When Nausea is a Good Thing

We’ve made it to the fifth (and final) area of our video series: Back to Badass: Living Life with Courage, Strength, and Resolve.

This area is Stepping Toward our Dreams. The action point for this area sounds pretty easy, Do one thing each day to step toward our dreams, but you and I both know that pursuing dreams involves overcoming fears, facing our insecurities, and our feelings of worth.

Not so easy.

We need courage, strength, and resolve to even start pursuing our dreams and these qualities actually increase as we pursue our dreams. It’s a wonderful cycle that helps us push past our comfort zones. You know, that place where things feel safe and comfortable and where you hear the whisper “that’s not for you. that’s for other people.”

I’m not against safe and comfortable by any means, but I’ve discovered that if I’m staying safe and comfortable out of fear… then it’s not a healthy place to be.

“If your dream doesn’t make you want to throw up, it just isn’t big enough.” When it comes to pursuing dreams nausea can be a good thing, especially when it’s accompanied by that “I was made for this!” feeling.


I’d love to know your thoughts on these quotes:

If your dream doesn’t make you want to throw up, it’s just not big enough.

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you aren’t.

As I pursue my dreams, I ‘ve discovered that I am my own roadblock 90% of the time. I think of all the reasons I can’t do something instead of asking “What would it take for this to happen?”

I am more likely to ask this when I am living with courage, strength, and resolve.

What about you? What would it take to step toward your dreams?



Podcasts: Chalene Johnson, Lewis Howes, Michael Hyatt

Hopewriters  – The community at hopewriters.com has changed my writing and inspired me to continuously step out of my comfort zone. Being a part of this community has helped me move forward in the writing side of writing and in the sometimes-scary tech side of writing. The low monthly fee is the best investment I’ve made toward my writing dreams.  (The link on the sidebar of my blog is an affiliate link.)



Finding Hope When Fear Rages


Fear is running rampant, unchecked and wild, through our world. The events unfolding before us is a large-scale picture of what has been going on in our homes and in our hearts since (almost) the beginning of time. Fear is a one-size-fits-all epidemic. It uses the same methods when it rears up in my heart, in my marriage, and in my friendships as when it runs through a crowd or a nation.

Fear isolates. It whispers in the darkness “You are alone. No one will help you.” It covers us with shame to keep us bound in addictions. It makes us think no other marriage has struggled like ours, no other person has had dark thoughts like these. It whispers lies to keep us from coming into the light.

Fear encourages us to see others in an all-or-nothing sense. It paints people with a wide brush so that it can make them objects and not real people. It divides people into groups and creates division and anger with statements like

All __________ are ____________. (You fill in the blank)

Statements like these create further division because no one likes to be painted with a wide brush. Fear makes us forget that people are individuals, created by God and therefore worthy of respect. We forget that these individuals have independent thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.

Fear takes away curiosity. Fear makes us so ready to defend ourselves at all cost that it takes away our ability to ask questions that will help us understand someone else’s point of view.

Fear begets fear. The more we surround ourselves with fearful thoughts, statements, and actions, the more fear will surround out hearts and paralyze us.

Fear chokes out hope. Fear screams and calls for immediate, desperate action. Fear makes us think we are alone, without help, and ultimately without hope. Fear paints the future in total darkness.

Fear is like a tornado. It is loud and destructive and throws debris on everyone around. As long as the tornado is there, no one can reach out to help, no one can be heard over the noise, and everyone gets hurt.

Hope is something else entirely. Hope starts out quiet, sometimes as a small spark. The presence of hope can remove the fear tornado so that healing can take place.

Hope builds community. When we surround ourselves with people who fight for hope, we hear these beautiful words, “You are not alone. I am with you.” They remind us of truth, which brings us into the light. And Hope Warriors lovingly help us let go of the lies we’ve believed for far too long.

A photo by Steven Wei. unsplash.com/photos/g-AklIvI1aI

Hope makes us curious. It makes us question the way things are. We ask “What if…” “Does it have to stay this way?” “What would it look like if…” or “What am I hoping for?”

As we see each other as individual humans, and ask the curious questions in order to understand different views, we get to know each other. And we will find that what we have in common, the search for love, security, acceptance, and worth, is important.

