The Grace of Our Dying Savior

But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and by His wounds we are healed – Isaiah 53:5

His wounds should have been ours. It was our voices who last Sunday cried out “Hosanna” and who today shouted “crucify”. It is our voices still today which we raise both in praise and in doubt, knowing Him yet denying Him and who He is to us. Everything that happened that day leading right up to Calvary, it was all a reflection of us, of how lost we are without Him, of how lost we are without a Savior and a Friend. Yet even as He was lifted high on a cross to die, He was still making heartfelt eye contact with the people of this world. He saw the hurt of His mother and addressed it even in the midst of carrying the pain of every sin and dying death itself. He looked out and saw those whose souls were still in deep darkness even as they raised their hammers high and pierced His flesh and blood…and He cried out “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” He turned to the thief on the cross of wood next to Him, and He calmed a guilty man’s terrified and dying heart with the comfort of Heaven…with the promise that Jesus would be with Him. Our Savior did all of this while He himself was dying. He died to self in every way…to save us. To save every last one of us. Even those who deny Him. Even those who hide what He means to us. Even those who shout crucify. Even those who don’t yet know Him. He died to make a way for each and everyone of us…and in dying to make that way, He became the way. He is the only way. He is the only one who could or would ever save us. And so today we remember the darkness of Calvary, because it’s the day the light of Christ’s love shown the brightest for us. Even as He was dying, He loved you. Even as we were and are still sinning, He loves you. Even as He hung on a cross. No matter what you have done, Jesus saves. You haven’t gone too far. You aren’t beyond His saving hands. Turn to Him and remember. Remember that even as He died, He remembered you and fought for you and loved you. He still does.

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The Grace of Spring

Today was one of those days where I never turned on the music because the singing birds and cooing doves and tapping woodpecker outside my window filled the day with the simple sound of life beginning to stir again. Spring takes awhile to come fully alive here in Wisconsin. Our pastor described our current stage as the muddy days of spring on Sunday morning. Sometimes the snow creeps back in and the frost makes its way back to our rooftops, but before long we find that the new life can’t be contained in the frozen earth any longer and slivers of green burst forth from the ground. I found a few of these green slivers of joy in the yard today where the Daylilies are planted. I can’t help but think about Spring in the Christian life as well. Our frozen seasons often seem to last forever and it’s so easy to forget that as God’s people there is always life bubbling below the surface, just waiting to spring out. It’s easy to bury our joy and cover it with hurt. It’s easy to forget that we once planted life where we now can only see the darkness of the dirt covering its surface. But just as Jesus burst from the grave on Easter morning, He promises you are going to burst through too. There is always the promise and the hope of Spring in Jesus. He never forgets what He has planted in us. He never leaves us in the dark.

Grace In Wandering

I struggle with identity and purpose often. I’m a college graduate with an English degree but I spent half of college studying Early Childhood Education and almost all of my working years serving families as a toddler teacher, two year old teacher, piano teacher, and nanny. Yet, my heart is to write about Grace and illuminate Jesus through my story daily. I’m a musician who only plays on Sunday mornings, I’m a survivor of infertility who suddenly finds herself miraculously pregnant, and I’m a wife who sometimes makes dinner on weeknights. Recently, even though our adoption plans fell through, my job has ended because I planned on staying home with our baby and I’ve found myself stepping into the role of full time homemaker. So many hats and so many roles often make me feel as though I appear scatter brained to the world, a floater from dream to dream. Yet there is beauty in the wandering, and I very often feel that while many of my layers are being shed my identity in Christ has grown stronger and more rooted. And that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter what you “do”, even though the world makes us feel that it does. It matters more who you love, who you serve, who you live for. For me, that’s Jesus. That’s my husband. That’s my family. That’s my sweet miracle baby. When I feel like my life has been all over the place, I remind myself to look for the constants. I’ve been with this man I call my husband since I was 15. I’ve loved my family forever. I’ve been held by Jesus my whole life. I’ve prayed everyday to meet this baby now growing inside of me. Nothing else matters. The Grace that has been poured into me through those blessings is what I hope to pour out into this world, through many different outlets and in as many ways as God sees fit. I will probably keep on wandering through this world, but my prayer will always be, “Jesus, bind my wandering heart to thee and let come what may”. New directions, new places, new faces, I’m not afraid or ashamed of any of it anymore. Because Jesus is my constant, and Love is my guide from here on out. So don’t be afraid of your story or the twists and turns it has taken. There’s Grace in all of it.

