Dance, Don’t Wrestle

I can feel it when it happens. Can you? A tense conversation begins to escalate and my strong emotions, my perspective, my concerns, my fears, all begin to fuel my desperation to be heard.

To be understood. To appeal to reason. To prevail.

And I wrestle. If it is someone I care for deeply, I give it my all.

And God is right. “Where words are many, sin is not absent.” (Prov. 10:19)

I say too much. I say it with too much passion. I sound strident and angry and inflexible.

All the love I truly feel for the other person is drowned out by my own voice. Instead, I usually end up injured and injuring- emotionally and physically exhausted.

Everyone has hard moments in relationships. It is a normal part of life, but it can be super helpful to have tools to navigate the stormy times. As I sat in a seminar last month, the speaker gave us this advice that has been super helpful and timely for me:

 You need to change how you are communicating. You need to dance, not wrestle. When you sense you are beginning to wrestle, shift back to where you were last dancing together about the topic and reapproach it from another angle.

Hmmm…it sounded good, but would it work when tensions were high?

The very next day it was showtime. I had to work through a super messy, emotional, life changing conversation with someone I love. I wrote “dance, don’t wrestle” on a piece of paper and set it between us.

We faced each other with those three words as the referee.

By God’s grace, as we haltingly tried to move forward in our hard talk, we began to “dance.” I stepped on her toes. She stepped on mine. But, we persevered.

When I felt the urge to “wrestle” or when I could tell she was ready for a throw-down, I shifted us back to the place in the discussion where we had been on the same page. From there, I would try to reapproach the hard topic from a new angle.

It took us a long time. This dancing conversation continued off and on for two more days as we waded through deep waters of differing perspectives and hard decisions. But I was proud of us. We mostly danced and never had an all-out wrestling match (yes, sometimes we got close). Because we had experienced successful dancing, we wanted to keep the dance going.

That was nearly a month ago. Those three words have stuck with me as I think about all of my life, not just hard conversations. Life gives us many opportunities to choose to dance or wrestle. As a friend, pointed out: the words aren’t actually saying anything new. It is just a new way to express what Jesus already told us to do: Love others the way you want to be loved.

No one wants to feel verbally or emotionally overpowered and wrestled into submission.

I have found myself wondering am I dancing or wrestling with God in the midst of the days of my life? It has been humbling to realize that I do a whole lot of wrestling with Him about the parts of my life that feel hard. Sigh.

I really want to be responsive and willing to stay in step with Him but some of His dances I have trouble following. He is a bold, strong, fearless dance lead.

But, I hope I become a better dancer as I grow to trust His leading and focus more on following Him, rather than bossing Him around this dance floor called my life.

Life is harder than I ever imagined it would be. In the six years since John died, my unexpected journey has continued to surprise and confound me with new twists and turns.

Maybe, like me, your life keeps you on your toes (& knees). I am glad for the company.

May God encourage you in the midst of the messiness of your life that He will meet you right there in the smack-dab middle of it, take your hand, and lead you to dance with Him again, or for the very first time.

And, may He teach us how to dance with one another.

hoping for more dancing than wrestling this week,
maria

 

 

 

 

If Your Christmas is Messy Like Mine

Messy and Christmas don’t seem to go together. Adults don’t have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. Oh no! Our visions are much, much loftier (and harder to attain): sparkling well-decorated homes; the yummiest of menus and treats; the perfect stack of brighly wrapped presents; peaceful, happy family moments. We want it all: all the goodness of life wrapped up with a big bow.

But sometimes life is messy. And painful. And it is no respecter of the calendar. Life has lots of ways to land you smack dab in the middle of messy when it is Christmastime. It is hard to accept when the timing is so off. So not picture perfect.

It is frustrating when you realize that no matter how hard you fight it, there is no way to get all the mess of life cleaned up in time for Christmas.

That is how this Christmas feels for me. There is lots to share about the past few months, but I will save it for the new year. Instead, I want to tell you what is at the top of my heart right now. Today. Because maybe some of you need a little Christmas courage as you face messiness of your own.

I bring you good news of great joy! Christmas and messy go together. 

