Not Today, Satan


Exhausted from playing “the shark game” with my boys this afternoon at the park, I decided to sit out for awhile and watch them race down the double red slides.

As I smiled at their smiles, my eyes wandered over to a big blue van that had just pulled into the handicap spot. Later, I watched this young mom push her disabled son on the zipline, happy to observe that he did not seem to take notice of the able-bodied children running around him, and they took no notice of him. A feeling of immense gratitude washed over me as I yelled at my oldest for heading down a particularly dangerous slide head first. He squealed, “Okay, mom!” as he ran around the equipment for another try at the monkey bars.20181022_204232

As I thanked God for my three healthy children, an uninvited, but not all that surprising, thought entered my mind:

What if all of it is taken away from you?

A thought like that could not have come from anywhere, but the one and only, the giver of crap, the father of lies, good ol’ Satan. Attacking a young mom’s blissful moment with her children has Satan written all over it.

It shouldn’t be a secret that I, as a young mom, often push away illogical fears of sick children, injured children, kidnapped children, and the list goes on. I know I’m not alone, either. The constant bombardment of media telling parents what we should and should not fear guarantees we will never feel completely free from worry.

Of course, Satan has seen my weakness (my unrelenting love for my children) and my strength (my complete dependence on God to raise them in a way that honors Him); so what better way to attack a perfect moment than to remind me I could lose it?

Satan wants to steal our joy; in fact, I think it may be his greatest weapon against us. In 1 Peter, he is described as a lion, and lions are excellent hunters. Then in John, we are reminded that he does nothing but steal, kill, and destroy. Since my joy in the life the Lord has blessed me with is something that draws me near to Him, it is also something Satan has on his radar to steal from me.


On many occasions, I have had a thought like this and allowed it to get a foothold on my heart, with absolutely no resistance. Gosh, that’s a good point, I should probably be afraid of that. However, these are the moments that Satan has caught me unaware, usually when I am weak in my prayer life. Satan’s lies are so deceiving they cause us to believe perhaps our logic and intellect brought such a thought to the surface. Just as Eve engaged in conversation with the serpent, I often allow one of these lies to fester within me, until it becomes truth.

Today, however, he had no power over me. Possible pain in the future will have no control over my joy in the present. Today I have three healthy kids, and God willing I will have this for the rest of my life. I am the child of a God who is infinitely more powerful than any lie Satan can feed me.

Let him never catch us unaware.


Enough is Enough


I know the answer to all of my problems.

I know that the answer is Christ.

I know Jesus is the answer to my impatience.

I know Jesus is the answer to my anxiety.

I know Jesus is the answer to my love of gossip.

I know Jesus is the answer to my toddler’s attitude.

sunset-174276_1920I have shared these thoughts with friends of mine, and I have had a few reply, “It’s not that easy.”

Oh yes. It is.

It is that easy.

Jesus is the answer to the skyrocketing suicide rate in this country.

Jesus is the answer to the dangerous drug use among our teenagers.

Jesus is the answer to the gender dysphoria that so many suffer.

Jesus is the answer. Period.

Since God has blessed me with a faith that believes these statements without hesitation, I wonder then why I hesitate to develop my relationship with Him.

I wonder why I press snooze instead of getting up to read my Bible.

I wonder why I ask a friend to help me, long before I get on my knees.

I wonder why I trust my plan, my ideas, and my desires more than His.

I wonder why I turn on Netflix to find my peace after a long day with my children instead of spending time in the presence of a Savior who heals and restores all things.

Of course I know why I do or don’t do these things. I’m a lot like Paul when he says in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

Amen, Paul! I hear you loud and clear!tree-736875_1280

You see, I love the world more than Christ. And sure, I could just chalk it up to the idea that I’m only human, but that excuse just shouldn’t be enough for me.

Enough is enough.

I want everything the Bible has promised me.

I want peace. I want unwavering strength. I want freedom. I want every single one of my prayers answered because every single one of my desires aligns with the King of the Universe.

