He put the solitary in a home

I’ve been content to keep things somewhat vague on here. In the .0001% chance that someone I know happened across this little blog, I wanted them to not have a real idea of who I was. But life’s been a little different recently, and I think this is a good story to tell at this point. For anyone who may be struggling to find hope, and wonder if God even cares, or if he sees your life: this is for you.

I grew up playing hide-and-seek in the church sanctuary on Wednesdays and singing in the children’s choir on Sundays. Our church was my second home, and the people in it my second family. When I was still in elementary school, my dad candidated there and began working as a pastor. In short order, it became our family’s world. I thrived.

That world shattered one day in late March 2011. Though my parents had had no way of knowing it, the church had been rotting from the inside for decades by the time my dad was on staff. In short, we got burned just like many, many families in that church had before us. We walked out of those doors and have never gone back.

I watched as my parents bore the brunt of slander from people who once claimed their friendship. I watched betrayal after betrayal from people who claimed the name of Christ. There is a filthy, disgusting underside to ministry and to the church, and I saw it under a magnifying glass.

I know now that the loss of relationships is a small price to pay for the sake of the gospel. People have given much more. Hebrews 11 records that “some were tortured, refusing to accept release… others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated– of whom the world was not worthy– wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11:35-38)

Who am I to think that my price was too great? How arrogant.

But I did. I have. For many years, I have resented that cross with every fiber of my being. I was a freshman in high school when everything happened and I felt as though everything that made my life meaningful had been snatched away. Years went by, and I watched from afar as my former friends had fun and lived their high school, and then college, years. Mine felt empty by comparison. As years of loneliness marched by, I questioned everything I’d ever believed about God. I begged him for help and hope and mercy.

It’s been about six and a half years since we walked out of that church. In that time, I’ve wrestled with and been defeated by what C.S. Lewis termed “the problem of pain”. How could a good God allow something like that to happen to me… and still call it good? Why? And how could he possibly expect me to trust Him when this is how he treats his servants?

I say all of that not to get a pat on the back, because if you knew me at all you’d know I don’t deserve it. A slap in the face would be too good for me. I was angry at the God of the universe, who hangs the earth on nothing, for keeping silent in the face of my misery. I shook my fist at heaven and said, “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence” (Psalm 73:13). If it were entirely up to me, I would have apostatized. But God…

He kept me. In his steadfast love, he kept me when I was the last thing that deserved keeping.

I did not persevere like I should have, and own this with regret. I wish I had been faithful like Joseph, or like any of the others mentioned in Hebrews 11.

As much as I’d like to, I cannot erase the past. I can only cling to the truth of Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Christ died for my faithlessness and rebellion and pride.

Anyway. I’m getting to the point, I promise.

Years ago, our family took a trip out to Colorado to visit a some friends of my dad’s. While there, he preached at their church on the story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10. The young man asks Jesus what he must do to be saved, and Jesus tells him to obey the commandments. “All these I have kept from my youth”, the young man responds, and Jesus tells him to go sell everything he has, to have treasure in heaven, and to follow him. The young man goes away sorrowful, not wanting to give away his possessions. What follows is a discussion between Jesus and his disciples about how hard it is to enter the kingdom for anyone to enter God’s kingdom. Having seen the rich young man walk away, Peter speaks up:

“See, we have left everything and followed you.”

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:28-30)

There aren’t a lot of promises in the Bible whose certain fulfillment is in this life, but this is one. I prayed for it for five years and wondered if it would ever come to fruition.

But God heard. He knew. And he kept me.

So today, I’m sitting on my bed in Denver, Colorado, in the home of those same friends we visited all those years ago. The girl who prayed for the restoration of houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands now has all of those things in the form of belonging to a church that exalts Christ.

Elated doesn’t cover it. Grateful can’t contain it. I’m overwhelmed by my unworthiness and God’s mercy. He has provided everything and more than I even thought to ask or think. I don’t deserve any of it- not the kindness the people of this church have shown me, not the mountains I get to see on my drive to work every morning, and not even the crazy traffic that reminds me that I’m really alive and I’m really here.

All glory be to Christ.


Processed with VSCO with m3 preset
I was re-introduced to this view three weeks ago today.

amidst tossing waves

Self- forget your so-called importance.

Forget the empty things you placed

the burden of your happiness on.

Forget the weak clinging to health today

and security tomorrow.

Forget the lonely, godless worries

after beauty and affection.

Forget the heavy-hearted mirror glances

and the anvil of others’ opinion.

No, Self- remember instead

the eyes of the Father who,

seeing every thought and deed, saw you

when you were dead in sin.

Remember the hands you’ve rejected

that still hold you

in your almost-not-quite-still-messy sanctified state.