Ahhhh…take a slow, long deep breath. Isn’t that good news! What a welcome oxymoron, the best of contrasts: Christmas & Messy.

This morning, a friend encouraged me to think about Mary.  It was clear to Mary that she had been chosen by God for something special and amazing. Maybe she developed some expectations of what that would look like. I am pretty confident her expectations did not include a donkey ride to Bethlehem or giving birth in a stable.

It actually looks like God was a little off on the timing of Christ’s birth. A census? And what about the stable? It seems that God was unprepared for Christ’s arrival. Couldn’t there have at least been a room in the inn? Did Mary or Joseph wonder why it was all playing out the way it did?

The first Christmas was messy. Honestly, on a scale of 1 to 10 it was about as messy and unorganized as it could have been. Really, think about it.

But, the truth is that in all that messy there was God’s perfect, purposeful plan being slowly revealed…entering in the most humble of ways so that all of us can be messy and not be scared or feel the need to hide or compensate or fake it. He actually made Jesus more accessible to all of humanity through this simple entry into our world.

And, there in that stable surrounded by smelly animals and manure and earthy sounds and all that is messy, Mary embraced the one thing that mattered: Jesus.

Oh, how peace settles over my messiness as I think about all of that. In the midst of messy I can treasure Christ. I can embrace the gift He gives me of knowing God as my Father and being known and loved by Him. He just wants me to let Him enter into my messiness.

He says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:38-20 (the Message version)

So if you are having a messy Christmas, know that I know what that feels like. But I am just a voice on a blog, God sees all your mess and wants to get right down in the midst of it with you. Just talk to Him…

As the Lord gently helps me see that my messy and Christmas go together, something amazing is happening in my heart. The hope I have in Jesus Christ and the peace He brings into my messy life is all I really need or want this Christmas.

He is our gift. He is enough. May our hearts be open to receive Him. “and to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

Merry Christmas friends!
maria

PS And if this resonates, you might want to check out Jen Hatmaker’s blog: Sabotaging Big Days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Don’t Have To Fake It

Earlier this week, big problems and small annoyances were mounting up and irritating me, but the bigger issue was deeper. Underlying my frustration was the reality of being a widow.

You see, the hardship of this journey is still the same as it was five years ago when it was fresh.  Yes, I am more acclimated to life without John, but it doesn’t change the fact that I carry life alone. The Lord encourages me daily, but the relentless, everyday pressure, work, and loneliness of doing life without him is hard. And it isn’t going away.

Stuff breaks, and it isn’t my skill set to fix it.

Decisions have to be made, and, though I have friends and family who listen and give insights, they aren’t really “in it” with me. Their lives aren’t actually impacted by the decisions. My trouble isn’t theirs to carry.

Our kids have tough times, and I don’t necessarily know how to navigate it with them. As they get older, the issues are getting more complex and far-reaching. It is a heavy responsibility to be the only parental voice in their lives, especially when I know John’s wisdom and perspective would be incredibly insightful. Some days I get angry, frustrated and despairing that he isn’t here and they only have me. I know I am not enough.

And, I simply miss the daily encouragement of having John in my life. It is an aspect of marriage I didn’t even appreciate or comprehend until it was gone. In a good marriage, it is energizing to know you have someone doing life with you. It is a huge motivator that helps you push through tough stuff knowing their love and presence will be the highlight at the end of any long day.

Some days, being a widow just. gets. tiring. (I bet you get tired of your pain too.)

This week began with one of those really hard days. In fact, I started to spiral downward in a self-pity free fall. As I walked across a parking lot hiding tears behind my sunglasses, a stranger’s genuine smile appeared out of nowhere. Eye to eye.

The smile arrested me. I got into my car shaking my head, “Lord, I am falling apart today. Help me. I am losing my perspective, my hope.”

And, He did. The last few hours of the day were filled with His goodness. Encouraging things happened. My spirit rose. My son noticed my heavy heart and loved me with a tender hug and extra help around the house. A difficult situation with my daughter resolved well, better than either of us could have imagined.

As I got into bed that night, I was talking to the Lord about it all. It had been an emotional roller coaster kind of day. I sensed Him quieting my heart with truth.

