Together on the Journey

I’ve heard it said that the Gospel is “one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” I love this quote, because it acknowledges that everyone is on the same level and that we have the same spiritual needs. This quote does away with the idea of “I’ve got it all together and now I will tell you how to get your life together.”


Instead this quote is the equivalent of “Hey! I’m going through that too, and here’s what I’ve discovered. Here’s the hope I’ve found.” When people can see God’s mercy and grace working in our lives they will be drawn to Him.

And that is what this 31 days of Truths That Make Life Beautiful has been about. These truths have made a difference in my life, and I wanted to tell others about them.

These are also truths that I have to keep reminding myself of. There are times when I feel alone, and I act like I’m alone. And it’s not pretty. I have to remind myself, or, more often “my people” respond to my rants with I’m with you. You are not alone in this. This is not the end. God is still good.

Thank you for going on this 31 day journey with me. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey as we point each other to the truths that make life beautiful, because we say what we think but we live what we believe.

You are loved. You are not alone. You have purpose.

We Were Made for Remembering

The interstate was packed with people trying to get home after a long day of work. I was one of those people, but my mind wasn’t on driving. I was struggling with the loss of a friendship, the sting of betrayal, and the fear of being alone. As the road curved a gorgeous sunset filled my windshield, breaking through the gloomy thoughts surrounding me.

And with the sunset, a spark of hope broke through the darkness.

“Even if I can’t rely on their faithfulness, I can rely on yours,” I told the Lord. “Every time I see a sunset, it will be a reminder that your faithfulness never ends, that your faithfulness stretches to the heavens, that you have promised to never leave me.”

And whenever I see a sunset, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness and I feel an overwhelming sense of being loved and held by God.


The sunset helps me remember the depth of God’s faithfulness. And it is good for me to remember, because  I easily forget.

As my children grow, I want them to remember the same truths we’ve talked about in this 31 days of writing: You are loved. You are not alone. You have purpose.

Made to Love by TobyMac speaks these truths with a really catchy tune. I love hearing my children belting out the chorus.

I was made to love You, I was made to find You,

I was made just for You, Made to adore You,

I was made to love, and be loved by You.

You were here before me, You were waiting on me,

And you said You’d keep me, Never would You leave me,

I was made to love, and be loved by You.

I wanted us to remember these truths, so I filled canvases with these words and let the kids loose with the paint.


God reminds us of these truths throughout His Word, from Genesis to Revelation. He says them over and over because He knows we are easily distracted, easily discouraged, and likely to forget these beautiful truths: You are loved. You are not alone. You have purpose.
These truths remind us that we are His.

We Were Made for Meaning

Late one night when the noises in the dorm rooms around me faded, I sat on my floor asking big questions. Why am I here? What am I supposed to do with my life?

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It was my Junior year at Belhaven College. Only one more year until graduation. Shouldn’t I know what I wanted to be when I grew up by now?

In those quiet moments I read 2 Corinthians 5:14.

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, for but Him who died for them and rose again.

From this verse I gathered that I was supposed to live for Christ and not for myself.

But what does it mean to live for Christ?

If I had written this post on that night twenty-something years ago, I would probably have written a list, a “10 Ways to Live For Him” that would have sounded very spiritual and pretty near impossible. I’m sure an hour-long devotion at 5:00 am before your big toe hits the floor would have made the list.

Thank goodness blogging hadn’t been invented yet.

The truth is that “living for Him and not for ourselves” will probably look different for each of us. It even looks different in each season of our own lives. Living for Him may involve caring for your mother or father while they struggle with cancer or Alzheimer’s. It may involve changing 1,234 diapers in a season of caring for babies. It may mean waiting. Waiting for a relationship, waiting for a child, waiting for an answer. Waiting and clinging to His promises.

But behind the scenes “living for Him and not for ourselves” looks pretty similar in each of our lives. Living for Him involves getting to know Him and learning to hear His voice.

We get to know Him by talking to Him through prayer, by reading His Word, by being part of a community of people who are also living for Him, a place where our faith can be encouraged and strengthened.