Hope begets courage. Hope stirs a quiet, fierce strength inside us. Hope helps us believe the future could be good. When those around us are pointing us toward truth, we grow brave. When we point others toward truth, we grow strong.

Hope reminds us that change is possible. It reminds us that the last chapter has not been written, and that we hold the pen to begin a new chapter.

When we fight for hope and live brave, so much is possible.



When There Is No Script: Recap

Coffee by Jennifer Pendleton at Bricks, French Camp, MS

I would love to sit down with you as you read this. I would love to visit over a leisurely cup of coffee and hear about the parts of your life that have no script. The parts that leave you feeling helpless and hopeless. The parts that make you say, “What am I supposed to do now?”

I would tell you about the situations in my life where I’ve slammed into brick walls, hurt, confused and wishing I had a script to follow, a map out of the darkness, a way to stop the pain.

As the steam rises from our coffee cups, we can remind each other that the brokenness of this world will knock on our front door, no matter how much protection we think we have wrapped around our life. There’s no bubble wrap for life.

And that is where the fight for hope begins. Because when there is no script, we get to write our own lines. We become Hope Warriors. And we just may find the badass hiding inside us as well.

When There Is No Script has been about finding our footing in the darkness, asking questions about the journey, and meeting brave Hope Warriors along the way.  We’ve looked at questions like:

Why fight for hope?

What is hope?

What does fighting for hope look like?

What is a hope warrior?

What is brokenness?

Sprinkled among these posts, I’ve had the honor of sharing stories of Hope Warriors – people who have decided that the struggle will not define them, and the darkness will not win.

Heather Hollander wrote about the reality of having hope when the world is filled with suffering and tragedy in her post Do The Next Thing.

Tara Dickson shared about her fight for hope in the midst of losing her husband to brain cancer in Beauty in Sorrow.

Becky Spies shared how God beautifully redeemed the broken and hurting places in her life.

Linsey Ewing wrote a courageous post about  becoming a Hope Warrior and her journey with Bipolar Disorder.

Tammy Gonzalez shared a piece of her story that reminds us of the power of words – the negative ones we speak to ourselves and the life-giving ones we receive from others.

Natalie Ogbourne wrote about her fight for hope in the midst of discouragement and despair in Standing Against the Waves.

These stories are so important. It took great courage for these ladies to write about their fight for hope and it gives courage to us, the readers of their stories. Because even if our struggles don’t look the same, our needs are the same. We need to know that we will see the beauty of redemption and that the fight will have been worth it.

The darkness doesn’t last, but the strength that comes from fighting does.

Keep fighting for hope, my friend.

You are worth it.

Becoming a Hope Warrior

I am so excited to welcome Linsey Ewing today. Linsey is my cousin (which makes her FABULOUS in my book) and, even more important, she has a story of hope that she is just beginning to share.  Linsey’s courageous post gives an inside view of her fight for hope in the midst of being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.


“Hope warriors are people who know their own brokenness, who aren’t afraid of the brokenness they see in others. They are people who say ‘I am with you. You are not alone.’”

When I saw these words on Erin’s blog, I gave a mental cheer.

I’m a Hope Warrior!


I believe hope is an essentially human quality—what separates us from every other creation in the universe. For a time, though, I forgot this little maxim of mine, and I gave up hope, or I thought I did. I stopped listening to myself and I failed to recognize the great power I had within me—the power that hope gives us.

Now I know I’m a Hope Warrior and I do my best to use that power every day. I’d like to share my story with you, my struggle for hope and how that hope was, for a time, a bent and twisted thing, and the freedom that I’ve found in real hope.

I’ve struggled with depression all my life. Even as a young child I withdrew from people, partly because I am intensely introverted, partly because I would occasionally receive an emotional blow from some heavy, age-inappropriate topic and needed to retreat to process it.

My depression became more pronounced through my adolescence and young adulthood, when hormones and general angst didn’t do me any favors, and I fought it through every means available.  I went to therapy, took prescription medication, and self-medicated with a lot of alcohol and a little drug use.  Several of those things worked, while I was using them, but none of them treated the underlying problem, mostly because I never realized there was an underlying problem.

