A Year Without Fear

A Year Without Fear

The beginning of the New Year is typically a time for reflection and resolutions, a time to ask questions and seek change.

What is it that holds me back?

What controls me?

What drives my intentions and decisions?

What causes me to react in anger instead of responding in love?

What holds me back and prevents me from living life with my hands wide open?

What drives me to seek the approval of others?

Where in my life and I holding back from being vulnerable and real and why am I doing so?

For me the answer to so many of these questions is


Fear – one of our enemy’s greatest weapons. And for many of us, it has great power in our lives. Fear whispers in our ears and tells us that we must be in control. That we can’t let down. That things won’t ever change. Fear convinces us that being safe and secure is of utmost importance. It tells us that isolation is much better than community. Fear tempts us to live in the past or the future rather than in the present. It makes us believe that it’s best to run for the hills when we are hurt and in pain. It tickles our ears with promises of protection and hope.

However what fear really offers is CHAOS and DESTRUCTION. It is CONTROLLING and DEBILITING.

Can you relate? Does fear control you?

Perhaps, at the beginning of this new year, one of your resolutions, like me, is to live a life apart from fear. But how, realistically, does this happen?

The temptation may be to will myself to make it happen. To try with all of my might to do something different.

God has not given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Only God can give us freedom from fear. It’s not something that we can will ourselves to do on our own. We can try, but chances are, long term we will fail, leaving us feeling discouraged and defeated.

To move away from something, we must move towards something.

This statement prompts a very important question: what am I moving towards? Where are my eyes fixed? What is the image that propels me to do the things that I do? Is it financial freedom, a better marriage, solving the problems in the lives of those around me, raising my children a certain way?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

This year, let us ask God to give us a more compelling image of Christ.  To be able to see who He really is and who we are in IN HIM. To understand more clearly the perfect, sovereign plan that He has for our lives, resting in the Truth that everything that happens in our lives is for our good and His glory. To really be able to grasp and be confidently assured that God loves, cherishes, and delights in us. In these realizations, fear dissipates and is replaced by confidence in Christ and His love for us.

He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters … He led me to a place of safety; He rescued me because He delights in me” (Psalm 18:17,19).

The LORD your God in your midst, 
the Mighty One, will save; 
He will rejoice over you with gladness, 
He will quiet you with His love, 
He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

You will show me the way of life,
 granting me the joy of your presence 
and the pleasures of living with you forever” (Psalm 16:11).

How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
 All humanity finds shelter 
in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
 letting them drink from your river of delights” (Psalm 36:7-8).

”Do not be afraid, I have redeemed you. 
I have called your name. You are mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. 
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
 When you’re between a rock and a hard place, 
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God, 
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior. 
I paid a huge price for you: 
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
 That’s how much you mean to Me! 
That’s how much I love you!
 I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, 
trade the creation just for you” (Isaiah 43:1-2).

One practice that has been helpful for me is to ask God at the end of each day where in my life I have moved towards Him and where I have moved away from Him. Interestingly, in this process of examining my day, I often find that in the places I move away from Him, I do so because of fear. Fear of the future. Fear of failing. Fear of making the wrong decision. Fear of not having what I need. Fear of what someone may think.  

As I take time to relinquish those fears to God, He so often brings to my mind the truth of many of the above listed Scriptures.  The truth of who He is and that He has a good and perfect plan for my life.  That He is right there with me. Every minute of every day. The reality is, unless there is some kind of imminent danger, chances are my feelings of fear are a desolation: something that pulls me away from God. A ploy from the enemy to distract, discourage, diminish, destroy.

Recently, I read this in one of my prayer books and have started praying it every day:  

“Allow me not to resent what is broken, but to trust that even my weaknesses will be turned for Your glory and my good” (Prayers for Today, Kurt Bjorklund).

One of Satan’s greatest joys would be that I would become angry, resentful, full of fear, and debilitated by the broken things in my life.  So, instead, my heart’s cry has been “God, please take the things that are broken in my life, which so often lead to fear, and remind me that You are in control of and care about every detail of my life. You have ‘seen my afflictions and know the anguish of my soul’ (Psalm 31:7).  So, please give me strength to not resent the brokenness.  But to embrace it, trusting Your plans.  Your will.  Your ways.  

In light of my propensity towards fear, the phrase that God gives me over and over is EYES UP.

Set your mind on the things above not on the things of the earth. For you have died and Your life is hidden in Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2).

This Scripture is a beautiful reminder of a life lived apart from fear and hidden in Christ. What a great truth to remember (read it out loud if necessary)!  

Because my life is hidden in Christ, there is nothing that can snatch me out of my Father’s hands (John 10:29b).  Not someone’s opinion of me.  Not my fear, my weakness, my sickness.  Not losing my temper with my kids once again and being afraid that I’ve messed them up forever. Not my sin. Not my failure. Not a bad decision. NOTHING.

So, is it really possible to live a year without fear???  Yes! Freedom from fear is one of the gifts that was purchased for us on the cross. Because of this, you and I are free to live an abundant life in Christ, free from fear.

“The thief comes to steal and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  

Where are you struggling with fear? How is it controlling you? Do you long to live a life without fear?

Today, let’s ask God today to give us a more compelling image of Christ Jesus and His deep, unchanging love for us. May these truths penetrate every area of our lives and nestle down into the depths of our souls. May we understand more fully that for those of us who are in Christ, our lives are hidden in Him. He will guide and protect us. And in the midst of it all, His presence is a promise. These truths remind us that we are FREE. Free to live a life apart from fear.

