Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

The light was barely creeping over the horizon as we stumbled through the dark bedroom to find our clothes and make our way to our tiny bathroom to brush our teeth. It was Valentines Day, 2018, the first time it and Ash Wednesday have collided on the same day since 1945.

Hearts and Ashes. Life and Death. I didn’t think much about the symbolism or the implications of this combo as we poured our coffee, grabbed our phones and climbed into the truck to drive to our OB appointment to check on baby B again. I was so excited, I was feeling better than I had in the past week and the bleeding we had all been so concerned with a week ago in the doctor’s office had ceased 36 hours prior. Our baby was going to be okay. I was a chatty Cathy on the drive over, my sweet husband who was still waking up didn’t understand or respond, but I just kept talking about every random thing that popped into my head.

The ultrasound tech called us back and as I lay there on the table with my husband next to me, the screen lit up with my womb and our sweet baby. I was relieved, he/she was still there and the tech said it was growing on target based on my measurements from last week.

The lights were already turned off, but then the room went dark as she said, “I can’t find a heartbeat, let me call in another tech.” Maybe she’s new. Maybe I’m laying weird. Maybe I should hold my breath. What if I shift my weight? Could she be seeing it wrong? Wait what was that–oh it was just my pulse, but where was baby’s?

I thought I had eaten my heart because of how deeply it fell into my gut.

The moments that followed were achingly long and harsh. Hearts and Ashes. Life and Death. Everything that can race through your mind was running 1,000 miles an hour through mine as we sat in our OB’s office waiting for details. Did I eat or drink something I shouldn’t have? Is my body, my womb, not a suitable host? Will I lose this baby? Will I lose any future pregnancies? Was it because I did a HIIT workout that one day a week ago?

Since the start of this pregnancy, I was worried and stressed. Can we afford a baby along with all of our student loans? Should we buy a house that is bigger? Can we even afford that? Will we make good parents? I need a new/better car — why is everything so expensive?! And so I started praying even more earnestly that I would trust Him. I prayed that I would trust Him with our finances, our hopes, our worries, our baby — everything. Because I naturally want to control everything and yet I know that I have control over nothing.

Two agonizing days later we drove back for more blood work with hope in our hearts and fear in our bellies to confirm if this pregnancy would last or not. Hearts to Ashes. Life to Death. We learned that we would never meet our October baby.

What makes this season of ache and loss even harder is the reality that very few people talk about it, even though according to my OB it happens to nearly 50% of women. I often wonder now how many women I’ve sat in the same room with or passed in the grocery store aisle who were carrying the same sorrow and fear I carry now. How often did I say something flippant and it unintentionally hurt someone who was already hurting? Nothing is more awkward or painful to bring up casually in conversation than your most recent miscarriage. Nothing. The aching desire for your friends to know that you’re hurting and sit with you in it vs. not wanting them to know anything at all so you can find traces of normal is such a weird and sorrowful place to be. I keep going back and forth in my head, thinking how this topic is poorly discussed and how no one seems to talk about it and then remembering why it’s a topic that no one brings up because even I can’t bring it up with my own friends. If someone comes up with a viable solution for bringing up miscarriages in conversations, please let me and the rest of the world know, because we’re all at a loss. Because, as Angela Garbes said in a recent article I read, “when it comes to pregnancy loss, there is no script to follow. To help a woman navigate it, you don’t need to offer advice or perspective. It is enough to show up, however awkwardly, and be there. To listen.” This is so true and so hard. Sometimes you don’t realize what people need until you walk through it yourself, which I hate because in hindsight I see all the ways that I should have been there for my own friends in their grief.

