Confession: I am a perfectionist. I like to do things well, and I like to feel like a success. I like it when things in my life look a certain way. Unfortunately, I am not perfect, and I don’t live with perfect people. My husband does not mind piles of dishes in the sink for days or unopened mail on the counter. My three-year-old is still hazy on the definition of the word “obey” and has a stubbornness that I can already tell is going to be a stumbling block in his own walk with God. I tend to bite off more than I can chew. Pinterest and I have a tenuous relationship, which is always a disappointing reality check. When I begin to see the dishes pile up, the projects gathering dust and send my son to time-out for the umpteenth time, I start to get overwhelmed by the imperfection of my life. I get discouraged that I can’t seem to take care of everything the way it should be taken care of, and worry that my sinfulness is going to irreparably damage my children.

As I was brainstorming what to write to celebrate Thanksgiving this month, I read verse after verse about thanksgiving and praise and gratitude. They were all good, familiar verses that are pretty standard this time of year. But I couldn’t get excited about any of them. I was getting frustrated, struggling to find a truly poignant way to write about such a traditional subject. As I went about my chores, I prayed that God would give me the words, and in my frustration, I said, “I’m just too overwhelmed to even think about being thankful.” Well, there it is. When I am overwhelmed with life, it is hard to be genuinely thankful.

This year, I think the lesson to be learned is one on perspective. One of the things those psalms of thanksgiving have in common is that the one giving thanks is always elevating God above his own circumstances. The Israelites are known throughout Scripture for constantly failing to follow the commands of the Lord, for getting distracted by their surroundings and being led astray by their sinful nature, and yet in His grace and unfailing love, He continually pulls them out of the pit and provides a way out for them.

“I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.” Psalm 40:1-2

I am just like the Israelites, focusing so much on my circumstances that I can’t see a reason to be thankful in the life He’s given me. I need a shift in my perspective. Can I pull my focus away from the imperfections of my life long enough to give thanks for who God is? Because even in my messy life, His love is constant. He is faithful when I am faithless, and He answers me when I cry to Him out of weakness and discouragement. In Psalm 138, David is thanking God for His care and attention while Israel was in captivity. Their lives were hard, full of abuse and physical labor, yet God had not forgotten them. David prays,

I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.
I will bow down toward Your holy temple
And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.
On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.
All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O Lord,
When they have heard the words of Your mouth.
And they will sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly,
But the haughty He knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

I need to remember this. I need to remember that God is ever-sovereign, the King of all Creation and the lover of my soul even on my worst days. How can I keep myself from getting lost in the temporal issues of my life, so I can see God’s everlasting kindness?

The Apostle Paul gives us some clear direction in changing our perspective: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2). When my focus is on the things above, I remember the attributes of God. I remember that He is good and faithful and compassionate, strong and abundantly patient. My circumstances don’t change when I thank God for who He is; my perception of those circumstances does. When I seek Him through His Word and in prayer, I can see what is eternal. I don’t have to give thanks because it’s tradition. I don’t have to give thanks because it’s Thanksgiving and that’s what all the decorations at the store are telling me to do. I don’t even have to give thanks because people at church do. If I can get my mind off my messy kitchen, misbehaving child, off my Pinterest-fails and just generally shift my focus off myself, maybe I will see more plainly how “out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another (John 1:16).” I’ll have my mind clear to see the truth of who God is and how faithful He has been to me. Then I will be free to truly give thanks.

Love, Katie


Slippery Slope

“We go down chutes and up ladders!”  Any friend of mine who’s brought her kids to the park with my children and me has heard me yell these simple but loaded words to my kids. And while at the park one day, a friend just recently said, “It’s hard being a parent.”  Yup.  The context of our conversation was that doing laundry and changing diapers aren’t hard.  They’re just annoying, and often times, gross tasks (where did that stain come from?!).  Even trying to appease the ever-rotating taste buds of my breakfast table of four isn’t hard; it’s trying (“No, I only like orange cheese”).

No, I’m talking about parenting.  The repeated correcting, rebuking, and teaching of the moral reason why we do things and why we don’t do things.  Especially in the face of a world that does do a lot of things we don’t do.

Still with me?

Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid.”

