My Dreams

I was driving in my car the other day, on my way to work, and I decided to spend that time in prayer. I asked God, if He had anything He wanted me to work on or that He wanted to work on within me, to please show me and to start the work… I don’t think I was prepared for when He answered that prayer.

My Saturday morning devotions are some of my favorites because I’m not rushed. I spend as much time as I want reading, journaling, praying, singing, it doesn’t matter how long I spend. But one particular Saturday morning, here recently, God asked something of me and immediately I felt my heart start hurting.

You know those dreams we all have? The ones that we play over in our minds when we can’t fall asleep… The dreams that we perfect over the years of our young lives… I had/have a list of them and it goes a little something like this:

  1. Go to college ✓
  2. Begin my career ✓
  3. Teach in a major poverty area ✓
  4. Travel the world
  5. Write a story
  6. Pay off debt
  7. Have a house of my own
  8. Get my Master’s degree in something
  9. Get married
  10. Adopt a handful or more of children
  11. Live a long life, do well in my career surrounded by my family
  12. Have a great church family ✓
  13. Serve where I am planted ✓
  14. Love well
  15. See the Aurora Borealis
  16. Watch a Meteor Shower late at night
  17. Missions
  18. Become a well-practiced archer

Those are all beautiful things. They are things that I was told I should dream for. Things that they said God would give to me along the way as long as I waited patiently.  

God asked me to change my list of dreams. The things I hope for, the dreams that I have had in my heart since I was young. The dreams I played out with my Barbies… You know, because if it can work in Barbie land then it can 100% work great in my world too (the mind of an 8 year old). He asked me to change my dream to this:

  1. God

He asked to be my dream. He asked me to long to be with Him for eternity, for that to be my one longing. He has asked that all of these earthly dreams be put in their place and that He would be put first. And in all honesty, my heart hurt, because I knew what this meant.

For God to be my dream, I have to lay aside the dreams that lull me to sleep at night. The dreams I journal about, the dreams I pray about, the dreams that have become my idols, they all have to be put away. They’re not wrong, it’s not a sin to dream, but the shelf in my life that they’ve been sitting on isn’t a shelf like I thought it was. Those dreams have taken the throne in my life that only God should sit upon and He has been placed on the shelf meant for my earthly dreams. He is asking to take His rightful place.

For God to be my dream, I have to be content with not having a house of my own. I have to be content with singleness being my life for more than a “season”. I have to be content with not furthering my education or adopting children. I have to be content with serving Him and only Him in whatever way that looks like. When God is my dream, those earthly dreams become ways that I can serve God, instead of ways that God can serve me since I do “good” things.  

I’m finding out what it looks like to have God as my dream. Where my prayers go from “God show me how to live this life, here are my dreams, fulfill them please” to “God show me how to live a life that is honoring to You, guide me in the ways that honor You, where do You want me to serve You today Lord”…

You see, dreams aren’t the problem. Where they sit in your priority list is the problem. Often times, we can find God’s direction in certain dreams we have. When your heart longs to do something, to serve a certain people group, to go somewhere, through prayer and fasting, you may find that those certain dream were God-given. However, there are many times that we put all of our dreams on a pedestal and become entitled. We think that if we do our devotions, serve at church, and place God in a proverbial “center” of our lives, then He MUST give us our dreams. We make a checks-and-balance with God. I serve at church, You give me a husband. I pay my tithes, You provide me the house I want. God is not a Coke machine.

My heart hurts less as God becomes the center of my life. I realize that the dreams I must let go of are not the glorious things I put them up to be. They would have disappointed me. Compared to a relationship with God where I am all in, those dreams are so small. In light of eternity, those dreams mean nothing. When you delight yourself in the Lord, He becomes your desire.


Insomnia, a Blessing in Disguise

12:00 AM is not the time I usually plan to be productive. I’d rather be asleep in a room that feels like an ice-cube, listening to a fan, wrapped in multiple blankets, dreaming of the beach. Alas, my plans, or should I say my plans being unused and thrown away, seem to be the prime time for God’s lessons. While I do not believe God causes all of my plans to be thrown down the drain, I know He uses each detour for my growth. The smallest things seem to impact the biggest areas in my life.

