Go and Tell


Light shines in the darkness. and the darkness has not overcome it.

-John 1:5

Last night I went to a women’s ministry event called Night of Joy.

There were cupcakes and hot chocolate and a boutique where all proceeds went to helping rescue women out of sex trafficking. There was music, and best of all, there was fellowship. Siting around a table, catching up with friends I don’t get to see nearly as much as I’d like.

At seven o’clock, we went into the sanctuary, which was packed, and together we worshiped and listened as a sister in Christ spoke about joy.

Not the fickle, fleeting feeling of happiness. But joy. Deep down, in your bones joy. The kind that has nothing to do with circumstances and everything to do with a person.

She talked about the difference between knowing of God, and actually knowing God.

At the end of the evening, she asked the women who had experienced God as comforter this past year to stand.

I couldn’t stand fast enough, because if there is one thing God has been to me this year, He has been my comfort.

Almost every other single woman stood along with me.

She said to raise our hand if we’ve experienced Him as provider.

I rose my hand high.

She asked us to applaud if we’ve experienced Him as Wonderful Counselor, as someone who’s given us clear direction in the midst of difficult decisions.

I cheered. Because oh, have I.

She went on.

Burden-bearer. Healer. Friend. Father. Rest.  Savior.

Women cheered. Women rose their hands.  Women remained standing.

And then, when she finished, she encouraged us to “go and tell”

Because the world is dark and people are hurting and sometimes, hope is impossible to find.

“Go and tell,” she said, “because this Jesus we worship is too good not to talk about.”

The words are truth.

He is too good not to talk about.

I have seen the risen Savior.

Maybe not with my eyes, but I have seen Him as surely as Mary Magdalene saw Him all those years ago.

He’s brought me joy when there shouldn’t be joy and peace when there shouldn’t be peace. He’s lifted my head. He’s guided my path, especially this year, when we’ve  faced impossibly complicated, confusing decisions. Every single time we hit our knees and begged for guidance, He spoke clearly.

It’s been a year of waiting. A year of missing and yearning and longing. Of frustration and concern and confusion.

And yet, it’s been a good year.

Because He truly is close to the broken-hearted.

He means it when he says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Do you know this Jesus? This rest-giver, this heart-mender?

I don’t mean do you know of Him. I don’t mean do you go to church. I don’t mean do you call yourself a Christian.

I mean, do you know Him, know Him?

If you don’t, there’s no better time than the advent season to taste and see. To sit and know.

The Bible says that God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.

Well, God promises that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.

So friends, let’s draw near to Him this Christmas season. Let’s draw near and see what He does.

How have you experienced God’s comfort, peace, and provision this past year?

Inevitable Joy

I’ll be honest.

As this season drew closer, I struggled.

I wondered how it could be a happy one without her here.

You see, I don’t look forward to spending another Christmas with my daughter half a world away. When I first held her in my arms 20 long months ago, I never ever imagined that all these days later, we’d still be apart.

Yet here we are, waiting. Another Christmas will come and go without her.

Call me Scrooge, but I couldn’t foresee getting into the Christmas spirit. Not this year.

Until yesterday happened.

I stood in church, surrounded by people I love, and I sang these words:

Oh come, let us adore Him.

And it came.

Joy. Hope. Wonder. Awe.

It came without any effort or mustering on my part. I felt it to the very marrow of my bones.

Oh come, let us adore Him.

You see, the Israelites had been waiting too, with nothing but silence to fill that wait. FOUR HUNDRED years worth of silence. Four hundred years since Malachi penned his final word.

The world was broken and lost and filled with darkness. God seemed absent. Where was their promised savior?

And then. . .

Then HOPE was born.

Finally, He came! And not at all as they expected their king to come.

God reached down into this dark world. He wrapped Himself in flesh and vulnerability. He became as low as a baby. To live among us. To walk among us. To be the rescue we couldn’t be for ourselves.

Oh come, let us adore Him.

He left GLORY, knowing full well the price He would pay, the burden He would bear, the pain He would endure.

For you. For me. For us.

This is Christmas.

This is hope.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

I worried I wouldn’t be able to get into the spirit this year. But I worried for nothing.

Yes, I miss my daughter. I feel her absence profoundly, especially now, as we put up the tree and hang the stockings and wrap presents while her bedroom remains dark and empty upstairs. The ache is real.

And yet, hope is real, too. Like electricity before a lightning strike, hope charges the air. So tangible it raises the hair on my arms.

Can you feel it?

I hope you can.

If you’re struggling this season, I hope that you meet Him in a way you never have before. I hope you see with fresh eyes how very worthy He is of our adoration. I hope you experience all the magic, all the wonder those shepherds must have felt the night the angels sang of His birth. I hope you find a Bible and open up to this good news that is our rescue, and experience the inevitable joy that comes with knowing Him. Joy that has nothing to do with the circumstances of the moment, and everything to do with this small baby in a manger. Immanuel. God with us.

Hope has come!

Oh come, let us adore Him.

christmas season

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The Scariest Answer

hazy streetSo last night I had this epiphany.

You ready for it?

Sometimes the scariest road to walk down is the one marked YES. <–click to tweet

I mean, really. God’s YES can be 100% scarier than His NO.

Look, don’t get me wrong.

When it comes to all prayers worth getting on our knees about, all those heartfelt petitions we bring before the Lord–our greatest dreams and our biggest wishes and the deepest desires of our hearts–NO is not a fun answer.

It can be deflating.




But it’s also safe.

It’s familiar.

NO doesn’t involve risk, because when you get a NO, you just keep doing what you were already doing.

YES, on the other hand. YES means stepping out into something new.

And that can be a scary beast of a step.

For one, there’s the whole dilemma of figuring out whether God actually said YES, or whether we just want this thing (whatever it is) so badly, we are fabricating the  YES in our heads.

I mean, if we’re going to step out into new territory, we want to make sure we’re not putting words into His mouth, right? But how exactly do we make sure of that?

I think it’s helpful to go back to these two things:

  • God loves us.
  • And He wants us to do His will.

So if we’re on our knees–nay, our FACES–before Him. Begging God to keep  us in His will. To lead us and guide us. To confirm. To close doors. To slam those puppies shut with a bang. To give peace or unrest. To speak and speak clearly. To not let us stray from His paths. And if in the midst of all that, our heart’s cry is HIS WILL–nothing less than His Best for our lives, fully surrendering what we think His best should look like at the altar of “we know better”–then I don’t think this God we worship will let us step outside of His will so easily.

I mean, if my son, whom I love, came to me begging for wisdom and guidance and clear direction for something that mattered dearly to him, I wouldn’t blow him off. I wouldn’t be silent. I would do what good parents do–guide him through whatever waters he’s trying to navigate.

So let’s say we’re praying those prayers and then God says yes, or at the very least, He tells us to step forward into this scary unknown…

Then man, that’s a little terrifying, isn’t it?

The unknown is scary.

Especially since we know from the Bible that God’s YES is not always met with blessing and success and ease and prosperity with a pretty sunset, a big bow, and a happily ever after.

Sometimes God’s YES leads to pain or failure or ridicule or rejection or sickness or (insert any number of bad things here).

And when those things come, we’re tempted to look back and second guess if we ever really heard Him at all.

I guess that’s why it’s so important to listen from the get-go. To pray. To seek Godly counsel. To open up our Bibles every morning, because the Word’s not called living and active for nothing.

And when we feel that holy, undeniable nudge, we put one terrified foot in front of the other.

What terrifying YES has God given you lately?