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the light house

I like to name things. My first car, a 1996 Chevy Monte Carlo, was appropriately named Bernice by my high school friends and every car since has been blessed by a name that most certainly fits her personality. Yes, they’re all ladies. ‘Cause who run the world? Girls. Duh.

And I like to name the places I’ve lived that have not been owned by my parents or universities.

We’ve had 67 David, the Thrifty Apartment, and the House on Winona.

I’ve been in my current living space for over 3 years and have never been able to land on a name that felt right, until recently.

I give you, The Light House.

I took this picture one morning while sipping on my coffee. I’ve sat in this exact spot many times over the last 38 months, but it wasn’t until month 37 when someone else called out the light pouring in that I began to realize just how much light truly pours in.

If there’s one thing that’s not a secret about me, it’s that I deeply value my friendships. I don’t know how to live life alone. Which is a good thing, because I can often slip into the lie that I am, indeed, living life alone. It’s easy for the enemy to gently remind me that at the end of the day I fall asleep by myself. I make meals for myself. There isn’t a spouse/roommate/sibling/etc around to casually have eyes on me in the mundane space of life to make sure I’m okay. Taken at face value, it makes sense that I would feel alone. That things would feel dark, bleak, and well, sad.

But that’s where the Light shows up.

I got this image tattooed on my body – where one gets tattoos – at the end of a really weird and hard season:

It’s a form of prayer called visio divina – divine seeing. The artist, Scott Erickson, has this caption on his Instagram: “May I be gifted with loved ones who remember who I am when I forget; because I will forget.”

And that’s what the enemy forgets about. The father of lies forgets about the Father of Truth. He forgets about the people of God that come in with the Light of Christ to reignite my truer identity.

The identity of friend.
Of sister.
Of Beloved.


Month 37 in the previously unnamed Light House, my friend sat on my couch as I unleashed scenarios that were ripping at my core, trying their best to dim the Light. As she prayed, she said, “God, I’m just now noticing the light that is pouring into this place…”

And that’s when I began to realize that all these months, all these years, all these days spent confused and muddling around have actually been time spent of Light just pouring into this place.

God has been in the business of exposing darkness.
Of literally and figuratively pouring out His Light into the space that I inhabit.

It really hit me the next morning when I woke up and noticed His actual sunlight pouring over the list of prayers I had written out for 2022, hanging in my bedroom:

It’s not lost on me that a tattoo I got a year and a half ago is literally a bunch of candles re-lighting the center candle.
It’s not lost on me that no matter what time of day, rays of sunshine can be seen illuminating my home.
It’s not lost on me that the ones who remind me who I am when I forget are anchored into the true source of Light – Jesus – and are unwilling to let me forget that my anchor holds strong in Him as well.


John 8:12 says, “Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.'”

This is all I have.

Light.

Darkness has done it’s finest work to try to snuff it out, but no matter what, the sun rises and light pours in.

And also Light pours in.

So, this is The Light House.

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bear the burden

I’ve been thinking a lot about burdens this year. 2020 itself has been one of the biggest burdens most of us have faced in our lifetimes. I’ve been thinking about how we are so quick to do everything we can to alleviate all burdens, to throw off everything that is hard and painful and takes some work to deal with.

The word “burden” as defined by the internet mean: “a load, typically a heavy one.”

So, by using context clues, we can arrive at the conclusion that burdens are not fun.

Everyone has burdens. Sickness, loneliness, financial stress, a job they don’t like, a bad piece of meat that gave them stomach cramps…you get it. Anything that we can say is hard or heavy is a burden.

Burden is also, apparently, a movie released in 2018 starring Usher. You’re welcome, I think?

And typically, we work really hard at skirting the burden. At the first sign of something heavy, we run in the opposite direction, often (for me) using coping mechanisms that I think will take the burden away.

We accumulate wealth to ease the burden of financial want.
We drink to ease the pain of another night alone.
We numb out on any form of entertainment to disengage from the world around us.

And the funny thing is, those things just become another burden.
We cannot live a life burden-free.


I’ve been reading through the Gospels this summer on a loop and I can’t help but notice that as Jesus is introducing the Kingdom of God, He isn’t introducing a Kingdom of absence. He is introducing a Kingdom of abundance, yet that requires some work.

He says in Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT), “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Did you catch that? Jesus isn’t removing every burden. He is giving me His burden.

A light one.
A burden that – rather than being heavy – actually gives me deep, soul rest.


Too often when things get heavy I keep the yoke of my own burden on my shoulders. And, even though I’ve got those solid outfielders shoulder-arms, the weight becomes too much. My soul gives out, falls over, and can’t go on.

But when I intentionally take upon my shoulders the burden of Jesus – the burden that declares the work is done, the penalty of sin is taken care of, and the grace for each moment of my life is freely given with no strings attached – when I put that burden on my shoulders, it is light.

It is easy.
It is good.
Because it’s from Jesus.

Don’t eliminate the burden.
Bear the burden of Jesus.

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Palm Sunday

Today is, as the title suggests, Palm Sunday. One of the holiest days on the Christian calendar, marking the beginning of Holy Week. In other news, Easter is next week you guys.

This day marks Jesus’ entry into the city of Jerusalem, sitting on a donkey’s colt as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9. This was also how King Solomon entered the city when he was declared king. Jesus’ entry told a story to those that witnessed it. It was not random that those gathered kept shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

They were ready for their King to come, overturn the Roman authority, and finally rule and reign in power forever.

