Hands Full of Blessings

Some mornings I’m ultra-ambitious & go to multiple locations with all three of my children. That may not seem like much; but there are car seats to unload, tantrums to ward off, and bathroom breaks to fit in. It’s a lot to do in 100 degree weather by yourself. By the second stop, I’m normally wondering why I thought this was a good idea in the first place. I’ve found that there’s only one way to survive it: a whole lot of prayer & an arsenal of snacks.

This morning was an ultra-ambitious one. We hit two Goodwills and the library before 10am. On the way back to the house, I decided to pop into Walmart since the kids weren’t tearing each other apart yet. As I pushed the cart through the glass doors, I couldn’t help but get a little cocky. This is how Wonder Woman would feel if she ever decided to procreate. And I’m sure that lasso would be so handy.

By the time we checked out and arrived at the steaming hot car, Josie was done. She was doing that high pitched banshee scream that she does when she’s feeling things: frustration, happiness, boredom. Pick your emotion, and she’s got a screech that reaches decibels that will make your eyes water & ears bleed. The other kids were also beginning to complain about the heat (and their bursting eardrums), so I knew I was on the clock. WWWWD? What would Wonder Woman do?

That’s when I heard a voice behind me. “Wow! Look at you! Can I please help you? I’d love to grab that door for you.” She reached her gnarled hand for the van door, and I quickly slid my now grinning baby (of course) into her seat.

The voice belonged to an older woman with a wealth of experience. She told me that she had been exactly where I was; she had had a two year old at home when she brought home twins. Talk about Wonder Woman. “You certainly have your hands full. I remember those days,” her husband said, as he reached over her shoulder to hand me the water bottle I’d forgotten in the cart.

In the moment, I was struck by it, the juxtaposition of older parents helping the younger. The contrast of circumstances was striking. I would be driving my van of chaos home, while these two would walk peacefully hand-in-hand through Walmart. Sometimes all I want is some peace and quiet, but the way these two were talking to me almost sounded wistful.

I needed to have that moment, where the contrast was so stark. I needed to be reminded to be thankful, not just for the help & empathy from total strangers, but also for the slightly disheveled and sweaty little humans we were loading into the van together.

Those two have been where I am, and some day I’ll be where they are. Some day, my kids will be grown & gone, and I’ll go to Walmart with my husband without thinking about the Tetris that is loading children & groceries in a single cart. I won’t have to calculate how many snacks away I am from total meltdowns or have an anxiety attack if I forgot the wipes. I won’t have to answer a million questions about every item we see or head off a dozen tantrums when I don’t agree to bring home the gargantuan stuffed animal that wouldn’t fit in the cart anyways.

But I also won’t have them…these unique, exhausting, sometimes infuriating precious little people…to shop with.

I turned to the man & his wife and said, “I do have my hands full, but it’s such a blessing. I’m so thankful for them.” He smiled and nodded knowingly. Sometimes kind strangers teach you things in the parking lot of Walmart. Embrace the hands full-beautiful-craziness that is young Motherhood. That time is a blessing, and it doesn’t last long.

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Motherhood is a Ministry Too

For the entirety of our marriage, my husband, James, has been the college pastor at our church; and it has been such an honor to serve with him. It’s hard to fully explain the kind of ministry relationship we have, but if I had to pick one word to describe it, it would be FREEDOM. He has given me so much room to use my gifts, to try new things, to pour into the girls in the group without limitations. Serving with that man has been both liberating and empowering.

However, when our third baby was born, we both sensed a shift. I immediately had to pull back from events and programs that I was passionate about in order to care for our family well. It led us to reevaluate the ministry we have been a part of for the last 7 years (8 for Jame). With a lot of prayer and guidance, it was decided that in less than a month, my husband’s job at the church will change. He will be handing off college ministry to an amazing young couple & will be building a short term missions program at the church (in addition to continuing as worship pastor). The shift is less dramatic for my husband who will still head to the office every morning. But I will be moving away from the structure of a formal ministry to be focused more on my home & the little souls that find safety there.

This might not seem like a significant shift to most, but my heart has felt a little uncertain about the transition. My children have always been A PART of my ministry. The students have gotten to snuggle our babies, play with our toddlers & converse with our growing children. The kids have come along on coffee dates and stayed up way past bedtime at every event we have thrown in our home. They’ve always been there since their births, so instrumental in how we connect with students in the ministry.

