Fall into Forgiveness


It had been a rough couple of days. I had been confused, angry and frustrated with everyone. I just couldn’t figure out what everyone’s problem was. Parenting seemed exceptionally hard that week and I was having a terrible time considering my Hubby and loving others well. That night, I hastily tucked the kids into bed and ran a steaming hot bath. It was finally ME time. Now I could really think. As I settled into my glorious Calgon moment, God spoke. God convicted.

“So what you’re saying is that ALL this time I was frustrated and annoyed, it had to do with the sin in MY very own heart Lord!?” Humbling… Apparently when chaos ensues on the outside, it is directly related to the chaos going on on the inside. I immediately repented (not always the case just FYI) and sought forgiveness that was already there waiting from my loving Savior.  He is so gracious to convict us of sin and to draw us to repentance.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

He graciously reminded me that living for eternity was costly. It costs us something. So expensive in fact that it cost Jesus his very LIFE, so that we might live.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. 1 Peter 2:24a

Here I am just having a 2-year-old temper tantrum about the intentional laying down of my time and the cost of my comforts when Jesus died for that very thing. How incredibly humbling. This calling to be a wife and mother has proven to be incredibly sanctifying. The challenge to love, honor and respect my Husband as we intentionally share the gospel and disciple and train in our very own home has been an exceptional avenue by which God has revealed much of my weakness, sin and great need for my King. I’m learning that there is such freedom in submitting to Christ’s calling as I let go of sin and seek eternal things. This season has also been the very place I have learned about incredible forgiveness and grace.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17

The next morning It was early and the fog was still rolling through as I drove down the winding familiar roads to school. The kids were in the back cackling away…more chipper than necessary at 7:45am. Hues of gold, orange and red had laced the landscape for weeks now as we welcomed November. We came upon a bend in the road near one of our favorite parks, I noticed that this particular week the park trees were much more bare compared to the previous. So bare in fact, that I could actually see clear through them down to the river. I could see clearer now more than ever. I couldn’t help but think of what a beautiful picture that was of our hearts.

The trees are so predictably open to the change God brings with the next season, freely letting go of the dead in anticipation to the new life that is to come.

Often times we want to hang on to the dead things thinking that in those things resides joy and life, but we are so deceived. As we repent and let go of the sin we can then see much clearer. Just like when I could see clear down to the river. Unrepentant Sin only obstructs our vision and suffocates any newness of life to be had.

What is it today that needs to fall away? Seek repentance friend and let it go. I can tell you that real joy and life can only be found through our faithful and loving God who is the giver of forgiveness and LIFE! The forgiveness He so graciously gives is not only just a seasonal Fall forgiveness, but a forever forgiveness.  It truly is so lovely to let the dead things go and to see more clearly as God brings forth new life in us.

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, Acts 3:19-20a

Poured Out


In the beautiful season of littles, you feel physically and emotionally spent with nothing more to give. You are busy ALL day caring, nursing, giving, pouring out and at the end of every day you feel that there is hardly anything to show for your days or your nights. You have little to no more energy to do your daily tasks, let alone mentally deal with anything else outside the home as you tread water just trying to survive this season. And no matter how many littles you do have, the hormones and emotions feel like the first time. Every time.

Last night I was reminded of the verse in 1 Samuel 16:7 “But the LORD said to Samuel, For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”. Do you know how ENCOURAGED I was as I sported my mom bun & yoga pants? God SEES me. The real me. He sees us friends, and He sees the love, intention and desires of our hearts. He knows how hard you are trying and He knows that you are saying yes to your very best right where you are. And the others that look on the outside? There is grace. There is love. There is Jesus. And He is faithful to breathe life into dry & weary bones.

When you are spent and have nothing more to give, rest in our Savior dear friend for he lives!

He is the life that sustains and revives, He brings rest to the soul and gives us new lives.

