Rain and Growth- Growing Faith in the Storm

This has been a crazy few weeks. Work, ball games, painting, life in general just sometimes takes you by the hand and pulls one of those ninja moves in the movies and before you know it, you’re flat on your back. 

The recent weeks, have been a struggle.  Things come along in life that sweep me off my feet, and I grieve all over again. The tiresome emotions try to creep their way back into my heart, casting shadows over my blessings. It tries to take up residence once more, slowly moving back in it’s belongings. I can just hear it now, “I’ll put bitterness here. Questioning? You can go in the corner directly across. Anxiety, I want you up front and center! And doubt? You’ll be the shackles of this four- chamber heart. I’ll reserve you for special occasions. I’ll reserve you for God.” 

But do you know what’s so great? Even when we doubt His love, even when our hearts are so full of bitterness or anger, or towards His plan for us, He chooses love.  He chooses to comfort us through his word, through people, through songs of praise. I began to think about His love, and His perfect plan formed with that love. Why does His plans include heart ache? Why does mine include making the most impatient person on the planet wait? Then something dawned on me. God knows me. He knows my name, He knows how many hairs I have on my head. My deepest secrets and weaknesses are nothing but transparent to Him. God knows what’s good for us, when it’s good for us, and how he wants us to receive it. And sometimes, trials are not trials by fire, but lessons through fire.  


I can’t remember when I started losing faith in this journey, but since beginning this blog, I began to find it once more. I slowly, even reluctantly, began to understand that He sees beyond my wants. He protects me from situations that wouldn’t have been good for me, all because He loves me. My dry bones suddenly feel His breath, and little by little begin to come alive.

 These last three years, I’ve learned a lot about faith. I’ve learned that you have to work at it. When you brought Him into your heart, there’s supposed to be this immediate change. And maybe for many, there is. But for me? Of course, I had a desire to serve and I left my old selfish desires behind. But my faith? How can that faith truly change over night, better yet, in an instant? 

Perhaps, the biggest test of faith is trusting Him into your heart, but maybe the second biggest test is trusting Him despite the utter darkness, the loneliness, the doubt, the storms that rage and threaten to capsize your perfect life into a mess of splintered wood? 

Yes, that’s the test of faith. You’re faith started as a tiny seed when He entered your hearts, and it’s growing and being nurtured. Think about a flower seed. That seed can’t grow without sunshine. But, it also can’t grow without rain. My friends, if you’re struggling through the rain, don’t water your bitter roots. Water your faith. Choose love. Choose trusting in His plan, not because I tell you to, or because you see nice encouraging pins on Pinterest that evoke emotion. Believe it, because He said so. Believe it, because He loves us, and has promised to provide for our every need AND desires. Believe it, because He loves you. 


A few verses to leave you with, as well as a few songs that have touched me while planning this post. 

“God of All My Days”- Casting Crowns

“If We’re Honest”- 

“Oh My Soul” – Casting Crowns

“Control”- Tenth Ave. North

“Fear is a Liar”- Zach Williams

“For God has said, I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”- Hebrews 13:5

“Cast all you anxiety on him because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 1:7

“Where God guides, He provides”- Isaiah 38:11



The Plateau Named Contentment


As if you didn’t already know- this blog is a very vulnerable place for me to be, but it’s been such a tool of support and therapy. This post is no different. This post is so vulnerable that I even wondered if I should post it. How would it be received? What would they think about me? They’d probably laugh at my silliness and think ‘wow, and I thought I was bad’! Well, no matter, my vulnerability could be somebody’s sanctuary. Like so many others, anxiety eats at us daily. Feeding on our happiness, bringing us down into the depths of doubt that sometimes it feels impossible to rise above. Some days, I just want(ed) a plateau.

A plateau in my finite mind would appear to be a wide area of flat elevated land lying amongst mountainous ravines and canyons, uninterrupted by hills of earth or rivers of water. Just land- falt- with a big beautiful Montana sky sitting atop painted with pretty pinks and bright sunset oranges.  A pretty picture certainly.

How about this though?

“I’ve hit that plateau,” Amy said. “I can’t seem to loose this stubborn ten pounds!” she wails.

How many of us have heard this from one of our friends embarking on a weight loss journey? Or maybe we’ve said it ourselves? (Guilty) Probably all of us, and used in this way, carries a not so pretty, negative meaning. (No matter how true a thing it is, let’s face it- there IS a plateau in weight loss). Now, let me show you a positive meaning of “plateau”.


The last year, anxiety has reared its nasty head like a bull, waiting to charge at my weakest most faith-less (is that a word?) moments. I hate to say, but it has been successful in taking my joy, taking my thankfulness.