Anchored in Christ,



Our Top 10 Posts of 2015




I used to believe it was Jesus’ plan to fix our broken hearts. That His intention in the lives of His children was to fit each piece of our shattered hearts back together, good as new. And one day God dashed my dreams of wholeness and gave me a new vision for His mission in my life and in the world. As I cried out to God to heal these broken places and make me whole again, He whispered, “That’s not how it works at all. My mission is not to fix what’s been broken as if it never happened.”

depression, psalm 42


Depression. It’s been a life-long struggle that comes and goes. In some seasons, the grip is so intense I feel as though I will suffocate. Other times, it’s a dark cloud in a holding pattern over my heart. And sometimes it’s a fog that settles quickly over the surface with no rhyme or reason. Occasionally, there is an easily recognizable cause – a major loss or life change. But there are also the periods of overwhelming sorrow or hopelessness with no justifiable cause.



I have found it helpful to begin each day by focusing on and thanking God for His perfect, never-ending, sacrificial love for me. As I ask Him to show me the places of my life where I have seen His love, it is amazing how I, by His Spirit, know deeply to my core just how much I am loved by Him. Reminding myself of this Truth enables me to keep my eyes fixed on Him and not the wind and the waves.


imageHE IS THE GIFT by Kerri

God made me in His image, and clearly my passion for music and the absolute pure fulfillment I feel when performing are innate, given to me by Him – part of Him. A gift given for His glory, my joy, and to serve others. But there have been times when the passion for those things became my end, my all, my only satisfaction. When I needed to perform to feel whole. When I needed the attention of performing well to feel that I had value. That is when the gift became a god.



God has been working on me for years in the area of SURRENDER.  This past year, He has been inviting me to trust Him in the area of provision. I used to lay awake at night and ruminate on how in the world I would ever be debt-free. And “what-if” one day I couldn’t afford my house? Or car repairs. Or activities for the kids.  My mind would run in circles and I would find myself afraid and anxious.  I have spent plenty of time worrying about so many things, and instead of living life, I was just trying to make it through the day.  Wasting precious time and energy.

Why I Quit Running


What if there is value in not running? What if there is much to be learned by sitting in the pain? What if there is an invitation from our loving and merciful Savior right in midst of deep suffering? And what if there is actually beauty in that pain? In the brokenness? What if the pain is actually increased when we try to run away? And what if the problem lies more in our inability to see what God is doing in the midst of the pain? What if, instead of running, we really need to regain our sight.

Nearness and Light copyNEARNESS AND LIGHT By Kerri

In 2009, I faced a very serious health issue – a stroke. In His mercy, God healed my brain in miraculous ways! I will always stand in awe. We had come home from Zambia during this time and we were so thankful to be cleared to go back to the work God had called us to there! As we returned to Zambia and began to settle into life again, fear and anxiety began to settle deep into the corners of me. I became utterly crippled by the fear of death.


The Hope of 1 Peter by Lisa

I sincerely love Jesus. I have ever since I was a little girl. He is the most beautiful and constant part of my life. I am deeply grieved when I think of His suffering on the cross. It is PAINFUL for me to envision His suffering, and even more painful to acknowledge that it is my sin that put Him there. So for me, choosing to avoid confession is also choosing to avoid PAIN. It doesn’t make me feel good to do it, therefore the root struggle here is avoidance of pain in pursuit of feeling good.



I see now though that I had become too comfortable. Those friends had become like my favorite pair of yoga pants. I love putting them on at the end of the day and breathing the deep sigh of “being with you is so comfortable and easy.” But if I’m not careful, I’ll wear those yoga pants for so long that I become completely unmotivated to exercise, put on make-up, or even take a shower. We can become so content in our relationships that we forget that there are those God is calling us to welcome. This is often subtle, just like the pull to stay in those yoga pants a tad longer than I probably should. I see now that I might need to get a bit uncomfortable in order to love well.



Yet, even knowing these truths, I’ve spent many years frustrated and discouraged that my spiritual growth has so often seemed incredibly slow and inconsistent. One thing I’ve realized as I look back on my faith journey is that no matter how quickly I’d like to see “results,” God is not in a hurry. He is patient, thorough, and long-suffering. And though it’s difficult to express in words, “I know that I know that I know” that His hand has been upon me every day of my life: guiding, shaping, changing and growing me.


The Game Changers


I know very little about football. When I say very little, I mean I honestly have no idea what my husband is talking about when he uses terms like safety, blitz and line of scrimmage. But one thing I do know is the goal of the game. Get the ball into the end zone more than the opposing team and you are the winner… right? It’s a game with many confusing rules (at least to me), but one clear objective, to win. Kind of like marriage. More specifically, conflict in marriage. Figure out the rules, then do whatever it takes to get the win. We each receive our training in vastly different arenas, with a wide variety of instructional techniques. Some of us learn the subtle strategies of manipulation to get what we want. Some know nothing but full blown free-for-all brawls, where the last man standing wins. Still others have found that the only safe thing to do is avoid conflict at any cost and opt out of the game altogether. 

I’ve always been one to jump right in the game; I’m not much of an avoider. Partly personality (I kind of like to win) and partly just survival (my family dynamic was less than supportive). Of course, my husband comes from a completely different kind of family. Mostly avoiders, unless the conflict grew to mammoth proportions and one particular person finally exploded. Two entirely different backgrounds, two entirely different set of rules. So, yeah, that’s been fun. 

Surprisingly, we never fought during our 3 1/2 year dating relationship. But from day 1 of marriage, the gloves came off. And we spent 11 years getting pretty much nowhere, feeling like no matter who won the argument, we both just lost the game. How could two educated, semi-mature, mentally stable people who cared about each other be so horrible at conflict resolution? Why did we seem to go round and round and finally just give up in frustration, building up more and more resentment? We loved each other deeply, but we were positioned as opponents on this playing field. And neither side was winning. One day, we finally had enough. We decided it was time to recruit some professional coaching. This “coach” (i.e., highly qualified therapist) gave us three key rules for fighting fair. Over time, we realized these weren’t simply new rules, these were game changers. They revolutionized our fights and our marriage. They taught us how we could both win the game/argument every single time. 


