Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …

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The Conclusion – 31 Days of Truth {Day 31}

In one word, the conclusion to the series “31 Days of Truth Witnessed in Everyday Life” s is “perspective”. It’s been quite the month. I went back and read through my posts and I’m left praising the Lord for answering my prayer in day 2

Every day we can choose to live life and view situations through our perspective, or we can ask to view them as He sees them. As they really are.  This series is about seeing life as He sees it, bearing witness to the truth around us, and asking the Lord for eyes to see reality.

The Lord has shown me so much reality. His truth does not change based on my mood or feelings. He is what is, and while I’ve always known that, by His grace, daily seeking to find that in my life has moved that knowledge from my mind to my soul. He is in control and I am not. When I recognize this with realization; grace and perspective change everything. It’s been far from an easy month and I’ll be unpacked and revisiting these lessons for a while, but I want to praise Him for His faithfulness.

I’ve compiled the 10 “most popular” and/or “most meaningful” blogs below. For the complete series please click here.

Go forward in His grace!

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“My Kids” – 31 Days of Truth {Day 30}

Anyone that knows me well, knows that there is a whole group of teenagers and young adults that I affectionately call “My Kids”. The funny part is most of them are only 3-7 years younger than I! Growing up in a large family of 12 children, I’m 20 years older than my youngest sibling, and at some point in my teens I began calling the younger half of the family “the kids”. I was definitely the “second mom/sister” to them and a good part of the time I felt like they could be my own children. When I started in youth ministry the name transferred over to any teen or young adult I felt close too, lead a small group they were in – basically anyone I invested in.
“My kids” now consist of a group of young adults that the Lord has given me the honor to be apart of their lives for however long that season will last. To some I’m simply a sister, others a mentor, and all a friend. Nothing brings me more joy then to have one of them walk into my office for a chat or come and find a note from them. They bring me the most amount of joy in my life; and yet I never blog about them, probably because they are too close to my heart. A writer’s group I’m apart of had a get together this spring, and several of the ladies encouraged me to start blogging about the discipleship that I do.

It’s strange concept for me because the Lord is currently redefining for me what discipleship looks like. It used to just mean meeting one-on-one with “my girls” and digging into scripture, but it’s turning more into a lifestyle. It’s leaving my door and my heart open. It’s asking them the tough questions and holding them accountable, it’s listening to them with one ear and the Spirit with the other. And as they grow older a lot of relationship counseling.

Today one of “my girls” sat across from me and told me the Lord was calling her to be more intentional in her church about discipleship, to use the things the Lord was teaching her and more. It means we will no longer have the time for weekly meetings. We will still be in touch and I’ll keep checking in with her but tears filled my eyes as I blessed her one last time. My job here was finished, my mission complete: That He is the One I

 “proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” Col 1:28-29

I watched her walk out of the room more mature in Christ, with a new calling and a mission of her own. But oh how I’m going to miss her. How can I be so proud of her and so sad for me? Parents tell me all the time this is how they feel. Maybe that is why I call these friends, these fellow labors of Christ “My kids”?

The thing is, I think “my kids” teach me way more than I ever teach them. They are the joy of my life. I cry as they grow and move on and take a piece of my heart with them, but it is aways worth the pain. And somehow the Lord never leaves my heart empty – He always has someone else for me to love waiting in the wings.

Several of “my kids” all started dating each other this fall (spring love came early this year!) and I burst with pride every time I see them making godly decisions and putting the Lord and then the other person above themselves. There is hope for this world! I echo John

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

And that is my Tidbit of Truth for Today: I truly have no greater joy then to see “my kids” walking in the truth. 

The longer I walk with them, the more my heart opens to them: “my kids” become “my friends”. And for that I am incredibly grateful. I used to worry about the lines blurring between youth leader and teen, mentor and student, but in discipleship, the field levels a lot more. We are all heirs together pursing growth in Christ. They teach me and by His grace I can humbly show them my weaknesses and we learn together. Lifestyle discipleship is less about a role we fill, and more about a life we live. Discipleship is living everyday to the glory of God in front of other people and inviting them to join you on the journey.

 Discipleship is so much more than teaching, it’s living and doing life together in His name. 

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Weddings – 31 Days of Truth {Day 28}

This weekend is a weekend of rejoicing! Two years ago when I came home from my sabbatical the Lord blessed me with a group a very close friends. The 4 of us (Christine, Dan, Tom and myself) did everything together, we hung out built and fixed up each other’s houses and worked through a lot of life. Those friendships became a safe place of healing and growth for each one of us in a different areas.

The Lord greatly blessed our group by answering some of our deepest prayers. This weekend Tom married Dana. And today is Christine’s 3 month wedding anniversary. My heart is bursting with joy for them!


