Friday, August 31, 2012

This little piggy surrenders

I slammed my foot into my cart wheel when I was grocery shopping last night, and I wanted to cry out in pain, but I chose to control myself—being in a public place and all.  And because I was wearing flip flops, I could see I was actually injured as the blood started pooling around my little toe.  This all happened in the spice isle as I was looking for Cayenne pepper and when I was right across from an older man who was studiously studying the whole wheat flour. The man, however, had no awareness of my accident because I was so quiet and grown up about it.  And this whole incident made me think about self-sacrifice; strange but true. 

I’ve actually been mulling over self-sacrifice and what submission to God’s will looks like for several days now.  Here are some of the conclusions I have come to:  Self sacrifice is the job description of the Christ-follower…We see self-sacrifice over and over again in the life of Jesus—in his forty days in the desert—in his not giving into Satan’s temptations during this time—in his washing the feet of his disciples—in his willingness to remain silent when falsely accused, and finally in his dying for a sinful people on the cross…Self sacrifice means that I must die to my will and to my agenda, and I must choose to do God’s will and join him in the work he has prepared for me to do…This dying to self is so hard, that it is truly impossible without Christ’s spirit in me, enabling me to do what is good…True joy lies in this self sacrifice (even though that seems contrary to logic) and self sacrifice lies in obedience…Obedience to God means doing what is godly and not just what is natural—which brings us back to my story above.

I think God allowed me to have the foot-stubbing experience in Fareway to teach me about myself.  It was almost as if He said, “Look, Tori, you can control your natural inclinations just fine when you are worried about what others will think. Do you not care what I think?”  This is true.  I care what others think—apparently more that I care what God thinks.  What is also true is that I have the ability to control my “natural-ness” if I so choose.  Why do I not choose to control my moods or my schedule or my words when they seem so overpowering?  Why do I just let rule over me with an iron fist?  I have a choice.  And God has given me his Spirit within me to give me power.  Some things are easier for me to set boundaries in and not to cross them—I have become fairly disciplined in eating and exercising because I have practiced making the right choices over and over and over.  But, it seems to me, that the things that are harder for me, the things I truly need Christ’s assistance to attain, like speaking gently to my husband and like putting Christ first and foremost in my daily schedule, those are the things I let slide. I let them slide because I haven’t told my will “No!”  I know the wrong things that I am doing and I keep on doing them because there seems to be satisfaction in that moment…and sometimes the satisfaction is not even there, but my will is so strong that is seems to take me prisoner.  I can relate to Paul when he says in Romans 7,So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?  Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. I think this last verse confirms what I have been learning.  It’s up to me to use the renewed mind that God has given to make the choices that truly reflect him—not me.   I must choose with my mind to become more like Christ and less like Tori—no matter how strong my natural tendencies are and no matter what “personality type” I may be; it is in these areas that my sin nature lies—and LIES.  I can make this choice only through the grace given me through Christ’s shed blood on the cross.  I cannot just pull myself up by my own bootstraps and expect to finish the race well.  God has delivered me through Christ Jesus so I don’t have to do what I want, but I am enabled to do what I must. 

To be the Tori that God truly wants me to be, I need to stop indulging my natural tendencies, start re-focusing on Christ and his character—keeping my eyes on Him—not on me.  It is then that Christ will be able to form in me the person I really want to become.  Bloody toe and all. 

I must strive to “live my life hidden in God”. (Colossians 3:3). Only by His Grace.

The joy of Jesus was His absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice to His Father— the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do— “. . . who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I delight to do Your will, O my God . . .

Psalm 40:8

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On a Mission #3 (by Luke)

Living Incarnationally

I was reading in Oswald Chamber’s Utmost for His Highest while I was in China. On July 6th, under the title “Visions Becoming Reality”, Chambers talks about how “God gives us vision, and then takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of that vision.” Then on July 7th, under the title “All Efforts of Worth and Excellence Are Difficult” Chambers says: “Thank God that He does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a joyous thing, but it is also something that requires bravery, courage, and holiness.”

I was on a sleeper train from Zhengzhou to Beijing while I read the July 7th devotional. It was late, but I put down the book and cried out to God. The summer had been good so far, but I longed for greater things. I wanted more vision and I wanted difficult things to do.