However, they’ve never been my SOLE ministry. This transition feels daunting. I’m used to full sentences, higher developed thought processes, and immediate feedback to my advice. Now my ministry will be far more simplistic, far more interrupted & in some ways far less appreciated (at least initially). It feels less intentional & less deep. Sometimes it feels like it has less value.

This is a lie. I need to call it that. What I’m getting to do is lay the foundation for these precious gifts from the Lord, and this task has great significance. Here are just a few reasons why:

The Role of Motherhood & Discipleship. My role in college ministry was primarily discipleship. Not many seekers find their way to a college group that meets at a church. Most people are there to grow in their walk, not start the journey. This discipleship had specific spheres in which it functioned: in meetings, over text messages, always scheduled & planned. My role with my children is different, but not less intentional. If I am purposeful in talking often with my kids about the gospel, it is likely that I will get the privilege of leading them to the Lord. If you measure their lives by sheer amount of time, I am by far my children’s primary care giver. I’m with them 100% of the day, almost every day. The task of talking to them about spiritual things during the day is primarily mine. Discipleship is no longer a ministry of meetings; it is a ministry of life. It’s not scheduled like a coffee date; it’s every wakeful & teachable moment. There is immense value in that.

The Longevity of Prayers Answered. One of the reasons I’ve loved working with college students so much is that they are making some very formative decisions in a very short amount of time. They’re asking & answering big questions: will I make my faith my own; what passions will I pursue as a career; who will I date or marry? I get to encourage them & pray for them as they make these life altering decisions. My oldest child is 4 right now. He has a lot of life to live before he will be asking these directional questions & making these formative decisions. But the beauty of my ministry with my children is that my prayers for them started long before they were even born. Instead of 4-5 years of interaction, I get to see the long game of God’s redemptive work in their lives.

Ministry is Transformative in Every Season. I have learned so much from working with college students: how to ask good questions, how to be hospitable, how to be faithful in the face of inconsistency. But I have also learned so much as a mother. I’ve learned how desperately I need Jesus & grace to interact with my children well. I’ve learned to put aside my expectations, my perceived right to my own time. I’ve learned to slow down to enjoy season in which God has intentionally placed me. This ministry of motherhood may be less formal & may move at a slower pace, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t radically change me. God is going to continue to teach me & transform me as I pour into my children. I should never underestimate His ability to sanctify in every season, and I pray that He will use motherhood to grow me in ways I never anticipated. It is a high calling, but He who calls is faithful.

Originally posted on The Uprooted Blog. If you aren’t following Sarah yet, check out her blog & follow her on Instagram @theuprootedblog. Image: Sarah Everest.

Raising a Son in an Age of Misogyny

I was scrolling through Twitter when an article popped up written by a female Christian leader. I clicked it; and as I read, my stomach tightened.

She recounts her experience as a woman in the Christian speaking circuit: how she’s attempted to maneuver it with care and deference, how she’s often been overlooked or dismissed because she’s a woman, and how there were times when she was objectified by male Christian leaders.

It was unsettling, but I really shouldn’t have been surprised. This is not a new problem. Where there is sin, there is misogyny. But in an age of technology where a Christian leader’s influence can easily extend around the world, a fall from grace has far reaching repercussions. There are more eyes watching than just a small congregation in middle America. The whole world sees.

As I finished the article, I realized that the knot in my stomach wasn’t necessarily for this woman. I do think what she’s experienced is heart breaking and disheartening, but she’s handling it with strength & grace. The knot was for my son. It can feel hopeless as a parent when Godly male leaders, who should be role models for the next generation, are making such rudimentary mistakes. How did it ever become okay for women to be disregarded and objectified in the Christian Church? We are supposed to uphold the value of human life as image bearers of God; why are women being marginalized, even preyed upon, in a place that should be a sanctuary? And how can I keep my son from falling into this?

I love the Church; it’s filled with the broken & blood bought. It’s beautiful. And as much as I hope that Peter has many Godly examples to look up to in the Church, I think this article reminded me that there is an enormous responsibility on me and Jame as his parents. I feel so burdened to teach my sweet Peter how to treat all women with respect, to love them as sisters, and to be faithful to the woman God chooses to be his wife. This is a heavy responsibility, and I’m still processing through how to intentionally do this.