Loss, no matter who the person- or what the situation- is, is loss. Loss is pain, loss is forgotten regret, loss is wishing you could go back in time with the knowledge that you have now. Loss is also finding blessings and happiness in the people or things that are left in the aftermath. For me, that is my son. Of course, I’m blessed to the bone with a loving husband, family, and wonderful encouraging friends. But when I think of my loss (and because of who (children) were lost), when I think of how blessed I am- my son immediately comes to mind.

Enter anxiety.

I swore when I had him, I’d never be one of “those parents”. Helicopters. I would not hover, wrap him in a metaphorical bubble, and let him live his life inside a glass case full of gluten-free everything and absolutely ZERO junk food! Oh, how I’m eating my words. Why? One of my littlest blessings in the form of a child (one of the desires of my heart) could very well be my only one. I wanted to protect him, keep him from any and all harm, put him in that glass case and only let him out for school and church! I realized not only as a counselor, but as a living breathing person, that THIS IS NOT GOOD. I began thinking of things that happened in the past, a bump on the head while playing, germs, our recent purchase of a trampoline, riding with other people than myself even though I’m not a stellar driver, and the bull charged.

Worry consumed me. Did he get hurt from that fall a couple of months ago, and I missed it? Could he hurt himself on his new trampoline? When will they be home from town? I was full to the brim of thoughts of protecting my only living and breathing mini me. From then on, I was up and down. From fear and sadness to “going with the flow” and finding joy in moments with family and friends. My life was full of angry waves. Cresting high with a beautiful life that may be a little marred at the moment, but full and blessed none the less, to the trough of uncertainty. I began to feel tired of the ups and downs even though that’s what we say life is full of. I would say, “God, just let it be. Whatever IT is, just let IT be.”

So,  I searched for a plateau. A flat piece of land where my body and soul could rest from the rising and falling of my emotions. A plateau of contentment. Where I found my worry, I also found my peace. My son. I began taking each day we talked and carried on normal four-year old conversations about Hot Wheels and Honeytree, each time he asked me to rock him, each wonderful moment he laughed and said, “Momma, you’re trippin’ ” (I blame you, Nathan!), and I placed them in a jar where nothing can remove them. There they light up my life, driving away the shadows of doubt and fear. I am content. I am living (at least trying to) in my present, not the regret of the past, not the fear of the future. Besides, it’s proven (or said) that 90% of what we worry about doesn’t even happen. It’s also written in God’s word to you and me, “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.” (Philippians 4:6)

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As I’m writing this, my son comes running into the bedroom, and I hear music playing in the kitchen. Sliding in on his socks (I’m keeping myself from telling him to stop because he might fall!), he giggles and soon his dad comes barreling in behind him. A good game of chase is occurring, no doubt. I stop and listen to it. The loud exuberant sound of both laughing and enjoying life, and I realize in this moment I am content. And when- not if- worry seeps in, I will seek refuge in His word and in time with Him asking for Him to smooth my plateau, to get rid of the hills and mountains of anxiety because He is the God of faithfulness.

Are you content? Or is constant worry filling up the space in your head where you should be storing memories of your blessings, creating mountains from mole hills in your plateau of contentment. If so, find relief in knowing that God’s word is final and infallible. He will place you in contentment, and guide your anxious heart to its answers and furthermore its peace.


Perfect Patience

Perfect Patience

“Patience” is defined  as the capacity to tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Whew. Angry? Upset? I can tolerate delay in most cases(no comments from any immediate family please), but without being a little grumpy? A little bleary eyed? That’s HARD. But, that’s also God.  I could write a book on patience (well, lack of). Exhibit A: A car cuts me off at a four-way stop, and my hand is immediately doing things it shouldn’t (honking the horn, c’mon on guys!). B. We are seated at a restaurant and several minutes (I’m probably exaggerating), and no one has taken our drink order, and I’m looking every waitress in the eye as they walk by. Yes, I was that person-BUT- I have gotten better. C. Waiting on a return phone call…from a message left that day, and I call twice to see if they’ve seen my question. I really could go on. Sound familiar? These are all tiny tests of my (and maybe your) patience. Why is it so hard to wait? Why is it so hard to accept that others are not on my time schedule? Especially God. 

For the last few days, I’ve had on my mind the word “patience” flashing in neon lights, blinding out any other thoughts when I’ve sat down to write another post. Maybe it’s because Christmas reminds me so much of being patient. As a kid, I was given one gift on Christmas Eve because I absolutely could NOT wait for the next day! Or, maybe it’s because when I’m finally out of this Winter, I will be able to say, “Oh man, this was so worth the wait, tears, and unanswered questions!”  Sometimes I feel like waiting only intensifies my pain. But I have realized that much like Job, I have asked 16 whys and in response was given 59 whos (God). So here I am, because of the flashing neon sign, writing to you about being patient in Winter. We may not suffer like Job did, but we do ask why when trials seem to lurk on every corner making the waiting game that much harder and our hearts more bitter.  