A few days later, I arrived at a camp to be on staff. I loved it. The entire camp was run out of an apartment complex. Everyone lived there together. Despite being an introvert, I loved the community; sleeping a room away from my other staff members and eating meals with them and even brushing our teeth together. When we were in Wuhan, it felt like our ministry stopped when we went to our hotel, but here it started the moment I woke up. I have heard people talk about “incarnational living”, living so that others see Jesus in you, and this was it. Most of the Chinese staff and translators were not believers and they got to watch us every day, to see how we lived, and especially how we loved the orphans that came to camp. There is great power in Christian community.

We had four weeks of camp. The second week started out great. On Thursday, we even got to baptize two of our Chinese staff and one translator in the pool. I was really filled with joy, but so quickly that joy was zapped out of me. About half of our staff was sick and one volunteer was so sick, she had to be sent to the hospital and eventually back to America. The kids were really naughty this week and found ways to annoy us, especially when they realized that they had to go back to the orphanage. Two of the kids even got in a fist fight. They didn’t really mean to, but at supper they were spilling their food and water. I was pretty frustrated at this point, but I could handle it and I was still strong. Then I spilled my own water bottle all over the floor, and for some reason, I couldn’t handle it all anymore. I was my own worst annoyance. I felt defeated.

Then, I heard that one the girls of staff, Lily, her brother had just died, being hit by a drunk driver.

I know that what I felt was in no way equal to what Lily felt, and I wasn’t even sick. But because we were all in that community together, when other people were sad, I felt it and it weighed on me. That night in my journal I wrote “I didn’t expect the valley to be like this. I expected it to be in a certain way, exciting, a challenge to overcome, difficult, but rewarding. Like lifting weights hard. The valley is not like that at all. Instead it is sorrow and I know the way out, but it seems out of reach. Working harder doesn’t help. When I do get out, stumble out, there is no satisfaction or accomplishment. I don’t feel the growth. The only way I can endure is faith in a good God.” I didn’t expect sorrow to be like this, but this was an answer to my prayer and God was refining me.

I didn’t magically ever feel better, but God worked through it all. He worked in me to trust Him. And everyone around us got to see how Christians grieve with hope. And throughout the rest of camp five more people gave their lives to Christ. Praise to our Father!

My favorite part of camp though, was getting to baptize Evan. I didn’t do much, but I was there when Evan decided to give his life to Christ. God had been working in his life and he was so intrigued by the love of God flowing through those of us who believe. After he gave his life to Christ, he wanted to get baptized, but we couldn’t go to the pool, so Evan’s volunteer, Seth got to baptize Evan in the bathtub as I said “Sheng fu, sheng zi, shenglin” (Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit in Chinese). There was something about that moment that was so right. I don’t know how to adequately describe it, other than that it was the power of God moving in China, and I got to be a part of it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

On a Mission #2 (by Luke)

At Peter's House

There is a guy I met in my dorm, his English name is Peter. I didn't know him that well, but I had breakfast with him once in our dining hall. I found out that his hometown was right outside of Wuhan and so I got his Chinese phone number. Our team had been in Wuhan for about two and a half weeks before I thought to text Peter. I asked him if he wanted to come and hang out with our team in Wuhan. He instead asked us if our team wanted to come to his house that weekend for lunch.

It ended up that only Riley and I could go. So that Saturday at 11:00 am, Peter's uncle came and picked us up from our hotel. We were in the car with Peter, his uncle and two cousins. The car ride was awkward, partially because Peter was the only one who spoke English in the car. I thought that our stay at Peter's house might be in a manner similar to our car ride, but I was thoroughly deceived. When we arrived in the driveway of Peter's house, a box of firecrackers was set off in our honor. We got out the car and shook hand like foreign dignitaries. Quickly we realized that Peter, Riley and I were the only one that spoke English in this extended family of twenty or more. We went inside and were directed to two chairs that would be more accurately described as thrones. We were given fresh tea along will peanuts in the shell, crackers, watermelon seeds and a strange fruit I didn't know the name of. Then a strange thing happened, it suddenly became very quiet, and I realized the firecrackers had stopped.