Teach. I do think that training starts young on this issue. He’s only four years old, and the testosterone in his body only matters to him in so far as it allows him to shoot pee across the backyard. But he does interact with women every day, most of whom are younger than him. In our home, I want Peter to learn to treat his little sisters with respect and care, to value their opinions even if they are different from his, and to protect & support them not dominate them. The ultimate example of this kind of character is Christ, who humbled Himself to death (Philippians 2:8). A humble man does not objectify or marginalize ANYONE. A humble man serves in love, because he has been loved beyond what he deserves. If Peter can develop this character within the safety of our home, my prayer is that it will impact how he treats women outside of it.

Model. Not only does he have little sisters to engage with in our home, but our son also has us to watch. How my husband and I treat each other will have an impact on how he treats the women in his life. If we want our son to have healthy relationships in the future, then we need to be showing him what a healthy relationship looks like. That means serving one another, being kind to one another, forgiving each other, and fighting for each other. Passive aggressive manipulation must be foreign to us. Comparison & competition must be put aside. Hypocrisy must be quickly handled. We are far from perfect, and he is going to see this too. But I hope he sees humility in us when we wrong each other, a willingness to admit wrong & a quickness to make things right. I also hope he sees lots of grace & forgiveness, and that he will know that when he makes mistakes there is grace for him too.

Pray. We can train our son to be a humble man & model for him what healthy relationships look like. However, all the training and modeling we do will fall short if his heart isn’t tender to the Spirit. As a woman who likes certainty & control, it is tough to not be the one making the final decision in this important area of my son’s life. This is why I have to be praying constantly that the truth of the gospel will captivate Peter’s heart & mind. Apart from Christ in his life, he will not be able to resist the temptation to think highly of himself, to belittle others & even objectify them. Christ must be of surpassing worth to him, a treasure more valuable than his ego & his flesh. He doesn’t understand this now; Jesus is just a story to him. But we pray every day that the Story becomes Truth permeated through every aspect of his life, and that the Lord makes him a humble man who serves the women around him well.

That Time I Ruined My Husband’s Birthday

Honestly, I was just going to buy him grill gloves. I’m a romantic, clearly. 😂 There was a teeny tiny ulterior motive to that choice. Grill gloves would allow him to use something other than my oven mitts to get juicy pieces of meat off of the Traeger. Grill gloves were the gift that gives back to us all.

But utilitarian gifts rarely are the way to go with my guy. Actually, any kind of gift that he does not pre-approve is not the way to go. He’s never rude about it, but I’ve learned that it’s better just to ask him what he wants. The dusty Soda Stream in the pantry that I got him a couple years ago can attest to this. And if you do suddenly feel the urge to fly by the seat of your pants, always fly towards an Amazon or Best Buy gift card. Or cash. There’s nothing more utilitarian than cash.

This time, however, it turned out that he had something in mind the whole time: tickets to Opening Day of the 2018 baseball season.

It just so happened that this year’s inaugural day of Diamondbacks baseball was also the 20th anniversary of the team. And it was also the 30th anniversary of his birth. He was so hopeful. The grill gloves were never going to elicit that kind of emotion.

We played with the budget and with a few clicks of a mouse, we had nose bleed seats to day 1 at Chase Field. We were both so excited. He had dreams of good food & a win. My heart was set on ice cream in the 6th or 7th. Plus, it was just a chance to be together at a fun event. We marked our calendars and lined up a sitter.

Opening Day arrived, a toasty spring day for an open roof game. We dropped the older two kids off with my sister-in-law and drove down to the field with my mother & father-in-law who also had tickets. My stomach was rumbling; I hadn’t eaten my normal afternoon snack.

But after walking from the car to the stadium with Josie strapped to my chest, I started to realize that this might not be hunger pangs. My skin was clammy, and my mouth was suddenly cotton dry…rarely a good combination. Jame had me go take it easy in the stands while he grabbed us dinner. My mother-in-law took Josie to her seat one section over from us.

The rest of the night is a little fuzzy. I remember making it up to row 28 in the 3rd level. I remember the National Anthem & the first pitch before we got the text that Josie was hungry. I made it down the stairs, but I didn’t make it much farther.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I puked that much. I expected to feel better afterwards, but I didn’t. We spent the next few innings sitting at a picnic table outside the bathroom, watching the game on screens the size of our TV at home while the game went on behind us. Well, Jame watched. I mostly pressed my face against the metal table and moaned.

We left shortly after that. And my husband spent the rest of the night of his 30th birthday carrying me from the bathroom back to bed, running to the store for Sprite & crackers, bringing the baby to me to nurse in the middle of the night. He took care of everything for the next 4 days.