It is so beautiful how He graciously meets us right where we are and reminds us that this season we are facing is not something we face alone.  Our God, He fights for us as He gives us the faith to stand strong.  Though our circumstances may all look differently (you may not be sporting mom buns and spit up) this same truth is for you!  He truly created us for good works in Christ Jesus and equips us for those very things.  Ann Voskamp refers to parenthood as “Hard Holy Work”.  Isn’t that true for most good work that He calls us to?  Hard because we are constantly dying to self, Holy because we are doing foot work for His Eternal Kingdom, and work well because, that is exactly what it is.  Work: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10

Our “Hard Holy Work” is nothing in comparison to what Jesus did on the cross.  He knows what it is like to lay down His very life for others.  To be poured out with not another drop to give.  He knows what it is like to do the hard stuff for His Eternal Kingdom, and since He has endured more than we could ever imagine (and all for OUR sake) He is our Savior who is also the great comforter.  Run to Him friend.  Mom buns and all, and find rest.  For His yolk is easy and His burden truly is light.

Just let it alone

Today Payton was picking a scab on his knee (ew, gross…I know!!). I told him that he had to stop or his wound wouldn’t heal properly and would scar terribly. Just let it alone son!
Then God totally stirred my heart and asked me why I kept going back, re-opening a wound and picking the “scab” that was left on my heart? He said, “daughter, I’ve got this. Just let it alone!”. 
So easily we want to go back to that wound. That thing or that person that left its mark and just pick at it. Go over every detail & replay how we got the injury and pick at the very thing God is working to heal. Friend, He’s got this, just let it alone….
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. – Jeremiah 17:14



I was thinking this week about how we tend to disappoint one another in our relationships & friendships.  We try to give each other our very best and still fall short.  It’s still never enough.  We are never enough for one another.  I was tempted to despair.

But then God was so gracious to remind me that we will never be enough for one another because that is only for Him to fulfill perfectly!  What a gift!  A pure never ending, never giving up, unconditional love from the one who created us.  The perfect Husband, the perfect Bestie, the perfect Sibling & the perfect Father. 

It’s exciting to know we don’t have to withdraw or avoid relationships because they are broken, but we are free to just love (free of strings or expectations) because we were first loved that way by the one who is perfect!  Such great news! 

May we continue to love one another with our faulty imperfect love & may all our short comings continue to point one another back to the ONLY one who can love us enough & love us perfectly…the great I Am ❤️

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 

1 John 3:1a

Love Perfected


I grew up in the air force and attended public school most of my life. I also grew up in church. So my experience and time with non-believers were more often than not. In the denomination I grew up in, “good works” was the standard and supposedly was a reflection of the heart. Good works meant that you were a good Christian and you were close to God. If the outside looked right, then the inside must be right…with God.  It was encouraged to serve, serve, serve the church and save, save, save the lost. It was known that if you were a fully surrendered young person that you would go to Bible college right out of high school. I rebelled (hehe) and worked my first year out of high school to earn money for college. In fall of 2001 I was headed to Jacksonville, FL to attend Bible school. I had such great expectations of what that would actually look like. I had gone to school for years with the lost. To be able to be surrounded by other brothers and sisters in Christ would be surreal. We would worship, serve and pray together as we dug deeper into God’s word and got to know our King together…right!?

You can imagine my SHOCK to find that I was in school and in a dorm room with all these other sinners. People who claimed Christ (and some who didn’t at all) but were, lying, hurting, stealing and tearing one another down right in my own personal space.   I expected that from non-believers, but from Christians!?  That was the first time I had ever realized how much easier it seemed to love a non-believer than to love the brethren, and how we are still a broken people slowly being changed into the image of our Savior. I am SO thankful that we Christians aren’t the standard for holiness, only God is! Though I had grown up in church for years, I didn’t have much scripture knowledge, just law knowledge, or knowledge of the “rules”. Why is it that we are surprised when believers sin? Well, come to find out Paul addresses unity in the church body in many of his letters in the New Testament. How are we to coexist with other sinners saved by grace & love one another well?

Let’s look at what Paul writes to the church in Ephesus: Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  

I laughed when I read that we were to bear with one another, clearly we must not be the easiest people at times. Bear, endure, and be long suffering with one another in love, that we maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This reconciliation and love acts as a BOND to unite the believers together in Christ. The BOND of peace.

