Keeping or Making Peace? 

I was a chronic peacekeeper as a child. If my siblings got in trouble, I did my best to convince my parents they could spank me instead, just because I thought it’d keep the peace. It never worked (good parenting, Mom and Dad), but that didn’t stop me from trying. I hated conflict. I hated tension. Confrontation was the second level of hell in my mind. 

In Matthew 5, Christ speaks to the multitudes when he says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Not peacekeepers. Peacemakers. So, what’s the difference? Why does it matter? 

I’ve spent the last five years realizing the difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking. Peacekeeping appeases emotions and ignores sin. Peacemaking addresses emotions, lets them exist, but brings sin to the light in a loving way. 

Peacekeeping can literally exist within a lie — as long as things appear good, they are. Sweep hatred, lies, anger, and hurt under the rug. (Smile, Sweetheart, you’ll be okay.) Peacemaking allows for the tension of making things right, even if it takes weeks, months, years or decades and seasons of silence from the other party. 

Peacekeeping protects our reality and saves us from needing to make changes. Peacemaking breaks our reality to make it more like the Christ we say we serve and want to honor. 

Peacekeeping let’s hurt fester. Peacemaking confronts in love and actively seeks restoration instead of only giving it lip-service. 

Just like when I was a kid, peacekeeping only serves our conscience. I tried to make bad situations better, but it would have only made it better on the surface; so no change was made. 

What are you? A peacekeeper or a peacemaker? Do we as Christians have what it takes to be a peacemaker in a world which only wants peacekeepers? 

Beautiful Fear, Bearable Pain

I was 16 the last time I witnessed to a nurse in the operation room.

It was 4:30 in the morning and right before he put me to sleep for my third and final brain surgery, he asked me if I was scared. Apparently, when I answered that I “couldn’t be,” that was enough to delay the surgery for a few minutes while I explained the power of Jesus. I don’t remember what I said. I don’t remember how he responded to the Gospel truth.

I just remember realizing my pain was a beautiful gateway to Hope. I had to come to grips with the fact that the sleepless nights, tears and unknowns were being woven together not so I could benefit, but so that I could be available for someone who I’d never see again. 

Three days ago, I went in for what was basically a low-end emergency surgery. The implanted technology that manages my epilepsy treatment was as dead as a doornail. The medical team could either replace it now, or I would go without treatment for up to three months due to scheduling complications.

I’m not usually a skittish person when it comes to surgeries. I’m skittish about other things like love, careers and the idea of motherhood, but emergency surgery? Meh. It happens all the time. I’ll be fine. Only this time, my fiancé and I had 12 hours to process the news of the surgery, let everyone know, fill out the paperwork and get to the hospital on time. We didn’t have time to breathe, think, or process.

This was also the first time I was leaning on my abundently-capable future husband for something completely out of my control. I trust him, but can I have a girly honest moment here? No one wants to have a memory of looking at their fiancé and saying, “You’re my primary emergency contact. No big deal. Nothing’s going to happen, it’s just paperwork… but, um, since you’re basically my spouse, you, um… I love you?” (It’s especially awkward when you’re making these statements at 5:30 in the morning.)

Three days ago, fear was incredibly present. 

When the lead technician came to investigate my implant, she acknowledged my tattoos, trying to get me to relax. Somehow, we went from talking about ink to talking about how she wants a tattoo that will remind her not to waste her life. “I’m just sick of wasting everything, ya know?” 

She was a genius medical technician, and she felt as if her life was worthless. Immediately, my fear left me as I reached for my fiancé’s hand. My life wasn’t wasted. My life wasn’t pointless. I was facing unknowns, but my pain had led both he and I into that room that very early morning for a reason.

We were given a very real moment to silently pray for a woman who felt invisible. That gave me hope. My pain has never been more beautiful.  

Feet Showed Me Jesus

I’ve washed a lot of people’s feet. I don’t like feet. 

Usually, out of the two main “foot-washing passages” in the Bible, it’s easiest for me to grasp the Biblical account of Jesus washing John’s feet in John 13. It’s humbling, sure. The Creator and perfect Savior washed an imperfect man’s feet. That’s hard to swallow… But because we’re used to talking about the unimaginable grace of Jesus, it’s still understandable. 

But then, we get the story of Mary Magdalene washing Christ’s feet in Luke 7. Mary Magdalene the Prostitute. Mary Magdalene the sinner. Mary Magdalene the outcast… She washed Christ’s feet. 