On top of all of that, I decided to be generous with my gift & gave it to my sister, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, two best friends & Jame too eventually. I’m pretty sure he would’ve preferred the grill gloves.

What struck me the most about the whole evening and following days is that he never once complained that we had to leave Opening Day on his birthday. He just quietly served me and took care of everything. That’s just the kind of man he is: a really good one. I take for granted that he’s mine. I guess sometimes I just need a good stomach bug to remind me to be thankful for God’s good gifts.

So, Happy 30th Birthday, Jame! You are everything I prayed for as a girl and so much more. I love you deeply and I can’t wait to make more memories together…hopefully next time with less puke. ❤️

Three Things I Learned From Lent

This year was my first year participating in Lent. I’ve done a Bible Study during Lent before, but I’ve never given anything up for the 40 days. My mom was raised Catholic, and when her parents left the Catholic Church, they left the heaviness of Catholic liturgy behind them. As a result, the idea of celebrating holidays on the church calendar (Advent & Lent specifically) was a fairly foreign concept to me until after college. In my mind, Lent was purely Catholic. But this year, my second year of doing the Lent Study with She Reads Truth, I decided to “go without” for the 40 days prior to Easter.

He is Risen - Jesus Story Book Bible

And I’m going to admit it up front: I didn’t do Lent right.

Before I started, I did some research. The intentional “going without” is to remind us of Christ’s sacrifice. Each time we go to do the thing we’ve given up, our hearts are to be turned toward the Savior, His work on the cross, what He gave up so that we could live. This is the right mindset and motivation to have during this holiday.

I started out with determination, but 40 days later I’m writing this a little disheveled if I’m honest. I didn’t do Lent right, but I learned a few things along the way.

1) I REALLY AM BROKEN. I wanted to be intentional about what I chose to forgo for the 40 days of Lent. As I mulled over my options, I realized something: There were A LOT of options for what I could give up for Lent. I don’t use my time well. I spend too much time distracted by screens. I don’t have good self control when it comes to the foods I eat. I’m short tempered with the people I love the most. The list continued. I think I expected to find after self evaluation one glaring area that would be obvious to remove for the time period. But there were many. I felt overwhelmed by it. Where do I even start?

When you’ve been walking with the Lord for awhile, it’s easy to slip into casual sins. They’re not deliberate or blatant. They’re subtle. And we make excuses to minimalize them. When I really evaluated where I was at, there were a lot of little things that I had been holding onto: a little laziness here, a little selfishness there, a little lack of intentionality everywhere. It reminded me that I AM BROKEN.

2) IT’S EASY TO FORGET GRACE. Faced with all my brokenness, I leaned into Lent. I decided to cut out all TV, unless I was watching socially. No more afternoon nap time Netflix binges. No episodes before bed. No watching shows while folding laundry. But it was hard to do it perfectly. I also felt guilty because sometimes I wasn’t intentional with all the new free time I made by not watching. I’d just fill it with some other lazy pastime. Then my afternoon would be gone, and I’d feel like I’d failed.

The slippery slope of Lent is that it can become less about remembering that Christ conquered our sin for us and more about us conquering our sin. The more we try to do it all right, the more we realize we can’t. This realization brings guilt and shame.

Where is grace in that? I’d forgotten it and was striving to do it all in my own strength. And it was exhausting and frustrating.

3) I DESPERATELY NEED GRACE. I made it to the end of Lent keenly aware that there was so much more work to be done. It was disheartening. I absolutely had not done it perfectly. On top of that failure was the reminder that were so many other areas of my life that needed remodeling too. I also knew that I didn’t want to go back to old patterns when Lent was over either, so fear of backsliding was heavy on me as Easter approached.

The tension of the whole 40 days reached its pinnacle in Passion Week. What a heavy week that is! Jesus, the Perfect, was murdered in a horrific way, and He was completely innocent. He could’ve gotten out of it; He was strong enough. But He didn’t. He submitted Himself to the wrath of a just Father and took the fullness of sin on Himself. He did it so that there would be nothing between the Father and us.

The weight of it lifted on Sunday. He rose again, so we could have this relationship with the Father forever, completely free from the construct of time & death.

It hit me. I’d spent Lent working for favor that He had already died for on the cross. These past 40 days of tension in my spirit–He died for those. He died for all the things I was trying to give up: my poor time management, my laziness, my selfishness. He died for my arrogant attempts to fix where I was broken. He died for my ultimate failure to fix any of it on my own.