Nothing is ever going to change the fact that being a widow is a tough, hard, sad reality. It means death has robbed life. God hates widowhood. He hates that my kids don’t have their dad.  He isn’t going to spin being a widow into a blessing. When I say I hate it. It is ok. He hates it too. There are things about it that are uniquely, permanently painful.

Somehow, in those moments I felt validated in my frustration with life as a widow. I am not supposed to like this reality. I am not supposed to be working really hard to make a bad thing into a good thing.  That can never happen because something that is intrinsically bad can’t be redefined as good.

Many of you have things in your life that are sad. That are hard. Brokenness abounds in this life: Sickness. Injustice. Poverty. Abuse. Betrayal. Pain. Abandonment.

God agrees with you that the wrongs in your life are wrong. Period.

Read that again. God agrees with you that hard things are really, truly hard and heartbreaking.

And, He did something about it. He was moved to action.

He moved heaven to conquer hell. He sent His own Son to face the sin and sorrow of our lives. Jesus surrendered his life so we could have peace with God and hope for our lives, no matter what sufferings we have to bear.

God doesn’t turn away or keep His distance. Instead, He draws near us with promises to be our comfort, strength, and defender. He will stand with us against all these things, and He can bring beauty and peace and hope despite the brokenness. And, ultimately, He will make all things right.

So, you and I can rest. We don’t have to keep fighting to make bad things somehow good. We don’t have to fake it to make it. We don’t have to do more yoga or go on more vacations. Or try to power through with positive thinking. Or sleep more. Or entertain and distract ourselves from sun-up to sundown. Ever moving faster to block out pain.

Instead, we can trust Him to come alongside us; agree with us that sin and sorrow in this life are terrible realities; and bring us to the deep peace of understanding all that Jesus Christ has done for us. Jesus gives us the healing and hope we need most.

I love how Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Notice that He doesn’t say that the cause of our mourning is good, but that we will find a special solace in being comforted by God.

I have known this comfort in the past five years, and it is the best kind of comfort- genuine, quiet, steady, joyful, gentle, truthful, never forced. No one and nothing can surpass His ability to comfort our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. He lets me be real in my mourning whenever it hits. And He loves me there.

So, my prayer and hope for you is that you don’t run away from the hard in your life but that you bring it to the One who will patiently, lovingly, powerfully meet you where you are and give you strength and hope to trust Him as you keep. moving. forward.

Trusting one day at a time,
Maria

 

 

 

Easter: Our Tears Meet Hope & Joy

Happy Easter, My Reading Friends!

Every year I become more excited about celebrating this Holy Week! How could I face every day without the confident hope that death isn’t the end? What would our family do without the peace that John is safe in God’s care, and we will see him again?

God has offered us hope beyond death, and it is the best news anyone could ever hear. When death has hit close to home (or in your home), life gets bottom line serious. Who can rescue us from death’s reality?

I am overwhelmed with gratitude that God has given us hope in the life and death of Christ. I can’t imagine my life stuck in the despair of John’s death. For me, Easter isn’t just a spring holiday. It is the reason I can live and breathe every day.

As the years go by, I find that I am more aware of Easter’s roller-coaster of emotions. I wasn’t before. In years past, I was only focused on the joy of Easter Sunday. But, now, I am more aware of the grief that lead up to that day.

And, it feels familiar.

Now, I am more intimate with the pain of death. I identify with how powerless Mary and the disciples felt as the One they loved was seized, sentenced, and cruelly crucified before their very eyes. I identify with the women who woke up determined to do what needed to be done: find Jesus’s body and lovingly, tenderly, respectfully prepare it for burial. I now know what it feels like to wake up and wish it had all been a bad dream.

Yet, I am also more intimate with the sweet relief of God’s hope and comfort. Daily I live with the contrast of my sorrow over the loss of John, and the joy of knowing he is with God and our separation is temporary. I dream of the moment when I see Jesus face to face, and beyond Him somewhere will be John, alive and smiling.

Easter has become a time to rejoice that our salty tears can meet the delight of hope & joy.

There’s real sorrow as we consider Jesus’s betrayal and physical pain and unanswered prayer. Jesus personally knows what it is to suffer and die, unjustly accused, rejected, and alone.