I want to throw away the things of this world, those things that lie to me and promise peace, and I want to grab hold of an everlasting, all-powerful, indescribable love and devotion for the One who made me.

This is the only answer for me, for you, for any of us.

The Thorn or the Antidote


I want to know so badly what infirmity tormented Paul so much that he cried out to the Lord three times for mercy and healing. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul’s desperation can be plainly seen when he describes his pain as “a messenger of Satan.” When God responded to his cries for relief, he received an answer that would fail to satisfy. God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

With that, Paul’s attitude shifts dramatically as he explains, quite convincingly, that he takes pleasure in his infirmities, reproaches, needs, persecutions, and distresses, so that “the power of Christ may rest upon” him.

spur-1818848_1920God’s answer was enough to fully satisfy Paul to embrace his pain and learn to think of it as nothing but a blessing from the Lord. He also describes it as the thing God uses to keep him humble. Dealing with multiple weaknesses myself, God has given me this same answer a number of times, and I never quite rejoice in it the way Paul does.

As we suffer, we want only one thing: God, please take this away. The longer our prayer goes unanswered, the more assured we become that God has turned away from us, that He no longer works for our good.

Of course, a true Christian knows this could not be further from the truth, but no matter how strong in faith we are, when our strength is tested by an infirmity, reproach, need, persecution, or distress, we begin to view God through the lens of our own pain, instead of the lens of truth. Deep within our hearts, we know that God is good, but our finite human capacity for understanding lacks the strength to grasp why a good God would allow us to suffer.

prayer-1308663_1920Paul was certainly able to grasp it, but 2 Corinthians 12:9 has always perplexed me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” I understand the basic concept of this verse, but I cannot confidently say that I have seen it in action.

I began to focus on this verse in my quest for freedom from anxiety. Anxiety is no doubt my weakness, or the thorn within my flesh as Paul refers to it. The more I meditated on this verse, the more confused I became. How could God possibly be made strong in my weakness? In fact, the reality of my life demonstrated the exact opposite of this. When I experience moments of my most extreme anxiety, I feel further from God, and I definitely have never seen Him show up in a fury to display this “strength” He supposedly gains from my pain.

This is the way I felt toward this verse until God recently led me to read the story of Gideon in Judges 6-8. Now, I can finally say that I am beginning to understand why God left Paul’s cries for relief, and mine too, unanswered.20180727_131331

You see, Gideon is facing the Midianites with an army of 32,000; despite this being a significant number of men, Gideon is still outnumbered by the immense Midianite army. Then, God appears to Gideon and says, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me…” God then asks Gideon to decrease the size of his army not once, but twice, leaving him with just 300 men.

Wow. Um… What?

We know the outcome of this story, of course. The Israelites are victorious against the Midianites and all credit, for a time, is given to God, therefore strengthening the Israelites in faith. When I think of my anxiety, I am not sure how I would respond if God somehow asked me to make myself even weaker against its forces. Actually, I know exactly how I would respond: I would tell God to go find someone else to ask His outrageous requests.

However, after reading this powerful story of Gideon being made unimaginably weak so that God might get all the glory I am finally able to grasp what God means when he says that His strength is made perfect through my weakness, or my anxiety.

I do not combat my anxiety on my own. When I attempt to do this, I am left irrevocably helpless and discouraged. God walks with me each day, even on days I know my anxiety is going to come upon me with a vengeance. And it is at the end of these uniquely difficult days that I climb into my bed at night with praise upon my heart, because I know that it was God who sustained me. Despite feeling sickeningly weak throughout the day, I cannot argue that at the end of such a day, God is the one that saw me to the sunset.

Most days I do not face this paralyzing anxiety, and on these days, I do not climb into bed praising God. It is only on days that I was sure would defeat me do I become the most aware of God’s unwavering and unsurpassed love for me.

sky-2667455_1920This love is what makes the pain of my anxiety so worth it. Without God, it would be nothing but a thorn, but with God, it becomes a means to bring Him glory, which is really my whole purpose in life. I will continue to plead with the Lord to take away my anxiety, because I believe in His healing power. However, each time He responds to me the way He responded to Paul, I will recognize the transforming power God brings upon me because of my weakness, not in spite of my weakness.