There have been several times, too many to count to be quite honest, over the last two years of my teaching career that I have fallen asleep on the couch before 8 o’clock. By the time I wake up and walk to my bed, my brain sometimes decides that sleep is not on the agenda. For most of my life, when I could not sleep, I would get on Facebook or Instagram, and lay for hours watching videos mindlessly; filling my mind with things that was not helpful in life and complaining continually about how I could not sleep. I don’t know how many hours I have wasted doing just that. Then, one day I had a different idea. Instead of just laying in bed for hours, I decided to get up and make some use of the time. I cleaned, reorganized things, spent time with God, and blogged. It’s funny how such a little change can impact your life.

As I look back over these little hours of insomnia, I cannot explain how much it has actually helped me. Insomnia, for me, happens when I am busy beyond all compare and I have no time for the little things like cleaning and organizing. More often than not, insomnia happens when I have been so busy that my priorities get all out of whack and I am desperately needing time with God. Now I cannot say whether the insomnia is something God has caused or just something He allows, but what grace He has shown me through it. Grace to catch up on things, to spend time with Him, to breathe and relax.

I am becoming thankful for the insomniac nights. It’s not that 10:00-11:30 or 1:00 in the night hours is my favorite time of day, nor is it my ideal time for any of the said activities above. However, it is a quiet time of the day, it’s a time when it can be just me and God. It’s a time when I can be really productive and get a lot done in a short amount of time. It’s not ideal, but God has shown me a way to be thankful for it. God truly can use anything for the good.

Pumpkin Spice and Jesus

On September 1st I made my students look at me with questioning eyes because of my excitement over it being the first day of the first month of fall. I’m pretty sure they questioned my being an adult because of how excited I got. I love fall. I love the leaves changing colors and falling to blanket the ground. I love the smells of bonfires and the cheers of football games. I love a good cup (or two) of hot apple cider. I even love the storms. The fall festivals that have too many people and too many delicious calories. The extra layers of clothes that cause one to feel comforted. The windows open on a windy day and laying on the couch with a blanket has been the source of some of the best naps I’ve ever experienced. The pumpkin pies and family gatherings. The corn mazes. I love the color pallet of fall, the deep hues, rich in color. Seriously, it’s all just wonderful.

Most of all though, I love how my life happens in fall. As a teacher, summer is my time of adventure, I get to go anywhere, do anything, try everything I want, without worrying about my students and the lessons I need to plan. But summer is not my season of rest. Don’t get me wrong, my spirit feels rejuvenated and relaxed after a good summer. However, fall is the time when everything slows down. The students get into the routine of school again; all the beginning of the year, school craziness, calms down, and I get to live in this beautiful life God has called me to. In the fall I’m surrounded by responsibilites, lesson planning, church events, and spending time with family and friends on the weekend – a very scheduled life. There is something very sacred about this time of year though. A time when everything quiets down with a hum of life around it. It is easy to feel mundane when you see yourself doing the same things over and over again, if you’re not looking for the joy. There’s joy in doing the same things over and over again because you become consistent, well-practiced in what you do. There’s joy in the quiet moments you sip on pumpkin spice lattes with a friend. There’s joy in the crowded fall festivals and letting yourself eat a goodie you usually would refrain from. There’s joy in cheering your students or children on in their favorite sport. There’s joy in the marshmallows and bonfires, sitting surrounded by people you care about.

God created us to live a life here on Earth and while we are to live with eternity in mind, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy this life. There is a tactic that the enemy sends our way. The enemy wants us to believe that we cannot enjoy this life because it will mess with our eternity. This enemy wants us to be so consumed with worry over eternity and what we can do for it that we forget the simple things.

