field of play? What's keeping you from being fully in the game?


Thursday, January 23, 2014


Blue carpet lined the halls of Stringers. A stark contrast to the white washed walls. We walked past the parlors and up the steps, into a small kitchen area.  There he sat. His feet spread apart, elbows on his knees.  I didn't see my dad in a suit very often and saw tears in  his eyes even less.  But that day was unlike any before and any after.

She was gone. His mom, my Mamaw. And as a child, I didn't understand the depth of the pain he felt, still feels even now. My mom's dad carried me back out those big, glass doors. But in my mind and heart, I can replay that scene over and over, even though I was just a child.

Many years later, as I prepared for my wedding day, my mother offered a piece of advice that I wouldn't fully understand the impact of until years later.

wedding 2 (5)

Love his mother just like you love me.  It will mean more to him one day than you will ever know.

This woman loved her son, her family. Her brown eyes danced when she laughed.  And she hid years of hurt behind a silent smile. Her life held more than I could have even imagined. And as I came to know and love this woman over the years, my mother's words echoed in my heart.
Love her.

And I tried to love her, and I did love her. There is so much I see of her daily with us, like the looks I get from anyone of my three boys that have her facial expressions engraved in them.  Or the compassion she had for others.  I see it in the way my husband loves his family and thinks of others before himself.  It is manifest in our oldest son and in the way he longs to comfort and care for others.


Her love for Alabama football that was passed from mother to son.  And now has been passed from father to son. Oh the smile I can just see on her face if she could hear that little voice saying, "Roll Tide!"

She was driven.  Driven by the things and people she loved. Driven to love and give beyond herself. As I watch and converse with my sister-in-law, I see that determination as she strives to love her family and family of friends.  She's driven to succeed in school and make something of her life.


And this time three years ago, I saw a familiar scene in a whole new way. As that man in a suit, sitting in that kitchen grieving for his mother was my husband.  And I watched the way our boy loved his daddy so tenderly.  In my heart, I understand the words my mother spoke so many years before.

I love you, Glenda Stephens...and miss you more with each passing day.  Though you didn't give birth to me, you were my mom in so many ways. Thank you for loving me and for raising the wonderful man that is my husband.

Your grandsons are growing up so fast. We are doing our best to raise them to be godly young men. My hope is they turn out to be even half the man their dad is.  Til I see you again...Love you, Mom!