Each and every day I am able to muster up enough strength to defeat my anxiety will be another day that God is glorified. You see, no matter what, I am victorious because He is my King.

When God Asks you a Question

My kid was sick today.

I haaaaaattttteeeeeee when my kids are sick.

Since I suffer quite considerably from emetophobia, I try desperately to avoid all types of sickness. Fevers-yuck. Coughs-yuck. Sniffles-yuck. Sore throats-yuck. Vomit-double yuck.

20180625_195043Today was no different. Since my little one was suffering from a fever, I had a pretty serious case of the yucks. I didn’t realize until the sun was setting that I spent my entire day sulking about because my plans went on the fritz.

It’s summer. No one should be sick in the summer. Ever. This should really be written somewhere in the Bible. I seem to have spent last winter dealing with a sick kid at least every other week, so I firmly believe I should get to take the summer off.

On my way home from McDonald’s today (this is our go-to meal when mom’s day goes on the fritz) I am pretty sure I audibly heard God say, “Why aren’t you talking to me?”

And that’s when it hit me…

Despite my bad attitude, I had not spoken to God the entire day. In my weak defense, my little one was fussing all day long: It doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for in-depth Bible reading. However, talking to my Father about my frustrating day is the best antidote for a frustrating day, and yet, I avoided Him.

His question didn’t exactly melt away my bad mood:20180624_132711 (1)

“Gee God, I don’t know. Maybe I’m not talking to you because I got nothing done today, or I spent money I didn’t want to spend on fast food I don’t want to eat, or my little boy is hurting and there’s nothing I can do. Or maybe I’m simply not talking to you because you have allowed sickness into this world, and that is not cool.”

I wish I could say that an unexpected sickness puts me in a bad mood because I struggle to see my kids suffering. Although that is a huge part of it, that is not the main reason I sulked around today.

I really just cannot handle when I am not in control, when the day I had planned becomes the day God planned instead. It’s selfishness: nothing more.

Uffda. That is not easy to admit.

I also have dealt with sick children so often in my 3 years of motherhood that I have decided to grit my teeth and just get through it, instead of falling to my knees and asking God to walk with me.

When one of our boys spikes a fever, I often say something like this to my husband: “I just wish I knew how sick he was going to get and what kind of sickness it is and how long it is going to last.”

It is so much easier for me to turn to the Lord when I have some measure of what I am dealing with. It is when I am left in the dark with a day I do not want to face that I suffer from the temptation to deal with it on my own. I will turn to God when it’s all over and offer Him a polite “thank you” for carrying me through until the sickness was over.

20180620_143347I don’t see this kind of weak faith very often in other areas of my life. When our finances explode and I end up shuffling money so we can eat, I have no trouble turning to the Lord. When I am at a loss for how to help my child overcome his fear and anxiety at swimming lessons, I seek help and guidance from God. It is only when sickness hits my house that I decide to muddle it out on my own.

Tonight I am humbled because I serve a God who fiercely loves me–a God who will chase after me on a day like today, and reveal my sin so that I might be transformed by it. I am a sinner. He knows it; I know it. It is when I am faced with my most difficult challenge, like a sick child, that I can truly become eternally grateful for His grace and mercy.

So tonight, despite having a difficult day and being faced with an even tougher night with my feverish little boy, I get to go to bed in peace, because I know that God goes before me–even when I am trying to shove Him out of the way.

A World of Hurt

When those around you experience pain and heartache, it can challenge your faith in Christ just as much as if you were experiencing this pain firsthand.

Recently, I have been surrounded by pain–excruciating, life-altering pain.

Those closest to me have been forced to face events in their lives that could usurp even the strongest individual.

In recent months my loved ones have faced sick children, infant loss, disastrous legal accusations, death, and serious medical issues. It has become so frequent that I receive a text asking for prayer for an extremely painful situation that I have come to almost expect it. I wait for the next shoe to drop, for the next person to be added to my prayer list–a prayer list that I can barely keep up with as it is.

love-699480_1280My life, on the other hand, has been going quite smoothly. My family is healthy, our jobs are secure, my marriage is thriving, and my children are happy, despite their near constant attempts to achieve an injury that would warrant a hospital visit.

