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An Old Blanket

When my daughter turned one my mom gave her a snuggly sheep pillow and one of those blankets with one side that resembles fleece and the other side that is luxuriously soft. She immediately became attached to the blanket. It became her lovey and she hasn’t slept without it in almost two years. As you can imagine, it’s been through the wash a time or two (or one hundred) over the last two years. The fleece-y side is caked over and not very soft. It’s a dingy grey color when it used to be bright white. It’s way too small for her ever growing body; her feet are no longer covered by it when she sleeps.

She’s still in the earlier stages of being nighttime potty trained and accidents still abound. Two nights ago she wet through the blanket and, as you can imagine, it was very much in need of a wash. But I had a very busy day and wasn’t home long enough to get a load started so it sat in my laundry basket until nap time. And as Thomas the train would say, “then there was trouble.”

Anticipating that she’d be upset, I had placed a brand new blanket on her bed. One from Costco that is the same style as her beloved blankie. Not only is it the same style — it’s better! It’s huge and soft and bright white and without blemish and certainly without last night’s accident soaked in. I was hoping that she’d recognize that this blanket was better than her old one.

Sadly, she wailed and threw a thirty-minute long tantrum calling out for her blankie. She was so sad. So so sad. I just held her tight and kept saying, “I’m so sorry honey. It is so sad that your favorite blankie is yucky. But you cannot have it the way it is. This blanket is bad for you and what is waiting for you is even better than this one.” She eventually relented, calmed down, and accepted the replacement blanket. She still missed the old one but the new one was undeniably better for her.

I’m currently in the wailing stage. The kicking and screaming and the longing for my old blanket. My dear friends and family keep reminding me that this isn’t the only blanket. That there are better ones and this one actually is bad for me the way it is. So many promises in Scripture keep reminding me that there is a future and a hope and that Jesus wants good for me and to satisfy my desires. But because I can’t imagine a better blanket than the one I had, it’s just so hard to let go. You can explain to me a hundred different varieties of blankets that might be infinitely better, but I miss my old one. The one I know and have loved for so long.

So in the wailing it is a comfort to know that Jesus is holding me close and whispering, “I’m so sorry, dear one. I’m so sad that you are hurting and missing what was once so good. Hold on to me until you can believe that what I have for you is better.”


Love You Can Feel

Thank you all for your kind words about my post on grief. I am obviously in a very raw place, even as I begin to process some of what’s happened to me over the past year– so thank you for being gentle with me. Jesus is definitely the hero of my story, but my friends and family come in a very close second. Very few of them can relate to the degree of suffering I have felt, and yet they have been the real, tangible arms of Jesus to me. I’ve kept a running list since May of all the ways people have shown up for me. It is pages and pages long and rarely a day passes without a name and a comfort being added to the list. If you know someone who is grieving, maybe these ideas can help you. Because while Jesus is the only comfort for my soul– my body and mind and heart have often been refreshed by TANGIBLE love from others. Love that you can see and touch and feel. This is what grieving people need.

Words and prayers. No one knows what to say to me. Most of the dear people in my life have told me so at one point or another. And yet they offer words of comfort and prayers that serve as warm blankets on the days of bitter cold pain. I have gotten so many letters. From high school friends. From college friends. Family who are far away. Real, handwritten letters on thoughtful cards that show up at the right moments. Messages and texts from complete strangers who are praying for me. Prayers in the middle of my living room when I’m slumped over without any hope left. I’m wrapped with love as people bring me to the throne of the only one who Really Understands.

Food. It nourishes any soul, and this one in particular. Food is one my love languages and it’s a language that is kind of confused right now. I mentioned the identity piece before and I’ll say it again. My love for cooking and food were heavily wrapped up in my marriage and it’s confusing to even think about food when it hurts my heart so deeply. So my friends have fed me when I can’t think about food. They’ve showed up for months with meals, gift cards, dinner invites, and homemade cakes. Someone who is grieving cannot think about what they will eat or feed their kids. It’s the straw that breaks the camels back three times a day. So feed your hurting friends. And eat with them. Anyone who’s eaten alone with three moderately capable self-feeders knows an extra hand would be welcomed.