Let’s also look at what Paul wrote to the church of Colossae in Colossians 3:8-11 in these you too once walked, when you were living in them. (Before we were believers) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Ahhh the law….the list, the formula. So much familiarity and false security as we are tempted to achieve these good things alone. But as I read these, I instantly felt defeated because I KNOW I can’t love perfectly like we are called to. I am (and have always been) just like my other Bible college roommates, broken and in need of rescuing from myself as well. Though I am redeemed in Christ, I will fall short, I will disappoint, I will mess up, and I won’t live up to the expectations of others. Ever. And If I can’t achieve these perfectly, then that means I’m sure others can’t as well.

So how in the world can we display these virtues toward one another and put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony as verse 14 says?

We can’t forget (Ephesians 1:7-10) IN HIM (In Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his GRACE, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Oh the riches of His grace that He lavishes upon us. We have redemption through His blood and He is faithful to give us the wisdom, the insight and means to accomplish His purposes as we faithfully pursue Him. As we are intentional in beholding our King, and let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts like Col. 3:15 says, He WILL renew us in knowledge after the image of Himself. It is His word and the work of the Spirit in us that changes us and gives us any ability to love well at all. We will be renewed in knowledge as we become familiar with His word and keep our eyes solely on Him.

Because of our sin nature, we aren’t naturally focused on others wellbeing so much as our own, and we don’t just naturally become holy because we decided to. We can’t do any good thing aside from Christ. I love how D.A. Carson explains it…

People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace driven effort people do not grow toward godliness, prayer and obedience, to the scripture, faith and delight in the Lord. Instead we drift toward compromise and call it tolerance. We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom. We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation. We slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking that we have escaped legalism. We slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves that we have been liberated. –D.A. Carson

The ONLY way we can possibly love well is by a grace driven effort as D.A. Carson explained. It isn’t by trying to obey the law alone in our best efforts, because we will quickly fail. And it isn’t by solely resting on grace without any effort, and use it as an excuse to not love others as we are called to because it’s covered. It is only by the grace of God that we would show any of these virtues toward one another because though we are saved by amazing grace, we are still broken here on this earth and God is faithfully changing and renewing us bit by bit. We are called as believers to love each other this way but we won’t live it out perfectly, because there was only one person who could live this out perfectly. It was Jesus, and He lived it unto death. For us.

How freeing to break the bondage of expectations with one another and KNOW that we all will fail each other, we all will disappoint at some time or another, and we all as believers are on this journey of sanctification. May we be gracious with one another as we are all growing and are in different parts of our life story.

Charles Spurgeon once said “He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it.”

We could try and muster up enough willpower and determination to just do it, and love each other well with all our best effort. Or we could by grace focus on beholding our King, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, with faith that He will continue to do a good work and that all of these things will be added unto us for our good and for His glory. One way only leads to complete exhaustion and failure, while the other leads to perfect peace in Christ.

I am soooo thankful that God took me, this legalistic Pharisaical “good” girl and showed her, her own pride and wretched heart and is faithfully transforming her into a “grace” girl. He faithfully continues to show me that only He can be the perfect standard for us, and that He is happy to use the weak and broken. Even a Bible School drop out for His honor and glory.

Colossians 3:15-17 (sisters) and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I love the song by: For King and Country-Fix My Eyes. It is a perfect prayer for the body and for us sisters…

Love like I’m not scared

Give when it’s not fair

Live life for another

Take time for a brother  (or sister)

Fight for the weak ones

Speak out for freedom

Find faith in the battle

Stand tall but above it all

Fix my eyes on You, On You

May we fix our eyes on Christ and love with a radical love like we have been loved and may we boldly and confidently love one another imperfectly, laced with grace as He is faithful to perfect us.

Perspective Of Praise


As I was reading and studying Psalm 33 last month in preparation to speak at our one day women’s conference, I was reminded of how the book of Psalms was known as the book of praises.  We can see right away in Psalm 33 how David calls us out as believers.  In verses 1 he calls us to shout for joy & give thanks to God, vs. 1 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.  Praise should absolutely be a quality or characteristic of the people of God.  It suits us to praise Him.

Did you know that the word “thanks/thanksgiving” is mentioned over 50 times throughout the book of Psalms? Why is THAT?  If you are like me, I need to be reminded over and over as I personally find that it just doesn’t always come so naturally.  I feel like sometimes it’s easier said than done.  There are days that it is an all-out FIGHT for joy & gratitude.