Not only did I not have but a very tiny handful of people to talk to about it, but, to make matters worse, I also beat myself up the first few weeks after we got the news. I was sure that it was my fault, I was the host and therefore the cause. Everything I did, ate, drank, touched, or breathed in had an effect on the baby, so who else is to blame but me? There is no length the enemy will not go to, trying to convince you of lies and promote self-hate. I read an article (which I highly recommend you read) by Angela Garbes a few days after the bad news was delivered. The author had many of the same issues and struggles that I had, as I’m sure every woman who’s gone through this or something similar has had. She said, “let’s talk for a moment about the term “miscarriage.” It’s objectively terrible. Think of the words that begin with the same prefix: mistake, misstep, misplaced, misspelled. “Mis” seems to imply not only that something is wrong, but that you have an active role in making it so. Forty percent of the women surveyed who have experienced a miscarriage said they felt they had done something wrong to cause their miscarriage, and 47 percent expressed feeling guilty.” The feeling of being guilty over the loss of your own baby is overwhelming. As my OB talked with us that day in the clinic about our options and what to expect in the coming days and weeks, she stopped, looked me dead in the eye and said “Nothing you did or didn’t do caused this to happen. Do you understand? Nothing.” Every time I come back to believing that I was the cause of my miscarriage, I come back to her words. I believe Jesus used her to speak truth over me and my husband because He knew the valley we were heading toward. There is nothing like the kindness of God in the midst of the chaos of emotions and heartache.

Hearts to Ashes. Life to Death. In the article by Garbes, she interviewed a woman who had a profound thought, she said, “what does it take to lean into it, to allow your body to go through the emotions that come from doing what we’re hardwired to do? . . . Women were made for birth and life and death . . . in the moment of miscarriage, birth and life and death come through us.” Ash to Ash. Dust to Dust. We weren’t promised easy pregnancies, healthy babies, or no chance of death, but we have been promised hope. Hope doesn’t disappoint us, even when ultrasounds and no sound from the fetal doppler do. We carry life, we carry hope, we carry a promise of tomorrow and of life — everywhere we look if we choose it. It’s a daily struggle, as I process what I’m learning about myself, our faithful God and why this happened. Most days I wake up and look in the bathroom mirror, wondering what my belly might look like today had I not lost the baby. Other days I see life emerging from every nook and cranny and am forever grateful for tomorrows and for grey skies that teach us to be content in the dark and hope for the rays of sunshine.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night” — even the darkness is not dark to you. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to you. Psalms 139:11-12

Ashes to Ashes. Loss and questions upon questions. But I still know this to be true even in the darkness; He is good, worthy of praise and deserving of thanks. Storms are harsh but I’m looking forward to the skies parting and the sun peeking through the grey clouds. Hope is found in Him and Him alone. Seasons come and go for a reason, sometimes there’s life, sometimes death, joy intermixed with sorrow, but always hope for what tomorrow might bring.

This Easter, I am thankful for life and death, for resurrection and hope for tomorrow. I am thankful for a Savior who didn’t stay in the grave and that one day we will see our sweet baby who’s in the arms of the best Father right now.

“The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.”
1 Samuel 2:6

©2018 by Josie Blakeney




The word makes me think of the song It Is Well by Horatio Spafford. He wrote it traveling to Europe on a boat, crossing over where he had lost everything at sea. His family, his everything. And yet he wrote a song that sings “Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul.”

I can only imagine the faith that man had and the intimacy he shared with God that birthed such a raw and painfully passionate song. He could have written about how God took everything away and was not kind or faithful to His promises. He could have written a song about his righteous anger towards a God that he trusted.


But instead he found comfort in the arms of his Savior. He knew his Father, knew his character because he had been paying attention and sitting at his feet learning and gleaning from his Word long before troubles came. He knew the Shepherd’s voice and when the waves came crashing and his world crumbled before his eyes, he could look back and say that “it is well” because he knew the Comforter.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 MSG

©2017 by Josie Blakeney

Linking up with Five Minute Friday

On Intentional Living

I have been reading Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker and it has birthed a lot of thoughts and conversation between my husband and me. Thoughts primarily on the discussion of being intentional with our time and efforts with each other and the people around us.

Due to various reasons we recently stopped attending the church we’d been at for 2.5 years, which has taken us out of that consistent rhythm of community and fellowship that we loved and thought would naturally keep up outside the church walls. Reality is much different which, I’m not proud to say, made us bitter and angry toward people and events even more so than we already were. We chose to leave church for a season to reassess and reevaluate, but we didn’t realize that Church would leave us as well. I can’t place blame on anyone, people are just imperfect, myself being at the top of that list, and I think we want and expect things more than we verbalize them which is where the hurt sets in.