The word for compels is a Greek word that means to hold together, to compress, to arrest. The love of Christ holds us together.

The word compels mean to force or drive, especially to a course of action.What action does the love of Christ drive us to?

When we grasp what He has done for us, the love of Christ toward us drives us to live for Him, and not for ourselves. We live for Him in response to His love for us.

My 10 ways – list-making-college-self lived for Him in order to earn His love. What a waste. The glorious truth is that We already have His love! The life He lived and the death He died is proof of His love for us. There is nothing to earn, but plenty to be thankful for.

In the process of living for Him we get to know Him. As we get to know Him we grow closer to Him. And no matter what our season of life looks like on the outside, growing closer to Him brings meaning to our life.


We Were Made For Wonder

I loved the television series Monk. Although he was a bit extreme in his long list of fears, I could relate to some of them, to a point.

In one episode, he and Natalie, his assistant, arrived at a crime scene where a double rainbow filled the sky.  Monk couldn’t understand Natalie’s enthusiastic response to the rainbow.

His response was typical Monk.

“Not really a double rainbow, is it? “Double” implies equal. The top one is 40% smaller.”

Natalie looked at him, incredulously. “Don’t you have any sense of wonder?”

We were made for wonder. We were made to celebrate tiny details, experience tiny moments of pause in our fast-paced lives. We were made to see God’s fingerprints all over our lives.

And yet we lose this sense of wonder when our days fill up with projects and deadlines, tasks and events, when we are too busy doing to see wonder in the world around us.

Children are good at finding wonder. No matter what is going on, my children will stop what they are doing to look at the smallest bug. “Mama! You’ve GOT to see this!” When I don’t stop and look, I see the incredulous looks on their faces. They might as well be saying “Don’t you have any sense of wonder?”

We recently went to the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, MS. On the tour, we went to a petting zoo, of sorts, where we could watch and lightly touch sting rays, crabs and sea stars.

I watched the sting rays swimming non-stop in the oval tank in the middle of the room. I noticed a little boy bending down at a section in the glass where you could see the sting rays underwater. He watched for so long that I grew curious. I bent down to see what he saw.  Instead of swimming, the sting rays were gliding gracefully through the water. It was beautiful. “You’ve GOT to see this!” I grabbed my husband’s hand and pulled him down to share in a moment of wonder.


Nature often gives me moments of wonder. With animals, I’m amazed at the details, the color, the ways they act and survive. With the mountains or pictures from space, I’m amazed at the beauty. I feel small in the face of such grandeur, and, at the same time, I feel loved. God created the beauty around us and yet He knows the deepest parts of our hearts. And that thought fills me with wonder.

Indescribable also captures this sense of wonder

We Were Made for Creativity

I worked at the Iron Horse Grill in downtown Jackson, MS when I was in college.  As I waited on customers, I would often look out the windows at the King Edward Hotel, which had been abandoned for quite some time. It was a grand building, and anyone could tell that it had been beautiful at one time. That building should be restored, I often thought, well aware I didn’t have the means or know-how.

Twenty years passed and a group of people with means and know-how restored the King Edward Hotel. I had to go see it.


It was as beautiful as I had imagined.

We ate supper at the Iron Horse Grill, and from our table we could see the King Edward Hotel, in all of its restored glory.


This nostalgic experience pumped up my confidence level. I have good ideas. I wasn’t able to do anything with the thought that the hotel should be restored, but it was still a good idea. So I bought a mug to remind myself to follow my ideas, even if they seem overwhelmingly huge.

Coffee by Jennifer Pendleton at Bricks, French Camp, MS
Coffee by Jen Pendleton at Bricks in French Camp, MS

What about you? Are you leaning toward a book idea? Is there a poem rattling around your head?  Lean in toward your idea, explore the possibilities, even if it seems impossible and overwhelmingly huge. Someone needs to hear what you have to say.

