When Plans Change


This cookie cake sums up our weekend; it turned out to be…not exactly what we envisioned.


Mary was going to write her name in cursive and it was going to say “Jesus loves Mary” in a fancy font just like you’d see in a bakery. We were going to serve it to our entire family gathered together on the eve of her baptism.

As her parents, Will and I were thrilled when she decided she wanted to be baptized. We were baptized almost seven years ago on a somewhat spontaneous trip to the Tennessee River. As friends who had been instrumental in our coming to know Christ looked on and cheered, it was one of the most special days of our entire lives. We felt so alive coming out of that water.


So naturally, we had high hopes for this Sunday, February 10th, as our oldest daughter was ready to take that exciting plunge.

The church video was ready, the family’s plane tickets were booked, the outfit was laid out…and then it hit our home like a freight train. Oh, yes it did—the flu. Anna came down with it first. It was a curveball for sure, but not a total knockout. Then John came down hard. Not only flu, but croup. Our house became a hacking war zone as Will and I ran around with Lysol trying to stay alive. One after another, the family members cancelled their trips.

While we wanted to share Mary’s faith with our loved ones who were ready to cheer her on, we did not want to share the flu with anyone who came near us on this special day. It just seemed all wrong.

This opened the door for a challenging conversation with Mary. We talked about how comforting it is that some things never change, like God’s incredible love for her, whether or not she is even baptized. We talked about His unchanging character and the miracle of our unchanging status with Him in Christ. Then we talked about the things in life that do shift. We wrestled with the fact that sometimes things just don’t make sense. But when we don’t understand why things go wrong, we can trust God and know He must have something better in mind.

Mary agreed to postpone her baptism until May. She was born on the first day of spring and it seems only fitting that our first-day-of-spring baby would be baptized in the spring. Her birthday and baptism date will be tangible reminders that winter ends and new life comes. I don’t know what other parts of the story will unfold or what other details will be tied up, but I do believe it will be just what it should be! There’s a freedom and peace knowing we can’t mess up what God has for her and nothing can increase or decrease His love for our girl.

We spent the morning in our pajamas watching church online and celebrating other people’s baptisms from afar.


The message was about how we often come to God to change our circumstances but He responds by meeting our deepest need: He changes our hearts from the inside out. He offers us grace…and it’s a grace that is sufficient.

The only thing Mary requested is that we still make that cookie cake. We laughed as the blobs of pink icing poured out. And we talked about how just like the cookie cake, our lives are imperfect, downright messy and not exactly what we envision sometimes.

But Jesus says to taste and see that He is good (Psalm 34:8). And through twists and turns and changing plans and letting go of how we may have written the script, I believe He delights in showing us—He is even better than we thought.




Revelation: The Blessing & The Warfare

We are all living in the middle of an amazing, epic story. The ending is clear, but if I’m honest, I don’t often grasp that in my day-to-day life and thoughts. Have you read the last book of this story lately? There is a lot of confusion and fear that keeps us from the book of Revelation. I believe that’s because it is a total game changer and powerful blessing!  I wanted to invite you into it today.

This post was written for OurCityOnAHill. Please click the picture below to read. I hope you are blessed!

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Proof of Citizenship

I was going through airport security in Mexico last week and the woman who scanned my password looked at me, then my passport, then back up at me. She looked me up and down with cold eyes, and the authority of whether or not I could pass through appeared to be in her hands. Her hesitation made me think, “Oh no…I am going to be found out.” I smiled big just to look inconspicuous and then wondered if that made it worse. Was I trying too hard? What if she discovered I was a fake, a terrorist and capable of major harm to others. Could she see it?

Sometimes that is how I feel around people. I falsely place the truth of my identity in the hands of others. I shake in my bones at their scrutinizing glances and pray they will give me a pass when all along, I am approved. The truth in the security of my identity is in the seal on my passport, not their opinion. When held up to the LIGHT, the seal is authentic because of the authority of who stamped it. I am a citizen of heaven. I have nothing to fear because the seal of the Living God is on me. My identity is in Him, approved, accepted, true.

Sometimes people in the church can act like airport security people scrutinizing people’s outer appearance and wondering if they belong. But Jesus pursued the foreigner and the outsider and brought them in. His grace is sufficient. And those in the judgement seat are often the ones who most need to see its extravagance.

When judged, may we remember our security in the seal of the Living God and our citizenship in heaven – and through the power of the Holy Spirit, extend grace. And when we find ourselves in a place where people are entering, may we remember to offer them a welcoming smile and tell them to have a wonderful trip home.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20 NIV

“He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit…” 2 Corinthians 1:22 NIV

Unwrapping Your Graveclothes

Unwrapping Your Graveclothes

This post was inspired by a powerful three-part series on the story of Lazarus at Rivertree Church. This message about Lazarus coming out of his tomb is definitely worth the time to listen (from July 26th).  And, it was co-preached by Will! You can listen to it here.

Then Jesus shouted,“Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” (John 11:44 NIV)

In this moment when we see the amazing miracle of Lazarus walking out of his tomb, a picture is created for us of the mission of the church: to unwrap one another from the former things and reveal the glory of God in each other.

Jesus invites Lazarus’s community to unbind him from his burial wrappings. Can you imagine what it must have felt like for them to hear their friend’s new breath exhale after being wrapped up? Or see his new legs step out of those graveclothes and start walking?

The beautiful thing is that Jesus didn’t unbind Lazarus himself while the community watched. He did the miracle of resurrecting him and then invited them to play a part in his transition from dead to alive. And Jesus invites us as believers to do the same thing today! He does the miracle of transforming and resurrecting hearts, and invites us to play a part in stripping off what no longer fits with the new identity he gives us…

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