We were told it was time for lunch and were ushered through a courtyard and into a special dining room and given the seats of honor. The food was all fresh, out of the family's own fields and pond: Lobster, salt-dried fish, pig intestine, green beans, cabbage, spiced rice along with dog (gasp!).Riley and I both ate a lot of food, because we were hungry. Everyone was so hospitable: they were constantly asking if I was hungry, thirsty or if I needed a napkin. It was humbling to be constantly served.

After lunch, we went back into the living room and had more tea and watermelon. Peter's father tried to explain to us the tradition of the Chinese tea culture, where people sit around and discuss the qualities of the tea they are drinking as well as chat about their lives. This whole time Peter was translating for us, until Peter's dad realized that if he spoke slowly and with a simple vocabulary, that I could understand. We held a strained conversation for about five minutes.

We started off with some black tea, then green tea (my favorite) and finally bamboo shoot tea. There was a small fixture on the table with plumbing, so there was hot water on demand to make the tea. There was even a drain, to let excess water drain away. Every few minutes, Peter's dad would pour hot water over the whole fixture and the water would drain away.

Peter asked us if we wanted to take a nap (Chinese custom) or go climb a mountain. We choose the latter. We started out, Peter, two of his cousins and Riley and I. We walked over a bridge, a canal and then wove our way through small fields, gardens really. It is just like you see in the pictures of rural China: small shacks and a farmer with the conical bamboo hat out hoeing the flooded rice paddy. We found a paved path and followed it up the face of the mountain. We climbed about 1.5 kilometers until we reached the summit. Climbing that mountain really reminded me of backpacking with my family. We arrived at the top of the mountain and found a Buddhist temple. We heard a drum beating and some chanting. The temple was inside a cave. The cave was physically dark, but it also felt very spiritually dark. Riley and I felt uneasy about going into the cave, so we prayed for the Holy Spirit to be with us and we felt confident to go in. There was a female monk sitting inside and many idols. We came out of the cave and with all that in that background, we got to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with Peter and his cousins. We knew that we had the power to combat the darkness that we felt around us with the truth.

As we walked the path down the mountain, the sun came out and beat down on us. We sweat no small quantity. At this point we asked Peter what time he thought we could go back to our hotel (envisioning a cold shower and a fresh set of clothes). Peter informed us that it is customary for guests to stay for two or three days at least, but we needed to talk to his father.

We talked with Peter’s father and asked if we could go back to our hotel, he told us we would offend the ancient tradition if we did not at least spend the night. Not knowing much about this “ancient tradition”, but not wanting to offend it, we decided we could spend the night. They showed us a shower and Riley and I washed up a bit, but we had to put our old, sweaty clothes back on. We hung out in the courtyard of the house and ate some more watermelon, while Peter’s father explained to us the meaning of all the hand-painted murals painted on the ceiling and awning of the walkway between the house and dining room. Then, Peter asked us if we would like to play Majong. We of course agreed and sat down at the special table. We didn’t realize right away how special this table was. It was automated, and our tiles rose through the base of the table at the press of a button.

After this, we made to dumplings, ate some dumplings (a before dinner snack). Then, out of the blue, Peter told me he had a relative that believed in Jesus. Even though it seemed like Peter hadn’t been receptive earlier, God was working on his heart and he was thinking about what we had said.

We went around to the front of the house, and this was a magnificent house. It was three stories tall, over one hundred feet wide and had three doors, one for Peter’s dad and one for each of his two uncles. The house was new, with a definite artistic style. It was dark, and lanterns were spinning sending dancing light all over the driveway. Peter’s dad repeatedly mentioned the size of the house, the unique and traditional style and the fact he had designed it all himself.

We were then called in for dinner, it was much like lunch: more great food, family and toasting all around. It did not cease to intrigue me. I realized that at the meals, it was only the males sitting around the table. I don’t know where Peter’s aunts and girl cousins ate, but not with us.

We finished supper and went to KTV in town. If you don’t know what KTV is, it is a phenomenon that is not easily described unless it had been experienced, but I guess it is somewhat like karaoke in America. The most noteworthy part was when Peter’s dad and his uncles sung us a “welcome to China” song. Then the owner of the KTV came in and sung us a song.