A Critical Pause is basically just a grown-up Time Out. Time to calm down, allow for some space and gain some clarity. I’ll be honest, this one was really hard for me at first. I couldn’t stand unsolved problems. I needed resolution to be okay. And that was a big part of the problem. My co-dependence drove me time and time again to push closure on an issue before one or both of us were ready. My own insecurity brought feelings of panic when conflict arose. I was afraid of what it meant for our marriage when we had major disagreements. Was it over?  Would he leave me? Would we never resolve the issue? What we realized, however, is that when emotions are high and tempers volatile, conversations are usually less than productive. In fact, this is often when the most hurtful, careless words are spoken. And once they’re out there, they can’t be unspoken. Which creates a whole new set of problems. 

The Critical Pause is a tool that has helped us learn to process our thoughts and feelings so we can respond in maturity and not react in anger. We’ve learned to pay attention to where there’s “heat” in our communication. When our voices start to rise, when we start feeling defensive and angry, one of us can call a Critical Pause. We use this time to process our own feelings through prayer, journaling, or with a friend. Once we both feel ready, we come back and revisit the issue. In the beginning, we sometimes needed several Critical Pauses for the same argument!  But it has been amazing to see the difference in our ability to communicate and work through issues when we use this invaluable tool. 


When used correctly, a Critical Pause usually reveals that the heated feelings are almost never about the issue at hand. Instead, we often realize the issue has triggered far deeper feelings beneath the surface. These heated arguments can be opportunities to process and work through unresolved pain, anger, fear, trauma, etc. Maybe there are serious trust issues that need to be worked on. Maybe we feel unappreciated in general and haven’t known how to communicate that to our spouse. Maybe we are depressed or in a spiritual crisis. 

Taking time apart often reveals that the issue at hand is really not that big of a deal to us after all… maybe we realize we are just completely exhausted or hungry or upset about something that has absolutely nothing at all to do with our spouse. It can be very scary and painful to dive beneath the surface and get down to what’s really going on. Sometimes we must acknowledge root feelings of rejection and unworthiness and allow God to heal the woundedness that occurred long before our spouse came along.


This rule flipped everything completely upside down. Our whole lives, we’d been trained to believe that the most important thing is the outcome. Getting our way. Being right. That was certainly the case in my family of origin. But maybe it’s not the most important thing after all. Maybe, in our most treasured human relationship with the person we have committed to love, honor and cherish ’til death do us part, the most important thing is not getting our way, but how we treat each other in the process. Talk about a game changer! The outcome might be important, but it’s not what’s most important. This one truth is the very definition of what it looks like to LOVE. And putting it into practice has transformed our relationship into something really beautiful.  

The power of these rules is that they create a win/win for both people. The drawback is, it takes a LOT of practice and a great deal of failure to get good at keeping them. Five years in, I’m still really not that great at it. I am, however, light years from where I was. I still have these out of body experiences as I see myself slipping back into old patterns and hear myself communicating in old, unhealthy ways. Let me be clear, however, that since the first time my husband and I put these three rules into practice, we have never, not once, come to a stand still on making a decision or working through conflict. When we use critical pauses to process through heated feelings, acknowledge and work through underlying resentments and unresolved issues, and treat each other with kindness through the process, we always come to a mutual agreement. Everything changed when we realized we could be on the same team, with the same goal. And then we both win. 

Held by Him,



The Gift of Pain & Disappointment (The View From 5 Years Out)

Well, our team of 5 sure needs these words on a day like today, at a time such as this. Thankful our precious friend, Kitty Hurdle, has shared her heart and God’s faithfulness with us today on the blog. If you don’t know Kitty, we promise you’ll want to head on over to her site linked at the end. If you do know Kitty, you are already aware of what a treat you’re in for whenever she puts “pen to paper”:

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that October will mark the 5th anniversary of my husband and I trying to have children. To some, five years sounds like the first 100 meters of a marathon, but to me, this mile marker seemed like a badge of honor. Almost like, if I’d make it this far, then I had a legitimate excuse to wallow.

Because, well, sometimes it feels good to feel bad.

Maybe if my pain is special and unique and if things are really hard for a sustained length of time, then certainly it means that I get a permission slip to be pitiful. As in the classic, don’t return phone calls to my mother; eat all the french fries; be offended by all the people type of pitiful.

Of course, everyone’s pain IS special and unique to the journey that God has them walking. But often I am tempted to hold on too tightly to my pain. To relish it and to keep it around when I need to feel cozy, understood and validated. Kinda like my worn out yoga pants that make me feel so known but so funky and frumpy at the same time. There is wonderful, necessary, God-given space for grief (and grody yoga pants) in the spiritual formation of every believer, but when I dwell longer on my pain than on the Provision and Person of God, I have misplaced my trust. We can’t rush past our pain. We must let God use it to do His good work. But I have the ability to make it into some sort of messed up idol. Clutching my pain close makes me feel safe temporarily, but the reality is that it keeps me far from trusting God.

Yeah…so, holding onto the pain was on my agenda for the entirety of my 12-minute carpool commute to drop my kids at school. (MY KIDS–the ones God gave me instead of giving me what I thought I wanted; the ones who have completely and utterly changed my views on God, life, love, calling and family; the ones I’d endure 60 more months of “no” again in an instant. Those kids.)

family pic

So, my plan was to feel sad, but it was one of the first crisp Fall mornings (which I love!) and the Holy Spirit–the Comforter–just would not let up. He kept recalling to mind all the gifts these 5 long years have held. Friends who sent flowers, wrote notes, called and cussed with me on hard days. He reminded me of the countless ministry opportunities He’d given me and He reminded me how dear HE HAD BECOME TO ME during these years. He wouldn’t let up. So much so, that as I pulled onto my street, my heart was in a place of gratitude and worship. I could honestly and emotionally thank Him for the gift of infertility. Not because He had given me what I asked for, but because His “no” had become my greatest YES. Because He had peeled my white knuckles off of the pain and in exchange, gave me the Person of Himself.

