Posts Categorized: devotional

For the Beauty

Noticing Beauty While Depressed

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Psalm 19:1 KJV

Turning My Page

There have been so many reminders in the past few weeks of God’s delight and presence in my life.

Everything is bursting with color and creativity. In the past few weeks, I have experienced spectacular skies filled with clouds that looked like they were painted on and vivid fall colors just outside my window. I’ve had to pull the car over to snap pictures and sit in awe of sunsets and sunrises over lakes and oceans. I feel like I am constantly slack jaw. The funny side effect of noticing beauty is that I breathe more deeply.







For the Beauty

My daughter’s humor never ceases to bring us joy.


And then there are my children. Their pumpkin creations this fall have brought


me endless giggles.  











Turning Your Page

Depression has an awful way of blinding us to the beauty around us. Noticing and delighting take practice when out of use. With God’s help, we can push back and declare what the Lord has done for us.

  • Record in words or pictures the beauty around you this week. Some are tiny, some are big, but all have the power to remind us that God is not distant and loves to delight our souls.
  • What scriptures speak of noticing the beauty of God’s creation?

Creator, just wow! You did all this for my well-being and delight? Thank you. Amen

Bitterness Has No Room in My Heart

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 

Ephesians 4;31 ESV

Turning My Page: Bitterness Has No Place

“You can keep your mouth shut, God!” I yelled. I was mad, and I was going to stay angry until I heard an apology from the offending party. Not even God was going to get in my way this time. My husband was wrong; he hurt me, and that was all there was to it. God has a way of meddling with my temper and teaching me my heart’s attitude needs to change to be more like His. I have been apologizing for breathing since early childhood, and I resent being the one to make peace when my insides are roaring. I didn’t do anything wrong.

There is a very strong word for this…


I suppose it is a testimony to how much the God of the universe and I speak to one another that I attempted to be so familiar with him. And since I am not ashes, he might have nudged Gabriel and laughed. “My daughter just told me to shut up.” Any humor He found at the moment did not dissuade Him from taking a spiritual paddle to me.

The Holy Spirit nudged me and whispered, Do you really want to hold onto this anger?

A flash of twenty-two years of unchecked bitterness flashed in my mind. I already knew where bitterness led. Self-harm, guardedness, broken relationships, and layer upon layer of pent-up rage. in childhoodAt, what might have started as righteous anger quickly became an attitude of unforgiveness. Bitterness led to depression and suicide attempts. Bitterness gripped my soul so much that when the monster was finally revealed, I could hardly stand it! It ripped me apart: mind, body, and spirit. 

Only when I confessed and released my anger did love fill the void, and now, knowing the healing power in forgiveness, I desire, above all else, to keep a short account. That means grudges are out of the question. I can’t bring up past hurts, and I can’t nurse and dwell on being wounded by others. God desires faith, hope, and love to rule over my wounded heart.

Lest you think this brushes over any hurt caused by another, please hear me. God makes it clear that it doesn’t. Just listen in on the brothers of Joseph who, in their hatred, got rid of Joseph and left him for dead. When they unknowingly have to face Joseph, the brother they left for dead, Joseph has a chance to get even with them, but he hears them say the following:

Then they said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw his anguish when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us” (Genesis 42:21 BSB)

Joseph broke down in tears. Had to go to his private chambers and let out years of pent-up emotions. I bet anything that Joseph wrestled. The dream was coming true. Not how he imagined it, but how God imagined it. God may have reached into Joseph’s heart and asked the same question he asked me. Joseph, my son, do you really want to hold onto the bitterness? His brothers were a mess, and tno amount of revenge wouldfree Joseph from the years of betrayal and hardship. But forgiveness, oh, the sweet violence of forgiveness!

There is nothing like the release of forgiveness. In that moment with my husband, it came quickly. Years later, our bond is stronger, and I don’t regret for a second humbling myself and forgiving him in that moment I didn’t want to. As I grow in trusting God with the wounds I receive in this life, I realize how temporary suffering is and how prominent forgiveness is. 