Though I got several “diagnoses,” no one explained to me that I had a disease that would require constant attention and treatment. As a result, I would go to therapy or take anti-depressants for a few months, feel better, and stop treatment until it got so bad that I needed help again. And I only got help when it was really bad—when I stopped functioning, couldn’t stop crying, couldn’t get out of bed for a week, or had self-harm fantasies.

The worst of these times was March 2012. In the first months of that year, my life flipped upside down, and I was under extreme pressure.  I completely broke down, as I believe anyone would have under the circumstances. I was encouraged seek help, which I did, and I was put on yet another anti-depressant. This time I stayed on it.

Six months later I met some friends at a local bar for drinks. When they were ready to go, I told them I was going to finish my beer and I’d be right behind them, but I didn’t leave after that beer. I stayed another five hours. I drank more beer. I drank a total of eight 16oz cans of beer. I closed the place down, talked to everyone there, almost went home with someone to whom I’d given a fake name, and all but danced on the bar.

At closing, I got in my car and drove home. I passed two police cars, one of which had someone pulled over, but no alarm bells went off. I missed my driveway and had to back up and try again. I walked in the door and fell in my bed fully clothed including shoes.

When I woke up, I couldn’t believe what I had done—literally couldn’t believe I had acted that way. (Remember how I said I was an intense introvert?)  I hate talking to strangers. I don’t like bars and will only go if I’m with a friend or a small group and don’t have a choice. I’m not a drinker since my early college (self-medicating) days. I am a rule-follower—it’s not like me to drive drunk or be heedless of authority figures around me.

This behavior was so far outside my character it was like I’d been possessed. I was so ashamed of myself that I spent that Sunday wallowing in self-hatred. First thing Monday I began making calls, trying to find a doctor to help me figure out what happened.

Many months and mental health professionals later, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, untreated and undiagnosed because I had only ever presented with symptoms of depression and this was my first manic episode. It did, however, mirror an earlier period when I was drinking heavily (self-medicating with a depressant) and acting out wildly, but at that time neither I nor anyone around me was aware I was acting out of character. Basically the depressants (prescription or otherwise) only treated half of my disease, causing the other half to manifest disproportionately.

Bipolar also explained other behaviors that I now know are hypomanic (still potentially harmful, but not as obviously reckless as behaviors typically associated with mania), but that I had always assumed were character flaws or strengths: bouts of frenzied spending; inability to manage my money;  times when I would start a dozen projects without completing any of them; times when I would take on more than any reasonable person could expect to accomplish—and pull it off; losing time; and soaring feats of creativity and accomplishment.

Those words, “Bipolar Disorder” were like a death toll for me. Those words meant I was crazy and I would never be normal. They meant I would have to keep this filthy secret about myself, because I would be judged from the moment anyone knew and no one would ever love me. I knew I’d never be able to have another romanic relationship, because who would want to be with someone crazy? I knew I’d never be able to have children because I wouldn’t be able to take care of them, plus I could pass this disease along.

I no longer knew what parts of me were me and which parts were the disease. I suddenly didn’t know who I was anymore.

In my mind, depression was an ok thing to have (remember I’d never thought of it as a disease), but Bipolar Disorder was a disorder, something that I’d have to live with forever, from which I could never be cured or healed, for which there was no hope.

Speaking of hope, isn’t that supposed to be what I’m talking about?

Yes, but Erin’s quote is also about brokenness—recognizing it in ourselves and others and being unafraid of it. I’ve never been afraid of others’ brokenness, but I was terrified of my own. I thought it was my fault for being sick—not that Bipolar Disorder explained why I did sometimes did “bad” things, but rather it was the reason I was a bad person.

I lived with this mentality for four years, and I got so used to living with it that I stopped noticing how it affected my outlook and attitude.  In those years I had more big life-changes, and in 2014 things really started to go downhill fast. I stayed depressed—my medication kept me out of bed most of the time, but I lived in daily fog of unhappiness. When I paid attention to it at all, I blamed the depression on my external circumstances—my living situation, my home, my job. I never acknowledged that things were steadily getting worse, regardless of what was happening in my environment.