When you’re hurting and weak, feeling alone and confused, the thing you need most is people to stand by you to hold you up. When the people you expect to be there aren’t, bitterness and anger set in quicker than a snap of the finger and grace exits the backdoor even faster. Because it is so much easier to look at everyone else and judge or be jealous than it is to look at yourself and ask what you would do if you were in their shoes. How would you respond? I obviously don’t respond well.

It is taking me months years to get over myself and move past my selfish, self-righteous responses to others and see it through their eyes and the eyes of Jesus. And I’m still working on it. Probably forever. Because, if I’m honest, I am often so busy being angry and offended that I have no time or thought to put into being grateful, graceful or intentional toward anything or anyone else.

One of my sayings that I quote to other people and often hate hearing repeated back to me, because well….truth hurts, is “be better not bitter.” If you stick around long enough and read what I pen, you’ll hear that phrase a time or two because I wholeheartedly believe it holds weight and truth to the life we want and/or choose to live. So my husband and I have discussed how we don’t want to remain bitter and live constantly offended lives because that leads to such an unhappy and angry existence. We’ve been talking about how we can be more intentional with our efforts to people around us. It’s a work in progress. A slow one, but a work nonetheless.

In Lisa-Jo’s book she says that “we first have to face the ways that we are part of the problem” before anything else can be helpful or healing.

Recently my husband and I were driving to go help a friend one afternoon and I was so angry, so self-righteous in my attitude toward going to help them because it felt like time and time again we got left out of going to lunch, the movies, etc. And as we were driving in the car on our way to their house, I kept asking him why we were going, why we kept going and kept helping, anyone at all, ever? Because some days it just hurts too much. And his simple, profound reply was “because I feel like that’s what Jesus would do, even he had people who rejected and betrayed him” and the truth of that statement made me weep. He was right. I can’t control how other people treat me, or reach out, or don’t, but I can control my attitude and my heart towards them. I can choose to love people as Christ has loved us, over and over again, even when we forget Him or ignore Him.

I am in no way perfect and I suck at communication more than I would like to admit to. I long for and crave deep friendships but being intentional with other people causes you to be so vulnerable and that is so scary sometimes. Because what-ifs linger in the air like the humidity of a hot August day in Mississippi. The what-ifs stick to you and you seem to be swimming through them every moment you’re in the presence of others, talking, trying so hard to be yourself, be real, and wondering all the while if they will ever take you in, just as you are; broken and messy. If we don’t expose our hurts though, if we don’t risk being messy and true to one another, we will never find or build true, lasting relationship.

I want to be the kind of friend that I want to have, which requires a lot of soul searching. What does that look like? How do I become the friend I want to have without conforming or denying myself? I don’t want to bend so that people will like me, I want to grow and change so that I can be a better friend and confidant to others. I crave being included and being affirmed, it’s my receiving love language and it’s also my greatest weakness. Baker writes, “we have worshipped at the altar of inclusion when we were built to worship at the altar of the only living God.” Conviction hurts.

I have to constantly catch myself when I start being overly concerned with everyone else’s perception or opinion of me. God knows that this is a weakness of mine, but I think He uses it to nudge me closer to His heart and back into His word, the only affirmation I need. Being intentional without the concern of whether or not the receiving party will return the intentionality is such a hard space to willingly walk toward, but I believe it’s what we are called to do. We need “to learn to spot these panicked urges for approval as a big, loud, screaming neon sign that my universe-sized hunger for affirmation needs to go running to the universe-sized God” (Baker).

Jesus was the best friend: He was selfless, intentional, forgiving, gracious, compassionate, and present with those around Him. If we look at scripture we never see Jesus moping in the Garden that he didn’t get invited to that party, or stewing at the Last Supper because no one stopped to ask how He was feeling about the recent highs and lows of His life. Why? Because Jesus sought people out first, because that’s who He is by nature. God pursues us and has since the beginning.

So to be the intentional friend you and I desire to be, we simply have to look at the life of the literal best friend that ever walked the planet. When community doesn’t seek you out with that phone call, text, or kind note, our response should mirror that of the community we want, not the one that has hurt or seemed to have forgotten us. Hurt people tend to hurt people, but Jesus didn’t model that and I don’t want to either. Baker states the beautiful truth that “we find that God (1) starts from a loved position, (2) acts righteously, (3) uses the community to transform us, (4) accepts reality and forgives us, (5) gives change a chance, and (6) is long-suffering” which is how I want to respond and live. May the life of Jesus and those He’s put in my circle change me, make me a better friend, sister, spouse and daughter.