“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his garments” (Luke 23:24 ESV). Jesus said that from the cross. In light of his love, forgiveness, and pleading for mercy to his Heavenly Father, how can I not let go of anger and forgive quickly?


Turning Your Page

Oh, sweet friend, I speak to you as one who knows some of the deepest wounds this world can inflict. Is bitterness, malice, envy, jealousy, and hatred worth losing your soul? If you are ready to lay down your desire for vengeance, where in the world to start? 

  • Confess what is making you angry. 
  • Remember all the areas God has forgiven you.
  • Take a look at how Jesus responded to persecution.
  • Practice.
    • Taking your thoughts captive and speaking the truth of scripture over them.
    • Acknowledge the hurt, and ask God what he wants you to do with it.
    • Pray for those who have hurt you.

Lord, these wounds are too much! Do you see them? Sear into my soul remembrance of the grace and forgiveness you extend to me. May I cry out for mercy to those who hurt me rather than vengeance. Amen


A Banquet Table Set by God

Invited to God’s Banquet Table

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-14, ESV).

Turning My Page:

Hospitality is often a gift attributed to girls; my daughter has it in spades. She has pulled out her fall decorations and filled our home with the sights and smells of fall. She has added pillows and pumpkins throughout the house, and our table is set and ready to receive any fall guests. She loves having friends over and preparing teas and games for them. Hospitality is a part of her character.

But women are not the only ones gifted by God with hospitality. Reading my friend’s new devotional, A Place at His Table, reminds me of how Daniel, my now sixteen-year-old son, invites people to God’s table. He has had several friends ask him lately about his faith because he spends time with them and is open about his loss of his brother and his struggles with a God who allows suffering.

When my son was an infant, he was a people person. He never wanted to snuggle against my shoulder; he must face outward because that is where the people are.

For two introverted parents, this took some getting used to. He was always getting in strangers’ personal space and didn’t know what to do with himself when there were other kids to play with.

At four years old, it became apparent that I would crush his God-given spirit if I didn’t learn to appreciate his people-loving personality and stop trying to keep him from pestering others. Balance? Yes. Understand the give and take of relationship? Absolutely. He needed guidance to utilize his gift of hospitality, but I recognized that my reaction had much more to do with my fear of what others thought of me as a parent. So I prayed. I prayed that God would open my eyes to the beauty of Daniel’s love for others and ways to shape and strengthen his understanding of the needs of others.

God opened my eyes in a big way to the profound gift He had given to Daniel. I was facilitating a Beth Moore study called The Inheritance, all about the thread of God’s love and good gifts for his people from Genesis to Revelation. Each week, I came early to set up our room in purple and pink tablecloths and placed tiaras and jewelry on each table.

My son had to come with me one day to set up, and as we walked across the parking lot, he spotted a mother on the playground with her child. He called out to her, and I braced myself for what would come out of his mouth. He began waving his arms. “Hey! Hey! She’s having a party, come on in.”

In an instant, my whole attitude changed. No one would miss an opportunity for an invite to God’s table when Daniel was around. I caught a glimpse of the joy of the Heavenly Father, who invites us, even when we are still strangers to His will, into his heavenly banquet.

I’ve never looked at my son’s gifts the same. I find delight in the fact that he notices people and points to God’s love for others. I love the tenderness he develops in sharing his faith with others and meeting his friends where they are in their struggles. He’s grown a bit more shy as a teenager, but he loves hanging with others, and it is such a pleasure to guide and shape his love for people. He makes me want to be bolder and joyous in my invites to God’s grand party.


Turning Your Page

Hospitality is not just a characteristic that a few select people have. All who believe in Jesus Christ and take up our cross are called to open our hearts and homes to others. Even if it doesn’t come naturally, how much more does it say to those who feel rejected when we love them and invite them to the same banquets we ourselves are invited to?

It is essential to note from the Luke 14 context that Jesus was invited to a banquet, and people were fighting over the place of honor. Jesus pointed out that we should take the furthest seat (humble ourselves) to give preference to others and allow God to elevate us to the position he has for us.