I’m so overwhelmed by the Lord’s faithfulness! He answers prayers. The heartache of all the years of waiting and failed dates that we worked through together – today turns into joy! He is faithful! And He is good and knows what and who we need. Thankful doesn’t express what it means to me to have friends on this journey.

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: We were created for fellowship. And so I’m off – off to live today’s truth. The smell of waffles and the sound of pleasant chatter pulls me away from the computer. While the honeymooner’s are off – the rest of us are enjoying making new memories and building a new phase of friendship. He is good!


Stress Lies – 31 Days of Truth {Day 27}

Stress. It’s something I’m finally admitting I have a lot of in my life. Over the last few months the Lord has been convicting me and challenging me on my perspective and the way I handle stress, fear and anxiety – aka things out of my control. I’ve compiled a short list of some of the truths I either pray, or repeat to myself till they sink in. I pray they bless and challenge you as well.

Stress and anxiety only have a hold over us if we let ourselves live under their lies.

  1. Go to the root. What’s my key fear here causing my stress? Do I have a reason to be stressed?
  2. If I fear or worry about something, then I do not truly believe that God is good.
  3. If I’m stressed, who is on the throne of my heart?
  4. Anxiety/stress/ fear mean that I am under the delusion that I am in control. Control means I think I’ve got it. There is no room for grace in a situation where the foundation is pride.
  5. It is not ‘it is what it is’. It is what He says it is, and what He says is, is.
  6. All is well in Jesus name (repeat this truth as often as needed!)
  7. Fear is not from the Lord. Grace and peace are. I’m either abiding in Christ or I am not.
  8. Fear/anxiety/stress are warning flags that I need to run to the Lord, not guilt points to trip over.
  9. Thanksgiving is a perspective changer. What can I be thankful for? What is my focus on?

10. There are no good days, there are no bad days, there are only days of grace.

Fear/stress/anxiety are not based in circumstances but perspective. It all comes down to perspective. God is who He says He is – will I choose to align myself with Him today? Stress cannot stand in His presence and neither can I, it’s only with a bended knee can we receive the grace to rise above the circumstance and gain the perspective we need for peace.

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: Circumstances do not create stress, a wrong perspective does.

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How You Learn It -31 Days of Truth {Day 26}

A 67!! My heart sank as my stomach rose into my throat and they crashed into each other, making me want to hurl as I ran out of the student center. A 67 on my Family, Church and Society mid term?! How could this be? I was a 4.0 student back home! I knew Focus Leadership Institute was going to be more difficult academically, but this was ridiculous. I was beyond mortified!

To read the rest of the story please visit me over at YLCF, as I share one of the many life changing experiences I had at FLI.

One of the greatest lessons I learned at Focus Leadership Institute was how to learn. How to learn, and what to learn.  FLI is a semester “abroad” type of program. It’s a fully accredited school that takes students for one semester. It combines the beauty of community, the academic level of a university, the hands on application (internship) of a vocational school, and the Christ centered leadership development  classes of a Bible school. It’s the best of all worlds.

I grew up in a very strong Christian home, but my time at Focus was the broader foundation I needed. Marriage and family, worldview, and identity and leadership classes gave me a foundation that I have grown and built on every day since. To say it was a life changing semester for me doesn’t do it justice. I learned how to identify my passions, and live them out. FLI is a lot about self discovery. Not in a weird  “it’s all about me” way, but it’s about learning who you are, so the Lord  can use you most effectively in the Kingdom. The Marriage and Family class will revolutionize every relationship that you have for the better. Communication and conflict resolution styles – the list goes on! The Lord also uses the classes, professors and community to bring about a tremendous amount of healing in the students (or at least the from my class!).

Listen as we share what the semester meant to us:  Continue reading

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Music – 31 Days of Truth {Day 25}

Music often speaks truth to me. For not having a musical bone in my body, I’m surprised at how much I really appreciate music. In every season of life I have a theme song! Maybe two. One of my favorite questions is – “If your life was a musical, what would you be singing right now?” The answer will vary upon the day. 🙂

This past year my life has effectively and delightfully spun out of control. I say ‘delightfully’ with a sprinkle of sarcasm that is daily being taught to turn to praise. Through it all the Lord has been teaching me to rest in Him, in just about every area of my life. One of the ways I’m learning to rest is to praise Him. Not only for what I do understand, but for what I do not and for who He is.

When I praise Him, my perspective changes. It changes from the frustration of me being in control to the peace and stillness that comes from recognizing that He is in control. That He knows all, and that He is good, and has my best interest in mind.

Psalm 22 says that the Lord is enthroned on the praises of Israel. If the Lord is enthroned on the praises of His people – how often is he enthroned in my home? In my heart?