When I think about the friend I want to be, I think about the women God did place in my life to hold me up, through this season and others. When I remember these women, I stop being so cynical, so hard on everyone else because of how gentle and fierce their love is for me and for others. These women who cried with me, prayed over me, dealt with my long texting rants and intense emotions. These women who fought for me and invited me in. He gave me women who would sit with me in my pain, welcome me to their homes and love me in my hurt and confusion. While I was feeding every tiny lie that people didn’t care, these women stuck by me and continued to be the hands and feet of Jesus to my tender and messed up heart. They lived out the truth of Jesus’s life: loving people well.

I learn best by watching and what I’ve seen from the lives of these women who’ve surrounded me is that by sharing our messy lives, ugly tears, belly laughs, and dirty jokes with each other, we see the real side of one another and still choose them again and again. Sticking around through the highs and lows is hard, sometimes even I don’t want to listen to me, but it is so refreshing and life-giving to our souls when people stay. And these women stay.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV)

I will never claim to be the best friend, but I can hope and strive toward being the friend to those in my sphere, at my table, or in my kitchen that I would want them to be to me. Intentional living is hard, but Jesus didn’t say the road would be easy and wide, He walked it first so He should know. May we walk in His footsteps and live with arms and doors wide open to our beautifully chaotic lives.


©2017 by Josie Blakeney

Nothing To Prove

The valley is an ugly and unwelcoming place to be. I feel like I would know since I’ve been wandering through it for awhile in search of something I wasn’t quite sure of or acknowledged I needed. For a long time I thought that the valley was where I had to go to figure things out, it was a place that was a necessary part of my journey, and it may indeed be, but more than that I’ve realized it’s the place where I come face to face with my need for God.

The Israelites wandered through the valley for 40 years. Why? Because they had quit looking to God to satisfy them, they quit dipping from His stream of living water and instead constructed their own idea of fulfillment and satisfaction. They created a temporary fix to fill an eternal longing that can only be met by the Creator Himself.


tumblr_ok1qblqofz1w3j8bao1_1280One of the many lines in Jennie Allen’s newest book, Nothing To Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard, that resonates with me says, “To recognize our need for God is the beginning of our finding Him.” I think we wander through deserts and valleys when we’re hurt, when we’re lost, when we’re lonely, when we’re thirsty and won’t admit it. But when we finally do acknowledge our thirst, not for dreams to be fulfilled or for a ring or a promotion, but acknowledge our thirst for a Savior is, like Jennie said, when we will find Him.

It’s so easy to sit here and type these words out and make it sound like I’ve got it figured out, that I’m 100% on top of the hill and out of the valley, but the truth is that I feel lonely and defeated most days and allow fear and doubt to rule me instead of what He thinks of me. I’ve been reading books and blogs and talking with my husband for months about this grand idea I have in my head, that others have helped spark, about inviting people over to my house, sitting at my table or on my 1970’s couch that’s too small, sharing a meal and good conversation. But. There always seems to be a but. But, I don’t feel adequate enough, my house is too small, my chairs are uncomfortable, my personality is too quiet, my awkwardness is too loud. You get the idea. Jennie states, “Satan wants you shut down and living in lies, believing you have to hide, believing you are not enough. He wants you focused on yourself and on your problems. . . not fighting for the glory of God.”

And yet! Yet, God has called us to communion, “to fellowship, the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). I think God designed us for community and belonging for a variety of reasons, but a particular one is because He knows that “if [satan] can isolate you, he can make you believe whatever he wants” (Allen). So what if my couch is so low it’s like sitting on the ground, so what if the traffic flow is non-existent, so what if I’m awkward and shy, as long as I’m listening to the voice of Truth and obeying the call Jesus has placed on my heart, whatever that may be. Because I know that God doesn’t just call those with fancy, large homes to be hospitable; that he doesn’t just call those with big and loud personalities to be leaders and movement makers; that he doesn’t just call the qualified and equipped to be a part of His story.