Some days, from the moment I wake up in the mornings I literally have horns coming out of my head and my eye brows just can’t seem to unfurrow. I don’t wake up chipper and with a little song in my heart and I feel the pull to grumpiness as I quickly shuffle my way to the kitchen to make a strong cup of coffee. (And those were the days before having children!) Now it is still the same, but then having four little mouths that need to be fed immediately, diapers that need to be changed, soiled bedding that needs changed, all while stepping on Legos! I’m sure you can relate whether you have children or not as you deal with rude drivers, uncooperative coworkers, terrible customer service or even family disputes. It’s amazing how quickly the heavy grey cloud can come over us, and yet as we just read, praise is what suits the body of Christ.

How can we get out of that haze into a perspective of praise? 

I’d love to tell you to just think positive, work out for those “feel good” endorphins, put chia seeds in your Kombucha (whatever that is), or have another cup of coffee…. But in all honesty those things (though all good things) won’t bring you the joy, peace or contentment like knowing our God.

Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of God is living and active… discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. It filters our questions, doubts and fears and gives us clarity of heart and mind.

Believer, today I want to show you how establishing and knowing God’s authority results in an amazing outlook or attitude change as we realize our hope and ultimate joy lies solely in the sovereignty of the great I Am.

In verses 4-9 the Psalmist clearly establishes God’s Authority:

In Verse 4 “The Word of the Lord is upright.”   We can know that what God says is truth and that He keeps His promises. Hebrews 10:23 reminds us “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Deuteronomy 7:9 also says “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,” We can believe in who He is and know His word is truth, as the earth is filled with His steadfast love.

As we see fully the authority of the uncreated creator and His power, we can’t help but stand in awe of the one who gives us life. Verse 8 says Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! It truly gives us such a perspective change as to why we are here, what we are entitled to, and who we are living this life for. Ps. 33:9 goes on to say “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”  Do we have confidence and know who our Creator is and what He is capable of?  I encourage you to dig in the Word friends and get to know our King, and remember that His word always stands firm.

I’m sure some of you are like “Well that’s great Janell, It’s nice to know we can have confidence in the creator, but how does that help us in the day to day, or mundane as we feel like we have to fight for joy?”

I’m glad you asked…

I want to tell you how Our Hope lies in the sovereignty of the I Am

Check out Psalm 33:10-11 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.  The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.  

He frustrates the plans of the people… this made me giggle as I read it as I thought about when we were first married and I had huge plans of babies right away.  Four and a half years later and still no baby brought me to a place of doubt and frustration as I thought my plan was perfect and would bring me joy.  Time and again I continue to learn and relearn this lesson of God’s sovereignty, perfect timing and goodness in the bitter and the sweet.  Today we find ourselves expecting our fifth precious little one and thanking God for hindsight as His ways TRULY are perfect in ALL things.

I love how God’s plan and purpose always triumphs.  He IS GOD as we saw in the previous verses.  He frustrates the plans of the people because HIS plan overcomes & stands forever, the plans of God’s heart prevails through ALL generations.  He IS GOD!  We can have hope in His unshakable security and ultimate plan, for He shall NEVER be moved.  Job knew this when he confessed and repented to God in Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

We have this false sense of control as we plan out our days and lives with short term goals, long term goals and financial goals.  We then get discouraged or miffed if someone or something thwarts our plan, yet we so quickly forget that our King has a bigger and a better plan for our good and for His glory.  His purpose and will for you WILL be accomplished.  Our perspective and lack of trust brings us only to a place of discouragement and despair and reveals our selfishness as we hoped to find joy in other things instead of resting in the goodness of our King.


So what about that perspective of Praise?

Sometimes we find ourselves in the haze for DAYS!  I love how as you read the entirety of this Psalm, it full circles!  David tells us that praise suits us.  As we continue to behold our King and nourish our souls in His Word, we can have hope in Christ.  He is our lifeline!  Our circumstances can still look messy, still broken and still ugly all around us, but He has NOT forsaken us!  We can be at rest in Him as we are confident in Who He is and what He promises because today we have clearly established God’s Authority & we see that our hope lies in the sovereignty of the I AM.  It can only then be natural that our hearts come out of that haze right into a song and perspective of Praise!