Is it really that big of a deal if kids climb up the slide?  Many parents would say “no.”  For me, absolutely, categorically, yes!  I have a laundry list as long as my arm with all the reason that I believe it’s wrong.  Not because it’s not fun, but for moral and safety reasons that I believe translate into other areas of life.  People say “kids are kids” Nope, try again.  People say, “they’re just kids.”  Again, no.

My four children were gifts God gave me.  He said, “here, take care of these small humans.  Don’t break them.  And teach them.  Teach them who I am.  Teach them to love me.  Teach them to obey me!”

Whoa.  That’s quite a P.S. on the ‘congrats on the new baby’ card!  But it’s true.  Every.  Single.  Day.  God commands me to be the mother my children need.  He wants me to teach them to know they are sinners.  They need to know they are helpless in their sin without the Blood of Christ.  They need to know that because they are redeemed in Him, they have a job to do in our fallen world.

So what does this have to do with not climbing up a slide?  Our job is to do the right thing in Him.  We aren’t to obey rules because they are fun, but because we are commanded to obey authority.

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” Romans 13:1-2  NASB

The first authority our children meet are us.  But eventually (*blinks back tears*) they must leave us and go out as young adults into the world.  They’ll be met with an onslaught of rules, some of which make no sense, yet are rules nonetheless.  Their obedience to God will set them apart and make them, as John says, Children of the Light.

We can all agree that in a world of darkness, we could use a lot more light.  Well, hate to break it to ya’, but that starts with us, fellow moms.  Daily we must consistently pour God’s truth into the hearts of the small humans He’s entrusted to us for only a few short years. And you know what? All that parenting is probably going to pay off when years later, we like the big humans they’ve become.

Love, Bri


All at the Right Time

During Bible Study a few weeks ago, a simple but honest question was asked: Why didn’t Jesus’ family recognize Him as the Messiah? I’m sure it’s something many have wondered. For those who believe, Jesus’ ministry clearly established Him as the Son of God, the promised Messiah. How could anyone not believe, especially his own family? In fact, his family didn’t only disbelieve, they were offended by him and called him crazy, eventually chasing him out of his hometown (Matt 13:53-58, Mark 3:21).

This isn’t an easy question to answer without making a lot of assumptions. And if we’re honest, we ask this question for more personal reasons. Behind the curiosity about this first century family, we are wondering about our own hearts and families. Why didn’t I believe in Jesus the first time I heard about him? Why doesn’t my family member, who has certainly heard the Gospel, believe?

A Time for Jesus

I’m sure there are many theories out there regarding the family’s unbelief, but I want to look at an often-overlooked aspect of Jesus’ ministry – the timing. And I’m going to preface this with a disclaimer; I don’t know why Jesus came when He did. I don’t know why He was born so many thousands of years ago, I don’t know why God didn’t bring Jesus on scene immediate after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. But I do know there was a specific time designated for Jesus to begin His ministry and a time for Him to die on the cross. Before He started teaching, preaching and healing, Jesus had to be baptized by John the Baptist (Mark 1:14-15), tempted in the desert by Satan, and John the Baptist had to be arrested. God, in His sovereign plan, set a time for Jesus to come as the Redeemer (Galatians 4:4-5, 1 Timothy 5:5-6, Titus 1:2-3). As his teaching ministry progressed, he began nearing a different appointed time in his life- the time of his crucifixion. The course of His ministry took Him places other than Judea until the appropriate time, as the Jewish leaders there wanted Him dead (John 7:1-9). The apostle Paul makes it most clear, “for while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6, NASB). We start to see in these verses that God’s plan is not random; it is intentional. There was a right time for Jesus.

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Galatians 4:4-5, NASB

Moment of Salvation

Perhaps we also need to consider that there is a right time for us to believe. If we believe God is sovereign in His plan for mankind, not just “seeing” how things play out, but actually authoring the story, we must accept that, just like Jesus fulfilling the role of sacrificial lamb, our own salvation was not a random act. In fact, He “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). This doesn’t mean He looked ahead and saw that we would choose Him and then so chose us as I often hear it explained. No, this is an acknowledgement of God’s total sovereignty over every aspect of His creation, including their salvation. We were selectively, intentionally given life, pulled out of the deadness of our sins by a merciful God (Ephesians 2:4-5). Our eyes are opened, we are able to understand the message of Jesus, according to God’s sovereignty. Some of us are granted this grace, and others are still hidden behind the veil, blind to the Truth (John 6:65, 2 Corinthians 4:4-6).