Since so many that are so dear to me have been hurting so badly, I have gone through a series of emotions. Besides simply mourning alongside them, I have been tempted to feel guilty, because there is little that I can do for them. In addition to resisting guilt, I have found myself feeling afraid–very afraid. In the moments where I have allowed myself to drift from the Lord, I have begun to doubt that my own happiness is really secure. As I watch lives around me fall apart, I wonder when it will be my turn to lose one of my own blessings.

In the light of day, I realize this thought is pretty absurd, and also downright depressing, but when I crawl into bed at night having just finished a conversation with one of my many hurting friends, I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before I too am broken and hurting.

I realize quickly when I have thoughts like this that it is time to get down on my knees and invite God back into my incredibly hectic life and my even more distracted mind. These thoughts are from Satan, whose greatest desire seems to be for me to live in a constant state of fear.

For many, Satan achieves this in us. When we hear our friends have lost their child, we immediately whisk to our own children’s’ bedrooms to check their breathing. When we hear our friends have been diagnosed with cancer, we immediately call the doctor to schedule a much neglected check-up. When Satan cannot achieve fear, he works hard to achieve guilt. When we hear our friends have a sick child, we feel guilt for the three healthy children we have, as if our guilt can somehow diminish their pain.alone-3433137_1280

This is not the way God calls us to live. He certainly does not want His blessings to be shadowed by others’ or our own pain. He calls us to live in complete and total communion with Him. He calls us to revel in the good seasons of life and cling to Him in the painful seasons. God will see us through each season, and whether we are being showered with blessings or showered with troubles, He is to be our shelter.

Trusting God in the midst of so much pain is easier said than done. We want to question His presence and sovereignty in the vicious destruction of a Christian family or the sudden death of one of our children. However, when we are in line with His will, we realize that He is so much more powerful than our questions and our doubts. He is weaving these extraordinarily painful circumstances into something simply extraordinary.

In our pain, he creates a firm community of believers who demonstrate to the world what it looks like to fight firmly in the faith. Even while being tempted to turn our backs on Him for allowing such pain, a true believer knows, without doubt, that God reigns over it all and is deserving of our praise.

This pain that we will all inevitably experience in one way or another is a worldly pain, while God gives us a supernatural means to survive even the worst seasons of life.

Choose Peace

When it comes to the safety of my children, there are two dangers that I’m a bit of a freak about: choking and drowning. My two-year old gets so tired of me telling him to chew his food completely and sit down when he eats and take smaller bites that I’m probably going to give him a complex. I didn’t realize water made me nervous, until this summer. Every time my son has his face in the water, blowing bubbles, my heart stops beating until he is breathing air again.

These are the things that I admit without hesitation, I tend towards the freaky, psycho mom inside of me.

However, I am so laid back when it comes to my son’s daredevil antics, I will probably find him on top of our roof one day, and do nothing more than say, “Be careful.”

So, there you have it: drowning and choking are my biggest concerns. Despite the fact that my son moves toward danger like the sun to the horizon. I’ve caught him in midair more times than I care to admit. If we get through the day without a serious head bump, I fear we have offset the universe. He runs toward heavy machinery like it’s his best friend coming home from war, and my husband’s power tools have (in my son’s mind) morphed into his toys, no matter how many times his parents remind him they are indeed not toys. He also prefers hanging out with strangers over his loving and safe parents.20170720_161725

Speaking of having a complex…I’m getting anxious just thinking about it…

From sun up to sun down, I work tirelessly to keep my hoodlum safe, but most of the time I catch him doing something dangerous and mutter, “Well, I didn’t see that coming.”

I’m not overly involved with social media. I probably spend a total of 20 minutes a day cruising my newsfeed. I also have made it a point to avoid the news, and yes, I have no idea what is going on and I’m pretty proud of it. Since the media decided to make President Trump the devil, I’ve decided to live a life of bliss: in other words, a news-free life. I feel like Russia is sorta an important news story right now? I could be wrong.