And not to go all Garth Brooks “Unanswered Prayers” on you, but isn’t there something in your life that God has consistently said “no” to, in order to give you a YES in Christ Jesus? What desire is it that He is continually using to create within you a stronger desire for Himself?

Because He is God and we are not, could we, today (and tomorrow, and the next day; when the said “gift” feels like a dagger through the soul), ask Him to give us thankful hearts–ones of humble worship–that say together with the all-sufficient, all-powerful One, “not my will, but yours be done”? Because, when I open my hands to Him, it’s all a gift.

headshotsmallKitty is a missionary, (adoptive) momma and a majorly obsessed wife. You can read more of her adventures of following Him and loving them at www.joelandkitty.com or on Instagram @kitty_hurdle. If you are walking through infertility yourself right now, she would love to send you her favorite book, “Infertility: Finding God’s Peace On The Journey.” Email her for more information at Kitty.Hurdle@CRU.org


Prayer Warriors Unite!

praying hands

Well ladies. This is gonna be rough. This post isn’t about telling you what I’ve learned and making it sound good and look pretty. Probably no fancy script. It will be only God who makes it cohesive.  There are so many thoughts running through my head.

Before sitting down to write, I assessed my needs. What do I need right now? This is what I came up with:

  1. a quiet place to sit
  2. somewhere to enjoy nature
  3. somewhere to get away from the mess (and smells). yeah smells.
  4. something cold to drink
  5. something to eat
  6. God’s presence
  7. someone to pray for me and with me

I am so stirred up. My anxiety is sky high. And I have 30 minutes before I pick up two beautiful, active, messy, needy preschoolers.

And let me just say, there is nothing in my immediate circumstances that is causing me discomfort. I am rested, fed, kids are taken care of, and there is no immediate crisis.

And just hours ago I emailed the CFSAT team to let them know that I had no new post for this week. It wasn’t gonna happen.

I admitted to them that I haven’t been able to focus. I’ve not been able to keep up with dishes, laundry, or housework.

I feel alive and encouraged, yet I also feel discouragement and fear rising up.

As a team, we (Called for Such a Time) are busily preparing for what God has called us to do on October 3rd.

The more I search God’s Word and ask Him to direct my steps, the more I feel the opposition. I have pages and pages and pages of insight from the Lord as to what He wants me to say on October 3rd. The words have been flowing on paper so easily. God is equipping me for what He has called me to do. Because let me tell you, public speaking is not one of my favorite past times.

Friends, Satan is directly opposed to us speaking God’s truth.


It’s actually quite hilarious. Like I’m gonna stop typing because of the grinding noise in my ears.

Plan B: Move inside to nice comfy couch, far away from diaper pail.

Carrots and cold drink in tow.

So…where was I?


(better save this document now)

So friends, we know that God is directing our steps. We anticipated Satan’s attacks and attempts to render us less effective. We have seen families and marriages be thrown off. We’ve been praying against all of that.

And today, I feel God telling us that Satan has NO power over us. God will be glorified. And I ask you to please join in praying for us, fortifying us, in the power of His name.

Will you please pray for us?

  • Will you ask the Lord to speak to our hearts as we prepare our talks?
  • Will you ask the Lord to help us find time and focus to prepare?
  • Will you pray against discouragement and fear?
  • Will you pray for unity and peace in our homes?
  • Will you pray for physical health for our team and our families?
  • Will you ask for unity among our team and the event staff?
  • Will you pray for clear delivery of the gospel and that the Holy Spirit will move in the hearts of each and every woman attending, including our team?

For each of you praying for us, we are grateful. Know that God will answer all of our prayers according to His will. We give Him all of the glory.

In His Grace,



A Beauty In Brokenness Story

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We have been humbled and amazed at the work God has done through our Beauty In Brokenness study this summer. We’ve heard many stories of women whose hearts have been transformed by the power of the Word. Today we would like to share one of those stories with you:

By the time I was 14 years old, I had experienced several traumatic events, one that lasted for 6 more years. Since then, I have been searching for peace and healing. These events shaped my entire life: the way I responded to people, the way I responded to God,  and the decisions I made. I have seen many therapists and counselors in my life since those days. I have met with several pastors looking for answers. I have read so many books. “Your Scars are Beautiful to God”, “The Purpose Driven Life”, “Lies Women Believe”, “What’s So Amazing About Grace” to name a few. I have participated in many Bible Studies. I have learned many wonderful truths along the way.

I was attending a Bible Study when Beauty in Brokenness came out. Although I was already participating in a study, I didn’t want to miss out… so I signed up! And right away, God synced up these studies and paralleled so many truths. I knew I needed to listen because He was definitely talking!

I was learning about Joseph, the favored son who was thrown into a pit and sold as a slave. God was with him, so he prospered in what he did. But, soon he was accused of trying to sleep with Potiphar’s wife. He was thrown into prison. The Lord again was with him and he prospered even there. Eventually, he was remembered and again placed high in Potiphar’s house. A famine comes upon the land and his brothers come seeking food. In the end, Joseph reveals who is.

Joseph says in Genesis 45:5, “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life”. In vs. 7, he says “God sent me before you to preserve for you …” and again vs. 8 “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God …”. Joseph’s life seemed to be one pit after another but we quickly learn that God was right there the whole time.

I also learned  that God purposed everything that had happened to Joseph. That means that those traumatic events that happened to me were also purposed by God. He doesn’t just show up in the end when bad things happen and say, “I can work all things for good”. He isn’t surprised at these things in our lives. When I thought about how painful it was, what I had gone through, and wondered why God had allowed those things in my life, I was so very angry.  He could have chosen so many other ways. I left Bible study feeling very frustrated.