Gifts. This sounds so self-serving. But I’m not writing to say “send me gifts, y’all!” No, I’m writing to honor the gifts people have sent me. After eleven years of a shared life every piece of clothing, household item, piece of art, piece of jewelry– everything is loaded with emotional significance. But there is comfort in being wrapped in a brand new scarf, handmade by someone who barely knows me. Or in staring at new artwork, hand-lettered by a dear friend. Or in falling asleep to a new diffuser with calming essential oils. Or in wearing an heirloom family ring or hand-me-down necklace. Or in filling a new journal with thoughts that don’t have past pains already recorded in them.  Or in cooking with a new pizza stone, microwave, or toaster oven that some friend’s pitched in to help me buy. These all create new patterns and new environments that feel safe. Every time I wear something new I feel wrapped in love. Every time someone shows up at my door with flowers or printed family photos or a box of snacks for my kids — I’m forced to remember that I’m worth something to a lot of people.

Books and Music. Send grieving people books. Our minds are a mess. A gigantic mess filled with self-doubt and hurt. We need truth like no tomorrow. Send us books on the particular thing we are going through (Unraveling is incredible). Send us books on God’s character (None like Him and Wearing God have been transformational). Send us devotionals on suffering (Beside Still Waters is such a comfort). Send us funny novels that make life seem fun again (All the Harry Potter. All the Time). And we need music. It fills up our minds with truth and sometimes speaks a language deeper than words alone. Plus, music is loaded and charged with memories. Hearing new songs and falling in love with new bands brings it’s own kind of healing. Bonus if the songs have meaningful lyrics that bring us back to the truths of God (Sandra McCraken’s two albums Psalms and God’s Highway have been such encouragements to me).

Support. This goes without saying, but asking someone how they are doing when you already know the answer can get exhausting. I’m sure. And yet my friends always ask. They always care. They always say, “what can I do?” This means the world. People showing up to move me, and move me again, and move me yet again. People sitting with me. People meeting real needs like lawn mowing, babysitting, getting groceries, paying bills, fixing toilets, sending cash, helping pack/unpack, cleaning, running water tests, paying for counseling or doctor appointments, and helping with electronics. The reality is with this type of loss my workload has doubled. And a lot of the new things that I’m responsible for I’ve never done before. So people showing up and helping me figure out how to do those things and doing the things I can’t do — it’s everything. And a lot of the old things that I’m used to doing have become harder and more complicated with the additional physical, mental, and emotional stress of grief. Getting help with things I “should be able to do but just can’t right now” — that’s huge too.

Activities. We know we aren’t the most fun people to be around in our grief. So when you invite us out anyway — um, that’s some serious love right there. Knowing someone still wants to have dinner with me or go out for a glass of wine? Or watch a movie with me? Or take me and my kids on a hike? Or take me away from life for a day and go to a theme park with me? It makes me feel human again. Sometimes I even laugh for awhile and life doesn’t feel so heavy. Time is the only thing that can bring healing, so being distracted every once in awhile in the waiting/healing period is so helpful.

Affection. This can come in many forms. Appropriate physical affection is hugely comforting. I’ve had people just sit and hold my hand as I cry. Hugging, back rubs, foot rubs, sitting right next to and entering someone else’s personal space. After a decade of marriage, entering the bleak world of no physical affection is really startling. I have found myself bawling getting a facial or massage or a pedicure, it’s so meaningful to have someone care for you in that way. But compliments, encouraging words, and terms of endearment are precious too. Having someone call me sweetie, or tell me my hair looks pretty, or just hearing “I love you” — all of these are so powerful. My kids aren’t great at unprompted “thank you’s” or “that was a great dinner mom, thanks for working so hard”. So it is important to hear from others, “You’re doing great. You are a wonderful mom. You work so hard and I’m so proud of you.”