Then my amazing therapist recommended (actually, she more or less twisted my arm off) I enter a outpatient day program to see if we could get to the source of the problem. What finally convinced me to try it was when she looked me in the eye and said “We are missing something. Your quality of life is shit.” I realized she was right, and I hadn’t noticed.

Some other things I hadn’t noticed until I was in the program was how little I was doing to help myself—how little hope I had, and how twisted and wonky that hope was.

I never hoped to get better. I never hoped to be understood, accepted, treated fairly, or acknowledged as a human being rather than a disease. I never hoped to be loved for my true self. I never hoped to be successful or to do meaningful work. I never hoped to get married or have children.

Here are the things I did hope for: I hoped it would go away. I hoped swallowing pills would remove my symptoms—I was right to take my medications, but I never paid attention to what they were (not) doing for me, so I failed to participate in my own treatment. I hoped that other people would read my mind, that they would research my disease and find ways to help me with it, but I was unwilling to communicate about or research it myself. I hoped that people would love me in spite of my disease and for myself alone, but I withheld myself from them. I hoped that I would not get depressed or manic, but did nothing to prevent it. I hoped people would reach out to me, but I withdrew from them and sometimes even punished them for asking questions. I hoped that therapists and doctors would cure me, but I did little to help them understand what was wrong.

But this story has a happy ending. Now that I’ve completed treatment and embraced my Hope Warrior status, I’m happy to say that I’m healthier than I have ever been, and my hope is fat and healthy. I can contemplate my own brokenness without fear, or even sadness.

I have accepted that I have an incurable disease, that it is part of me but doesn’t define me, and I believe I am great because of and in spite of it.

The best news is I have TONS of hope. Here’s the thing though—the hope I have these days isn’t always big or grand—I can’t always manage to hope for world peace—but it’s real and realistic, and that’s the cool thing about hope. It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be there.


Here’s what I hope now: I hope my story helps you, whether or not you are mentally ill. I hope for some of you I put words to things you didn’t even know were in your heart, as Erin’s words did for me. I hope you see that the following list can apply to any situation that seems hopeless, not just facing Bipolar or another disease:

Oftentimes hope for me means getting out of bed in the morning, not going to bed in the afternoon, or setting a 30-minute timer for being in bed. Sometimes hope means hanging on when I know things will not look better in the morning or for many mornings after—when I know tomorrow will be just as bad if not worse than today.  It means having faith that, when I’m doing things that hurt me, I will eventually stop—that at some point I will come back to baseline (or “normal”) and I will be able to sort out whatever mess I’ve gotten myself into.

Hope is forgiving myself for making those messes and planning for future messes. Hope is strategizing ways to keep myself safe when I’m not myself. It’s asking for help from those who love me and trusting that they do love me, even when I feel most unlovable.  It means being open and honest about what I’m going through, with myself as well as with others. Hope means knowing I have a disease that is at best manageable, not curable, that it does and will affect me every day of my life, but that does not mean every day has to be affected by it.

The hardest part of being a Hope Warrior is knowing that my friends and family do not understand, not because they don’t love me, but because they are not me. They don’t understand because they are ignorant, and that is not their fault. They don’t feel and see and know what I do. If I want them to, I have to tell them, but my powers of description are limited, and I need to realize that they will never completely understand. My parents will continue to ask questions that hurt me. My friends will continue to invite me to do things that would be harmful to me. They can’t remember everything, and they are not responsible for my care.

Hope is remembering, when those things happen, that it does not mean I am unimportant or unloved. Hope is caring for myself instead of waiting for others to do it for me. Hope is choosing to see love as it is given to me, not only how I would prefer to receive it.

Hope is hard.

That’s why it takes a Warrior.

What Is A Hope Warrior?


My sister and I grew up watching Wonder Woman fight for justice every afternoon after school. We cheered as she deflected gunfire with her bracelets and wrapped bad guys in her Lasso of Truth. We spent many hours playing Wonder Woman, fighting against imaginary villains. We made bracelets out of duct tape and used rope for our own Lassos of Truth.

Our parents loved the Superman movies. At the end of these movies, everyone in the theater would clap and cheer when Superman saved the day.