You know what we needed after KTV? More food. We went to get some “barbeque”. It ended up being crab, lobster, snails and fish. The manager of the coal mine (the largest employer in town) stopped by to say hi and eat some food with us.

At this point (about 2 am), we were a little tired. We drove back and were shown a bed. By the way, Chinese mattresses are approximately an inch thick. In spite of this, I fell asleep quickly and woke up six hours later and ate some breakfast (the fifth meal they managed to feed us in less than twenty four hours). We offered the only gift we could scrounge up—a Chinese Bible—considering the hospitality we had received.

The whole experience stands out among anything else we did in China. I felt like we experience more of Chinese culture in that day than in entire college courses. Our coming, in itself was like a holiday. We were told that we were the first Americans ever to enter their village, maybe we were the first with the gospel.

Friday, August 24, 2012

On a Mission #1 (by Luke)

For the next few posts, I will be sharing stories that my oldest son, Luke, wrote for me upon his return from China (where he spent three months this summer).  They are pretty awesome.  Read on…


Our team was in Wuhan. I was at one of the universities that we worked at this summer, it was my very first time being there. I was walking around with Bryan and we were trying to meet people out of the blue, on a campus we had never been to before, who predominantly spoke another, unintelligible language. Needless to say, we were having a hard time. As we were walking along, Bryan and I stopped at a small bridge to pray. We asked that God would bring people to us that were interested in the gospel. We then continued walking until we heard a strange sound. The sound was something like thousands of basketballs being dribbled at once. We turned a corner and discovered a basketball court, or rather about 25 of them all together in one massive complex, every court taken. We took a few seconds to gawk at the sheer volume of basketball happening in our midst and continued walking. We saw two guys sitting down watching one of the games, so we went and sat down next to them and started a conversation. We were glad that they spoke English. We got to share the gospel with these guys, but they were not interested. Just as we were running out of words to say, another guy comes up and sits down right next to us. First words out of his mouth: Do you know anything about the Bible?" Then, we learned his name: John. We talked to him for a while, but had to leave to meet up with the rest of our team. We got John's phone number and we departed.

A few days later, we were going to meet up with John and he asked if he could bring a few friends. We said that would be fine. A few friends ended up being eight. We were disappointed because I didn't think we would be able to get to serious conversation or study the Bible with so many people. We still asked if they all would like to study the Bible, and to our amazement the whole group said yes. We read through Mark 2 (the healing of the paralyzed man) and shared the gospel. Brian got really excited that people were actually interested to hear about Jesus and forgot to talk slowly as he explained what the story meant. We wanted them to know that God not only can heal them physically, but that Jesus can heal them spiritually. When we were finished with what we had to say, one in the group asked "Could you share that story about Jesus with us again?" And of course we did.

Later that week we met with John, He brought two people that had come to our Bible discussion earlier that week. It is hard for me to describe that meeting adequately, other than the Holy Spirit was present in that coffee shop. We started studying in Genesis 1, emphasizing that man is created in the image of God, and God told man to spread over the earth, giving honor to Him. We moved on to Genesis 3, when man decided turn away from God. We talked about how all created things at that moment began to miss something, just as man is missing God. We showed the glimmer of hope in the man who would come and crush the head of the snake. We then went to the tower of Babel, where men wanted their own glory instead of God's and all languages were formed. We went through Genesis 12:1-4 how God began to form his people through and obedient man, Abraham. God gave Abraham a promise. In Genesis 22, it looks like God will not follow through on his promise, but God does, and makes a replacement;  the blood of the lamb for Isaac's life. This was about 2.5 hours later and I asked John and the others if they would like to pray. We told them they could pray in Chinese because God can understand any language. They said "Of course, God created languages, remember the tower of Babel?"

They all prayed authentic prayer, not necessarily getting everything right, but being obedient to what they did know. Then I asked them who they wanted to tell about what they had learned. They each had people they wanted to share the Bible with, and none of them yet were Christians! Before they left, they told me "If we had tried to read this on our own, it would have been boring and we could not have understood, but with you, we can understand and the story is very interesting." This statement alone is powerful enough to fuel me for years without any other need for encouragement. I asked when they could meet next. They asked: "How about tomorrow?" They were so hungry.