It truly does take a village, no one person could be everything for another, but a community of people can provide waves of comfort. God’s only plan for showing tangible love on earth is through other people. Every time someone makes the effort to love and care, it’s a reminder of God’s love and care for me. Grief like this is a marathon, not a sprint. My dear friends have been walking me through this since November of last year and I’m so thankful they are still in this with me. If someone you know is grieving commit to them for the long haul. These problems don’t go away overnight, and sometimes the pain doesn’t diminish for months or years. Grief is lonely and isolating. Show up for grieving people in anyway you can: it might be the only thing getting them through the day.


Grief is not Linear 

Grief is one of the most unsettling of experiences. Having a happy childhood and losing only distant relatives to death, I was totally unprepared for what grief would be like. I mean I assumed that going through an impossible trial would bring sadness and maybe anger, but I had no idea that grief is something else entirely. 

Grieving is like living in a haunted house. The world around you looks familiar, but everything is a little off and absolutely terrifying. It looks a lot like your life but everything is wrong. It doesn’t just redefine your present or make the future look dim, it radically transforms even your happiest of memories into painfully sad ones. 

Grief is like starting from scratch. Normal situations that you’ve been in a thousand times make you respond in completely different way than you ever would have before. It’s as if every learned pattern or response you’ve ever had is no longer relevant. You’re a newborn all over again and the world is scary and the most basic of skills seem Herculean. 
Grief is like moving to a foreign country. You don’t know the language, you don’t have the right currency, you don’t know where you are going, and you don’t know the customs. You get dizzy and overwhelmed and lost just trying to get groceries or take a bus. You keep trying to connect with other people but there is a huge communication gap that prevents you from feeling understood. 

Grief is like dancing in a field of land mines. Seemingly innocent tufts of grass bring on explosions of sadness or anger or fear. An otherwise harmless momento or song or food or smell can bring you to your knees in an unguarded moment. Nothing is safe. There is no place you can go that will keep you fully protected from being assaulted by the pain. 

Grief is not linear. You do not find yourself on a precipice, freefall into a pit, and then slowly climb back up the mountain. Going through grief is much more of a rollecoaster. You feel like you’re inching your way up to normal and then another jaw-dropping descent looms before you. Your stomach is in your throat and your body is slammed to one side and gravity forces you down so you can’t even raise your head. Then a loop appears and it feels like ascent only to have everything turned upside down again. 

The weirdest thing about grief is trying to help others understand what you are going through. There seem to be three types of people: those who’ve grieved and understand, those who haven’t grieved and know they don’t understand, and those who haven’t grieved and don’t know they don’t understand. This post is for the latter two. These word pictures have given voice to my experience this last year. I hope they help you understand — or at the very least, help you realize that you don’t understand — and that’s a more helpful place to be for the grieving person in your life. 

You can sit with someone who is grieving. You can cry with them and pray for them and hold them. But you can’t advise them when you haven’t known it firsthand. That’s why it’s so essential to know that Jesus grieved. He knows grief and loss and pain. I can feel misunderstood by everyone on the planet, but my soul know that Jesus gets me. He is my steadfast refuge and my rock in a world that is shifting and unfamiliar. If you’re trying to comfort someone experiencing grief, offer the True Comforter to them. Jesus, man of sorrows, he understands me. Even when it feels like no one else does. 


A Strange Hobby

I’ve been called a lot of things, but something I’ve never been accused of is being a procrastinator. Well, maybe when I was in junior high and battled my mom tooth and nail over hanging up my clothes and making my bed. But for most my adult life I’ve been a “get the hard thing done first” kind of gal. In college I literally never pulled an all-nighter. My friends would always make fun of me because I’d get a paper done three weeks ahead of time and be in bed by 10:00 without fail. I was the annoying girl who’d pop out of my room and ask my wing mates to “please keep it down, I’m sleeping.”

I like getting things done. Crossing things off to do lists is one of my favorite past times. I don’t like unfinished business. It keeps me up at night while I review my day over and over making sure I spent my time well. Waiting? The in-between? Not having a plan? Saying they are not my favorite is the understatement of the year. Got the picture? Put a pin in that thought for a minute. 