Our family enjoys watching the old Batman television shows. My kids love it when the words “ZAP” and “POW” pop up during the fight scenes. And then there’s the way everything is labeled. The secret entrance to the bat cave, the bat-shark repellant that appeared on batman’s belt right before he battled a shark, the buttons on the bat computer.

It is inspiring when someone stands up to evil and wins, especially against unbelievable odds. We clap and cheer for our favorite super heroes, even though deep down we know victory is sure. Superman always saves the day, Wonder Woman always gets the bad guys and Batman will not rest until the villains are in Gotham jail.

In real life, however, the struggle doesn’t follow a script. We don’t figure out a solution between commercials. The warriors don’t have to change into a certain outfit to fight. And the villain doesn’t always have “bad guy” written all over him.

In real life, fighting for hope is a constant, costly battle that wears on us-mind, body and soul. A Hope Warrior is someone who engages in that battle because they do not want despair to have the last word. Hope Warriors have a quiet, fierce strength born out of a belief that circumstances do not define a situation.

Hope Warriors are as different as the battles they face, but they do have a few things in common.

Hope Warriors are real.

They don’t hide behind the word “fine”, and if you say “How are you?” they will probably answer honestly.  Sometimes they even let loose on the expletives, because honestly, sometimes the thing that best describes a situation is a well-placed four letter word.

Hope Warriors Feel.

Hope Warriors aren’t the ones who hunker down and just try to make it through a situation. They feel the emotions. My friend Sara Littlejohn tells me often “Up and out, Erin. Let the emotions come up and out.” Stuffing emotions doesn’t make us strong. It makes the pressure build up until we reach our breaking point or look for ways to stay numb. And we weren’t meant to live life numb.

Hope Warriors go to counseling sessions because it will help them. They do the hard work of repair so that healing can happen. Hope Warriors step toward healthy. And they want that for those around them.

Hope Warriors reach out to help others.

As we fight for hope we recognize Hope Warriors around us and we cheer them on. We know how hard it is to keep hoping and we know that hope is worth fighting for. Hope Warriors need each other because there are days when our circumstances mock any bit of hope we feel.

Hope warriors are not people who have it all together. They are not people who give surface answers to the messiness of life. Hope warriors are people who know their own brokenness, who aren’t afraid of the brokenness they see in others. They are people who say “I’m with you. You are not alone.”

Hope warriors

Are you wondering if you are a Hope Warrior? Take a look at your life. Has there been a time when you’ve stood before the darkness in your life and yelled (or even whispered) “You. Will. Not. Win.”

Hello there, Hope Warrior. I’m so glad you are here.





Why Fight for Hope?


I was doing just fine until I read The Healing Path by Dan B. Allender.

Wait…that’s not true. At all.

I was running from my story, really. And this book said things that made me turn around, face my story and own it. In the midst of facing my story, this quote spilled across the pages:

Hope is by far one of the most dangerous commitments we make in life.

I’d never thought of hope as being dangerous.

I’m not really a fan of danger. I can’t even stand the suspense of hide and seek.

This video describes my reaction to danger.


Not brave, not courageous, just a total flip-out. You can ask my children. They love re-enacting times when I’ve completely lost it. It’s not enough to tell the story, they want others to fully experience it. They are true Southern storytellers.

But this quote makes me rethink my aversion to danger. This quote makes me feel a bit wild and unpredictable as I push against the darkness in my life and yell (or sometimes whisper) “You will not win!”

Why is fighting for hope important? Why would anyone step willingly into danger’s path?

Because we have worth.

Right now, as I write this and as you read this, these words are true: We have worth. You have worth. I have worth.

We are more than our abilities. We are more than our struggles. Our worth does not come from our looks or financial status. Our worth is not determined by a lack of looks or financial status, either.

We have worth because we were created by God, who calls us worthy, who breathes life into every soul, who calls us beloved and precious. We are not a random bunch of cells that happened to group together and form a person. We are loved tenderly by God, who also says that we are worth fighting for.

We are worth the fight.

Because we weren’t meant to live life numb.