God wants all of us to come to His banquet. Some will reject the invitation, and some will accept. How can you invite someone to feast with you at God’s table?


Lord of the banquet, it is your will that all have a seat at your table. Help me, as one who once felt I was not worthy to feast at your table, recognize your prompting, and cultivate hospitality in my home, faith, and hope in You. Amen

Turning the Page Newsletter: What Resources Do You Need to Fight Despair?

Dear Fellow Page Turner,

I grew up writing letters to my grandmother who lived hundreds of miles away. I treasure every single one of her shaky-handed letters. They gave me a glimpse into her humor, faith, her resilience, and resolve. I’ve been thinking a lot about letter writing lately and how much I have valued the personal notes of encouragement after the loss of my son Jonathan.

Much of the gospel is in letter form.

“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 ESV

Each handwritten letter was meant to address specific things happening in the church, encourage the body of believers, hold them accountable, and be a witness to those who didn’t yet believe in Christ.  I want to encourage you in the same way.

This once-a-month newsletter includes hope-filled encouragement because God has you in mind. What he teaches me I pass on to you through my testimony, opportunities for training, and review of hope-filled resources.

Since day one of turning the page on my son’s suicide, one of the most valued resources to my community has been hearing from each member of my family. We each grieve so differently and yet also have shared grief. When you sign up to Turn the Page with me, my immediate gift to you is an interview with each of my family members on how they grieve with hope.

I hope beyond the initial gift, you find consistent encouragement in our correspondence. I love getting letters in return. You are not alone, no matter how hard today’s page is to turn.

Your’s in Christ,

Black Hole of Sorrow

Light in the Black Hole of Sorrow

Turning My Page

Today is a black hole.
It sucks out all good and feeds off my brokenness. No light gets near my sorrow without getting sucked into the density of problems and crushed.
And God has most certainly been sending light. My prayer group prayed for me and lifted my soul. A stranger plopped down a sign on a coffee shop table near me that said, “NEED PRAYER?” and took the time to listen and pray for my family. Others encouraged there’s purpose in your children’s suffering. Hold on.
Scripture encouraged. I read Acts 8-10, where Saul was blinded by the light of Christ, and his whole world turned upside down as he is chosen to go from persecuting Christians to preaching the good news to the Gentiles. When persecution seemed to be taking hold of the church, God stopped it in its tracks so that the church could take root and grow.
My black hole is the illusion of control. I’m not in control of the outcome for my children. God has chosen a hard path for them both, but when I wallow in the fact that I can’t remove their pain, I miss out on the comfort and understanding they give to their classmates and friends who also struggle. I miss out on their laughter, and I miss out on my own comfort.
I see in acts that God did not choose an easy path for the early believers either, yet they were joyous as they were beaten and cried out for forgiveness for their persecutors. What they set in front of them mattered. What I set before me matters. I can look at the waves (troubles), or I can look at Jesus. I choose Jesus. His light cannot be swollowed by the darkness.

Turning Your Page

Do you have days where from the moment you wake up (assuming that you slept at all), you feel like a black hole has swallowed all hope through Christ? It can’t reach you. You can’t hear it, no matter how loud others shout, “DON’T GIVE UP!” In those moments, be still, and know. God created the universe. He created you. Though you can’t see the light. It does exist. Jesus had a moment, too, where the black hole of the grave was sucking him in, and he could no longer see the light of his heavenly father.  

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:45-46 KJV)

In crying out that his task on earth was done, he opened the door to the light. A joy that overwhelms the darkness. Stand firm in the darkness, not because you come to see God in your moment of desperation, but because Christ died so that you and I will never be sepperated from God. Know that truth forward and backward. He is faithful to see you through your darkest hour, even if death looks like it may have the final victory.