Being a seamstress means inevitably someone wants to give you old stashes of unused fabric. Someone’s mother died or they’ve given up sewing or it’s just time to clean the old stash out. I do it too, from time to time, when I can bear to part with the tiniest scraps of my beloved fabric. I invariably say “yes” to ofher’s fabric because, well, let’s face it: I have a fabric problem. As I wade through bags or cardboard boxes and unbury layers of fabric I get a peak into the seamstress’s life. I see leftovers from curtains and pillows, portions of dresses and dress shirts — and my all time favorite — scraps of quilts. You’d be surprised how many people start a quilt and don’t ever finish it. Maybe life got busy or the project was more challenging than expected, but one way or another once loved and cared for quilts-in-progress get abandoned. Enter my inability to leave things unfinished. 

I am obsessed with finishing quilts. I’ve made a hobby of making sense of someone’s leftovers and turning it into something beautiful. I hardly ever like the fabric choices, and often I despise the patterns, but I’m driven to finish these quilts. It almost feels like a way of honoring the person who started them. Even though most of those people we’ll never know about it, it feels right that these useless assortments of fabric become what they should — something useful, beautiful, and cared for. 

There’s about a million analogies in there, I’m sure. The idea that God doesn’t leave us unfinished. That even when others have discarded us he continues the work of knitting, sewing, and weaving. Or the idea that there is beauty and value in follow-thru. Keeping ones word and being committed to the end matters. Or the thought that we are handed bits and pieces of brokenness in each of our lives and it’s up to us to make something beautiful come from it. Or that we need each other and stepping in when someone else cannot go on is worthwhile. 

But mostly, I just find comfort in this little hobby. In the ritual of discovery and organization, which is followed by  hours pinning, sewing, ironing, and quilting. The handiwork that marks each of my quilts and the feeling of accomplishment that I took ownership of a project and gave of myself for it. I think that’s the lesson in all of life — the process can bring as much joy as a finished project. And who we become, the sort of person we choose to be along the journey is where we find value. 



I’ve been spending a great deal of time thinking about identity. About mine, mostly, now that a great deal of what made me ‘me’ has been taken away. I’ve been floundering, wondering who I was before my other half and who I will be now that he has left. I’ve often found myself at a loss, evaluating what remains and wondering if it is truly me or mere remnants of him. I don’t know all the answers. Not by a long shot.

But tonight as I put my sweet toddler girl to bed, a thought hit me. There she was so tiny in her big girl pajamas and underwear, hair still damp from her bath. Lying on her huge full-size bed, next to her oversized stuffed animal bear (her reward for potty-training). She pushes her adorable whale quilt down and prefers to snuggle into her worn out, much-loved blankie. Then she asks me to cuddle. I, of course, oblige and we sing a few songs before I say goodnight. She has five requests these days, which she asks for in her precious toddler way — twinkle, Jesus loves me, abcdef, avery jean (a song I made up when she was a baby), and all my dreams (i.e. love me tender by Elvis).

The first few songs she sings by herself. She misses at least half the lyrics and is hopelessly tone deaf. But I lay next to her and my heart is nearly breaking from her beauty. I tear up as I see her and I’m just so proud of who she is and anything she accomplishes, even though it falls so short of ‘perfection.’ And it hits me that this is how God views me right now. As I flail and toddle through my days, barely able to make coherent sense out of who I am — he is watching me, knowing me, and is just so incredibly in awe of who I am. Not because I am anything special or I offer anything wonderful, but because I am his child.

I’ve spent most my life finding value in what others thought of me. I’m a perfectionist at heart and every time I got an A or won an award I felt like — aha! This is me! This is why I’m worth something! Post-school I turned my value towards my friends, family, husband — I see now! Because these people think I’m something special, this is why I’m worth something! But now as my accomplishments seem unremarkable and my most trusted love has left my side, it’s easy to get stuck and think — oh no! All along it was a lie. I have no value and am not worth anything after all.