He calls you and me, just as we are.

Just like He called the disciples, just like He’s been calling us since the beginning. Come. Sit. Rest. The truth is “because God is enough and has enough, we can rest” (Allen).

I was listening to a podcast on enneagrams recently and Sarah Bessey was a guest on the show. She was explaining how she functions as a type 9, which I am as well, and said something that I think we all can relate to. She said, “it’s like when you go into the wilderness and then on the other side of that wilderness, not only is there deliverance, but you find that you loved it. The very thing about the wilderness that looked so scary to you before became the thing that was the birthplace of your intimacy with God.” 

I love that. I love it because I see it to be true, I see all the anguish and fear that the valley brought and also the hope and passion it ignited in my soul. I can see that even though we’re wandering through, we’re not in the valley forever and, most importantly, we’re never far from God’s grace and mercy. He’s been walking beside you and me and drawing us ever nearer to Himself, even on the worst of days, because He knows, even when we reject Him, that His nearness is our good (Psalms 73:28). I think that for so long I have told myself that I wasn’t good enough, and most days I still tell myself those lies, but what this trek has taught me, and what this book has opened my eyes to, is that that’s okay because He is enough and He is all that I need.

Seeing need and knowing only God can meet it causes us to run full of confidence, which means we can rest rather than strive. . .Our confidence comes from believing God can do anything, then stepping back and letting Him. We are trying to do the work of God without God. Let’s start doing things with God instead of for God.

-Jennie Allen


Shameless plug: You can, and I highly recommend you do, purchase the book here. 😉

No Fear In Love

We were scrambling to get the last bits of decorations laid out, coffee made, and name tags stuffed as 60 women began to arrive to the first night of our church’s 8-week Bible study. As the ladies poured in and name tags were handed out and coffee poured, the room got louder and more peaceful all at once. I think that’s the beauty of communion, of fellowshipping with others in safe places.

I am learning and relearning that people want to belong, that they want a safe place where they can be themselves and be known by the people around them. I want that, so why wouldn’t I think they want the same? Not only are we all searching for a place of belonging among friends and acquaintances, but also in the bigger picture of God’s story and plan for us here, wherever here may be.

The study we are working through is so much of that, discovering that we’re created for God’s glory and we have a unique way of demonstrating that to the world around us through the story He’s set in place. And yet I’m finding that it’s so much easier to open up our books, listen to an amazing talk on DVD in a low-lit room, and jot down bullet point quotes in our nice journals than believe our life has just as much meaning and purpose as the other 59 women in that room.

A common theme I keep hearing, in this study and in everyday life, as we slowly gather the courage to discuss our thoughts, is fear. Fear is the common theme. That sucks. So often I go through life thinking that I am the only one who feels a certain way or that certainly if she is 20 years older than me, she won’t be in the same boat or have the same fears or uncertainties. But to my amazement, and often relief, I’m so wrong so much of the time. I’m not the only one in that room who feels like everyone’s eyes are on me just waiting for me to fail.

And at the same time, it makes my heart ache. It makes me hurt the way I’m sure my husband hurts and gets upset when I beat myself up and believe all the lies that I’m not worth noticing or have anything to offer anyone. It makes my heart hurt just a micro-fraction of the way it makes God’s heart hurt, knowing that His children are walking around focusing on their not-enoughness rather than His enoughness.

So, just for a second let’s imagine that boundaries, failure, and the opinions or judgements of others don’t exist, and let’s ask ourselves what it would look like to live abandoned to God. What would it look like to live and walk in your unique giftings as you are this very moment? What sphere has God placed you in that I cannot affect, but you can? What has God commissioned you to do?

Now, what’s holding you back?

The things that so often holds me back, that no one puts on me but myself, are excuses. They come in on boatloads and in a variety of colors. I have excuses for everything. Which honestly, if we boil it down, comes back to fear. It all comes back to fear… if we let it. There’s a verse that says “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. . .” (1 John 4:18). Love drives out fear! Perhaps the reason our common theme is fear and the reason we’re all so scared to do anything with God or for God, is because we’ve chosen fear instead of Love as our identity.

Love defines us. Love redeems us. Love embraces and restores us. Love calls us by name and says that we are His. Love is not afraid. Love is brave.

