When there’s a Bend in the Road and Everything Changes

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“I give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify Your name forever.
For great is Your steadfast love toward me;
You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”
-Psalm 86:12-13

This is my story.

In January, my life was breaking apart in ways I’d never imagined and it was at that point, while reading Anne of Green Gables, I read this:

“When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.”
-Anne Shirley, 
Anne of Green Gables

Those short sentences were a vague echo of my own heart. There was a drastic bend in my road and the only hope and sustenance was in God’s sovereignty and supremacy. He was painfully teaching my heart to lean into all the hurt and betrayal and sorrow in order to see Him as better than comfortable circumstances or realized dreams.

He made my heart believe what has always been true: He cannot be false to His faithfulness and He is unfailingly good to His children.

With an inkwell of grace, God has authored a story unlike anything I would have written for myself. As 2017 melted into 2018 and now as 2018 creeps up on 2019, there have been so many plot twists and bends in the road. So much stripping and emptying.

And so much filling.

“You have filled my heart with greater joy.”
-Psalm 4:7

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Five More Things I’ve Learned While Nannying

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The following post is a continuation to this article, previously posted on Unlocking the Bible. I recommend reading the original article before continuing.

Ten months ago, I was an assistant editor for a magazine I fiercely loved and firmly believed in.

In a swirl of happenings, God mercifully rerouted my dreams and plans and, nine months ago, I started nannying two kids that I fiercely love and firmly believe in.

My days are spent with a 3 year old and 15 month old and my nights typically end with my clothes and hair being hugged by pancake syrup, paint, peanut butter, and an assorted sprinkling of crumbs and stickers.

Spotify now constantly asks bizarre questions like, “Do you want to jump back into your Thomas the Train playlist?” and “Explore other titles similar to Puppy Dog Pals and Disney Favorites,” and the backseat of my car is now accessorized with children’s car seats and a few rogue toys. The bottom line: life is a lot different than it was nine months ago.

And though I aspire to be a nanny like Mary Poppins, this profession highlights less of the magical spoonful-of-sugar moments and more of my weaknesses and acute need for a Helper of my own.

Here are five more things I’ve learned during the last nine months of nannying.

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Be Gone, Unbelief

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It’s no secret Susannah Spurgeon is my favorite.

In the biography Susie, biographer Ray Rhodes Jr. says,

“For Susie, it was always the Gospel, always Jesus. Man is at sea, tossed, helpless, and facing certain death. But there is a ‘majestic Man.’ He is not unaware of the hopeless condition of His people. He is watching. He is the Savior who ‘will tread under His feet the waves of that turbulent sea’ and subdue its dangers as He rescues those whom He so graciously redeems. Such was the writing of Susie Spurgeon.”

Rhodes also referenced the following hymn, part of which, he later explained, is engraved on Susannah’s tombstone (“His love in time past forbids me to think // He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink”). I looked up the rest of the lyrics and was blown away. What a gift these words have been to my heart the last 24 hours.

I hope they bring fresh drops of mercy to your soul as well.

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September Reads

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September was a crazy month. 

Despite how eventful the 30 days were, quite a bit of time was open for reading and listening to books. Here’s what filled my heart’s bookshelves this past month. I’d love to know what’s filling yours.

“I am a part of everything that I have read.” -Theodore Roosevelt

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When Goodness is the Trial

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For me, 2017 and 2018 are a study in contrasts. 

Last year was dark and stripping. Depression came, people left, the wilderness was stifling and sanctifying. The painful shaking out of all my dreams and plans was healing and holy, necessary and good. And, while I wouldn’t particularly love to go through everything again, I would repeat it all in a heartbeat in order to be where God has me today and to know Him as I do now.

Because of the lessons in the wilderness, I can tell you with more conviction and clarity than ever before that God’s Word is true, His promises are real, and His grace is sufficient. His character is flawless, His methods and ways are good, and His purifying fire never gets a degree hotter than He intends. He is trustworthy in our trials, torment, and terror, and He calls us to lean into all of those things in order to receive what we crave most: more of Him.

It’s in that receiving we quickly learn that He is better than the fulfillment of any and all earthly desires. Jesus is better. I want to go to my grave declaring it to be so. He is better than our hardest battles and deepest sorrow, better than an easy path or comfortable lodgings in this world. He is better than relief from trials or realized dreams. And, as I often repeated to my forgetful heart last year, knowing Him is better than knowing what He is doing.

“If every good thing He has given were to vanish, we would still be safe in Christ––and our basis for gracious gratitude would have no reason to be changed at all.” -Mary Mohler, Growing in Gratitude

But what if those good things aren’t removed but instead stay and multiply? What about trusting Him in seasons of abundance? I know He’s better than His gifts, but how do I accept and enjoy those gifts without shutting down from fear of their removal?

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June, July, and August Reads

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As previously mentioned, a lot of things happened over the last few months.

Though books have long been some of my most faithful companions, they took a backseat in June and July. However, the sunny days of August had more room for those magical portals of the written word and, for my sanity’s sake, they were devoured.

Here’s what’s been filling my heart library. I’d love to know what’s filling yours!

“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.”
-C. S. Lewis

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Plot Twists and Current Happenings

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Life is full of plot twists, isn’t it? 

The last eight months have unfolded into one beautiful plot twist after another, stirring my heart with so much joy and even more love for the One who authors this grace-drenched life. Lots of things have happened and one day those things will work its way into sentences and paragraphs to share with others, but until then, here are some things I’ve been up to:

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We Wrote a Song?

Once upon a time, Joseph Durham and I wrote some songs and now one is on iTunes and Spotify and it’s just so bizarre.

In February 2017, life was a little bit crazy with a lot of relational newness, strains, and one trial after another. I didn’t know it then, but we were on the threshold of a wilderness where the light would soon fade, the storms would get rough, but the Lord’s hand would still guide.

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When Your Heart Breaks: Jesus Stays

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“Broken hearted one, Jesus Christ knows all your troubles, for similar troubles were His portion too.” -Charles Spurgeon

The middle of May was hard.

Though the spring sun was shining its way into summer, clouds were rolling into my heart and the horrible, unwelcome darkness of the depression I thought was conquered slithered into my soul.

The following is a raw and bitter-but-trying-to-preach-and-believe-truth journal entry from May 25. Maybe someone else needs to be reminded, as did I, that there is One who will never change His mind about us.

“For the Lord will not forsake His people;
He will not abandon His heritage…”
-Psalm 94:14

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