So to dwell on what God thinks of me is new to me. Not a new concept, of course, but a new practice. And it does take practice. It takes effort and failing and perseverance and trying again. Just like my sweet Avery sings her song with many errors and important parts missing. And yet she is beautiful and loved simply because she is mine. And so am I. Beautiful and Loved and Worth Something — because I belong to Him.



Not long ago my worship pastor invited us to consider that NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ. Taken from Romans 8, this phrase is often quoted and memorized, but we rarely live like it is true. Sure, we believe God is strong enough to save us in an eternal sense, but we allow a lot of things to separate us from his love here on earth. “Surely, I don’t do that!” Really? Do you recall the whole Romans 8 passage?

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

Did you catch the highlighted words? Our fear and our worries cannot separate us from God’s love. Why is it so much harder for me to believe that than the part about angels and demons? I think because in my experience my fears and worries do put a roadblock between me and God. They create distrust and doubt in God’s goodness and they prevent me from really experiencing freedom and joy in Christ. But that separation that I feel? It isn’t on God’s side. It’s on mine. God promises that we will never be separated from his love. What a comfort.

So how do we get around that feeling of distance from God when fear seeps into our hearts? I think we have to go back to the first part of the passage — that “overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” My circumstances are not a barometer of Jesus’ love for me. Rather, Jesus love for me is the context in which I should view my entire life. Whoa. Let that sink in. I will experience hardship. I will endure unimaginable suffering and pain. I will be hurt and knocked down and even destroyed. And yet, “overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us.” Victory over what? Not over avoiding pain, but over my fears and worries. Over anything that would threaten to separate me from him. 

I need this reminder every hour. As my life looks very different than I ever wanted and all of my worst fears and worries have become reality. As I exist in a marriage where I am separated from someone who made many promises to me. As I live each day fearing the worst, the end of that marriage, and fearing what that will do to me and my kids. Yet Jesus’ promise to me is “I will never leave you or forsake you.” As I feel forsaken and abandoned and crushed, He says “you are mine, you were bought with a price.” As my worries echo in my mind in the dead of night, He comforts with these words: “nothing can separate you from my love.”



I’m so excited by the response I’ve had so far in my Shaklee endeavor — I love sharing these products because they really work and they really help change people’s lives. To make it even easier to order, I now have a Shaklee website and you can get whatever you need directly from


Shaklee has just launched a new tool to help everyone assess their health needs. Go to my website and take the free HealthPrint assessment quiz and I’ll enter your name into a drawing to win some Basic H (the best all-purpose cleaner you’ll ever use). You’ll learn more about your health needs and could potentially win a great Shaklee product — nothing to lose here!


If you’d like to become a member (one time fee of $20 and 15-25% off all products for life!), please contact me and I’d love to help you out. Or truly, any question, no matter how big or small I’d love to answer. Let’s create healthier lives together!


A Turn of Events


Life has had some pretty unexpected turns for me this past year. The trials that have come this year have served to reveal what is truly important to me. As I’m walking this new path and learning to catch my breath, I’ve learned some new things about myself. I may have a lot of unknowns, but here is what I do know: I love being a stay at home mom. I am passionate about helping other people. I need a sustainable income to take care of my family. This new foundation for my life is also empowering me to step out of my comfort zone into a new adventure. My desire to stay home with my kids, while earning an income helping people, converges in a beautiful way with Shaklee. A company I have trusted and been a member of for many years. A company that has a long history of caring for people, creating trustworthy products, and changing lives.

Shaklee entered my life 6 years ago. I immediately fell in love with their green, effective, and affordable cleaning products. It took a few years for me to take advantage of their amazing nutrition. Three years ago I found myself housebound for almost the entire winter with sickness being passed back and forth between me and my kids. At the same time I noticed my oldest son struggling with focus in school. I started my kids on Incredivites and Mighty Smart Chews. Within months our lives were changed. My kids have been much healthier, rarely coming down with minor bouts of sickness. And the change in my oldest son was even more remarkable. He was once considered hyperactive by teachers but now he’s able to focus and has succeeded in the school environment.