Lord, I know that the darkness does not have the final say in my life. When my desire to control the outcome of my life blinds me, remove the scales that see you, that I may that you are Christ, and there is no other way! Amen

Squeezing Life Out of Empty Vats

And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”

2 Kings 4:2, ESV

Turning My Page

“It just keeps coming.” I giggled as I squeezed another serving of toothpaste two weeks after the tube was flat and looked as if it was empty. “Keep it coming, Lord.”

I wonder if the widow giggled joyously as she kept filling jars of oil. Life dealt her some harsh blows. Her husband was dead, debts piled up, and creditors were coming to take her two sons to sell into slavery to cover her debts. No one was stepping in to hep.

The widow must have felt desperate. I’ve been in that place where my only choice was to cry out to God. Have you? As I read the scripture I am surprised, no one stepped in to help. Did she have no kinsman reedemer like Ruth? Care for the widows and orphans (fatherless children) was of the utmost importance in Mosaic Law. God himself is called Father to the fatherless.  Her question did not catch Elisha by surprise. His response was simple: How can I help and what do you already have? The widow must have asked others before reaching out to Elisha. Did no one else have pity on her and her sons?

There have been times in my life that God alone has helped me. I have no other human explanation for the provision. But I did have to ask, just as the widow did. What if she never sought Elisha out? I am humbled by her boldness and fortitude. She knew her worth and yet called herself a servant of Elisha. I’ve seen others approach God in the same way. The Centurian on behalf of his servant, the woman with the issue of blood, the possessed man among the graves. As soon as they saw Jesus, they cried out, and Jesus answered.

I want to approach God like the widow! To know that I am priceless and dust at the same time.

God multiplied what the widow had in supply, oil until every last cent she owed was paid off! I bet she and her sons were doing the Happy Dance.

Currently, I have friends in abundance, joys in writing, a roof over my head, and sustenance. If I need anything, I can ask. I am grateful for each of these, but sometimes God gifts reminders that my ultimate provision is him.

While toothpaste is not a dire situation like it was for the widow, it brought delight to me each morning and evening. One, it is God’s sense of humor on full display, and two, he is reminding me that when I think life is empty that he still has so much more for me. Keep filling my life with your goodness Lord!


Turning Your Page

God has infinite abundance for you. Remaining open to this truth when everything in your life is empty, disaster seems to threaten you at every turn, and God feels distant and quiet. can daunt the sturdiest believer in Christ. It has rattled Old Testament and New Testament followers of Yahweh throughout droughts of obedience. Have you cried out, Consider your servant, Lord?” Consider, means, to take into account.

God has always been aware of your needs, are you aware of your need for him? Sometimes he allows all other avenues of help to dry up so that we know that he alone has the answers we seek. Like the widow:

  • Serve humbly
  • Cry out
  • Know that God will provide
  • Obey his directions

The widow didn’t hold some super religious card that receives a divine answer from God. All who believe in him can cry out and receive an answer, pressed down and running over (Luke 6).


Lord, you are my kinsman redeemer. Fill my vats to overflowing so that others may see our most desperate needs are filled by you. Amen

I’m Not the Vine: Learning to Abide

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

John 15:5-6, ESV

Turning My Page


Sometimes we start again in a new way.

My depression is often rooted in thinking God is not enough for everyone I care about. My daughter, in particular, is suffering deeply. I can’t stand suffering, so I scramble to find answers, overthink, and stretch myself to the point of breaking to fill in all the perceived gaps God leaves incomplete to my satisfaction.

In addition, I am acutely aware of my friends and family who are deeply hurting, and I want to relieve their suffering too. I need to be there for others. And the list of reasons I don’t measure up to the lofty expectations I have for myself is endless.

As long as I can remember, I have tried to fix things for everyone and be god to broken-winged animals and people, and on the surface, those are noble desires. God created me with great compassion for the downtrodden and brokenhearted, but part of my New Year’s message from God this year was: “You are not me.”

In reality, there is only one thing I need to do. Love Jesus.

I am grafted into Jesus. It’s not my job to fix the messed up world, not even my own, and God continues to work with me this year to trust him in all areas of my life, including the care for my family. When I attempt to usurp God’s plan, even in allowing brokenness, I run over his spectacular redemption. I forget that it was in brokenness that he redeemed me.