I struggled with this for such a long time. I was not secure in my place in Christ. This insecurity caused such turmoil when I realized I had been enjoying life in things that were temporal. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that we are saved by God’s grace. God’s grace is not something that just stops. it is renewed every morning (Lamentations 3:23). My friend, if you have given your life to Christ and have accepted Him as your Savior, you’re living eternity already. You are already living a life for Jesus, using your time to worship Him through the tasks that even seem mundane.

There are seasons when God will call you to adventurous things, things that are scary and maybe even life-threatening, but fall reminds us that God also calls us to seasons of rest and enjoying this life He created. God created us to live, to show joy in our everyday lives. To live with the peace that we are saved. That peace and joy will shed light into the people around you. They will ask why you can enjoy life so easily. And God’s love is the answer. Living everyday life with the joy of Christ, with the peace of salvation, is a great testimony for the people around you to see.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Realize that Christ is your security. He has created you to love through the things you do each day. You can worship Him through your actions: having coffee with a friend, giving your best at work, loving the people around you. You are in this season for a reason, and it is a chance for you to grow.

Here’s The Truth

With everything going on around the world, I feel the need to speak life. I know we each have our personal hurts and problems we face in our day to day lives. With everything going on, I know a lot of people are hurting and feel vulnerable because their hurt is out for everyone to see. The hurt is amplified all around us. No matter what you are going through, let this life be spoken into you. These are truths.

  • Your cries are heard

I Peter 5:7

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

1 John 5:14-15

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

  • You are seen, your good parts, the parts that hurt, all of it.

Proverbs 15:3

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”

Job 34:21

“For His eyes are on the ways of man, and He sees all his steps.”

Psalms 33:13-15

The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.”

  • You are not alone

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

1 Samuel 12:22

“For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people.”

  • You are loved

John 15:9

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.”

Ephesians 2:4-6

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raise us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus.”

1 John 4:7-8

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

Here is the thing, my friend, you are loved, you are seen, you are heard, and you are not alone. I know life hurts. I know some nights you cry yourself to sleep. I know you fight and sometimes you cannot fight anymore. I know because I do too.

I felt the need to write all of this in mainly scriptures, because my words can encourage, but His Word can heal. His Word is what can provide peace. His Word is love. If you skipped over all of the scriptures, I ask you to read this last one. Know that you are precious in His eyes.

Psalms 139:13-16

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were not of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!”


My Crazy Bathroom Solution

For as long as I can remember, I knew I was supposed to read my Bible and pray every day… I’m sure you’re wondering what the title and reading my Bible has to do with each other, but just wait; you will see the connection here in a bit.

The struggle with these disciplines – reading my Bible and praying – has been going on for just as long as I have known of them. As I have grown, I have realized that reading my Bible and praying is not to be a habit but to be a part of an on-going relationship with Jesus. I love Jesus, I really do. However, a lot of the time, I love the idea of Him, more than I truly love Him. I hate admitting that, but it’s true. I want to love Him more, but my actions remind me that my heart still has a long way to go. You can see the lack of love in my heart in the mornings I push snooze instead of waking up to pray, the times I spend on Facebook when I could be reading His Word.

The last five years or so, I have tried harder than ever to build my relationship with Jesus; waking up early to give Him my mornings, praying a little extra here and there. I remember when I started really trying how I wished to live in my own house. How much easier would it be to dedicate time to Him if I could give a room over to being a personal “Me and Jesus” room? The room’s walls could be covered in prayers, and the floor with pillows, it would be without distractions, quiet and inviting. However, living on my own just hasn’t happened yet. I spent many times using this as an excuse.

“Oh I cannot focus; I’ll do better when I live on my own.”

“I cannot lay here on my bed and do devotions without falling asleep, God understands…”

And while all of this may have some legitimacy, it does not really have a weight against how Good God is and how I really need that time with Him.