But the week that started with a lost of promise for the Jewish people quickly went sideways, and in 5 short days, their King was dead.

We’ll get to that part of the story later this week.

The thing that really struck me today as I read through the Gospel accounts of the Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19) is that in each of them Jesus said, “Go and you will find a donkey and her colt. Bring them to me. And if anyone says anything, respond by saying, ‘The Lord needs them.'” (Kayla International Paraphrase)

Jesus gave instruction and gave an answer for potential roadblocks to the disciples’ assignment. He knew that someone would say something about some random travelers coming into town and taking a donkey that didn’t belong to them. He provided them with an answer, with a way out. They went, people asked what the heck they were doing, they responded exactly how Jesus told them to, and they got what they came for.

I kinda love that we don’t have their reaction to Jesus’ request in Scripture. I, for one, would’ve had a lot of questions for the Messiah.

I, for one, do currently have a lot of questions for the Messiah.

What struck me today is that sometimes, Jesus gives an answer. He gives His disciples the exact thing to say/do to get to the other side of their problem.
And other times, He doesn’t.
But what He always gives His people is Himself.

As Holy Week begins, I have a lot of questions and currently zero answers. But I have Jesus.
May He be enough.

here’s to hoping.

Hoping, like expectation.
Not hopping, like a bunny.

Just want to make sure we’re clear on that.

As shocking as it may seem, 2020 has begun. I don’t know about you, but I definitely didn’t see it coming. This sucker snuck up on me.

And like I’ve done for the past few years, I thought I’d write a recap of my 2019 word of the year. I know you all have been waiting for the last 24 hours for this one.

A year ago, I declared 2019 the year of hope. Romans 5:5 says, “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

A year ago, I already held a lot of hope for what was to come. I was expecting great things in and around me. I could feel deep in my bones that it was going to be a turning point kind of year, and that I would fully experience the first part of that verse: that my hope would not put me to shame.

In a lot of ways, it didn’t. Babies were born, I went to NYC (by myself, might I brag…), turned 30 and was surprised by the bestest humans on the planet, relationships grew deeper than I could have imagined, and a lot of darkness was brought to light. The love of God was truly poured into my heart, through Holy Spirit and His people.

But in a lot of other ways, 2019 can kick rocks. Brokenness never seemed to take a break, for myself and those I hold dear. In ways that feel both trivial and gigantic at the same time. It was just…well…not hopeful. The tunnel got darker and the light at the end grew dim.

It was the opposite kind of turning point than I had originally thought.

The thing I know to be true in my head: God is kind. God is faithful. God is for His people.
The thing my heart still loses its grip on: hope.

Hope that God is those things.
Hope that I will see His goodness on display in me and for me.
Hope that all that is sad is coming untrue.

And yet…
He is.
I will.
They are.

And that’s exactly why 2020 will, again, be the year of hope. The year that I ask the Lord for restored and renewed hope. The kind of hope I didn’t know I needed a year ago.

At the end of it all, my hope will not put me to shame because it is in the One who defeated shame. The One who chased after the naked man and woman after rebellion and covered them – covered their shame – so that they would feel some sort of safety with themselves and one another. The One who ultimately brought hope to those of us that feel lost and hopeless through Jesus.

See ya never, 2019. But 2020, I’m expecting more from you.

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proudly humble

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is figuring out what to title the blog post. Is this one click-bait worthy? Or just a horrible attempt at wordplay?

Either way, here we are.

I’ve been slowly making my way through the Gospel of John over the last couple of months. A couple weeks ago, I re-read John’s account of Jesus washing the disciples feet in chapter 13.

If you grew up in the church, or have been around for a hot minute, then you have undoubtedly heard this story. Jesus shows us what true humility looks like by washing the feet of his disciples.

Yadayadayada. Heard it a thousand times. Cool, thanks John. Moving on.

Except this time **cue the Word of God being living and active…** I didn’t read the same story I have read/heard hundreds of times. This time, I saw Peter.

Peter asks, in what I assume is a confused and rhetorical tone, “Lord, do you wash my feet?!” Then I continue his sentence in my mind, “Ah, heck no!” And after Jesus gives an answer that I can only imagine Peter doesn’t hear/listen to, he replies, “You shall never…

When I read that, it hit me – this seems to be Peter’s attempt at humility. He cannot imagine the man he has been living with and watching work miracles for so long bending down to wash his feet. How could this man – the man that Peter declared as Messiah, the One that had the words of eternal life (John 6:68) – how could he ever wash Peter’s feet?

It’s as if Peter, in the most backwards way possible, was trying to protect Jesus from the humiliation of wiping the bottom of his gross feet. Again – Peter’s false humility.

Peter had no idea what he was denying himself by not wanting Jesus to wash his feet. Peter was fighting against the opportunity to allow the Savior of the entire world – past, present, and future – to literally wash over him with water AND the Word. Because, honestly, he was probably too proud.

Sometimes the stance of humility is not not receiving something, or putting yourself down, but rather allowing others to serve you and lift you up because you are incapable of knowing/doing/being everything.

We try to put off this air that we are here to help everyone but that we never need help. We’re the servants, never to be served. But the truth is, we do need to be served.

We need people to tell us the truth.
We need people to remind us of who we are.
We need people to pick us up when we are down.
We need people to wash our feet.

May we never be too proud to say, “You will never wash my feet.”
May we, instead, be people that say, “Thank you for seeing that my feet are dirty and for offering to help.”

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