I didn’t do Lent right. And He died for that too.

I don’t deserve it, but He gives His grace freely. His sacrifice covers all the shame and guilt. That is what Lent is about: a looking forward to grace, grace that is greater than all my sin, grace that triumphs over death.

Good Good Father

The older my babies get the more fascinated I am by how unique they are. All of them came from my body, with the same daddy, housed in the same womb. But they are so different.

Peter loves the attention of a crowd of people. Leanor stays close to me in big groups. Peter melts down over little upsets. Leanor is made of tougher stuff. Peter follows the rules. Leanor is sneaky about breaking them.

On Dairy Queen’s #FreeConeDay, Peter only eats the chocolate shell off of his ice cream & refuses the rest. And Leanor scoops every drop of it out of the cup and into her face (most of the time with her hands). 😂

They just couldn’t be more different.

Meanwhile, Josie is just a butterball of baby ambiguity. I can’t wait to see how she surprises me!

Vastly different personalities require vastly different parenting. I didn’t expect that. I’m a “one size fits all/put the work in & they’ll turn out” kind of person. Kids aren’t really like that; at least mine aren’t. Motherhood is forcing me to become a far more flexible human being, with my children and with myself as I learn them.

They are so different in how they need me to parent them, but they still need me. That is also so astounding. These precious unique individuals need me to be their mother. Sometimes they need more of me than at other times; but as long as I live, I am theirs…their mom. That is so humbling, because most days I feel like a pretty mediocre parent.

Our God is called ABBA in Scripture; He is the perfect Father. This means that He knows how to parent perfectly. He knows what each of us needs, and He knows that we need HIM most of all. Above everything else, HE is our fundamental need.

And like a good parent, He gives us what we need: He gives of Himself freely. As unique children, we receive that gift in beautifully unique ways. Every day, we may require a different facet of Him to fill us up & keep us going. I know that this has been my experience. I’m thankful that in each new season that I face, God graciously gives what this helpless child needs. I’d be lost without Him.

In college, I spent a lot of time feeling very anxious for my future. In my junior year, my heart was broken by a man who wasn’t careful. He led me to believe we had more than we did; and when he ended our relationship abruptly, I was left wondering what I had done wrong & what to do with my life now that it felt over. The Lord gave me Romans 8, and I read it every day of the following year like it was hug for my heart. It tells of the unending devotion of a loving God. Those pages in my little Bible are wrinkled from tears wept over the words: NOTHING CAN SEPARATE ME FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST! In that lonely time, I needed a loving God.

When my son was first born, and I was battling postpartum depression, the Lord sweetly brought me to Philippians 4 over and over. So clearly, He told me that I needed to give my anxiety to Him, and He would guard my heart with peace. In that worried season, I needed a caring protector God.

When the world seems like it’s ripping itself apart with war and hate and discrimination and lies, it’s easy for me to get overwhelmed and begin to feel hopeless. Recently, God has been reminding me that He has overcome, and someday all of this filth will be wiped up in wave of His glory. In those freaked out moments, I need a powerful God of justice.

When the days are long & I’m frazzled by the end of them, Lamentations 3 draws me close with reminders of new mercies with the dawn and gives me hope that I’ll survive. These days, I especially need a faithful sustaining God.

He’s the perfect Dad; He knows what we need. And He wants to give us Himself for every season that we face. Every Christian walks a unique faith journey, but the one constant is that we need Him for every step of it. Fortunately, He gave Himself fully once for all and wrote it down for us as a gift and a guide. We are never alone. What a good, good Father!

Am I Too Comfortable?

Last Sunday at church, the band played a great old song by Thrice called “In Exile.” As my husband belted the lyrics from the stage, my eyes filled. The words were so rich, so convicting.

I am an exile – a sojourner; a citizen of some other place. All I’ve seen is just a glimmer in a shadowy mirror, but I know one day I’ll see face to face.

I am a nomad – a wanderer; I have nowhere to lay my head down. There’s no point in putting roots too deep when I’m moving on. I’m not settling for this unsettling town.

My heart is filled with songs of forever; a city that endures, where all is made new. I know I don’t belong here; I’ll never call this place my home. I’m just passing through.

I welled up because these words are reiterating a conviction that has been growing in me the last few months. As I write this, life is really good. I’m surrounded by an amazing of community of believers who are constantly encouraging me to be more like Jesus. I have a beautiful family, and we live together in a beautiful home. I’m overwhelmed by the abundant blessing of the Lord in my life.