On the way home from Bible Study, the song “Shoulders” by For King and Country was playing on the radio.

“You mend what once was shattered
And You turn my tears to laughter
Your forgiveness is my fortress
Oh Your mercy is relentless”

I went home and read the lyrics to this song and knew this was meant for me. This song is based upon Psalm 121. This was one of the passages that we read in the Beauty in Brokenness bible study. When I started to study the last week of Psalm 51, that’s the moment that God finally brought all the pieces together. In II Samuel 12, we learn about how David does the unthinkable. He commits adultery, lines up Uriah to die and then marries Bathsheba. David loses his son and evil will be raised up against him in his house. His wives will be taken by another companion in front of his eyes. David says that he has sinned against the Lord. God takes away his sin and does not cause him to die. David pens Psalm 51, asking for God’s loving-kindness and compassion. I love the word “loving-kindness”, especially in light of our sin. It is the last word you would think of when you do wrong. But God, in His mercy, is ready to be gracious according to His loving-kindness. It’s his “relentless mercy”.

So now I realize that yes, God has allowed these awful things in my life. He has purposed them. And I ask God, if this is Your purpose, then let me be used. Psalm 30, written by David, says in vs 8-9 “To You, O Lord, I called, And to the Lord I made supplication: What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?”

Will these events in my life and the choices I have made separate me from God, or will they praise Him? Will they declare His faithfulness? My brokenness was not in vain. God has a purpose in those pits. I’m not fixed. I never will be. But He is filling in those cracks and making me new.

Beauty in Brokenness is not your typical Bible Study. It is full of open-ended, honest questions that cause you to search your heart. To take a deep, long look at your broken, messy life, and watch how God fills in the cracks and makes you new. I’m standing in awe of where He has taken me, in such a short time, and am left now wondering what God will have me do with this beautiful brokenness.

I reflect upon these passages for the answers:

Psalm 27:13-14 “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 30:11 “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Sarah Colet


Did you get a chance to take our 6 week ecourse, Beauty in Brokenness, this summer? Don’t worry if you didn’t; we are adding it to our store on Labor Day. Keep your eyes out for a special 2 day sale. Check out http://beautyinbrokenness.com for more information!


Why I Quit Running

Why I Quit Running

Some say there are two groups of people. Those who run …

Love running pic

And those who don’t …

don't run pic

I’d like to suggest a different theory: we are all runners. It’s a part of our human condition. We tend to run from pain. For example, what happens when we touch something that is hot? Immediately, we jerk back in pain. When we are hurt or threatened by another person, many of us withdraw from the person and the situation. Some of us fight. But very few of us are willing to sit in pain. We either try to avoid it at all costs, or we run from it like our lives depend on it.

What if there is value in not running? What if there is much to be learned by sitting in the pain? What if there is an invitation from our loving and merciful Savior right in midst of deep suffering? And what if there is actually beauty in that pain? In the brokenness? What if the pain is actually increased when we try to run away? And what if the problem lies more in our inability to see what God is doing in the midst of the pain? What if, instead of running, we really need to regain our sight.

“Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, Son of David, have mercy on me!And Jesus stopped and said, Call him here.So they *called the blind man, saying to him, Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you. Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. And answering him, Jesus said, What do you want Me to do for you?And the blind man said to Him, Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!And Jesus said to him, Go; your faith has made you well.Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.”

~Mark 10:46-52

In many ways, we are just like Bartimaeus. Blind and desperately in need of Jesus to restore our sight. There is much to be learned from this beautiful passage.

Persistence in the Pain

When in pain, the temptation is often to minimize the situation, cope by filling our lives with something else to help us not feel the pain, or run from it completely and ignore what we are feeling and experiencing. Maybe we will cry out to Jesus once or twice, but when our pain remains the same, do we keep crying? Are we persistent in our pain, knowing that Jesus is our only answer?

As Bartimaeus continuously cried out to Jesus, “‘Son of David, have mercy on me!”, many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, ‘Son of David have mercy on me!'” (v.47b-48).

It can be difficult to continuously cry out to Jesus when it seems He isn’t listening or responding. Perhaps circumstances aren’t changing, pain isn’t decreasing, and maybe things are even getting worse. Frankly, for me, in these moments, it’s difficult to keep going back, to keep seeking Him and His presence. Why? Because I fear rejection. What if He doesn’t respond? What if I keep coming, but He never shows up?

“You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all of your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…” (Isaiah 43:1b-2).

These are the promises that we get to cling to when sitting in the pain is so difficult. When it seems He doesn’t hear or isn’t responding. When we are waiting.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:13-14).

Wait. Be Strong. Keep crying out. There is beauty when we persist in the pain.

Respond to the Invitation

The timing of this event in Scripture occurs shortly before Jesus is to be tried, beaten, and crucified. Essentially, Jesus is making his way to his death. He is on mission to save the world. Yet, in this moment, He stops. He stops to hear the cry of one lowly blind man. He shows great love and concern for this man whose life is altered by deep pain. And in love He asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” (v.51).

This question is incredibly poignant. Jesus, the all-knowing Son of God, knows this man is blind. He knows that he wants to be healed. That he wants to see. Yet He asks the question –


Friend, He is asking you and me the same question.  

As I have pondered this question, this invitation, more than once, I’ve had to challenge myself to be really transparent. What is it that I’m asking of God? What is the ONE THING that I am seeking from Him?

If I’m to be honest, often the answer is that at my core I want God to fix my life. I want Him to heal the back pain that I must daily endure. I want Him to fix all relational problems. I want Him to take away the anxiety I feel around raising teenagers. I want Him to solve every financial issue I have. I desire that my life be easier and much more care-free.

There is tremendous value in being honest and telling God how we really feel and what we deeply desire. The problem, however, may lie in the motive of our hearts. While I truly do desire God’s provision, healing, wisdom, and strength in the above mentioned issues, I have to ask myself what is the motive of my heart?