God is Love.

As we pack up the cute decorations, turn off stereos, and wash coffee pots each week, I know that we’re all going home to different worlds. But as we turn out the lights and drive home, I hope and pray that cracks are being made in our houses built out of fear. I drive away hoping that as each nugget of truth is spoken, light breaks in and love bursts out. You and I, we are made for more. It may not be lights and stages, it may not ever be noticed by anyone other than those we’re loving and serving, but it matters. Because obedience to Him matters, even when it frightens us.

Boot Camp Revelations


I joined an intense boot camp workout at our local YMCA last month that met three times a week and started at 5:30 AM. It was one of those choices where you ask yourself ‘what were you thinking?’ and assume that you must have lost a few nuts and bolts along the way because who signs up for such a thing that early with a rational mind. But guys, I did it, I signed up and committed to go every single time and work my hardest rather than using excuses I invent as a crutch.

If there is one thing you should understand about me, it’s that I am very much an 80% person when it comes to a lot of things in life. I happened upon this realization just a few, short months ago and was startled at just how accurate it was as I looked around at how many projects, chores, and even blog posts that I had left unfinished or “almost done.” For so long I attributed my 80% attitude to the fact that I can be scatter-brained and see a task in room B that looks like it needs immediate attention while I’m working on a task in room A that is still in progress. But when you or I are presented with new information, we generally begin to reformat how we approach or analyze a situation. For me, I began to see my 80% attitude with new glasses and realized that it stemmed from my fear of not measuring up and believing that no matter what I accomplished, there was always going to be someone out there who could do it better, so why try, why finish?

So every morning that I came home from the workout of death, between eating breakfast and getting ready for the day with my husband, I would tell him about the different exercises our class had endured that morning. Sometimes I would tell him about how difficult or awkward some of the exercises were or remark about the other ladies in the class who said funny comments (like, “in my head I think I look like Cindy Crawford”), or about the attitudes of the other ladies. Some of the attitudes, mine included, were verbalized with an “I can’t” every now and then, to which I would totally nod my head in agreement while I did 10 more lunges holding weights that seemed to be dragging me to the earth’s core. But that attitude, from myself mostly, of “I can’t” began to be less funny and more aggravating because I began to see how easily I used that phrase whenever I felt as if something was too hard or if I became too overwhelmed.

My default mode of operation is to not follow through, to tell myself that I can’t do it, whatever it is, because somewhere in the back of my mind I believe the lie that I’ll never be good enough, never measure up, never accomplish anything worthwhile, never be the perfect wife, daughter, friend; never never never… the list just goes on. It’s exhausting just typing that. It’s even more exhausting living that way.

I know I’m not the only one who has fed into this lie that we’ll never measure up to this perfect standard that we’re holding ourselves to, whether it’s going to the gym and pushing through the pain, working on your relationship with your spouse, taking that next step in your career or digging deeper into the Scriptures and discipling others. What if Rosa Parks or Beth Moore or Neil Armstrong had fed into that lie that someone else could do or say it better by saying “I can’t”? Sure, someone eventually might have come along and accomplished what they had in them to do or say, BUT thankfully that’s not the case. They chose to believe that who they were and what they were bringing to the table was valuable and needed. The same truth holds strong for you. Your words, ideas, creativity, and actions are so valuable and unique to the sphere that you’re in that you can’t risk not being vulnerable. 

I honestly think it boils down to believing that our identity isn’t held in what we do or don’t do, but in what God says over us and about us. If we are firmly rooted in Christ then we are firmly rooted in truth, truth that we are valued and can do all things through him who strengthens us (Phil.4:13). I may still be an 80% person about certain things, like doing the never ending mountain of laundry that no one honestly wants to do, but let’s face it, that’s a tiny mountain compared to the other things we have to confront in life. Doing this boot camp class made me not only lose inches around my waistline but more importantly, it made me reevaluate what I’m allowing myself to believe and if it’s a lie (or full of sugar and carbs) I throw it out.

For the first time, in a really long time, I finished something and it felt so good and so empowering because I chose to believe that the truth of “I can” is more powerful than the enemy’s lie of “I can’t.” God has created us to live free and grace-filled lives, so friends, let’s do just that.