But, Easter also fills us with relief and joy because Jesus came back to life and promises to share eternity with us. We don’t have to live dreading death.

Not only that, but our brokenness and sin is no longer a heavy burden we have to carry through each day. Jesus has brought forgiveness, grace, and life to each and every day and all of our tomorrows, as we trust that He made things right between us and God.

For people who believe in Christ as the Son of God and follow Him as Lord of their personal lives, this is a week of embracing the fullness of Christ’s story- the deepest sorrow and the greatest joy.

But, no doubt about it, Resurrection Sunday’s joy overwhelms Good Friday’s sorrow because we confidently know that the story isn’t over: we will one day finally see and be with God forever!

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4

SO IN LIGHT OF ALL THAT GOOD NEWS…

I want to give you some gifts! They are free and they can be passed along to anyone else. These are all things that have recently encouraged my faith. Just click whatever is blue and it will take you there…

I made a playlist of my favorite contemporary worship songs, many we sing at church. They are on Apple and Spotify, just click and enjoy. The playlist is the same on each one.
Apple Music: Favorite Contemporary Worship 2017-Apple
and also on Spotify: Worship Songs to Lift Your Heart- Spotify
(You will need to have Apple Music or Spotify installed on your phone or computer to listen.)

Here is a recent sermon I really enjoyed (as did my 15 yo son, so that’s a strong recommendation). “Savior” by David Dwight  Take a listen or you can watch the video. It is great to download sermons to hear as you drive and walk and cook and garden… There are many at Hope’s sermons online.

Last year I wrote a blog for Easter, and I still like it. : )  Here it is if you haven’t read it before: Easter is My Every Day

And, if you don’t have a church family, join Hope for our Easter Sunday Worship at Altria Theater in downtown Richmond this Sunday at 9:00 and 11:00. Here are the details: Hope Easter Sunday

May God fill your mind and heart with joy that rescue has come. Spread the good news!

Celebrating Easter every day,
maria

He Loves Us Back to Life

Last month, March 8 came around again and marked five years since John went to heaven. Five years is a long time to miss someone you love.

Years ago, in our early days of dating and marriage, I feared losing John. I couldn’t imagine life without him. The thought of experiencing a loss that great would paralyze me. I couldn’t imagine surviving much less ever thriving again. I believed that if he died, my life would be permanently broken.

And, then after twenty two years together, what I feared actually happened. One early spring day, he was gone without a goodbye. For months, the days were gray and the future dim, but as the years have gone by, something miraculous has been happening: God’s tender, consistent love has wooed me out from under grief’s shadow.

His love just keeps showing up. He keeps on delighting my heart with moments I love. He surprises me with blessings that I couldn’t have imagined and joy I couldn’t see five years ago. Full, real, deep, fresh joy.

And, yes, I sometimes daydream about John walking through the door and how wonderful it would be for all of us. I will always want him back.

But, God is filling my life with real joy and real laughter and real peace. And, that, surprises me. I never thought it would be possible to feel like I love my life again.

I underestimated my Heavenly Father. 

I underestimated the powerful gift He gave us in Jesus Christ.

Because, what I realize now is that
Jesus Christ is a Savior, not only for the dead, but also for the living.

On March 8, John needed a Savior, and God met John’s deepest need for rescue from death. As a little boy, John had simply believed Jesus Christ’s promise. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” At 44 as he collapsed on a jogging trail, John’s belief transformed into present reality as God brought him home to heaven.

But, all of us- John’s family and friends- needed a Savior that day too. God’s consoling love came to our rescue. He fulfilled the promises He has made to love us well when grief hits hard. His love has never stopped, whether it was through His Spirit’s reassurance in the middle of the night or as He prompted someone to help, pray, or simply give a hug.

On March 8, God’s love was set in motion in a new way in our family, and it continues to heal and restore us. Years ago when I feared tragedy, I simply didn’t account for the fact that God’s sustaining grace and goodness and love could outsize grief.