So this is where I believe we can understand a little more clearly the situation of belief and unbelief in Jesus’ family. If we are believers, we can all point to what we call a “moment of salvation” – the specific time where we realized we believed and were changed. For me, that came at the age of 14. For others, maybe it was earlier in life or much later. At least two of Jesus’ brothers (James and Jude) came to saving faith after the resurrection (Acts 1:14). For the Apostle Paul, it came after he’d lived many years persecuting Christians, yet he says that God set him apart in his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:13-16). God certainly could have made us all believe while we were tiny children, but I believe these examples show us that He has a reason for His timing, even if we don’t understand. Paul’s history as an oppressor of the early Christians gave Him a deep humility in the face of his own sin, which he passionately preached to other believers. James and Jude were able to speak with great conviction about living out our faith and of the dangers of being led astray by false teachers. What did your life before Christ do to prepare you for your life as a believer? As for Jesus’ family, maybe the question isn’t “why didn’t they recognize Jesus as the Messiah,” but “how did they glorify God once they did?”

Hopefully, these things can give you some rest in regard to your own lost friends and family. We don’t know the right time of their salvation; keep praying for them and sharing the good news of Jesus!


A word from Jonah…

 “You threw me into the depths, into the heart of the seas, and the current overcame me. All Your breakers and Your billows swept over me.” Jonah 2:3, CSB

My son received a new Bible for Christmas last year, and we have been reading it non-stop. One of his favorite stories is Jonah and the Whale, which he requests daily with unrestrained glee. As I’ve read this story so many times in the last months, I’ve been thinking of why a story like Jonah’s is included in the Bible. What does this story hold for me?

Jonah’s story is simple: God told Jonah to go preach His message of repentance in Nineveh. Instead of obeying, Jonah fled and tried to hide from the Lord. While on his getaway boat, God caused a great storm to come upon them, and the sailors threw Jonah into the sea to appease the God from whom Jonah hid. Jonah sank in the deep, and the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow him. Jonah stayed in the dark, smelly, cavernous belly of that fish for three days. While he was in the belly of the whale, Jonah cried to the Lord, acknowledging His hand in Jonah’s circumstances. He didn’t complain about how uncomfortable he was or ask for God to change his surroundings.

“But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,
and I will fulfill all my vows.
For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.” Jonah 2:9, NLT

Jonah recognizes God as sovereign over his life, offers him prayers of thanksgiving and remembers that salvation comes from the Lord. It’s only after Jonah reaches this point of clarity about who God is that God commands the fish to spit Jonah out. Once back on dry land, God gives Jonah the same command a second time: Go and give my message of repentance to the people of Nineveh. This time, Jonah obeys.

I wonder how many times the circumstances in my life have been because of my disobedience. It’s easy to immediately complain when things don’t go my way or to ask God why he’s putting me through the struggle, but it’s rare that I take the time to consider how my own sin has consequences. Jonah shows us that when we disobey and try to hide from God we shouldn’t be surprised if He makes us sit in the belly of a whale for a few days, until we get our hearts right. It’ll stink and be uncomfortable, but sometimes that’s what it takes to remind us of the power and sovereignty and worthiness of the God we serve. When our hearts are set aright, God brings us back up to try again, to obey.  Maybe my first prayer should be one of supplication, that the Lord would help me obey Him in all things, so that my times in the belly of the whale may be few and far between.

Love, Katie


Storms.  We’ve all got ‘em.  Right now you can’t turn on anything without hearing about a hurricane threatening to wreak havoc in its path.  But even when we’re not in hurricane season we experience storms.

Being married to Flint from G.I. Joe, I didn’t exactly get to choose where we live since Uncle Sam makes those decisions.  So as this crazy hurricane comes barreling to my state, I become exasperated, “Why are we here?!  This isn’t my home!  I shouldn’t have to deal with this!”