We know what patience means, but do you know how it FEELS? Do you know the bitter cold that trials bring us is amplified by our lack of patience?  Sure, we can try warming up with covers of smiles, hugs, and conversations, but it never stays underneath those blankets of hiding for too long. This Holiday has been exceptionally different for me. While I love watching my son open his gifts, and see the pure excitement on his face, I can’t help but feel a little spot of loneliness. If things had gone to plan (mine), I’d have a new baby enjoying their first Christmas with their brother and loved ones. We all know things don’t go according to our plans. Our plans were formed with human minds that can’t see the future, that can’t see potential road blocks, that can’t see past our own desires and not the desires of God. The cold inside becomes a voice, the questions swarm, they build to a crescendo until all you want to do is shout “Lord, where are you?” “Have I not shown my faithfulness?” “Why not me?” “Why me?!” 

And this is why, my friend, I believe patience is not perfect. Have you ever heard of someone having the patience of Job? Do you think Job never mourned? Never felt grief or questioned why God had his suffering in HIs divine plan? I do. He was human (although a model one), just like you and I. However, through his many trials and grief Job ultimately remained faithful, he never cursed God, even through his life’s storms. What if he hadn’t been steadfast in his faith? What if he, like so many of us, tried to solve his problems on his own? Or just tried to practice a little patience by telling himself “It will get better, give it time”? When we as humans living in a sinful world try to practice a perfect patience, it fails us. Every. Single. Time. Bitterness, resentment, and jealously begin to creep in while we wait for the desires of our hearts. Only with prayer, can we find the strength needed to truly allow God to fulfill His will in our lives, no matter how long that takes, or what the outcome may be. (All the while I’m typing this, the “sign” as it will be referred to hereafter is flashing “practice what you preach!”). I leave you with three helpful tips to practicing better patience.

Let your hope keep you joyful,


I said patience isn’t perfect, not with our hands on the steering wheel. However, prayer and seeking God’s guidance and peace will lead direct your heart and make waiting a little more bearable. Here are a few verses I have found helpful:

“God, may I wait upon you in this season.” Ecclesiastes 7:8

“God, may I have humility, gentleness, and patience. Bearing with others in love.” Ephesians 4: 1-3

“God, renew my strength as I wait upon you.” Isaiah 40:31

**There is a really great freebie on Pinterest you can print out with many more!**


I love to write (obviously). Journaling is a common practice for counselors to use with patients who experience grief, anger, etc. If you’re angry with someone (yes, even God) for the circumstance that you’ve found yourself in, write them -or Him- a letter detailing your emotions. Of course, you won’t give it to them. Shred it up afterwards if it makes you feel better. As far as being angry with God, He already knows your thoughts and feelings, but expressing them through writing will help flush those maladaptive emotions that are normal for us to experience as we progress through the stages of grief. Or, keep a daily journal, chronicling your journey through struggle and how you’re slowly rising above your circumstances. 


 Connecting with others is another great way to feel strength and find patience in your season. You may feel alone in your journey of grief, but you aren’t. I find it helpful to reach out to women who have walked or are walking in my same shoes. Connecting with others allows us to dispel those thoughts and feelings that have welled up behind the dam of our hearts. Releasing those flood gates of emotion will help renew your soul, it will light your path while others hold your hand as you trudge on in knee-deep snow. I always find it so comforting to know that I have a group of ladies I can always call when I need to vent about someone who maybe said something a little insensitive, or when I feel misunderstood in my feelings. Connecting with others (and with God much in the same way), serves as a way of growing our patience. Doesn’t things always seem easier to bear when you have an outlet? When you have a bended ear and shoulder to help carry the weight of your trials? Yes! 

I hope that you will have found some of this helpful. You and I may have completely different stories, but the ground rules are all the same. Christians believe in the good times and the bad. So, on this rough road ahead, believe…trust…pray…wait. Of course, I’m no professional, and my words should be taken with a grain of salt, but hopefully you readers will find a little thread to hold on to. 

I’ll also be updating on my personal journey for any of you who would like to keep up. 🙂 

Winter’s Coming, but so is the Spring.

If you’ve stumbled upon this either through your search for validation of your grief, anger, or just your feelings in general, or maybe through a Facebook friend, it’s my hope that you will find a shred of hope- a flicker of light- a ledge to hold onto while you climb this mountain called grief. Whether your grieving the loss of a child, friend, parent, family pet, a job, ANYTHING. Grief is the same, and we go through the stages as we progress to healing. Grief is a place to visit, not live. Go there when you need to. Cry, scream, write, paint, do what you need in order to move on, but do not take up residence. We all go through Winter. A time when bitter circumstances brings about the death of chapters in our lives that we can’t get back. It’s a cold place, but wrap yourself in the warmth of promise that God will be faithful because even though Winter is coming, so is the Spring.