Five years out, I can truly say He is doing just that: His love is bringing joy and gladness into my life and deep into my soul. My life is becoming a different kind of wonderful as He patiently loves and steadies me. I am learning that nothing is too big for Him to overshadow with His peace and truth and presence and eternal perspective.

No matter what any of us have faced in the past or what we may face in the future, His love can bring true healing and bright hope and deep joy and settled peace. You don’t need to be afraid of what may be ahead. He will be your anchor for any and every storm.

There will be days when it feels like we’ve lost our bearing. But, it’s okay. He will be there to help our faith get back up again. It takes time to learn to trust and listen to His love instead of our emotions and fears.

But He is patient and steadily encourages us as we learn to live in today with Him. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that we are blessed to be comforted by God. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The treasure and wonder of the past five years has been experiencing God’s love and sustaining strength and peace. Jesus is right. It is a blessing to personally experience the tender comfort of God.

May you know with greater confidence that God will give us everything we need for this life’s journey- yesterday, today and tomorrow. You don’t have to go there alone.

with His love that brings us back to life,
maria

Stay in Today

You woke up today in what was your tomorrow. It is profoundly true; the future unfolds one day at a time. Methodically, rhythmically, always on time. We are getting to the future slowly but surely.

There are times when it just can’t get here fast enough because you are anticipating what is ahead. Like when there is something exciting on the horizon: new babies, weddings, graduations, trips, renovations, or a move to a new place or a new beginning.

But, then there are times when it is completely unknown and you really want a pair of binoculars. That is where I am these days. What is ahead for me? I have absolutely no idea. I know some pieces of the puzzle, but it seems like I am missing some really. big. pieces.

While binoculars can be handy, they really aren’t very helpful for seeing the step right in front of you. And, that is where we live: we live in today.

I can be so focused on peppering the Lord with questions about my future that I forget to live the very day I am in. The day He has given me to love Him and love others and do the work that is today.

Lately, the Lord has been redirecting me back into the present.

Jesus says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

And so I am reminded that I need to stay in today. Is there something I know I am supposed to be doing today? Do that. Do first things first.

Start with the thing that is smack dab right in front of me, in front of you. Little by little, day by day we will make our way into all our tomorrows. And who knows, maybe there will be something in one of our todays that sends those future tomorrows onto a whole new trajectory; one that we can’t envision now.

What we can’t anticipate when we consider the future is that we don’t know everything there is to know. We may know some realities, but we don’t know them all.

Over and over again I have found that the Lord met me on the days I dreaded with surprises of His grace that changed everything…changed how I felt, changed how the day actually unfolded.

I am trusting that His faithfulness to me on specific days will also be true of His faithfulness in the seasons ahead for me. The future that is unknown to me is completely known to Him.

I can be content today. I don’t have to know my future. Instead, I can rest in the truth that my God does know it, and He will be loving me in my tomorrow as much as He is loving me today, right now.

I have been at the beach for a few days. This morning I woke up early and felt prompted by the Lord to peek outside at the sunrise. Before I even got to the window I could see the pinkish golden glory beckoning me.

And, as I expectantly looked out over the Chesapeake Bay, within moments a new day had been birthed. A new dawn was filling the sky with streaks of fresh golden glory. What a way to begin  this today.


There is nothing like a sunrise to remind us of God’s daily faithfulness.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8

That verse says it all. Each morning God is faithful to us…the sun comes up and gives this planet and all who live on it another day full of light and life. We can trust Him.

The God who does that is the One we can trust to show us the way we should go. He will light the way forward. One day at at time.

And, so I have set aside my eagerness for future-revealing binoculars. I am living today. Some days that is the next load of laundry, other days it is the writing project that I know He put into my heart to do. He is showing me how to attend to what He has given me to do now and leave my tomorrow safe with Him.

And, He is right. I have enough light from Him to do today.

To you who read these words, my prayer for you today from a little beach house on a bay, is that your heart is full of light. It is Jesus Christ, the Morning Star, who fills our hearts and lives with light. May He rise in your heart as you ask Him to lead your way today and for every tomorrow.

His presence in your life will flood your heart with God’s love for you and you will have hope for all that the future holds.

And on one best. day. ever.  He will bring you home to Him and the light and glory will never end.