What I’m forgetting is that I am supposed to be here.  I recall the actual storm that I survived (slightly less wind and rain) when Flint told me it was time to move.  I said “Nope, not doing it” for totally embarrassing reasons.  Cue the wind.  And the rain.   And then it poured.  For a long time.  That was a storm I pray I never have to endure again because it was a storm of my own choosing.  What was I thinking?!  Did I really think that God endorsed my behavior and disrespect to my husband?!  My storm raged as long as my disobedience did.

29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” – Matthew 14:29-33

Matthew tells us the story when Jesus’ disciples were on a boat in a storm while Jesus walked on the water to them.  Excitedly, Peter asks to join Jesus and walks out on the water.  But – here’s our moment where it gets relevant –  when Peter is out with Jesus, his faith wanes and he begins to sink into the crashing waves.  We all know the rest.  “You of little faith, why do you doubt?” Jesus says as he saves Peter and they board the boat.

We know God sent Christ to be the sacrifice for our sins.  We accept His un-repayable gift. We tell God we love Him and we want to follow Him.  But then when it’s time to step out onto the water, to obey, we’re too scared He’s not going to be there with us. Where’s that faith we’re called to have?

The answer lies in us.  The other part of my storm was that I wasn’t exactly communicating with God the way I should have while I had my relocation temper tantrum.  I wasn’t reading His Word.  I wasn’t talking to Him.  How can I expect to hear Him and have faith that He’s there if I ignore Him?

I’d have a fit if Flint never told me he loved me.  How would I know?  The same goes for my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I need to speak to Him.  He’s always ready to show me He’s there.  He always has been.

Love, Bri

He is a faithful God

“Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew.
Let my words fall like rain on tender grass,
like gentle showers on young plants.

For I proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God!”

Deuteronomy 32:2-3

So here we go! Our first blog post as Women of Truth, endeavoring each day to live by the teaching of the Lord.

I love this passage in Deuteronomy. These verses start a song to the Lord commemorating all that the people of Israel had been through those 40 long years wandering in the desert. They are just about to enter the Promised Land, without Moses, as his disobedience meant he would die as his people moved on. So directly prior to his death, these are the words Moses speaks. And why does God instruct Moses (and Joshua) to write this song? Because He knows that after Moses has died, the Israelites will again turn from the Truth and “play the harlot with the strange gods of the land” (Deut. 31:16). They will forsake the God who led them out of slavery in Egypt, returning to sin and provoking the anger of the Lord. Without their leader and the voice of God, they will forget and give in to the doubt and fear and hardship of life, and God, in the way only a Father can tenderly provide for the future failures of His children, knows they will need a reminder; a song that will be passed down from generation to generation, reminding the people of what a life lived in faith looks like.

His Word truly is a Living Word, chasing after me when I turn away from the God who led me out of my own captivity.

How often do I need the same reminder? Sometimes it seems like I blink and suddenly find myself surrounded by doubts and anxiety, struggling for breath, suffocated by expectations and disappointment. And His Word always comes, sometimes in the darkest part of the night, truly falling like a gentle rain on my dry and weary soul. His Word truly is a Living Word, chasing after me when I turn away from the God who led me out of my own captivity. His love is steadfast, His mercies new every morning. His faithfulness never fails, even though mine is so weak.

I am refreshed by the Word of God raining down on me, and I grow, bearing fruit in season and lying dormant in another, soaking up the Truth that sustains my life. And the best part about this song of Moses is that God knew it was necessary. He knew His children would falter. He knew they would fall back in to their old ways. He knew they would forget.

He knows I forget.

And so, He gently reminds me that He is gracious, abundant in mercy, hearing my prayers, saving me from the darkness. As I spend more time studying the Bible, praying through what I read, spending time with other believers, encouraging and being encouraged by the movement of God in our hearts, the dark heaviness that held me captive recedes and is replaced by the freshness of new faith. That is what we are doing here. We are teaching and being taught, declaring the Truth without reservation or fear, reminding you as we are reminded ourselves that our God is greater than any other god. Here we will find strength in remembering the work and words of our Lord, and we will learn to live by them, fearlessly, persevering in our faith thankful for the patience of our Father. I hope this blog will be the gentle rain your soul needs when your faith is weak and dry.

April Showersweb

Go in peace, dear sisters in Christ, praying from the heart – “Teach me your way, Lord, and I will live by your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11, CSB).

Love, Katie