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An Expectant Heart

March 19, 2018

Where I End (A Book Review)

I am a member of Moody Publishers’ blogger review program in which I receive free copies of certain book titles in exchange for sharing my honest reviews. Below is my review of the book Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth, and Rebellious Hope by Katherine Elizabeth Clark. 

I am drawn to true stories of suffering and hope, which is why after immediately upon stumbling across this book title, I knew I wanted to read it. Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth, and Rebellious Hope by Katherine Elizabeth Clark (who goes by Kate throughout the book) is a beautifully written and beautifully honest memoir that chronicles her story of suffering when a freak accident at a playground leaves her paralyzed from the neck down and reveals her story of hope through the journey and miracles she experiences thereafter.  Read more

March 11, 2018

Wandering in the Wilderness

I can’t stop thinking about the wilderness.

My current season feels like I’m wandering alone in the wilderness – a place that is marked by darkness, loneliness, confusion, and vulnerability.

At times I feel weak and exposed like a small animal that’s being hunted by a pack of predators that lurk in the shadows with glowing eyes waiting for their chance to pounce and attack.

As I wander in this place, fear tries to grip its cold, unrelenting hands around my heart.

Will I ever find my way out of this wilderness? How long must I wander here?

Hopelessness once again tries to lure me toward it, but the Holy Spirit calls Isaiah 43:19 to my mind and speaks back: “I will make a way in the wilderness.”

Like one struggling to breathe, I cling onto these words like they’re my oxygen mask. Where I see no way, He promises a way.

I don’t miss the fact that my time of wandering in the wilderness coincides with this Lenten season where we remember the time Jesus spent alone in the wilderness. Also during this time I’m reading Brene Brown’s latest book, Braving the Wilderness. And so I think of the wilderness in all of these ways, and it’s as though they’re doing a beautiful yet cryptic waltz together in my mind.

There’s something here God wants me to see. Read more

February 16, 2018

Confessions and Convictions on Love

My eyelids crack open and the darkness of the early morning draws them back shut and pulls my tired body deeper into the warmth of the bed. Relying on muscle memory I reach in the direction of my phone to silence the alarm.

Intentionally waking up an hour before my family is a new discipline in my life (and discipline seems to be the appropriate word to use here seeing as how there is nothing natural, comfortable, or easy about this). But here I am, surrendered to this conviction that’s been growing over the last several weeks, or maybe if I’m honest, the last several years.

Sometimes it takes the pain of being broken wide open and the discomfort of discipline for goodness and growth to be ushered in. I’m seeing this now in this new journey of brokenness and restoration and of loving myself where I’m emptied and desperate for God’s for transformation in my life.

I have finally surrendered to the fact that I can no longer do the same thing over and over and expect different results. (I believe Albert Einstein defined that type of behavior as insanity – and it is). I’m leaning into God and abiding in Him as I journey down this new path of healing and loving that requires me to seek His wisdom and His ways and do new things and hard things.

I’m ready to spend the first hour of my day nourishing my soul with His Word, filling my heart with His love, laying down my worries and brokenness, praying, meditating to transform and renew my mind, learning to breathe again (literally), and showing my body gentle love through yoga and slow stretching. I’m awakening my body, my mind, my soul, and my heart.

I’m loving myself because He loves me and I want to love others.

Which is why I find myself, at 6am (which is early for this momma), with an inexplicable eagerness to begin my day alone with my Father. Read more

January 30, 2018

Lost in a Fog

The black line of the cursor blinks, keeping time against the blank white screen. My freshly polished nails rest on the smooth keys, in ready position waiting to tap their familiar beat. But my fingers don’t move. Nothing moves except the cursor I’m staring at. Hypnotized, I sit frozen on the outside. On the inside my soul begs for words to emerge, thoughts to form. But there’s nothing but a paralysis of sorts.

I can’t name it. I can’t see it. But my mind and heart feel heavy and oppressive with both the presence of too much (of what exactly I do not know other than to feebly describe as a sensation of millions of molecules darting around in a blurred, cramped chaos) and the presence of a fear induced stillness, like being lost and confused in a void of emptiness and loneliness.

I’m a paradox of being too full and empty at the same time.

I’m a paradox of too much inner movement and absolute outer stillness.

How do I start?

At first I think the question refers to the words I want to write, but it beckons me and takes me deeper. This isn’t about the words.

Questions multiply and breed spiderwebs of thoughts. They further complicate, confuse, and frustrate me. I’m stuck, but I struggle to escape and write.

I am not stranger to deep sorrow or walking through the valleys trials bring. There was a time years ago when I wrote through the wounds of brokenness and each word wrriten was like a healing stitch administered with skill and ease.

But in this season… it’s so different. In this season my heart gives birth to words and they are met by shards of glass, shredding and destroying them.

Friends gently remind me, “You don’t have to write about this season you’re in.” They are kind and speak wisdom. And they are right, but they don’t know that I can’t write around it. Somehow I have to find a way to write through it.

And yet, I’m still left asking, How? What do I write? How do I start? Read more

November 20, 2017

How to Cultivate Gratitude When It’s Hard

*This post is the second post in a 2 part series. 

Last week I shared in my post “Hindrances to Giving Thanks” some of why I struggle with giving thanks, even though I long to. If you haven’t read it yet, you can read it here before you continue on to read these words below.

I’ve learned that in whatever we struggle with, whatever hurts our hearts, there’s power and healing in lament, and there’s power and joy found in thanksgiving. 

Recently I took a poll in my Instastories and asked people if they’ve ever struggled to give thanks. 88% of people who responded, answered yes. The reality is that the majority of us struggle to give thanks. My guess is that if you’re reading these words, it’s more than likely you have this struggle too.

Maybe you aren’t sure why gratitude is hard for you but you just know it is, maybe after reading last week’s post you were enlightened to some of the driving forces behind your struggle, or maybe you’ve been living very aware of what hinders you when it comes to gratitude in your life, but you just don’t know what to do about it.

Here’s the thing, wherever you are in the struggle to give thanks, it’s crucial to understand that the moment you struggle to give thanks is the exact moment you need to intentionally seek it and practice it the most. You need to choose gratitude and keep on choosing it. Don’t give up in the struggle.

When you arrive at the place where you understand that gratitude is hard for you, yet you know the importance of it and the Bible’s commands regarding it, you’re probably left wondering, But how do I do this? How do I give thanks when I want to, but I’m struggling to and I just don’t know how to? Read more