Use your gifts to give others the gift of life. – Ann Voskamp

We Were Made For Intimacy

We were created to know and be known by God. We were also created to know and be known by others.

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Our hearts crave this.

And yet it is terrifying to open ourselves up to be known or to really know another person. We were created for intimacy, and yet intimacy is difficult. We are broken people in a very broken world.

Everyone struggles with feelings of alienation and isolation, whether or not we were raised with loads of siblings and very attentive parents…Sin has wrought devastation and isolation in all our lives. Our experience of sin, our own and other’s against us, has brought separation and alienation to all of us. This separation and alienation originates in our broken relationship with God and flows our from there into broken relationships with one another and even with the created world. No matter how popular we might be, none of us have ever experienced deep unity or authentic union with another. Since the day that our forefather and mother were exiled out of the garden of Eden, we’ve been lost, trying to get back in, trying to find oneness with each other and the Lord, trying to find communion, our way home. We’ve been trying to be found.  – Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Found In Him

My friend, Sara Littlejohn, wrote Maybe We Were Meant To Limp: How to Address Brokenness and I wanted to share it with you today. The way toward authentic relationships, where we are really known, is to lean in through the brokenness.

I’d love to know your thoughts about limping, brokenness, and being known.

We Were Made For Community

The word community could mean a group of people who live in the same place or who work together, people who have common interests, people who think alike.

This is not the type of community I want to talk about.

To commune means to converse or talk together, usually with profound intensity, intimacy, etc.; interchange thoughts or feelings. 2. To be in intimate communication or rapport (Thank you,
ity  is a suffix used to form abstract nouns expressing state or condition.
Commune-ity – The state or condition of being in intimate communication or rapport.
Now, this is what we were made for.

This was my first commune-ity. These are the friends who knew me. The ones I played with, fought with, and leaned on. With these girls I learned that friendship means apologizing, and forgiving, and speaking the hard truth even when no one is listening. These are the first friends who became “my people.” They taught me the importance of friendship and the richness of knowing and being known.


Of course, we were just kids. We didn’t know we were forming the building blocks of friendship in each other. We didn’t know we were teaching each other about commune-ity so that we would know how to find friends throughout our lives.

These are the girls I played Charlie’s Angels with on the third grade playground, giggled over crushes with in Junior High, and struggled with life, relationships, and Chemistry in High School. These were my people for late night talks, school projects (THAT time line in 10th grade Humanities Class), MTV (Thriller and Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You). We went to scary movies and made each other laugh during the scariest parts. We were silly and obnoxious and we loved each other fiercely.

Then we lost touch for over 25 years.

Could we reconnect? We had missed so much in each other’s lives: marriages, divorce, children, mommy moments, miscarriages, marriage struggles.

Had we missed too much, I wondered. Will the gap be too wide?

As we planned our mini-reunion, I found letters written during those lost years. Letters that helped us through the first lonely months of college, letters that grew sporadic as marriage and kids and careers filled our lives. And these letters poured over with life-giving words.

You are a blessing.  I am praying for you.

I know you can succeed. Don’t throw away the abilities and opportunities that God gives you.

I’m so thankful for your friendship.

And when the four of us finally re-connected, those words hadn’t changed.

Though years had gone by, and there were many details to fill in, our heart for each other hadn’t changed.


We were made for this type of community, for knowing and being known. We all need “our people” in our lives. People who know who we are in the depths of our being. People who love us for our strengths and weaknesses, who encourage and support us. People who are good for our heart, and refreshing for our soul.

We Were Made For Hope

Here we are!  Day 22 of Truths That Make Life Beautiful.

Your “likes” and your comments have encouraged me to keep plugging away at this series. (Thank you!) I’ve enjoyed walking with you through the first two truths: You are loved and You are not alone.

I believe that the more we allow these truths to soak into our bones and permeate our lives, the more readily we will believe the third truth: You have purpose.

You have purpose. You matter. You were made for wonderful things. Let’s explore a few of these wonderful things in the remaining days of this series.

We were made for hope.

The Hope We Were Made For And The Hope We Settle for.