Remember the arms you have forsaken:

arms raised for you at Calvary.

Self- remember the final Lamb,





and weep at the foot of the cross

for the sin that required it

and the Savior whose love is your life.

Lose your nothing, and gain

Christ crucified:

the anchor of your soul.



the scales are still in God’s hand

These words have been a comfort to my soul, so I decided that they deserved their own post. They were penned by the inimitable John Bunyan, in his book Seasonable Counsel, or Advice to Sufferers. If you’d like to read them in context (and get lost in a bunch of other great quotes), you can also find them over at Tolle Lege.

Might my hope continually rest in the knowledge that “the scales are still in God’s hand.”

“If, therefore, when thou hast fled, thou art taken, be not offended at God or man: not at God, for thou art his servant, thy life and thy all are his; not at man, for he is but God’s rod, and is ordained, in this, to do thee good.

Hast thou escaped? Laugh. Art thou taken? Laugh. I mean, be pleased which way soever things shall go, for that the scales are still in God’s hand.”

John Bunyan, Seasonable Counsel, or Advice to Sufferers

wisdom is not mine

I’ve spent a couple of years tossing around the idea of blogging. I already journal on a regular basis, so blogging seemed a natural outflow of that.

My great fear is writing what I don’t live. Writing is hard, but it’s much easier than living. Having had the privilege of growing up in the church, I know a lot of theology. I can spout off pretty words, true words, without much thought and even less action.

In other words, I make a great Pharisee.

So I’ve held off. Even now, I feel unworthy to attempt to write anything of value. Go read Piper or MacArthur or Challies or the Puritans or the hundreds of other Christian writers who’ve faithfully walked the narrow road.

Talking about theology is intimidating, isn’t it? But it’s the stuff of the Christian life. It’s the stuff of life no matter what you believe, actually. We live in God’s world, so theology matters. Political hot-button issues (yeah, I heard that shudder) boil down to who the ultimate authority is. The cosmos shows us our finiteness, pointing to the infinite Creator. History teaches us of man’s corruption and the brevity of life and makes us ask “Why did that have to happen?”– the question that forces us all to look up from our mundane lives to the heavens. We can’t avoid it.

I can’t talk about life without talking about the God who caused it. So I may fail along the way. I will definitely be a hypocrite (although I’ll try hard not to) because that’s what it means to be a sinful human being.

In the sea of voices crying out different worldviews, I want mine to be a voice for truth: no matter how faint, no matter how fallen, I want to faithfully proclaim the gospel in my living and my writing.


on the road

Waiting has been a theme in my life to this point. A year ago today I was waiting to see where my family would move. The years before that were spent wanting to grow up, go to college, be part of a stable church, have friends, and be in a relationship.

The only one of those that have come to fruition so far is the growing up. College was an unsuccessful flop and the other three are still in God’s hand.

So today I continue to wait, only this time I’m no longer in my home town and the future seems even more uncertain than it did then.

Between leaving college and leaving there, I’ve felt homeless the last several months. Even though being here is better, I still feel like I’ve been displaced. Thanks to social media, I can watch from a distance as people who were once my peers and friends finish their degrees, travel to exotic places, start relationships and get engaged. Their lives have moved on, and I’m just… here. Definitely off whatever track everyone else is on.

And because my idea of God’s goodness is small, I find myself wishing that his plans overlapped with mine.

I have to keep reminding myself that my being where I am is not an accident. This is not God’s second-best for me. For whatever reason, today is what he is using to make me more like his Son and to bring glory to himself. I need to trust in his wisdom and not my own (Proverbs 3:5).

So be glorified in this wait, Lord. Help me to seek your face.


“Believer, if your inheritance be a lowly one you should be satisfied with your earthly portion; for you may rest assured that it is the fittest for you. Unerring wisdom ordained your lot, and selected for you the safest and best condition. A ship of large tonnage is to be brought up the river; now, in one part of the stream there is a sandbank; should some one ask, “Why does the captain steer through the deep part of the channel and deviate so much from a straight line?” His answer would be, “Because I should not get my vessel into harbour at all if I did not keep to the deep channel.” So, it may be, you would run aground and suffer shipwreck, if your divine Captain did not steer you into the depths of affliction where waves of trouble follow each other in quick succession. Some plants die if they have too much sunshine. It may be that you are planted where you get but little, you are put there by the loving Husbandman, because only in that situation will you bring forth fruit unto perfection. Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances, and if you had the choosing of your lot, you would soon cry, “Lord, choose my inheritance for me, for by my self-will I am pierced through with many sorrows.” Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good. Take up your own daily cross; it is the burden best suited for your shoulder, and will prove most effective to make you perfect in every good word and work to the glory of God. Down busy self, and proud impatience, it is not for you to choose, but for the Lord of Love!