On the bus on the way back to our apartment, I got down on my knees and praised my Father.

I got to meet several more times with others in the group. We discussed The Ten Commandments and the Passover. They were beginning to look forward to Jesus, and they didn't even know it.

John and some of the others are all hooked up with long-term workers in Wuhan and will continue to learn more.

I know that as I taught them those passages of scripture, they began to come alive. I became even more certain of the story of the gospel and that it has the power to change lives. I also know that prayer works. God loves to answer prayers to bring people closer to himself.

Monday, August 20, 2012

‘member that time?

I haven’t done a ‘member that time? blog for a really long time, and seeing as I have been in the doldrums the past few days, I thought it would add some cheer to my depression.

‘Member that time that I went out for a run and I noticed three Chiwawas standing across the street all nose to nose in a little circle?  And member how they all looked at me and then at each other and then they tore off across the road determined to chew my ankles to shreds?  member that?  And member how it kind of freaked me out and I just pretended like it didn’t bother me because they always say that dogs can smell fear?  And then member how a little boy on a bike came speeding towards me, and his eyes were as big as saucers because of all the dogs?  And how I was so happy he came along because they decided to chase him instead? 

Yeah, well, I never looked back, but I assume he got away or maybe even ran over all three dogs because they were so short.

So now, when I run that route, I really pick up my knees so if short dogs chase me, they can’t bite my ankles.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Beating up Father Time

I’ve been meaning to write a post since Thursday, the day we dropped Tess off at college, and the day I just wanted to stay in bed because I knew that when I got going and we got the car all packed and we traveled to Iowa City, that my life would never be the same again.  I felt this way two years ago when we dropped off Luke at the same place, but it all came rushing at me as I realized it was really going to happen again.  It’s probably good I waited a few days for the all the intense emotion to fade or I would be writing one of those sappy “woe is me, I’m so sad” kind of blogs that only other mothers of college freshman can appreciate.  Mostly, I just spent last week trying really hard not to think of Thursday—the day we deposited her at the University of Iowa—and I found myself really tired and craving Diet Coke (which I officially gave up 6 months ago—even though I occasionally drink it now) and Snickers bars.  I have found that when I am stressed I only want three things—sleep, Diet Coke and chocolate—these things comfort me.

So anyway, after we traveled 2 hours east and parked in a crowded parking lot with a million other harried looking parents, we unloaded all of Tess’ stuff into two big carts and squeezed on a teeny tiny elevator that took us to the 8th floor of her dorm.  Then we wheeled those carts down the hall and Tess unloaded them into her new home.  Her space is exceptionally huge and amazing for a college dorm room, but it is on the 8th floor, and the day we moved her in, it was pretty breezy and cool, so the window was open.  Being the responsible mother that I am, I told her not to sit in the window and lean back into the screen because if she did that the screen would give out and she would fall to her death eight stories down on the parking lot…and she said, “Umm, Mom, I’m not going to sit in the window.” So much for my safety lesson.  Then she continued to flit around like a moth in the light and put things in drawers and put out pictures and such.  Have I mentioned that this day was not in the least depressing to Tess?  Have I mentioned that she was so excited to go off to college that she was kind of like those animals that you hear about in stories that so want to escape their cages that they chew through the metal?  Yeah, well she was like that—without the chewing part.

After we pulled her away from her homemaking and went out for lunch, we finally returned to her dorm to drop her off and leave her there.  Having been through this once before, I knew it was a wise move to bring my sunglasses so I could shed tears without being obvious.  And I did this, while walking down the eight flights of stairs in the stairwell.  I was fairly composed by ground level.  One mom, though. obviously didn’t know about the sunglasses rule and she was openly crying as she was walking along the sidewalk.  I don’t think she wanted to be crying in front of everyone, but she was trying to deal with this change that she didn’t welcome and the tears were falling of their own accord—in other words, she couldn’t stop her sadness just to keep up appearances.  I understood her pain and I thought about putting my arm around her and telling her I knew how she felt, but I thought I might break down in the process, so I kept my arms to myself.