However, with the limited influence I allow media to have in my life, in the past week, I have seen the following warnings to parents: Wal-Mart jelly shoes contain disturbing amounts of lead, Johnson & Johnson soap contains formaldehyde, dry drowning should be a concern to all parents, fidget spinners are a choking hazard, and baby cheese puffs need more warning labels to combat choking.

20170719_181000Really? This world needs more warnings labels? Is that for real?…

Wow. We have a problem. I never venture into an article on social media that claims to have a warning for parents—in fact, my motto is DO NOT CLICK–so these topics are simply those that I could not avoid. If I was actually searching for warnings, I could probably get you a list of about 100 in two days.

I’ve written about this before and talk about it with numerous parents, but it’s important. The media does not help, but clearly parents are responding to these kinds of stories, which are often not even 100% factual. These stories get shared repeatedly on social media, and the TODAY Show, with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, has an entire segment devoted to revealing the hidden dangers of this world.

It’s disgusting, and we feed on it like a people with no hope.

I strive for peace in my journey of motherhood nearly every day. I fight for it. I pray for it. And for the most part, God has granted me a peace that allows me to understand and accept that I am not able, in my own power, to keep my children safe. We cannot and should not be expected to anticipate every danger. This world is dangerous and our children are fragile, but going through life like the world is literally out to get our children is no way to live.IMG_20170712_160310_516

Those who pass along unnecessary warnings and rules for parents seem to have forgotten that God grants us wisdom and instincts as mothers and fathers. We are born to nurture and raise up children, and it is our decision and only our decision what is and what is not safe. If we succumb to the fear that so easily entraps parents, we will learn that nothing is safe, and we will have no choice but to lead a very sad life indeed, and so will our children.

This is not how God calls us to live. God knows how much we love our children, and we can let them rest in His hands; He is a trustworthy Father to us all.

There is a disease amongst parents today: fear, and the fear of losing a child can quickly gain enough momentum to rip any parent from the Lord. Satan sees this constant circle of fear wearing on parents, and he will not fail to take advantage of it. He will use it to teach us that we must rely upon ourselves, instead of our trusted Father, to protect our children. This is a lie. You could anticipate every danger from New York to California and still be blindsided by something you did not see.

20170712_154828It should not be a secret why anxiety and depression are such powerful forces in our society today. I don’t see optimism and hope take a front seat to negativity and fear very often. But today, and every day, I wake up and choose peace. Some days I fail miserably and catch myself worrying for my sons’ futures, their health, their safety, but then I rely upon my heavenly Father to pull me back toward Him, for he is peace personified.

I belong to Him. My husband belongs to Him. My children belong to Him.

“In peace I lie down to sleep, for in you, O Lord, I dwell in safety.” ~Psalm 4:8

A Spiritual War

The old saying goes like this, “God is bigger than your fear.”

People might say this to a loved-one when all seems lost, when there is much to be afraid of. It is meant to offer some comfort, some explanation for the fear that is sweeping away the lost.

Here is how I live: God is not bigger than my fear.

Yep, I just said that.

Am I ashamed of it?

No. God already knows this is where I am. He has already forgiven me, and He is helping me find my way out of that surprisingly disturbing statement.

Alas, this is what I believe.

God is not bigger than my fear.

I believe that any Christian who suffers from anxiety, whispers this same thing in the deepest, darkest part of his or her heart.clouds-194840_1280

When your mind is sick, and it is your mind that controls you, it is difficult to imagine God’s healing and restoration could possibly occur in such a dark place.

A person with anxiety faces a constant battle of the thoughts. It is logic versus feeling.

I know God can get be through this, but I don’t feel like He will.

I know God can free me from my anxiety, but I feel like He wants me to suffer.