“For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, made His light shine into our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
2 Corinthians 4:6

living in today & trusting Him with every tomorrow,
maria

Daring to Dream Again

Well, we are at the end of the first month of this new year and resolutions aren’t quite as shiny. I don’t typically make many new year resolutions. Since John died, my resolutions have been simple: “I am resolved, with God’s sustaining grace, to keep putting one foot in front of the other for 365 days.”

Repeat for five  years.

But this year, something unexpected happened. One snowy Saturday morning when the year was just a few days old, the Lord began to gently challenge me. My friend, Nicole Unice had a new blog that caught my eye, “Why I Believe in Life Goals (and How You Can Set Them for Yourself).”

As I read, the tears began to fill my eyes as I faced the fact that I don’t have any dreams for my life anymore. Not like I used to. There is no life bucket list.

It evaporated when John died. The bucket still sits empty, not a drop in it.

John was part of every dream I had. There were things we wanted to do, places we wanted to go, people we wanted to help. We wanted to encourage our children and love our grandchildren. We imagined God would give us new horizons as our children left home, and we learned to serve Him in a new season.

The operative words of “we” and “together” are now obsolete. Nothing on our list will be experienced together. Instead, all of it is forever left undone.

It is depressing and scary and disorienting. For five years, the future, which used to beckon with joy, has just been a gray haze. When I try to project to the years beyond raising our children, I haven’t been able to see anything but mist.

Since John died, I have repeated this sentence hundreds of times, “I just want to finish well what we started together: raising our kids and helping them launch into adulthood.” Everyone who knows me well has it memorized.

And, I have been fully committed to it. But, I am working my way out of a job. One bird is off and has flown halfway across the country. The other two are perching on the edge of the nest. Only one remains in the nest, and he is flapping his wings with strength and confidence.

I need some plans and dreams. The future is approaching my doorstep.

You just can’t skip over this part of grieving the loss of your spouse (or other hard realities in life that cause you to start over). It is real, and it has to be fully acknowledged. It is important to make peace with what was and what you hoped would be, and then tenderly kiss your old bucket list goodbye.

Only then can you face a new future- standing in a new place, hoping to find hope.

As I sat there that snowy day and read Nicole’s blog, I felt the Lord reassuring me that I can be brave. He is with me. I can trust Him to move into an unknown future with me. 

I felt tentative. Honestly, I have never dreamed about my life all by myself. Just me. It feels strange and unfamiliar. How do I do this? Since I was 15, John has been part of every dream.

A blank sheet of paper stared at me. Daring me to write down even one dream beyond launching my children into adulthood.

It takes faith and hope in God to believe you can have a future after devastating loss.
It takes faith and hope to trust that God has work for you to do.
It takes faith and hope to believe that God desires for you to live and love and give.
It takes faith to believe God can fill your life with wonder and joy again.

You need God’s help to let go of one bucket list (like the tattered and torn one I’ve been hanging onto) so you can look at a clean, blank sheet and begin again.

I am pioneering my own life for the first time, and it isn’t by choice. As hard as it is to say, it is by God’s unique design. With His permission. With His knowledge. In His plan for my story.

He knew I would be a widow at 43. I may still be surprised, but He isn’t. And He has something in mind for my life.

It is a holy work…summoning up the desire and courage and will and hope to dream, not just survive. It takes faith in God to believe your life is meant to be fully lived right now and into each tomorrow He gives.

I am not there yet, but I am on the way.

And, I am going to share my journey with you because I know I am not the only one who is drawing a blank when it comes to dreaming again. Life has more than one way to turn your bucket list of hopes and  dreams upside down.

You will hear more about this part of my unexpected journey because it is where I am right now.

But, I leave you with this truth: You are loved by God and He desires to fill your bucket with more than a wish list. He desires to fill it to the brim with His love so that you can overflow into other peoples’ lives and love them where they are, just as they are, and on His behalf. His plans for us are fueled by love, to fuel us for love.

Rest assured. Though your future may look very different than you had hoped or dreamed, He has new plans to unfold. And they are good.

May He begin to rekindle hope in your heart today
& may He whisper God-Sized dreams into your soul,
maria