I would love to share with you my current play list  as I learn to be still. Enjoy!

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: Praise changes perspective. 

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Meekness? – 31 Days of Truth {Day 24}

Meekness is strength under control. Bam. That’s a definition that had all of us scrambling for our notes. We studied meekness in community group tonight –“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”. Jesus was meek and yet He threw out the money changers in the temple. Meek is not what we often think it is.

Meek – is not weak! I believe meekness has more to do with our identity than anything else. ‘Meekness denotes a gentle and humble attitude towards others which is determined by a true estimate of ourselves.’  Anyone can be strong, but meekness requires more strength because it means leaving the rights to yourself behind.  Jesus was meek because He was under the authority of the Father. He was strength under control. That is why He could be angry and not sin – be angry and still be meek.

For me, meek means laying aside my right to be “right”. There is a big difference between being “right” and being “righteous”. In scripture we are not told to always be “right”, but to live righteously. Jesus, who was ALWAYS right did something that brings me to my knees every time I remember it. In speaking of His crucifixion, Peter says:

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:23-24

Jesus had every right to stand up for Himself; He would have been justified in doing so – he was without blame. Yet Jesus was able to be meek – he embodied power and strength under control – because, ‘He entrusted Himself to the one who judges justly.’ His identity was not wrapped up in His self. It wasn’t about Him – It was about the Father who sent Him, and doing the will of the Father.

We are to live righteously – we can only do this by doing the same thing as our Lord. Entrusting ourselves to the one who justifies justly. (Justly – with all fairness). Can you trust the Lord to see that you are right? Let Him be the one who justifies you? It means laying down your need for approval from anyone but the Lord. Meekness does not mean that you are a doormat – meekness means that you trust in something greater than yourself. Meekness at it’s core is understanding who you are in Christ and living under His authority – not your own. Righteousness is so much more than being right.

 Meekness is the most secret of strengths. It is strength of the heart.

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: Meekness is strength under control. 

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Embrace – 31 Days of Truth {Day 23}

I’m an extrovert that needs quiet! A slight paradox but true. I get energy from people, but I still need “down time” or I begin to not like people. It’s interesting to note that scripture does not say “Be still introverts and know that I am God”. The Lord tells all of us to be still – extroverts included! Today was a day I got to be still. After working 3 weekends in a row, a day at home is bliss, my dishes and laundry are clean. Not  put away, but clean!

In the craziness of life I often “schedule” in times with the Lord, today was not one of those intensely focused times set aside for the Lord. Today I got to just “be”. And I forget that glorifies Him too. I laid out in the grass with leaves crinkling under me and the sun streaming over me – just because I could. Taking joy in His work glorifies Him.  Why do we forget that?

What gain has the worker from his toil?  I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;  also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. Ecc 3:9-13

Taking pleasure in our toil – that is God’s gift to us. What a thought. Today I took pleasure in being His, as I worked around the house.

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: We glorify the Lord just by “being” His child and rejoicing in His love for us. Today I embraced that. 


Praying for Me? – 31 Days of Truth {Day 22}

Good friends are a huge part of the way the Lord speaks truth into my life on a daily basis. They are Jesus to me with skin on. Overwhelmed by an intense work schedule over the weekend, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to squeeze in the time to blog. When a friend* whom I’ve been encouraging to start a blog, offered to guest post for me, I couldn’t say no! Please enjoy. 

“How often do you pray for yourself and about what God wants to do in you?” The question hung in the silence between the two of us. We were parked in his driveway the car filled with the despair and frustration that was welling up inside my heart. Yet as he asked me that question I had to think honestly about it. Most of my prayers were for those around me, my friends, my family, students I taught. Yet how often had I prayed about what God wanted to do in me and in my life? How often had I asked God to reveal what He wanted me to see?

My life recently has been cluttered with distractions. My father who had been a huge part of my life had within the past year abandoned his family to pursue his own goals, my mother lives with a terminal liver condition, which by God’s grace is being managed at this point though she has been diagnosed as stage four liver failure, and I? I live at home paying off debt, working as an educator in a tumultuous time of new state regulations, intensified scrutiny, and a constantly changing diorama of regulations and policies. Within all of this God is working to capture my heart to be more than what I am.  I grew up in the church, was raised in a Christian home, worked at a Christian camp and went to a Christian college. Yet through all of that my heart has been weighed down by the traditions and trappings of “christianity.”