As Charles Spurgeon puts it,

“The root of faith in due time bears the flower of rejoicing”

And then the last few Verses of 33:20-22 Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.  For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.  Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

The Perfect Standard

When I was in my mid-twenties and a new mom I had this idea that a “good Christian” wife & mom stayed home, schooled her children, and made everything from scratch. Not that those are bad things at ALL, but there was this holy formula that I felt I must conform to to succeed as a godly wife and mother and be in Gods “perfect will”. God would definitely be pleased if I could just get it together, right!? Sadly I continued to listen to others, compare to others, and try and mold my parenting/home/cooking like or around others. I just didn’t have peace and I was so discouraged when I couldn’t be that perfect godly mom who “had it all together”! The weight of it was crushing! I so easily forgot that it wasn’t truly for me to carry, but my Lords. I had come across an old quote from a wise sister that held so much truth!

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” Corrie ten Boom

I felt so convicted and yet God was also so gracious to show me a well-loved verse in a whole new way. I finally started looking up instead of out.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I learned how important it is to renew my mind in scripture daily and get my eyes solely on Christ and what He would specifically have for me and our unique family.  That was most important. The truth is, we just needed to seek God to direct our steps.  We can then reap the joys of obedience for our days without comparing to others, or looking at the big picture and putting ourselves into a full panic attack. I’ve realized as I seek Him and obey for today there is a balance of living intentionally but also knowing and trusting Gods leading.  I can tell you that I’ve NEVER been more thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit who leads us and promises to be with us.  We don’t walk this journey alone.

I realized that being out of the “will” of God was not being out of the “formula” others expected you to conform to. You see, our God is so creative! He has designed each of us with not only different finger prints but personalities, talents & gifts! We each contribute so differently to not only the church body, but to other relationships, as well as our own homes. Your life, parenting, friendships, relationships, and gifts will look and be tailored specifically to and for you by our King. We can learn great tips and ideas from friends and others who are well intentioned, but at the end of the day what matters most is our personal obedience to The Lord as we follow His leading in loving our families well. And I’ll tell you, sometimes the choices we make won’t be the popular ones.

I know soooo many godly women who work or stay home, Adopt or don’t, who get an epidural or who have a natural birth, who breast feed or bottle feed, who immunize or who don’t, who homeschool or public school, who have their own business or who solely oversee the home, who love to cook or who hire it out, who have a housekeeper or who get the yellow gloves out, who is super organized or who has organized mess, who dyes her hair or who doesn’t. You see, ALL these women I know love our very same God and truly seek Him on their own personal journeys. They ALL want to love their husbands, families and friends well but how it gets accomplished looks SO different from one to the next. And you know what? Obedience for one could be total disobedience for the other if she is truly seeking the Lord and He is directing her differently.

I LOVE how Sally Clarkson compares our role to crafting a family recipe:

“every family will have a different flavor–a different recipe that, when cultivated and fine-tuned will be their own unique blend of a Family Culture. I fear that many women, in attempts to find the perfect formula or right rules of what is takes to make a great family, are subject to destroying the unique aroma and flavor their family was designed to enjoy. Trying to copy someone else’s ways or preferences or exact practices just thwarts and denies the unique design, flavor, essence that will make your own family happy, robust and productive and can produce a tasteless mess.”  –Sally Clarkson

Over these years God has been so good to show me that there is NO formula! You know, I think that was His plan all along… To show us that living up to that perfect standard was impossible, to keep us close and to keep us seeking Him. He was the ONLY Perfect One who lived this life perfectly in our place, died in our place and rose again. May we rest in that truth! When we go to bed at night, we don’t need to believe the lies that we should do _______ because so and so does. Or we would be a better wife/mom if we would just do _______. We can know that as we behold Him daily in every decision, He is changing us from one degree of glory to the next.

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

He is also lovingly equipping us for every good work He calls us to according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which says…

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

May we faithfully encourage and nourish one another in the Word of God and in the good news of the gospel. May we support and love one another along our journeys as we all seek to live this out well and honor our King. What FREEDOM to obey and love one another well.

Psalm 30:10-12

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

                    you have loosed my sackcloth

                    and clothed me with gladness,

that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

                    O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.