During difficult times, my first response is to build a cocoon around my heart to keep from feeling the hurt. We all have ways to cope with the fact that life is messy, confusing, and unpredictable. We distract ourselves in video games, TV series, and books to keep from dealing with life. We over-do good things: stay too busy, eat and drink too much, or shop too much.  We even turn to harmful things like drugs, porn, gambling, cutting, or purging to keep us preoccupied and numb. The list goes on and on and the end result is the same.

We are miserable because we weren’t made to live like this.

We were made to feel. We were made to fight for things that matter. We were made to live in this broken world, to walk through the difficult times without being hardened by them.  It is through the battle that we develop perseverance, courage, and compassion.

We were made for hope.

Because no one else can fight in our shoes.

We live in a broken world with hopelessness crowding in at every turn. Our news feeds are filled with tragedy and sorrow. Despair is a normal response to what is going on around us, but I believe people are looking for a different response. When others see us facing the darkness in our lives and yelling (or even whispering) “You. Will. Not. Win.”  they see that despair is not the only response.

I am convinced that God places us strategically in families, in friendships, in relationships, in communities. And these spaces need Hope Warriors. I look at my own marriage and our struggles, my kids and the things they face, and I know that God has placed me right here to fight for hope. The same is true for you, my friend.

Why fight for hope? Because the last chapter has not been written. As dark as things seem, God can and will work in the situations you and I are facing right now. And when we choose to fight for hope, we are participating in the bigger story He is writing in this day and time.

Fighting for hope is dangerous. It’s also contagious. Our lives, our stories – even the chapters we don’t like – impact those around us.

And the more I fight for hope, the more I suspect that there may be a badass deep down inside of me. One that doesn’t flip out at the first sign of danger, but one who owns her story with style.

our story









I have the privilege of living and working at French Camp Academy, a Christian boarding school tucked away in French Camp, MS along the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway . It is a place where people fight for hope every single day.

I had the opportunity to write a post for the French Camp Academy blog this week. It is called Impressions. Life at FCA definitely resembles a fish bowl. Today’s post gives a glimpse into what happens in “fish-bowl living.” To read this post, click here.

If you know a young person who might need a place like FCA, you can find out more at www.frenchcamp.org


The Power of Community



Some of my favorite people (and one stuffed animal) helped me celebrate my birthday earlier this week.

This birthday felt like a big one. I’m thankful for the life I’ve had and at the same time I want to “ponder the path of my feet.” (I love that phrase in Proverbs.) I want to pause and look at the direction of my life to make sure I am heading the way that reflects who I am.

And this blog has been part of the pondering. I love writing. I have to write. Really, I do. One time I tried to give up writing and ended up scribbling my thoughts on napkins. It’s a definite need. And as I write, I want to write things that add value to the lives of my readers.

I am so thankful for you, my readers. I am thankful that you clicked the follow button and joined this community of Hope Warriors. I am amazed that something I wrote resonated with you and made you want to read more. Thank you for allowing me to share bits and pieces of my story with you. Thank you for being a part of this community.

As I wrote on my “About Me” page, I believe we are made for hope and I equally believe that we grow stronger by being in community with other hope warriors. Hope warriors are not people who have it all together. They are not people who give surface answers to the messiness of life. Hope warriors are people who know their own brokenness, who aren’t afraid of the brokenness they see in others. They are people who say “I am with you. You are not alone.”

Our world needs hope warriors. It needs people who can stand firm in the swirling darkness and say “What you mean for evil, God will turn into good.” Our world needs people who cling to the beauty of redemption, because there is so much that is broken.

Since our world needs hope and hope warriors need each other, I believe our little community is going to grow.

I’d love to know: What are some topics you’d like to read about? Is there an aspect of fighting for hope that you’d like to know more about?  Are there questions about hope that you want to ask? Would you like to share your story of fighting for hope by writing a post?

Keep fighting for hope, my friend. I am so glad you are here.


When You Don’t Feel Like A Ninja


My daughter threw a sticky ninja onto our dining room ceiling this week. He has been there all week, just holding on. This sticky ninja perfectly describes the climate of our home  All five of us are just hanging on while school-chaos, work-chaos, life-chaos swirls all around us.