Homegrown Faith

I always knew I wanted to have a church pew in our home, and so when we bought our very first house I was quick to scour craigslist for one that would fit right on this wall. It had to be full length. It had to be worn in. I had hoped for a backstory along with it, but this one actually sat in the waiting room of a veterinarian’s office and they weren’t sure where it came from before that. But you see, the last four years I’ve been sitting in God’s waiting room, waiting for Him to give me answers and to heal me and to do the miraculous, so this pew and its story is actually perfect. The thing about church pews that I love so much is that they are very often found in rooms where Grace and Rest and Healing and Forgiveness are needed most. I want to be reminded to sit in the presence of God daily in the rooms of this Home and humbly come before Him for all of those things. Sometimes we sit on hard pews because our prayers are hard and holy. Other times we rise up from those pews with lifted arms of praise because God has heard and answered our hard and holy prayers. I believe that repentance, forgiveness, grace, healing, mercy, faith, and love are not meant to solely take place within formal church walls, but also inside the holy and broken walls of our own homes. I love that Jesus entered into the homes of those He loved and even into the homes of those He hadn’t met yet but knew He needed to meet. He didn’t only sit in the temple, but He also reclined at the tables of friends and sinners. He went inside their homes and He brought miraculous healing. He listened and He loved and He extended Grace within the most intimate of spaces. I believe there is a time for worshipping Him formally under church steeples and together in prayer as congregations, but I just wanted to share my heart today that this worship of Jesus in our homes is just as important, if not more, to our relationship with Him. Sure, He loves to see our lifted hands on Sunday mornings, but He also calls us closer to Him when He extends His Grace to us in the raw and authentic spaces of our hearts while we’re at home. Because often times, this is the space where we become who we truly are with Him.

A Grace Note: Imperfect but Seen 


Dear Reader, 

Awhile a back now I mentioned how I deeply desired to be more real in this space. By more real, I mean showing the world that I’m a real person behind all these devotional and grace notes and that every word here comes from a real and imperfect person. So here’s a real moment for you all this evening. Tonight I threw my hair into braids so I could get to work on some fresh baked pumpkin bundt cake for our church potluck tomorrow. These braids remind me of a much younger me, an eighth grade girl lost in insecurity who wasn’t cool but knew she couldn’t be like everybody else. That insecure girl, curious about the realness of the God she loved, hurried her way through high school hiding behind piano sheet music and spending quiet evenings in a George Webb diner with her newly found Love. Years later she would go on to find that though she could remember every face from those high school years, there were a handful of people who couldn’t remember hers. That’s right. I’ve run into a handful of people over the last few years, girls I sat in class with, girls I traded notes with, who simply don’t remember me being there. I felt hurt the first time around, confused the second, and dumbfounded the third time. But here’s the thing. I was quiet and all those years I felt I wasn’t good enough to really be known. And even into adulthood I’ve felt the same way. “How will the world remember me” turned into “Will the world remember me?”. Jesus says He will never forget me, that my name is written on the palms of His hands. Maybe this world isn’t about making waves, but is instead about riding them out. Maybe this life is about learning to walk upon them, looking solely to Jesus…who will always know our names. That quiet, awkward, self-conscious girl has followed me into adulthood, but now she knows her own name to be this: Beloved. I am beloved by Jesus, by my husband, by my sweet family, by my small but dear circle of friends. Do I have the crowds behind me? No. Will the world remember my name? Probably not. But my tiny world is still rocked by the presence of the people Jesus has placed into it, and I know that in some small way, I get to rock their world too. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

Grace Under Pressure: The Force of Pressure Unseen 


Dear Reader, 

I was in the shower this morning when I noticed my anniversary ring, the one my husband gave me last year during our trip to the Black Hills, felt different on my finger. I thought maybe it had twisted funny. I’ve worn it everyday for over a year, and though it’s been exposed to the heat of the shower daily, it has never been subjected to any known type of pressure or force. Which is why I found myself in shock when I realized it had somehow become bent so badly that I could barely pry it off of my finger. I tried to bend it back by running it under steaming hot water, thinking maybe the steam from the shower had caused it to bend in the first place, but it wouldn’t budge and I couldn’t get it to regain its former shape. All these weeks I’ve been searching for words to write. I’ve been feeling like the well had run dry and for some reason, God had stopped speaking to me through this way that He seemingly always has. But this ring this morning caused me to realize that the silence I have been experiencing is not unexplainable. There have been pressures unseen bearing down on my soul that I simply had not noticed. They hid themselves behind my earthly worrying and exhaustion and when God caused me to open my eyes to them, I was made aware that once again nothing is without purpose. I was made aware that if I feel God has become silent in my life it is not because He has chosen not to speak, but it is instead because the enemy has found a way to cause me not to listen through the force of pressures unseen which cause what I see to become warped and different from what God intends. Those pressures make me feel like the pieces of this life God has given me won’t fit back together. What unseen spiritual pressures are taking hold of your life? God says that nothing which comes into the Light stays hidden. Perhaps the only way to know what is hiding and holding our souls back from deeper relationship with God is to simply ask God to illuminate what we can’t see. I let the pressures of isolation and anxiety and worry overshadow the power of Hope and Grace and Purpose. God has Good things for you. Allow Him to light up your dark spaces where the hard things hide.