If I am only seeking after God to fix my life, then He has become a means to an end. Not THE END.

In this place, it is helpful to ask myself these questions:

If my reality never changes and the problems of my life are not solved on this side of Heaven, is God enough?

Am I really ok living and sitting in pain and having the presence of God?

…Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this, I will be confident. ONE THING I have asked from the LORD that I shall seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all of the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple” (Psalm 27:3-4).

David’s words here are hugely encouraging and inspiring. His reality is that his situation might not change. An army literally surrounds him and he is being hunted like an animal. And this is his response – IN SPITE OF THIS. Even if I am attacked. Even if my circumstances don’t change. Even if I am in pain. Even if I die. ONE THING I will ask of the Lord. To dwell in the beauty of His presence.

Similarly, this is the response of blind Bartimaeus. He cries out over and over “Son of David, have mercy on me.” And when Jesus invites him to come, he throws aside his cloak, jumps up and comes to Jesus (v.50). As a blind man, this cloak would have been one of his only possessions. It would have been what he used to sit on throughout the day as he begged for what he needed to survive. At night, he would have used it both to sleep on and to cover himself from the cold. And Scripture says he threw off his cloak to run to Jesus. He was willing to give up his only possession for the presence of Jesus. As he ran towards Jesus, he was ready and excited to receive whatever Jesus had to give him. He was ready to see Jesus, his One Thing.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

He responds, “I want to regain my sight” (v.51).

Have we lost sight of who Jesus is? Instead of seeing Him in His glorious beauty as the One who has saved us and redeemed us, have we begun seeing Him as the means to an end? The One who can make our lives better? And if He doesn’t respond to our requests as we see fit, do we run away? Do we disconnect from both Him and the people who He has placed in our lives?

“He brought me up out of a pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock, making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth. A song of praise to my God” (Psalm 40:2-3).

We have been rescued and redeemed, saved, not because of anything that we have done but because of His great love for us. Is this truth enough?

“You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Scripture says that God holds us in the palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:16) and that He never lets us go (Deuteronomy 31:8). As we are being held in His hand, right in the middle of pain and suffering, His Word says that there is fullness of joy.

The call of Jesus is not one to a life of ease. But it is one of joy.

“God, gives us eyes to see the beauty of this truth. That you are our One Thing.”

Walk in Faith

Perhaps the reason for our unwillingness to sit in pain and to keep crying out to Jesus is a lack of faith.

  • At my core, do I really believe that God wants to bless my life and that whatever I am going through is HIS BEST for me?

  • Do I trust that in His perfect, sovereign plan, the details of my life are the means by which God is growing me?

  • Is there really purpose in pain? Beauty in brokenness?

  • Do I believe that each and every thing that happens in my life is a deliberate decision by my loving Father to mold me and make me more like His Son?  And in doing so, He is drawing me to Himself. Inviting me to come closer. To drink deeper. To find a joy and peace in His presence that I will never find in the things of this world. To walk by faith, not by sight. To sit at His feet and not to run.

I’ve quit running, both literally and figuratively. Because of the condition of my back, I had to physically stop running. And now, because of the condition of my heart, I know that I must figuratively stop running. Sitting at the feet of Jesus offers so much more than running to the things of the world to somehow escape pain.

Let us never lose sight that we are just like Bartimaeus. We are beggars desperately in need of God’s continual grace and mercy. And like Bartimaeus, we need to regain our sight.  We need eyes to see the beauty of who God is and what He has done. That He has saved us and redeemed us. That He will never let us go. That He is always with us and upholding us with His righteous right hand. We also need ears to hear His invitation: “What do you want me to do for you?”

What is your One Thing? Are you willing to quit running, to be still, and let Him meet you where you are today?

In You I rest

In You I find my hope

In You I trust

You never let me go

I place my life

Within Your hands alone

Be still my soul

~lyrics from Be Still My Soul (In You I Rest)

Anchored in Christ,



My Life As It Relates to Humpty Dumpty

Today, I am re-posting a blog that I wrote a few years ago.  While the circumstances of my life are different now then they were when I first wrote this, the truth remains – Jesus never lets us go and He is all that we need.  And He is always inviting us to draw near to Him.  I pray that wherever you are today, you will hear His voice calling you just as you are: broken and weary, content or full of joy.  His arms are open wide and His plans and purposes are for our good and His glory.  And there is always beauty to be found.  Even in our brokenness.


Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the kings horses and all the kings men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again

I lived a lot of years like Humpty. Broken and miserable, desperately hoping that someone could put me back together again.  

Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of the Cinderella life I was going to have. I used to watch those Hallmark type movies and I would literally fantasize about how I was going to meet a boy, we would get married, have 4 kids, live in a beautiful house, and live happily ever after. I put everything into making sure that dream came true. In college, I found “my prince” and had the perfect beautiful wedding (complete with a Cinderella dress). We started our lives together, and a couple of years later had a beautiful baby boy.  I was a wife and a mom!!! It was what I always wanted. During that time, I also developed some really amazing friendships with other young mothers. We would meet weekly for play dates (really more for us, not the kids!). Everything was turning out just as I had planned. Or so I thought.

As the months and years passed, I was completely disillusioned. I had everything I thought I ever wanted, but felt empty. I had a relationship with God and would have some times of deep connection with Him, but in general, it seemed shallow and lifeless. From the outside, my life looked great and people even commented on how I had everything together so perfectly. But I knew deep down in my heart that something was terribly wrong.

So, like Humpty, I looked to everyone around me to fix me. I thought that my husband, my friends, my family, my job, etc. would be able to give me what I needed to make me whole, to put me back together again. I poured everything into those relationships. When that didn’t work, I decided I needed to fix them. I began thinking that if, for example, my husband would just change a certain behavior or habit then everything would be just fine. Or if my kids would just start acting better, everything would be okay.

Nothing was working. I was desperate. I was sad, miserable, discontent, and exhausted.

Shortly after my fourth child was born, she was hospitalized with viral meningitis. As I sat in her hospital room, scared and unsure of what was going to happen, I knew I desperately needed more of God. This was my prayer:

“God, I just want to know You more. I feel like I’m missing something and not seeing you as You really are.

Whatever it takes I just want to really know You.

God heard my cry and He answered my prayer. And not at all like I expected. My world seemed to be falling a part around me.

  • A tremendously difficult season in my marriage

  • Major financial stress

  • A disappointing and scary diagnosis with one of my children

  • Strain and distance in some of my most important relationships

My world was spinning.  And in the midst of my pain, fear, and sadness, I did not remember the prayer I had prayed just a short year before. Instead, all I could see was the pain. So I was crying out to God and begging Him, “Please rescue me from this difficult place. My heart is broken and I am hurting. I feel like I can’t breathe. The pain, confusion, and uncertaintly is too much to bear.”

And then I heard Him …

Carrie, don’t you see, I am making you more like me. You told me months ago that you wanted to know me more. I know that you are hurting. I know that you are in pain. I know that it all seems like too much right now. But I am at work. I am reviving you. I am breathing My life into you.

I am molding you and shaping you. I will make you whole again.

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying,  “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.”  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel.  But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make” (Jeremiah 18:1-4). 

I had a great plan for my life that I was never in control of to begin with. And the more it played out, the more I realized it wasn’t working out the way I had hoped and planned. And the more the more I became aware of that realization, the more I tried to fix the problem or looked to someone else to fix me. “But all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

In His infinite mercy, grace, and love, God began stripping from my life all of the things that I turned to instead of Him. All of the things that were more important to Him. The things I worshipped. The things that, while good and precious by themselves, I had abused and placed above God. He began to reveal to me that my husband, my marriage, my family, my friends were idols in my life. I had placed most of my value, worth, and security in them. I had this little shelf in my heart with all these idols on it. God was even one of them. I was looking to them to do for me what they were never meant to do. I knew I was broken and I thought they could meet all of my deepest desires, wants, and needs.

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light my strength my song

This Cornerstone, this solid ground,

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love what depths of peace

When fears are stilled when strivings cease

My Comforter, my all in all

Here in the love of Christ I stand

Only Jesus can put me back together again. He alone can meet my deepest needs. He alone can give me the love that I so desperately need and desire. He alone gives peace in the midst of chaos. He alone brings joy amidst the pain.

In this realization, life has not gotten easy. In fact, it’s still quite hard. But in the midst of the difficulty, there is an overwhelming peace in the realization that Jesus is my Cornerstone. I have fallen in love with Him and He is showing me that He is all I need.

Recently I read this prayer on a blog. “God, please don’t take me from this place.  Don’t take me from this unstable place that provides such sweet, stable communion with You (from goodmorninggirls.org).” Though not always easy, I am experiencing a fellowship with God that I never had before. He is taking me from a cognitive knowledge of Him to a real, experiential relationship with the Jesus.

In Psalm 23, God’s Word says that He chases after us with His love all of the days of our lives. He never lets go of His children (Hebrews 13:5-6, Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:1-9). He is always molding and shaping us. In the NLT version of Jeremiah 18, it says, “the vessel He was making was spoiled in the hand of the potter, so He CRUSHED it into a lump of clay and started over again.”

That crushing can be so difficult, painful, and never ending. AND the truth is, if God is always molding me and shaping me, then His hands are always on me. He is always with me. He is working in my life for my good and for His glory.

So, I’ve said goodbye to the Cinderella dream of a perfect, “happily ever after” kinda life. I am beginning to recognize that it’s in surrendering to the process, to the great work of the Potter, that I find the peace, joy, and stability that I was looking for for years in all of the wrong places.

As Katie Davis says in her book, Kisses from Katie, “Jesus wrecked my life, shattered it and put it back together more beautifully. I am in love with Him. Period.”

I still recognize that, like Humpty, I’m broken and desperate. BUT GOD. He is writing my story. He shattered my dreams, and He is putting my life back together the way He sees fit. He is making me whole again. 

Anchored in Christ,


** I am SO excited to invite you to join us as we dive into the Psalms through an amazing Bible study, Beauty and Brokenness, created by our Called by Such a Time team.  Focusing on the truths found in Psalms 27, 30, and 51, we get to see the beauty of who God is, what He has done, and what He is doing for us and in us even in the midst of our messy lives, pain, and brokenness.  He is offering each of us the healing, wholeness, grace, freedom and joy that we so desperately need.  I hope that you will consider joining us on this journey!  There will be several groups meeting in the Columbia area and an online interactive group as well.  You can find out more by visiting http://beautyinbrokenness.com/.


My Spiritual Growth “Plan”


leaves-630098_1280Perhaps the most reassuring truth in all of Scripture to me is God’s promise to keep His own forever. Our Creator God is the author, the perfecter, and the finisher of our faith. He tells us even our very faith is a gift from Him. When we wander off, He sets out to find His lost and brings us home and it is God Himself who works in us both to will and to act. Scripture clearly teaches God’s undeniable sovereignty in both our salvation and sanctification. He has made His claim and nothing or no one will thwart His plans.

Yet, even knowing these truths, I’ve spent many years frustrated and discouraged that my spiritual growth has so often seemed incredibly slow and inconsistent. One thing I’ve realized as I look back on my faith journey is that no matter how quickly I’d like to see “results,” God is not in a hurry. He is patient, thorough, and long-suffering. And though it’s difficult to express in words, “I know that I know that I know” that His hand has been upon me every day of my life: guiding, shaping, changing and growing me.