God to me has been distant, the judge in my life, always setting goals and standards that are out of reach. With every attempt  I made to reach the goals of distant perfection – discouragement followed, building up with each failure. Piercing through that discouragement, my friend asked me how often I pray for myself. Recently God has been stirring me to seek Him for all of who He is, not the God of judgment, though certainly God holds all sovereignty and judgments in His hand, and certainly not a God of cruelty who sets standards impossible to reach, just to watch us fall. God wants and has been calling me to understand His character to its fullest, a God of love and compassion, a God of relationship.

As I sat in the car for the first time in a long time I gave voice to my doubts and fears about who God was. About the failings that seemed to push me further and further away from the God who I knew was King of my life. My friend began to share a bit of his journey and as we talked he asked how often I prayed about myself and for myself. Not about things I wanted or needed but about laying out what my heart truly felt. Laying out my heart with no boundaries, no hidden doors wherever that led, to the God who created me and just wanted me to come to Him. As he spoke I finally just told him to be quiet because I had the overwhelming sense just to pray. And so I prayed….all the despair and frustration and pain and loneliness from the past year welled up out of the depths of my soul, and in that moment sitting in the driveway, Christ granted a taste of overwhelming grace.

For all the failings that we have, God wants to love us. Not perfection in us, but us, in all of our messiness, all our inadequacies, all of our dirtiness. It is a concept in the church that we so often hear but how many of us truly understand the depths of what that idea means? God wants me to seek who He is not with fear or because I can gain favor in His eyes, but because I desire to know Him. God wants us to know Him and to serve Him out of gratitude out of a desire to love Him for who He is. But how do you follow God when it seems so hard to “reach the perfection” He seems to demand in us and that a sovereign Lord deserves? The truth is I can’t reach it, and that is ok because it is Christ in me that can. As the conversation in the driveway continued it turned to practical application. How do I continuously seek Christ when it seems I so often fail? When my prayers seem to be unanswered?  The response was surprising. “Perhaps you are not praying for the right thing. Your focus is on one thing and perhaps God is asking you to ignore that and to focus on something else. What is God asking you to be obedient too in the moment by moment day by day things?”

How do I respond to that? I couldn’t. And my friend suggested it was because I haven’t prayed about what God wanted to reveal in me and through me. I was too focused on the issues that I thought should take priority. It was as if God were saying “Don’t worry about others right now or about that list of issues you think you need to fix. I know about them but I want to focus on you and I. Ask me what I want to show you.” And as my friend and I prayed in the car there was only one response, a cleansing grace and an assurance of love. Love that looked beyond the failures and fears in my life, beyond the deep seeded feelings of inadequacies, of not being good enough, into the heart of who I am at my core; it was a love that accepted me for every flaw simply because I am His. In that moment, in a driveway along a country road where once was despair, and hurt, and pain there was now only gratitude, hope, and tears as I caught a glimpse of what the love of the King of Heaven truly looks like. It was a moment of peace when the only sound was of spiritual chains beginning to fall away from a heart that is slowly being released into the freedom of who Christ truly is.

*Guest post by Daniel Miller. Dan is  a long time family friend, a middle and high school Biology teacher, soccer coach and lover of all things nature.

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: The Lord wants us to pray to Him about us. It is not selfish to pray for yourself, it is only in praying for yourself, that the Image you were created in, can be revealed to you to reflect. One cannot see the truth of one’s true reflection unless they first stand in front of the mirror. Bring yourself before Him. 


He Heals our Faith – 31 Days of Truth {Day 21}

Does the Lord ever weave a theme through your life as He is teaching you something? He often does in mine! This last week I keep running into and learning about faith. Several times this week I have opened the bible to various passages on faith as well as in my current study of Romans.It started last week with the Lord convicting me of not believing Him about something He was showing me. I came to the painful conclusion that I could not have the faith on my own to believe Him. But, oh so thankfully, Faith is a gift from the Spirit. I could believe Him – but that belief had to come from Him, not from within myself. And it did. If the Lord is asking you to do something – He will supply the faith for it! Ask for it. You don’t have to have the faith on your own.

With my prayer for the gift of faith (1 Cor 12; 7-9) has come a desire to learn more about it. This week on my way to Romans my Bible opened up to* Jeremiah 3:22

“Return, O faithless sons;
I will heal your faithlessness.”
“Behold, we come to you,
for you are the Lord our God.

He will heal our faithlessness?! I know He will forgive us of our sins. But it struck me that He will heal (cure) us of our faithlessness (lack of faith in Him).  It was so comforting to me, that the Lord not only gives us faith but heals us of our faithlessness. What a God we serve!

Today’s Tidbit of Truth: He not only provides forward, He heals backward. 

*Please note, I know that the “Popcorn” opening your Bible at random method is not always the best way to study and apply scripture. I do however believe that God is not limited and speaks to us at times that way. In studying the context of Jeremiah 3:22, the meaning of the vereses are still the same.