I know much of what the Lord says in the Bible, but perhaps it just doesn’t pertain to this level of anxiety, this all-consuming panic that eats away my belief in Him, one unanswered prayer at a time.

prayer-888757_1280I can’t even tell you how many times I have prayed for the Lord’s peace, how many times I have begged Him in the dead of night to just reach down, and pull me out of the muck and mire that is my fears. He could do it in a heartbeat, yet, I always fall asleep exhausted from fear, not resting in peace.

My husband reminds me often that God is peace, but I remind him often that I have never felt this peace, that perhaps it just isn’t for me. A peace that surpasses all understanding? Foreign concept. Nonsense. Not in real life. Not in my life.

For those that may not be familiar with me or my blog, let me get one thing straight. The Lord is my Savior and I live for Him each day. He has saved me, revitalized me, restored me, and shown me His faithfulness in innumerable and inexplicable ways. However, there is one area I feel as though He has never touched–my fear. One fear. One fear that is the rock with which my anxiety is built upon. It is this fear that Satan has pinpointed and decided to use to finally take me down.

God is not bigger than this fear. My life has proven this to be fact time and time and time again.

When a taste of this fear, perhaps closer to a phobia, enters my mind, it feeds on every negative thought inside me so quickly I cannot even recall a Bible verse. It figuratively brings me to my knees in a matter of seconds. No logical thought exists and a wall immediately goes up between me and my oh so faithful Father. Satan begins whispering lies into my ear, and the Lord’s truth is drowned out by a panic that I am quite literally drowning in. It chokes me. I cannot breathe. I freeze, and I wait for it to consume me completely. This is the only choice I have.lifebelt-664292_1280

I know I am not alone. Anxiety is quite common these days, perhaps this is why I could not help but write this blog post. I can think of many acquaintances and friends that have trouble seeing the Lord through their sickened minds. Well, believe it or not, I have some very good news to share.

You see, I have been in the fight of my life for some time now. I have been getting along perfectly okay with my anxiety for most of my life. Occasionally, it shows me its ugly side and controls me like its puppet, but I tend to regain composure as soon as the circumstance rights itself. Recently, it showed me its ugly side—a very ugly side indeed, and since then, I have not been able to find my way back to normalcy. It has continually picked at me each day for months, and throughout these months, I have been fighting with my God—arguing with Him, ignoring Him, and trying to give up on Him.

However, God in His immense love and unfathomable wisdom chased me down. While I was fighting against Him, He was fighting for me. He has slowly opened my heart to the idea that perhaps it is Satan I should be fighting, that there is an unseen spiritual battle going on right inside my home, inside my head, and Jesus is simply the only weapon I have to fight these demons.

You see, I’m quite flattered that Satan is trying so hard to tear me from the Creator of the Universe. He certainly fears my faith….as he should. Even in my darkest battle with this unending, excruciating, controlling fear—my faith has never truly left me. I have tried to walk away from it and go out on my own, but I have always known that I will go back to it. I simply don’t know how to function without Jesus, and I am painfully aware of my infinite need for a Savior, even when I am furious with Him, even when He seems absent.

As I write this today, I am still fighting for my life, but I am part of God’s army now. He is my dwelling place. God has finally, after years of torturous avoidance and constant setbacks, shown me how to fight off my fear, Satan’s handiwork. I will not stop fighting as I have seen, if only for a moment, the power of Jesus Christ, even amidst my strongest delusions.


Don’t get me wrong. I have a very long way to go. It is about retraining my mind—a mind that has been irrationally afraid for most of my life. I must let God’s Word conquer my fear, not once, but every day of my life. I now have tools to locate God’s peace amidst a hurricane of panic and negativity.

I never thought I would be able to say this. I never thought I would actually be able to smile, take a deep breath, and whisper, “My God is way bigger than this fear, because my God has already defeated Satan.” Jesus defeated Satan, and He gave His followers the power to do the same thing, to put Satan under our feet and carry on in His peace—a peace that we cannot possibly understand, but a peace that God desires all of us to feel.

I have returned to the safety of my Father’s embrace, to the wings that protect me from the arrows that fly by day and the terrors of the night (Psalm 91). God is working a miracle, a miracle I gave up on long ago.