She wasn’t a servant whose only job was to clean guests’ feet. She wasn’t even supposed to touch men for fear of contaminating them. But Jesus… Jesus let her wash his feet. Not only did he let her wash his feet… She used her hair. Who knows where that filthy wretch had been? 

Two accounts of service. I’d much rather put myself in the shoes of the humbled disciple than the humiliated, repentant whore. 

Usually, foot-washing is a sweet, simple reminder of Christ’s willingness to serve us. The Greater serves the lesser. He never turned down a chance to serve someone as a way to encourage unity. Usually, I wash a fellow congregant’s already-clean feet just as a symbol of that. It’s easy, it’s short and easily forgotten. I’ve been a part of a church that does feet-washing since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. 

In all honesty, though, I don’t remember any of those people I’ve “served.” 

I do, however, remember the time(s) God whispered to my heart at the stupidest of times, “Change of plans. Get on your knees. Take their shoes off and wash their feet. I asked you to serve them once and instead you served yourself. Show them what it means to serve when you let Me take over.”

It was in that moment I knew I had stopped praying for that particular person because my shame was larger than my desire to serve. Any time I started a prayer, it felt impossible to finish. Pray for him? I had hurt him! I can’t bless him by praying for him and act like my sin had never impacted him.

So, I got down on my knees and showed my own heart what it meant to serve as a gateway to reconciliation. It wasn’t humiliating, but it was indeed humbling. It wasn’t life-changing, but it was heart-changing. I have no idea if he understood why washing his feet was my only option… But I had to wash his feet. 

Often, we’re called to do crazy things in order to instigate reconciliation within the Body of Christ. I struggle to do many of those things (like washing an unsuspecting man’s feet!) if I can’t see the end result. If I can’t guarantee my act of service, humility, or courage will heal a wound, why put myself out there in the first place? What if it doesn’t work? What if I’m made an even bigger fool? 

What if God got it wrong?

Or, is it possible that’s not the issue? Could it be an act of obedience to encourage reconciliation is counted as a success because of how it changes our hearts, not the person we’re serving? 

Heavenly Minded, Patriotically Shifted

I’ve never told anyone who I’m voting for. Inasmuch as my Spiritual gifts call me to confrontation (attempting to do that always in love), I hate rocking the boat. Declaring I support one person over another hurts at least one side of my circle of friends. I wept in anxiety with people afraid of Hillary and I mourned just as bitterly the idea of Trump taking office. 

That’s not the point. I wish it was. As deeply troubling as both sides of the spectrum are, neither of those approaches are what takes up my mind’s time. 

I’ve known almost all my life that American Christianity is weak. I do not, whatsoever, believe that our chances at a relationship with Jesus Christ are any smaller or less important than any other nation’s. Once saved, always saved… no matter what your nationality. But we… we just don’t get it most days. 

In America, Christianity is a label that makes us feel good. It is not, on the other hand, always a sobering call to sacrifice and love for the betterment of others as it was meant to be. (John 15:13) Often times, we as protected American Christians decide christianity is best for us when we ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” and we like the answer for one reason or another. 

Wrong. 

So, just a thought: What if, now that we know Trump is taking office, these next four years are God’s way of purifying the American Church (nationally as a whole, not small affiliations)? Because some of his proposed policies will make us reevaluate what it means to love (protect?) our neighbor, Christianity may possibly be taken to the firing squad. 

Within our American Christian circles, we often use the phrase, “Go all in for Christ.” What if God’s sovereignty allowed Trump as president because God wants us to start putting our money where our mouth is, so to speak? We’ve become too comfortable in our concept of Christianity. What if we’re being called to so much more? 

Emptying Myself

The green trees collided perfectly with the red splattered clouds against the blue sky this morning. Sunrises always make me smile. However, this morning, as I walked down the hill to my favorite coffeeshop, the Creator’s unique painting of the sky gave me pause.

Passing by a house that towered above the other houses, I noticed the sunrise reflected perfectly in the third level window. Every splotch of red and dash of blue was captured in the clean, empty window. As I walked further, the small amount of sunlight was magnified when it hit the window just right. 

Does my life do that, Lord? I thought. Is my life empty enough to reflect You? When people look at me, do they see You? Or do they only see my pride with a small attempt to reflect you on occasion?

I’ve said it a thousand times before. Biblical Christianity is weird. The world strives to teach us that our #1 goal needs to be standing out as an independent, awe-inspiring, basically egotistical, one-man show. The more people act as if we are the end-all to everything successful, the better.

But then Christ calls us to be “less than” in everything. The world calls us to be everything. Christ calls us to be nothing and let Him be everything within us.