But I’ve realized something about myself. When life is good, it’s easy for me to stop paying attention, to casually slip into self-reliance. In my joy of celebrating the goodness of the season, I can lose some of my vigilance and fall into complacency. I need to celebrate these beautiful days as gifts from a good God, but I can’t get so comfortable that this world becomes my highest joy. I am an exile, after all; my highest joy is yet to be experienced.

The question that keeps springing up in my heart over and over is this: AM I TOO COMFORTABLE? How can I tell when I’m trading the eternal for the temporal? I think I need to question my heart, especially when I’m in a season of victory, when the temptation to slide into casual Christianity is at its height. Here are some questions to consider:

1) Am I resistant to change? God has His own perfect plan for our growth, and it almost always includes change. Whether that change comes through trial or temptation or a shift in circumstance, change is purposeful. It’s not random. God intentionally uses it to scrape away our self dependence, our pride, and our complacency. So if the idea of change makes us want to rage, it probably means that we are getting too cozy where we are.

2) Have I lost my desire to learn? A complacent heart doesn’t seek growth. Instead it basks in knowledge already consumed, confident that nothing else is needed. We know that this journey of sanctification is a daily decision to lifelong dependence. That means there is always something to be learned as a believer until our feet hit Heaven’s streets. We can easily become satisfied with where our spiritual life is and begin to coast. Whether we realize it or not, coasting is not as passive as we believe; it is an act of self-sufficiency. We need to be in pursuit of the Lord, never satisfied with sameness. We need to want more and more of Him until we see Him in fullness in glory.

3) Have I stopped being thankful? When the gifts of God become objects of entitlement, then we need to examine ourselves. We are owed nothing, and yet the Lord gives generously. A lack of gratitude often indicates that we have made the gifts more important than the Giver. Thankfulness acknowledges WHO gives the gift, recognizes that the gift is undeserved, and keeps us from making the gift an idol. A sense of entitlement just indicates that we are comfortable with where we are, because we feel the removal of a gift would be an infringement of our rights.

4) Have I started making excuses for sin? We can get so comfortable with “little” sins that we don’t even call them what they actually are: laziness (ie: binge watching Netflix for the 5th day straight), gossip (ie: a casual observation to another under the guise of concern), or selfishness (ie: neglecting important tasks or relationships because of social media, then claiming a “time management” problem). These might just be my personal struggles, but maybe you can relate. We put pretty phrases on real sin issues, because we want to trivialize them. If we posit the problem in an innocent way, it won’t show the true condition of our hearts. Plus, if it’s actually “sin,” then we have to deal with it. While it might not seem to be doing any harm to harbor these “little” vices, the damage is done slowly, and over time we will see the consequences in the state of our hearts.

5) Have I stopped longing for Heaven? We are exiles here, but we so often live like permanent residents. We get caught up in the events, the routines, the relationships, the causes, and the experiences, and we forget that this is not our home. We have been made for more. Life here looks so different when Heaven is in sight. We live intentionally with purpose. We don’t get distracted by the temporary. We don’t get comfortable; because we are going wherever He leads with our ultimate destination in sight.

The foundation of being too comfortable is one major sin: PRIDE. We don’t want change, because we think we know what is best for us. We don’t want to learn, because we feel as if we have arrived. We stop being thankful, because we think we deserve what we’ve been given. We don’t confront our sin, because it’s not that big of a deal. We don’t long for Heaven, because what we’re doing here feels more pressing and tangible. Pride is at the root of it all.

If we don’t deal with the pride, being too comfortable only has one result: a fall. God hates pride. It keeps us from dependence. It keeps us from worship. Because He loves us, He will not let pride win. He breaks us down and pushes us out of our comfortable living.  When Jesus begins to change us, everything gets uncomfortable.

It seems contradictory, but it’s true: When God does His uncomfortable work in us, we will be more comfortable than we ever were. But the comfort that Jesus offers us is completely different from anything our circumstances or the world can offer us. It’s completely outside of ourselves. He offers us peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). He offers courage in the chaos because He is with us always (Joshua 1:9). He offers us Himself forever, in a place where there is no more hurting, pain, or death (Revelation 21:4). This is transcendent comfort for an exile, but it’s only found in Him.

I am a pilgrim, a voyager. I won’t rest until my lips touch the shore of the land that I’ve been longing for as long as I’ve lived, where there’ll be no pain or tears anymore.