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

Hurricane Irma: A Grace Note 


Dear Reader, 

I just honestly haven’t been able to find the right words to say. I know people in Texas, in Florida, and in Georgia who are living through these hurricanes and I fear for them. I find myself scared and feel almost numb in the safety of my midwestern home. But God, He is a God who calms the storms. Sometimes our storms are internal, other times they are literal. But in either case we have a God who is stronger than either of those. We have a God who conquers hurricane strength wind and rising flood waters. We have a God who Loves like a hurricane….He loves us with that same force. Be safe, friends, if you are in the path of these heartbreaking storms. And be strong and courageous, because the Lord your God goes with you wherever you go. You do not face these storms empty handed. You can face them with all the strength of Christ who says to the winds and the waves and also to our very hearts, “Be still, and know that I am God.” A Good God. A Loving God. That’s who He is, no matter what storm rages on. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: 40 Days of Conversations with the King 


Dear Reader, 

Sometimes I feel as if my prayers have no direction. I throw my hands up and I spill out my heart, my frustrations, and my fears. I know God hears me. I have seen Him move my mountains. I have felt Him crumble my fears. What He wants with us is honest dialogue, an ongoing conversation with Him in which we give Him our all. This means all of our fears, all of our insecurities, all of our worries. He doesn’t require fancy or memorized prayers of length. He simply wants you, the way you are, to come before Him and talk with Him awhile. Over the next 40 days, in my personal life, I’m choosing one topic in my life to pray daily over, and by that I mean have honest conversations with God over. I plan on writing down my topic and pinning it up on the wall so I can see it each day and enter into the Grace of conversation with my Father God over it. I believe that private conversations with the King of Kings are life changing. I also believe and know that there is power when God’s people come together to lift each other’s burdens up to the throne room of Heaven. I just wanted to encourage you to join me if you feel like there has been something in your life you need to talk to your Father God about. Grace has a name, and it’s name is Jesus. Jesus came that we would once again enter into communion with our Father, and I believe we are able to do this with honest and open prayer. Jesus has turned His Father’s face towards us. He is listening, and He cares about you. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: What Will You Do With Your Freedom? 


Dear Reader, 

When I think of America, I think of this little cheese shop we visit every year in Wisconsin called Union Star. It sits next to the highway among fields and fields of corn. It’s quiet there. No crowds, or angry customers. Just a few passers by who stop in the heat of the day. But sometimes when I think of America, I become aware of how others see it. I am burdened by its brokenness and I am broken by its burdens. Not every leader seems to hear every voice. Every law and every bill seems to leave someone out. We fight every day for freedom, but we become more aware with the passing of time that freedom is never free, and it is never without cost. And then I think of Heaven, that place I think we are all homesick for in our hearts even if we don’t realize it. I think of how scripture tells us that we hold citizenship there. And I know that the kingdom of Heaven holds the most free people. I know that it is ruled by the love of our Father. If we are looking for perfect freedom, we won’t find it on this earth. Perfect freedom only exists in the arms of our Savior. It’s a freedom that breaks every chain and heals every heart and unites all people. I pray that as citizens of that perfect place, that we would always carry in our hearts what it means to be free from even the freedoms of this world. I pray that even in this free country we live in, we would choose to continue to carry the cross. I pray that our freedoms here wouldn’t separate us from the rest of the world, but that they would cause us to be brave in loving the people of the world more deeply. I pray that our freedoms wouldn’t isolate us, but instead would propel us into active service, mission, and love. With great freedom comes great opportunity….and responsibility. What will you do with your freedom? 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Always Free, Always Brave 


Dear Reader, 

There are many in the world today who don’t have freedom, but are incredibly brave. And there are people in the world who are incredibly free, but lack bravery. The beauty of Jesus is that it doesn’t matter if you are brave or free or both. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom”. No matter what country you live in, in Jesus we get to experience both, because only He can make us both brave and free. He breaks every chain. He gives life where death once reigned. He wins every victory and gives us the strength to win every battle. His grace frees us from every evil thing that once held us in bondage. As Christians we will always be free in Him. May we also always be brave in Him. May we who call ourselves His people and who live in the nation of the free, always be willing to fight for the physical freedom of others in this world because we know the One who fought to the death for the Spiritual freedom of the whole world. In His freedom we find grace, and truth, and life, and the fire to continue the fight for the physical and spiritual freedom of the people on this earth. Jesus reigns. May that be our victory. He who sets the captives free has come that we may have life in His name and that we would proclaim it as loud as we can. So what say you, free people? Will you who are free continue to be brave in Him? Will you use your American freedom to honor the name of Jesus who broke your every chain? Being an American does not make you “more Christian”. But it does mean you have been given great responsibility, to be brave in Christ as well as Free in this physical life. May we always understand the magnitude of our physical freedom in this country and may we be propelled by the incredible depth of our spiritual freedom to preach and to teach and to feed the hungry and to free the oppressed and to advocate for those who have no voice, in Jesus name and to His Glory. You were born free for a reason. Give your physical freedom to Jesus and watch how our incredible God moves in this world. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer