If I were to flip back the pages of my journal to 3 years ago, I would see a specific sentence repeated on nearly every page. My heart poured this sentence out to my Lord….to my husband…on the heavy pages of my journal. I felt it so deep. “I’m just so utterly alone in the midst of a crowd of people.” Even the Lord felt distant.

It was a difficult time. Depression is an ugly beast. Isn’t it interesting how when we’re really just in the “thick of it” in life, we can often fail to see the mercies, the lessons, the loving guidance and companionship that He offers? It was a long twelve…maybe even eighteen months. As I reflect on that time now, I can see so much I couldn’t see before. I can see the lessons He had for me. I can see the way he was growing me…preparing me…calling me closer…beckoning…

A few days ago I read the account of the woman with the issue of blood in Luke 8. Remember the story? Jesus was on assignment. He was heading to heal a very sick young girl. But in the crowd, there was a woman. Twelve years. Twelve years she had been an outcast, alone…literally…. Unclean. Anyone she would have touched would have been also considered unclean…but not Jesus. She touched him, and he cleansed her!

He said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.”

I LOVE that! “Daughter…,”

He claimed her! Right in the midst of the crowd of people, the woman who wasn’t noticed…he CLAIMED her! No longer unclean. No longer an outcast. No longer alone.

Friends, this is what Jesus does. He sees the unseen. He values and claims the outcast. He sees and values YOU!

That depression-monster could creep back in at any moment, and I’m well aware of the fact that I may not always be able to stop it in its tracks. But I also know that when I, as a child of God, walk in the realization that he has claimed me and not a moment of my broken life…the ugly parts…the unclean parts…not one bit of it is unseen or unredeemed. When I embrace that?… I can walk a bit lighter and joy comes a bit easier.

A Thrill of Hope

Death and chaos. All around. Seemingly. And while beautiful things can rise from the ashes of loss, craters are often left in their wake. 

Tragedy? To our finite minds, it is simply not how it’s meant to be. Young lives are meant to be lived. After all, didn’t Christ come to give LIFE to the fullest? 

I wonder…when Job fell on his face to worship the Lord after losing everything and everyone…how heavy was that fall? I see it almost like it’s in slow motion…a rippling out of earth from that epicenter that could cause an earthquake strong enough to shatter the continents. Could his bones even hold him up any longer? Is this what truly relying on God looks like- we literally can no longer hold ourselves up- so we fall, or crumple, at his feet?

A friend texted recently with a list – a long list – of all the people she knew who were sick, in pain, losing loved ones…facing tragedy…dying…and she said, “The weary world is struggling to rejoice.” Indeed, so it seems, but that means we must remind ourselves of some truth.

Christmas is long over. My decorations are neatly tucked away in their boxes except for one thing. This year, I just wanted to leave it out a while longer. My heart needs to be reminded that we do have HOPE, and we WILL rejoice. 

Jesus-the God-man- our Hope-He looked around and saw death. I imagine his heart shattering as he witnessed first hand, with vulnerable human eyes, the depth of the destruction sin leaves in its wake. And he wept. And he WAS the Hope. So I know that we can weep and still look to our Hope. 

Friend, the promises of God are trustworthy and true. They give us reason to rejoice.

“You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy…I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”

~Jesus (John 16:20b,33)

Past tense. “I have overcome…” It is done. Finished. The work is complete. That is a promise we can rest on. He has overcome! Take heart. Be encouraged. Let that thrill of Hope rise up in you. Morning is coming.

Poured Out

“A woman who lived in that town, a sinner who was aware that he was eating in the home of the Parush (Pharisee), brought an alabaster box of very expensive perfume, stood behind Yeshua at his feet and wept until her tears began to wet his feet. Then she wiped his feet with her own hair, kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them…’I tell you that her sins-which are many!-have been forgiven, because she loved much.'”-Luke 7:37-38,47(CJB)

What is the state of my alabaster box? 

You see, the alabaster box was a porous stone box sealed with perfume in it. Because it was porous it would slowly release fragrance over many years. The custom was that when a girl reached an age appropriate for marriage, her family would purchase an alabaster box filled with expensive perfume to be used as part of her dowry. When a suitor would ask for her hand in marriage, if the proposal was to be accepted, the box would be broken at his feet. This would likely be the only thing of value a woman might own. Once the box was broken or opened, the scent could no longer be contained.

A special item…to be saved for a special man. 

This woman, this precious woman…I feel like I know this woman…a sinner…

We have so much in common. 

How uncomfortable must she have been? She went to the Pharisee’s home, where she would not have been received with open arms, because she knew that Yeshua would be there. I imagine her, heart fluttering, stomach turning, running home to grab her one item of value, and racing the streets just to be where he was. 

Just to sit at his feet…because on some primal level, deep in her spirit, she knew that this Yeshua could turn her ashes to beauty. 

And so, she broke the alabaster…at his feet…where she wept…believed…hoped…worshipped…loved…  

She left a lot lying on the floor that day.

And the part that is so shocking and also not shocking at all…He loved her right back. He washed the filth right off.

He loved her from before time began..this was just the first moment she began to realize it.

After watching this scene play out in my mind, I again have to ask myself…What is the state of my alabaster box? Am I completely broken open? Fully surrendered? Poured out?

Jesus poured out his very blood for us…

So, Lord, today and every day, take more of me…

Today, this is my heart song. I will bow my life…

A Wilderness Welcome

Deep breaths now…here we go.  

If you’re here right now, it’s probably because you already know me. You are a kind and supportive friend. You are loved and appreciated. 

But in case someone happens upon this little corner of the internet, I suppose I should begin with an introduction: 

Welcome!  My name is Danielle.  I am a Jesus-loving pastor’s wife, homeschooling mama of four who also manages to cram a full time work-from-home job into the schedule. I lean on Jesus to survive. He is my sustenance….my Living Water. Coffee helps too!

I have spent my fair share of time in the wilderness of this life, and I guess, in some ways, I think we’re all sort of in the wilderness until that great and glorious day when we meet the God-man Jesus face to face–that day we’ll finally make it to the Promised Land. I have wrestled in the wilderness. I have come near to giving up…laid down, cried and waited to be devoured in the wilderness. But I have also found the Lord, the lover of my soul, in that place, and He has spoken tender words to me there. I have truly found Him to be my refuge and strong tower…

“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings.”

Psalm 61:1-4

Sometimes, I yearn to get in touch with a piece of myself that seems to have drifted away in the busyness of life, and so, I’ve decided to write. Maybe no one will read what I write, and that’s ok. Maybe one person will stumble upon these words and be encouraged. So I will write. And I will pray that you are built up, strengthened and made aware of the fact that you are not alone. Friend, you are seen and known by the Almighty. 

Welcome. There is much beauty to be found along the road in the wilderness.  May we all have eyes to see it.