When The War Room came out, that plea for a personal room for Me and Jesus really flooded my heart again. I sat on my bed, wishing for my own place so I could have a room with no distractions. Then it hit me, like a brick, the realization that I had a room with little to no distractions. I fought the idea, wrestling with how silly it seemed. I had to choose, though. Was my relationship with God worth all the silliness that others may see? (He is always worth it. ALWAYS)

I’m sure like many of my fellow adult friends still living with their parents, I love my home, it’s home. Yet, while it is the home I grew up in, it doesn’t really feel like mine. It’s my mom and dad’s house. I don’t go rearranging the furniture whenever I want, I don’t repaint a room when I decide I don’t like the color, it’s my parents’ house. I have two designated areas of the house that are mine to do with as I please, my bedroom and my bathroom. So I sat thinking about my future house and how one day I would have room that I could really focus on my devotions in. While I do not want to ever take hearing God’s voice lightly, I think that day He was the one to put an idea in my head. It was one of those moments when an idea so simple fixes an issue and you feel almost stupid for not thinking about it before.

My bathroom… How had I not given this one a thought before? My bathroom is small, doesn’t have a lot of distractions, and I could put up prayers and I could bring a pillow to sit on the floor! No, it isn’t the room I pictured in my future house, but do I really want to wait that long to spend time truly focused on God? Do I have that time to waste?

I did it. I made my bathroom into my War Room. I taped scriptures and prayers on the wall. And I bring my pillow in there when I go to pray and read the Bible.

I’m not sharing this so that you think I have finally conquered not getting up in the mornings and not spending time on Facebook instead of reading scripture. I’m sharing this because it took me forever it seemed to find a simple solution to my distraction problem. If me writing this helps you solve an issue like that or help bring you to a closer walk with Jesus, then I’ll share it. Maybe a bathroom isn’t your answer. Maybe you need a closet, or a corner in a room. Find what works for you. You don’t need to wait for a different chapter in life to be in a closer relationship with Jesus. Really, it is worth it.

I realized after a while that anyone who went to use my bathroom could see my personal prayers I had hung on the wall, but you know what? That is okay. God, many times, has called His people to a place vulnerability. Who am I to hide my needs behind a wall of confidence and “put-togetherness”? I do not know what you need to be closer to God, everyone is different. But whatever it is that you feel God nudging you to do, to give up, to rearrange, to draw closer to Him, it can only bring you more joy. I have felt God more in my small bathroom than I ever did sitting on my bed or somewhere else in the house. It helps me focus on Him. This is my journey. Now I ask that you seek and see what God has for you.


“Jesus, Thank you for this food and drink. Help it to nourish my body, in Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.”

Such a short prayer, simple, and to the point, and so easily forgotten. As with many young Christians, I grew up praying before each meal. I was taught to do this; while I don’t remember the reason that was presented, I knew it was important. I have fond memories surrounding that prayer in particular. While family gatherings are often a mixture of bitter and sweet, I have always loved them – for the most part at least. My grandfather always used to call on me to pray over the family meal because of how quickly I prayed. I sped through the prayer just as you would the ABC’s when you suddenly forget what comes after R, or some other alphabetical situation that befuddles you. Theoretically, I was happy to pray, it comforted my conscious. “Look at me Lord, I remembered You before partaking in a blessing.” I felt like a good Christian when praying for my meal, like I was somehow holier for speaking a few words before shoving morsels in my mouth. If I accidently skipped this prayer, I would always feel guilty, thinking that suddenly God would be disappointed in me.

As I grew older, I found ways to recite this prayer with discretion. My friends at the lunch table did not share this particular ritual, and I’ve never been one for pushing my thoughts on others. I kept it quiet, closed my eyes, thought the prayer, and then would move on to eating. There was even a time where I struggled being ashamed of this prayer. What if people thought it weird or unnecessary? Now, I’m not even sure if my friends noticed the silence. Over the years, I have been blessed with friends that respected this time, and would automatically quiet down until I finished and looked up. Somehow, this helped my fear subside. I realized it didn’t really matter what people thought. We all have our own ways of doing things.