Dropping kids at college for me is one of those strange experiences in life where you feel completely “out of control”.  By that, I don’t mean that you feel crazy or angry or any of those things, I just mean that you have absolutely no control of what has just conspired and you feel like if Father Time had a body, you would beat him up because he cheated you and made your little girl grow up and leave you.  And when you’re walking out of the dorm where you just deposited your daughter, you suddenly feel like turning around and running back in—up all 8 flights of stairs—and telling her it was all just pretend; she is just playing; we’re all just playing, and let’s all go home now and eat supper together and she can play outside with her cats and then you can put her to bed and wind her music box.

But you can’t do that because Father Time always wins and little girls grow up.  So, you put on your sunglasses and walk calmly across the street and get in your car and feel numb and stop at Williamsburg and get the forbidden Diet Coke and life goes on.  And the next day, anything and everything sets you off and you cry and make way too much pizza because you forget you are only cooking for 4—not 5—not 6—just 4. 

I don’t welcome change.  I get used to it, but I always resist it and pretend it won’t happen for as long as I can hold out.  This same exact thing will happen to me in 2 years and in 4 years and it will hit me like a ton of bricks each time.  In this type of instance, practice does not make perfect, it just wears me out. 

So I guess this has ultimately turned into one of those sappy posts for other moms of college-aged kids, and I guess you’ll just have to give me a little grace and let me cry a bit more.  I’ll be better tomorrow and even better the next day—maybe I’ll even write something funny and act like everything’s A-OK, but right now, my heart still hurts so I think I’ll let the tears flow and go rock my cat.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Coleyboy’s Conundrum

It’s August now, and that means two-a-days for high school football players like Cole (whom I affectionately call “Coleyboy”).

Because of his extreme practice schedule in the heat, Cole has been doing lots of eating, drinking and sleeping, but apparently not much laundry.  Case in point:

One day, after a particularly grueling scrimmage, Cole came home and showered, then proceeded to walk around in swimming trunks and a blanket.  It kind of looked like he was wearing a very large cape.  When I asked him why he was just wearing his swimsuit and a blanket for his attire that day, he said, “I don’t have any underwear.” And, being the responsible mother that I am, I suggested that he do some laundry, to which he responded with “I’m too tired.”  I did, however, notice that he wore pants to football practice the next day—rather than just swimming trunks and a blanket.  So, maybe he skipped his nap and actually washed some dirty clothes. or maybe he just stole some from his jet-lagged brother. I guess we’ll really never know the truth.

Welcome to my world.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Hey there!  I’m back!  I had a nice little vaca from blogging and now I am ready to get back to it.  Here’s a little story I’ve been thinkin’ about:

On my birthday, I got some money from my parents so I decided to treat myself to a pedicure at the local beauty school. Since the student attending to my feet didn’t have much interest in talking, I mostly just sat and people watched. And on this day, I saw something wonderful:  Just a chair away from me sat a little girl, maybe seven or eight, who, as I overheard (since her student was talkative and friendly), was getting a pedicure for the first time.  She was SO excited.  Every part of the process—from picking the polish to the soaking her feet in warm water to the massaging of her toes with lotion—was a cause for rejoicing for this little one.  She was so thrilled with each part of the process, that by the time the polish was painted on her stubby toenails, she couldn’t keep from smiling.  The joy that was in her overflowed.  It was great fun to watch.

Here’s what God taught me with that;  As Christ-followers, we are filled with God’s Spirit, and…

where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom(2 Corinthians 3:17)

and “no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘yes’ in Christ(2 Corinthians 1:20)

and “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God(2 Corinthians 6:21).

All these things; freedom, positive promises, and righteousness, they excite me!  They thrill me!  They fill me with joy!  But, can anybody see it?  Can anyone tell that I am filled with Jesus because my rejoicing flows out?  Do I keep this joy to myself, or let it overflow?  Cause I think if I let it pour out of me, God, and others, would have great fun watching.  And it might even draw those others to the Source of my freedom, my promises, and my righteousness. Because if I let His light shine through me, I would truly be showing the world who He is.

I want to spend enough time in His presence that I get excited about His presence. 

I want to eagerly follow Him and do His will.

I want to overflow with my love for Jesus so much that my spirit can’t keep from smiling.

So, now, every time I look at my pretty toes, I am reminded what is to be coming out of my Christ-filled heart:



For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6