“Trials must and will befall–

But with humble faith to see

Love inscribed upon them all;

This is happiness to me.”

Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, November 11 (emphasis mine)


crank the volume

Work was a long slog. I trudged out to my car in grimy scrubs, thankful the day was over. Fished my keys out of my fanny pack, clicked the button, slid into the tiny black oven on wheels (welcome to summer). Started the ignition, reversed, then drove until city turns to country turns to driveway.

I’d spent the night before crying and pounding on the door of heaven. I feel like I’ve spent a lifetime crying, even though I really haven’t. It hasn’t been that bad. I have my health, my family, a roof over my head. Lots of material for thanksgiving, yet somehow I usually find myself head down in sorrow when no one is looking.

After over two decades of being inundated with good theology, I find myself at a loss for how to suffer and still believe. I’ve asked myself many times, “Why is believing so hard? Why must trusting God be such a battle for me while so many other Christians walk around chirping sermon quotes and Bible verses?”

As a Christian, I have one primary job in life: Trust God. Do what’s next.

I’m tremendously bad at it.


What I do know and am thankful for:

  • These trials have exposed just how sinful I really am. I’ve realized in the last seven years how quick I am to turn to idols and not the living and true God. I’ve heard it said that the sinfulness of sin is that it’s believing that it will satisfy you more than God, and that is exactly what I’ve found. Running after broken cisterns (Jeremiah 2:13) brings only more emptiness.
  • It has shown me how desperately I need God to take the first step toward me, both in regards to my initial salvation and every day, every hour after that. Heck, I need him to carry me because in my own strength I’ve got nothing.
  • It has made the gospel even more precious to me. Without it, there is no hope or purpose to living.
  • The only love I can or should stake my hope on is God’s. At the cross I can lay down my foolishly high opinion of myself, exchange it for the truth that I’m a sinful wretch undeserving of affection of any kind… and then find a heavenly Father’s incomprehensible love, which sees me exactly as I am yet still chose to save me, at great cost to himself, when I was dead in sin so that I could be his child. When I fully embrace that, the losses become small details on the horizon. I can lose my friends, my family, my health,  even my life, but there is absolutely nothing that can separate me the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:38-39).


I rolled the windows down that day, driving home. I watched the green rolling hills, felt the breeze possess my hair and the sunshine warm my arm.

No, this isn’t Home. If the purpose in all this was to get my eyes off this world and its empty promises, it’s slowly working. Maybe the hard things were to make me mean the words, “thy kingdom come”. Maybe they happened to make me long for eternity in heaven, where everything sad will come untrue and I’ll fall at my Father’s feet in worship.

Today isn’t what I would have chosen. Yet it was given to me by the Giver of good and perfect gifts (James 1:17). I don’t understand the gifts, but I know their Giver. He’s good. It would stand to reason that there is a goodness in the gift too.

Might as well crank the music and enjoy the scenery.




My mom and Elisabeth Elliot have each been instrumental in engraining the “trust God and do the next thing” mentality into my brain. They’ve each served me well by living this out, whether that’s via books or in real time. I hope and pray that I’ll grow to be as faithful and fearless as they have been.

N.D. Wilson’s nonfiction books, Death by Living and Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl, both somewhat revolve around this topic. They’re stellar– Death by Living is quite possibly my favorite book of all time, and I can only aspire to write as well as its author. Those books have made me think, laugh, and fall in love with the world and the God who made it. Worth every penny.

welcome, ye drenched and dry

The first thing you should know, reader, is that this blog was created with a selfish purpose in mind. Its title is in reference to a verse of the hymn, “Abide with Me”, which goes, “I need thy presence every passing hour/what but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?/who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?/through cloud and sunshine: abide with me”

To be perfectly upfront, I’m standing, drenched, under a lingering cloud from a passing storm. God wrote it there, so someday I’ll grin and tell you it was good, but today I still feel the dampness of my skin and the ache from the cold in my chest. These days under the clouds are ones in which I’m reminded of how true those words are: I truly need Him every hour. This blog will serve as a record of both my need and his incomprehensible grace. I hope you find some encouragement from wherever you stand, whether you’re under the clouds or enjoying the sunshine.

The second thing you should know is that I have a thing for water. I’m no photographer, so if any pictures I upload aren’t great, I can promise that the originals far surpassed them because the Maker spoke it so.

The third and final thing: I’m twenty-something years old and know absolutely nothing. The little I do know is in some way, shape, or form borrowed from people much wiser than me. I owe each of these people a debt of gratitude and will mention them accordingly.