We are usually pleasant people to be around. Pleasant people who can speak in complete sentences. But in this state of done-ness, we’ve settled for conversations that sound like:

She did it to me first!

Stop looking at me! 

Go away!

Turn that music down! 

It’s as if we are all wearing sandpaper on our skin, constantly abrasive, constantly irritated.

And our emotions are all over the place. Yesterday I had one child skipping around, excited about a field trip, and one child sobbing on my shoulder, I’m sick of school! Then I sat down and cried for half an hour about my son’s upcoming graduation from 6th grade. They were happy-celebrating-a-milestone tears, but they were still tears.

This milestone is hitting me hard and my husband is baffled. It’s just 6th grade, he keeps saying. But it’s so much more. I feel like we’ve come so far.  I went from holding an infant, feeling the full responsibility of parenthood for the first time, to beholding a 100 pound man-cub standing in front of me. It’s just a bit overwhelming.

What about you? How are you these days?

Is life swirling around you, too? Are you just holding on, waiting for a chance to catch your breath? Are you feeling D-O-N-E?

I keep telling my 6th grader. You are so close to the finish line. Keep going, keep doing your best. You will be glad that you finished well.

And I want to whisper those same words to your heart and mine.  Keep going, keep doing your best. Keep fighting for hope, even in the darkness. We never know how this stage in our journey will impact the next. We never really know who is inspired by our perseverance until it’s all over.

Hang on, my friend! Hang on like a sticky ninja!






The Beauty of Redemption


I love words and meanings. Lately I’ve had my sights set on the word Redemption and these hope-filled phrases: to ransom completely, to rescue from loss, to release, preserve, deliver by any means, rescue.

The Old and New Testaments paint a beautiful picture of redemption through verses like these:

“But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol…” Psalm 49:15

“Into Your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.” Psalm 31:5

“The Lord redeems the life of His servants, none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.” Psalm 34:22

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14

From these verses we see that God is a God who fully rescues, who delivers by any means, who buys back.

I think this is beautiful because there is a lot in my life that needs to be redeemed. This truth is comforting: If God fully rescues and preserves and delivers by any means then my fight for hope is not in vain.

Fighting for hope means clinging to redemption. It means believing that God can redeem- buy back, rescue from loss, ransom in full – situations and relationships in our lives. Because of the beauty of redemption we can stand firm and yell what Dan Allender calls “the quintessential cry of hope” in The Healing Path

God turned into good what you meant for evil. (Genesis 50:20, NLT)

I call it the war cry of hope fighters.

Fighting for hope means believing change can happen. It means leaning forward into each day, fighting for traction, for momentum that can move us forward – even an inch.

It means going to counseling to find out why an addiction has a hold in our lives. It means believing that a day will come when that hold is broken.

It means eating well and taking care of ourselves. It means doing what is best, not easiest. It might mean moving closer to someone who is hurting, or it might mean pulling away from someone who is self-destructing.

Sometimes it means waiting.

But fighting for hope always means believing God will bring good where darkness meant it for evil.

I clearly remember the day God asked me to stop running and become a fighter for hope.

Before that day I knew that trials were part of life in this broken world and that God could help me through, but I had no clue that God would ever ask me to walk through a trial purposefully without knowing the outcome.

We were seven years into our marriage and the masks we’d been wearing were coming unglued and sins hidden too long in the dark began pouring out.

I wish I could say that I accepted my fighter of hope status with great zeal. Instead I sat weeping on the edge of my bed “I can’t do this. It’s too hard and it hurts too much. I want out.” And God answered me as clearly as if He’d said it aloud. “I want you to walk through this. I will be with you.”

That was 16 years ago this month. And the journey has been filled with chasms where I got lost, and mountain tops where I thought the trials were over. In the dark chasms I lost hope, I lost my footing, and forgot that God ever promised to be with me.

But he was with me through every step. He is still with me. And when I begin listening to lies whispered in those dark chasms He sends in truth so I can find my way out of the darkness.


Things do not have to stay where they are right now because God is a God who fully rescues, at all cost, buys back, and restores.

The beauty of redemption.

Do you have a Redemption Chapter in the story of your life? Or are you in the middle of a journey now? Can you see the beauty of redemption in your story?