As I read scripture I see that his ways aren’t mine. My plan would not have allowed Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of the world.

I laid some things on the altar on New Year’s Day, and I confess that lately, I have picked them back up. I praise God for the humbling he has done in the past few weeks. I CAN wait to see what God has in store for my daughter, friends, and family. He asked me to pray that his will is done in the lives I care about. No more attempts to fix or correct. Trust. Trust Him.


Turning Your Page

What is in your hands at this very moment? Are you gripping people, places, purposes, or a job so tightly that God has to work around you? Make no mistake, His will be done on earth as in heaven. You can either be a fruitful grapevine or a useless branch, but either way. Jesus is the vine.

Our job is to abide in him.

  • Pray that God shows you areas in your life where you are trying to be the vine.
  • Look up the definition of abide and put the definition into your own words.
  • Read the story of Joseph in the Old Testament (Genesis 37-50).
    • What was Joseph’s plan for his life as a teenager?
    • What was God’s?
    • How did Joseph come to realize that God’s plan was the best route, even though it wound through attempted murder, slavery, and prison?


Lord, your ways aren’t mine, and I don’t want them to be. Do exceedingly, abundantly, beyond my limited thinking. Wow me! Amen

Roses of Hope Beyond Your Grave

 But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51 The MSG, Biblegateway)

My son’s birthday and Mother’s Day are irrevocably intertwined. He is my firstborn. The one who taught me both the joys and sorrows of motherhood. I am very intentional about May. I don’t want to forget that as much as eight birthdays without Jonathan hurts, the joy of living these almost nine years with Christ shows me hope is not diminished by the grave.

Turning My Page

Your birthday and motherhood are intertwined
like a wild rose around my heart.
The barrier of death pricks to marrow. Yet, the
sweet fragrance of Hope, salve to my sorrow,
grows tangible beyond the thorns of your grave.


Turning Your Page

Think of a moment when something you hoped for became a reality. Did you know for sure that it would happen?

Hope is tangible, and the more we grow to know the character of God and his son, the stronger and sweeter the fragrance of hope. In Christ, hope is never fickle, no matter how many thorns we experience to the contrary.

  • List as many moments where hope was realized as you can. Look at the qualities of your hope. What made you confident that the thing you hoped for would happen?
  • Look up a few attributes of God. How does each characteristic make hope in Jesus more concrete?

Lord, I don’t always see the roses growing among the thorns of my circumstances. Teach me to recognize your ways so that I can see beyond this temporary life. Amen

The Rhythm of the Cross

Before the swell of gospel melody,

The steady scales of scripture

Are plunked out in daily practice.

I play my Father’s masterpiece.


Before the crowd of miracles,

Prayer plods through lonely deserts

noting life’s measure.

I play my Father’s masterpiece.


Before the timing of pharisaic dissidence,

Lessons in theory reveal the authentic

character of the world’s composer.

I play my Father’s masterpiece.


Before the crescendo of resurrection,

there is a garden path of surrender

where I watch the winding procession of betrayal.

I play my Father’s masterpiece.


Before the harmony of fireside discipleship,

I close my eyes and listen to the master play.

Tuning my heart to the rhythm of the cross.

I play my Father’s masterpiece.

Model of Forgiveness

How do I turn the other cheek?

Do I glare down my enemy with
kindness? Slap them over the head with
generosity? Silence them with my devoutness?
Humiliate them with my humility?

The goal of forgiveness can’t be to glorify self.
“Look at me. I’m better than them.”

I know no other way to forgive than to
take up my cross and follow Jesus.
To  train taut muscles ready
for revenge to submit to God’s will.

When I recognize that He sweated and bled
for both my enemy and I,
forgiveness becomes a gritty
part of who I am—a scream of 0bedience—not a selfish sacrifice
to force the other person to change.

Forgiveness has no return receipt.

Suicide & Prevention Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 988 or go to the website at