There was a major turning point in my life 5 years ago as my spiritual growth and emotional healing took place at an accelerated rate which I had never before experienced. And it all started in a pit. I’m pretty sure it starts in a pit for most everyone. A wise woman once told me that “we only change when the pain of NOT changing becomes greater than the pain of changing.” Maybe that’s why transformation usually begins in deep, dark pit. We are finally willing to surrender to Him because we realize He is our only way out. 

In my mid-30’s, I found myself in an incredibly painful circumstantial pit from which I could not escape. I was weary and desperate, with no way to fix all that was broken in my life and in my heart. So I cried to God for help and He saved me. “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit” (Psalm 30:2-3). This was the beginning of a journey of deep healing and tremendous growth in which I continue to walk.

As I look back over these recent years, it is undeniable that God Himself has been the one rescuing, redeeming and restoring me. I am confident there is no formula, no plan, no step-by-step for true transformation. It is God. Apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, my efforts will only produce behavioral change, not heart change. Yet, as I reflect on this season of growth, I’ve realized that there have been some critical pieces that are the foundation of my spiritual/emotional healing and growth and have put me in a position for God to do some serious soul and heart work in my life. 

It is so important to recognize that we are uniquely created by God and require different things to help us grow and change. John Ortberg says, “God never grows two people the exact same way. God is a hand-crafter, not a mass-producer.” I’ll be honest, in my life it’s been mostly PAIN that has been the catalyst for change. Trials have a way of opening hearts and softening wills in the lives of God’s children, especially in mine. But there are so many other things that help us grow, practices and disciplines which create space for God to move and can be actively pursued as we seek to mature as followers of Christ. Over the years, I’ve been able to recognize 4 key things that have been the most helpful in my own spiritual growth:

~Safe Spiritual Community~

Very few things bring me greater comfort and encouragement than walking alongside others in our pursuit of God. And very few things are as vital to my living my life with authenticity. Developing deep, honest, Christ-centered friendships has transformed my spiritual life. Within this safe community of believers, there are no secrets. We process all of life and faith out loud. We listen, question, teach, challenge and love one another, having no other goal than to help each other keep our eyes on Jesus. It is in the context of these transparent relationships that I am truly known and deeply loved, giving me an earthly picture of God’s unconditional love for me. Having a safe place to be weak, to fail, to struggle and still be accepted, valued and embraced is life-giving. What a scary, yet beautiful paradox, that by exposing my brokenness to others, I find healing.  

~Mentoring/Spiritual Direction~

While these relationships have looked different during different seasons of my life, finding mentors who are farther along in their spiritual walk has been a critical part of my growth. For several years, a wise and beloved Christian therapist helped me process through the areas of my deepest wounding. Through her counsel, I began to recognize how my past trauma was affecting my relationships, including, and most importantly, my relationship with God. The Lord used her as a bridge to lead me into a deeper, more trusting relationship with Him than I have ever experienced. Later, I received formal, one on one spiritual direction in which I learned to pay greater attention to where God is at work in my life and how He is inviting me to respond to Him. Other mentoring relationships have been less formal, where I’ve processed life and sought wisdom over coffee or through long distance phone calls. I have learned so much from these older, wiser believers, both from their words and from watching them live out their faith in real life. 

~Daily Solitude with God~

There has been absolutely no substitute for carving out extended time every single day to meet with the One who saves, heals, comforts, redeems and restores my soul. Just like I need food daily to nourish my body, I need time with God daily to nourish my spirit. In over 3 decades as a believer, I have never experienced a time of great spiritual growth when I was not spending long periods of time in communion with the Lord through Bible reading/meditation, journaling, worship and prayer. It is, without exception, the single most important thing I do in life. 

~In-Depth Bible Study~

Finally, intensive study of the Word of God has played a significant role in my spiritual growth. Not passively reading through endless chapters or bouncing around from verse to verse and book to book but studying Scripture in context and processing it with others. I felt like a whole new world opened up when I learned through Precept Bible Studies how to study the Word for myself and began meeting with other believers to dialogue about all the Lord revealed to us. These in-depth studies have usually taken place face to face, and during some seasons, through online communication. To truly know who God is, how He works in my heart and in the world, and what He desires for me, I must spend time digging, questioning, searching, cross-referencing, discussing, applying and wrestling through the Word of God with other believers. For all the time I have invested in deeply engaging the truth, I have been rewarded a hundredfold with heavenly wisdom and spiritual fruit. (*See below for an incredible new study of which I am thrilled to be a part!)

The ultimate truth is that it is God alone who works in and through us to produce transformation. There is no real change apart from Him, only behavior modification. But in obedience, we get to be an active participant in the process. We don’t have to, we GET to. And when we do, I truly believe growth is accelerated and God is honored. As we continue to seek Him, we will be “filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9-10

Held by Him,


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I’d love for you to consider joining me in my next Bible study titled, Beauty in Brokenness! Our Called For Such A Time team created this study for the purpose of going beneath the surface and examining the broken places of our hearts in the light of God’s Word. Through in-depth study of and meditation on Psalms 27, 30 and 51, we will process some of the most common struggles we all face including: freedom from fear and anxiety, healing from woundedness, and forgiveness/repentance from sin and be reminded that it is the Lord alone who brings healing. There will be several local group meetings in Columbia, SC and an interactive online group for those in other locations. The study starts June 22! You can find out more at http://www.beautyinbrokenness.com


Can you say giveaway????

Beauty in brokenness


Who doesn’t like free stuff? I know I do.

Well, we are giving away a FREE registration to our Beauty In Brokenness ecourse that will start June 22nd.  You can keep the course for yourself or give it to a friend as a gift. The contest will last until Sunday at midnight!!! There are several different ways to enter below. The winner will be chose by Random.org and notified by email.

Still not sure if this course is a good fit for you? You can see a sample here.

If you are not able to participate in the study this summer, you might know a friend who would. We would greatly appreciate you sharing this course with anyone you think would enjoy it.

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