While I am no longer ashamed, something new has begun to run over my mind lately. One day, I was sitting, relaxing, I don’t even remember what I was thinking about when a thought hit me. That day in particular, I had prayed several times for the different meals I had eaten. I realized that each time, I had said that prayer without even thinking about it. The words flowed over my mouth just as your muscle memory allows you to punch in the code on your phone. God showed me the intent of my heart that day and it hurt.

“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” Proverbs 16:2

My prayers that day were no more righteous than the person who doesn’t pray over their meal. In fact, I would go to say my prayer, because of the motive, was not righteous at all. It was not the incense unto the Lord that I want my prayers to be (Psalm 141:2). It was hypocritical. I prayed thanksgiving to the Lord just like the Pharisees did (Luke 18:9-14), so that people could hear me, so that I could hear me. I truly was not thankful for the food that Jesus had given to me. Scripture says that every good gift comes from God (James 1:17) I may be wrong, but I consider food to be a good gift. A gift that I ought to truly be thankful for. In everything, I should give thanks. It’s easy to give thanks in the great things. It’s easy to remember that I should give thanks in the hard times. Yet, those days that seem mundane, the average ones where nothing sticks out, those are the days that I often forget just how good I have it.

I choose to continue praying over my meals, not with a guilty heart, nor with a habitual heart, but with one that will grow into a thankful heart. Maybe praying over your meal is not necessary, maybe it is. I am not God. I look to our example and see that Jesus blessed the meals that He ate many times in scripture. However, while learning about the heart of my God, I want to say this. I do not believe that the prayer is what really matters to our Lord Jesus. He knows the motive behind the action, and someone with a thankful heart is what pleases Him.

I pray that the Lord will continue to soften our hearts to the motives behind our actions, that we may have a heart after His.

How does Praise affect Sin?

Psalm 34:1

I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Isaiah 6:1-7

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with train he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

I find it interesting, that after witnessing the continual praise of the seraphims unto God, that the man of God, a man that God would show Himself unto, found himself to be unclean. Isaiah saw God. God allowed Isaiah to actually see Him! Yet this man of God claimed to be unclean – note that the word unclean here relates to being unclean religiously – this will tie back in later. Some things come to my mind here:

  • Had Isaiah realized just then, in that moment, the majesty and greatness of God? Had he served God until that point only to just then fully grasp Who God is? Did he just then start to understand what kind of God we have?
  • Was he a man of unclean lips due to his lack of praise and worship unto God? Were the people he was surrounded by of unclean lips because they did not praise God the way they should?


  • When his lips are purified of his sins, the seraphim uses a coal from the altar.
    • The altar is used to sacrifice or to burn incense (praises) unto God.
      • Psalm 141:2

Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

  • The coal from the altar was a live coal. That means it was hot or alive so-to-speak.
    • Only living praise will have the sin-purging effect.
    • If your praise isn’t true, living, breathing out of you, it won’t have the effect God created it to have.
  • The coal of praise purged him of his “uncleanness”.
  • Praise is what took the iniquity away.
  • Notice also that the seraphim, a majestic being of God would not actually touch the coal itself. The seraphim used tongs to grab the coal, but he placed it completely upon Isaiah’s lips.
    • Does this point to the fact that the angel’s cannot praise God in the same way that we are to praise God?

Luke 17:11-19

And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God., and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Isaiah was a man of God. He believed in God, but still had impurities.

These ten lepers were obedient and believed in God’s power! They were cleansed of their uncleanness.

We are cleansed of our sins by Jesus Christ.

The leper that came back, was not only cleansed but was made whole. His FAITH made him whole. Faith here relates to his “religion” being dependent upon Jesus wholly for his salvation. Remember where Isaiah’s uncleanness had to do with being unclean religiously… Could it be that Isaiah was unclean religiously because he did not fully depend upon God for his salvation?

If we do not fully depend upon God for our salvation, we will not praise Him as we ought. Only through our praise our we made whole. We can be saved from our sin but still fight with the aftermath of our choices. Only our praise will purge us from all the side effects of our sins. Only our praise to God will take away our iniquity. However, while we can be saved, we may still suffer. Only through faith can we truly be made whole.