It’s scary, being called to nothing. Initially the fear, “what if I’m not enough?” comes up constantly. To be honest, I don’t think that inward war ever goes away. No matter how much Christ comes through, no matter how old we get, there will always be a battle to be “more” so we can prove ourselves. 

Just like the sunrise in the window this morning, though, we start to learn that the more we’re comfortable in our emptiness and weakness, the more Christ can shine. 

Learn to accept being an empty canvas. Christ can fill more space in your life that way.

He Said Wait?


I don’t always know how to be a human being. Secretly, sometimes I wonder if God rewired me to be a human doing. Doing is so much easier than being. Being takes work. Doing takes… well, it’s just easier. 

In a world of technology, social media, and everything at my finger tips the instant I need it, my quandary doesn’t seem horrendous. 

My success as a writer requires spontaneous writing; which sometimes happens at 3a.m. when the rest of the world is asleep. My presence in the world of communication means staying up on the latest social medias, knowing how to network with writers I barely know and just… Constantly doing something. 

I’m your typical, unmarried millennial in the communication world. I sleep with my iPad and my iPhone nearby. The second my phone alarm goes off in the morning (‘cuz alarm clocks are just too last decade practical), I’m alerted to people half way across the world either asking me to join them in prayer or asking me to consider partnering in some new communication thing. My generation has reinvented the word instantaneous.

Telling myself to wait… Or that my tasks can wait… Feels impossible. 

Instead of telling my task-oriented mind to wait I end up telling God to wait. Actually, no I don’t. I don’t take the time to tell God to wait. I just assume He gets that I have things to do and don’t have time to address Him right now. I’m a human doing, gosh darn it. I don’t have time to do what it takes to be a human being. 

Some of these tasks are things He himself gave me to do, so that means it’s okay to focus on godly things first thing in the morning rather than on God himself… Right? Maybe? No? 

I’m learning that serving the Lord sometimes means putting things on hold just to be with the Lord. He is, after all, the God Supreme over everything. When I decide to actually exist by being with Him rather than doing for Him, He can manage – without me – the things I put on hold. 

It’s okay to wait. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to rest. It’s even okay to simply enjoy the Lord by sitting still with Him for a few moments before doing things for Him. 

But God Didn’t Do It

She had been widowed for over 20 years. *Connie was lonely. She wanted a relationship. In her old age, she felt as if that ship had sailed… Until she met him. 

*Daniel. She took such pride in talking about Daniel. He was kind, funny, intelligent and seemingly intentional on pursuing Connie. As I sat listening to her talk like a 13-year-old schoolgirl, I could tell she was at least infatuated with Daniel. I knew Daniel, though. He could make the wrong side of a mule feel like the queen of England. 

When I asked her how she knew Daniel loved her and wanted to marry her, she very matter-of-factly said, “I had a dream where I was Esther of the Bible. I looked out the window of my house and there he was. Daniel shouted my name three times: ‘Esther! Esther! Esther!’ Obviously, that was God’s way of promising me Daniel. Have faith, Darlin’! It’ll happen.”

Sadly, Daniel didn’t get the picture. He married someone else two years later and my friend Connie was, needless to say, heartbroken. I was convinced Connie would reconsider the hope she had placed on a very sketchy plan. However, when I asked her about it, she swatted away my concern and said, “You’re 17 and have yet to be in love. I’m just know God’ll make it happen. You’ll understand someday.”

I never got the chance to see it her way. Neither did Daniel. Connie’s relationship with God never went any deeper and the questions she could have asked God laid silently on my prayer journal, not hers. She tried to stay faithful in her walk with the Lord, but she felt betrayed, angry and as if God had lied to her. 

Connie refused to take to heart that the Bible states “…God is not a god of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33) or even that Titus 1:2 shares God “…does not lie.” She had dedicated her life to God giving her Daniel. When He didn’t, she was positive He would eventually…and sooner rather than later. 

Before you shake your head over Connie’s views, and though this example is extreme, don’t we all do this? Whether it’s the desire for a relationship, a child, healing from a disease or that perfect house on 32nd Street… If we’re fixated enough on something it’s dreadfully easy to stop listening for the real Someone of all someones. 

It’s good to have hopes and aspirations. It’s healthy to have dreams of the future. But we need to be careful that we are not weighing God’s character against what He does or doesn’t do in accordance to our plans. 

We were made for His glory; He was not made for ours. Our perception of His will may change. But that’s our perception; not His ability to come through as our faithful God.