Have you ever felt like you have forgotten how to be still? Or how to be content with the silence?

I don’t like to admit it, because that means I’m taking ownership of my shortcomings and choosing to do something about it, but I so often find myself choosing to do the laundry, watch Netflix, read books by Christian Authors or simply scroll endlessly through Instagram or Twitter over spending those sacred, fleeting moments with Him. I will sit in the mornings and drink my coffee while I read the news, check the social media sites and update my twitter Bootcamp status (cause everyone wants to know, duh) for an hour without a second thought. And yet I am ashamed to tell you that as I sit here and type this, that I couldn’t even tell you when the last time I scrolled through my Bible, let alone knew where it was. That sucks. I have forgotten how to be still, how to sit in silence and not simply be okay with it, but savor it.

I’m not generally a “busy” person, I don’t have meetings upon meetings, kids to rush around to different activities or endless hobbies or events that need my attention. Maybe that makes me boring, but I am a really chill person and could honestly care less about doing things just for the sake of filling my time. I love adventures and traveling, don’t get me wrong, I’m just not into filling my Google calendar. I mean, I still prefer to keep a paper day planner, people. . . I’m so “hipster”. But one thing I have come to realize is that even with all of that down time, I don’t always spend it in the best ways. Time management is not my strong suite, because even though I have a lot of down time, I don’t spend it wisely, which for me means I should be spending those spare moments with Jesus.

However, I bet that some of you are like me, in that you are really good at inventing distractions. So often those distractions help us avoid things that we’re simply not ready to face sometimes. Have a big event encroaching that you’re in charge of? Let’s make cookies. Have a deadline that is stressing you out? How about pinning all things irrelevant to Pinterest. Have a tough decision or conversation to make? I think 5 back-to-back episodes of Grey’s Anatomy should solve that.

Or you may be in the same place I am, where the latest season of life has gone something like this: Have I taken time to sit with Jesus, read His Word and talk to Him today? I think I’ll just upload those cute pictures to Instagram. . .

I honestly think that part of me believes that He will say something that I don’t want to hear, and then what? So rather than choosing to become an obedient and faithful child of God, I’ve chosen to become closed-off and calloused. And yet, my worst fear is missing out, which is exactly what I’m doing; missing out because I have forgotten what it is to be still. God created us, so it’s no surprise to Him that we fall short or choose busy over rest, which is exactly why He didn’t overlook the necessity for rest when creating the world or giving us instructions throughout Scripture. In the very first book of the Bible in the second chapter rest is mentioned because God Himself took it. But my current favorite mention of rest and stillness is found through the poetry of David in Psalms 23. The imagery that David uses of laying “down in green pastures” is so calming, peaceful and full of contentment. It reminds me of a perfect summer afternoon, laying in the backyard, finding shapes in the clouds and not worrying about a thing, not fearing that laying in that green grass is going to disrupt my schedule. And if you look closer at that verse it says that God “makes us lie down” in those green pastures, which means that He obviously knows what is good for us and obviously knows that we won’t always choose rest on our own accord.

Laying down in green pastures may look different for you and me, but it could simply mean sitting with an open Bible as you drink your coffee each morning or turning the radio off and talking to God on your commute to work. He savors those moments with us, and actually yearns for them because we were created for relationship with Him. God is so patient and so good, in Hebrews 11:6 it says that He rewards those who seek Him, which is such a sweet testament to His love for us because yet again, we don’t deserve such grace. Which leads us to the promise found in Psalms 23: He will restore our souls.

Why else would God put such a strong emphasis on resting and being still with Him if He didn’t know how much this world would wear us down and deplete our souls and bodies of life and energy? If we don’t heed the sweet leading of our Shepherd to be still and know that He is God (Psalms 46:10) then it will be much harder, if not impossible, to walk in the commandments He left; to love others and love God.

So dear friends, let’s open His Word, bask in His presence, create a list of ways that He has lavished His love on us lately and then thank Him, tell Him of the things you’ve been carrying and let Him lift that weight off you, choose to be present and still even when it seems difficult. Don’t ever allow your weaknesses to convince you that you’re not good enough, but rather allow them to remind you to walk beside the quiet waters and lay in the green grass because it’s there that you will find the strength to press on.