More than the products, from the very start I’ve been sold on the Shaklee culture. My friend who introduced me to Shaklee has always been available to answer questions and troubleshoot health issues. She doesn’t just sell products –- she’s passionate about helping people have better health. When my kids had eczema she was a text away with an answer. When friend’s have had health issues I’ve been able to troubleshoot with her and her team to help provide them with solutions. Since I’ve had a passion for natural products that improve quality of life, Shaklee seems like a natural choice for me. I’ve used my personal blog as a platform to share with people how to improve health through nutrition and removing harsh chemicals from their lives. Now, partnering with Shaklee I hope to help in a more practical way while building a business doing what I love.

If you would be interested in hearing why Shaklee is so exciting to me or supporting me in my journey please contact me. I would love to talk to you about your health and wellness needs and assist you in anyway I can. The Shaklee network is amazing and I have access to nutritionists and a wealth of resources that address any health issue. Thanks for taking the time to read and share with any friends you think might be interested.



Light and dark are constant themes in the Bible. Most notably — Genesis 1 and John 1 paint the picture of the very words of God creating darkness and light and separating the two. I think as humans we are naturally drawn to light. To summer days at the beach versus gloomy winter ones. To bright happy music rather than dissonance. To happiness at any expense, always avoiding sadness and mourning. God himself is almost always described as indescribable light and consuming fire. His followers are described as those who walk in light and are themselves the light of the world.

But as a friend recently pointed out to me, God is also described as darkness. Before the world began as we know it, God’s presence hovering over the waters existed only in darkness, until he commanded light to exist. When God spoke to Abram it was in the night accompanied by “terrifying darkness” (Gen 15:12). When Moses comes face to face with God and Israel witnesses his presence descend onto the mountaintop, the description is of deep darkness (Ex 20:21, Dt 5:23, Heb 12: 18). When David recalls God’s miraculous rescue from Saul’s army, he says that God “shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dark rain clouds” (Ps 18:11). When God’s presence filled the temple, it isn’t with indescribable light or beauty, but “a thick cloud of darkness” (1 Kgs 8:12). He uses shadows, darkness, and destruction again and again as a means of bringing about mourning and repentance to wandering souls (Isa 47:5, Jer 13:16, Eze 32:8, Joel 2:2).

Not only is God covered by darkness, he also uses darkness to cover his people. He used a cloud to guide his people in the desert (Ex 14:20). And he often uses darkness in our lives to teach and guide us. “And I will give you treasure in the darkness–secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name” (Isa 45:3). His ways are often described as mysterious or inexplicable — shrouded or dimmed to our human eyes. The word “darkness” is most used in the book of Job. If ever the purposes of God were shrouded in mystery and suffering, it would be in Job’s life. He often used sickness and even death (like with Lazarus), the darkest of human experiences, to bring greater glory to himself and teach his people about faith (Jn 11:4).

Yet time and time again we are told that this darkness cannot overtake us. Dark is not dark to the God who’s very being is Light. He can see in the dark. There are no secrets or hidden places that are too far gone for him to reach in to (Job 12:22, 1 Cor 4:5). “He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness” (Dan 2:22). Even if we ask the darkness to cover us, the night will shine as bright as day to Him (Ps 139:11-12). He is the light of the world — death and darkness hold no power over him (Jn 8:12). We are commanded not to dread anything evil that could come from the darkness (Ps 91:6).

I find so much comfort in knowing there is no competing god of darkness that is at war with our souls. God is a god of both darkness and light. When we find our lives filled with more sorrow than joy, more confusion than certainty, and more darkness than light — we can be sure he is in that too. He has not halted on the border of light, waiting for our return. He is with us even in the valley of the shadow of death; he hold us in the night and sings to our souls from dusk to dawn. He sends both darkness and light (Ps 104:20, 22), for he created both. “I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things” (Isa. 45:7). And he promises to lead us from the “darkness and deepest gloom” (Ps 107:14) and to use our time in the darkness to mold us and shape us into his likeness.

So, today, if you find yourself to be in darkness, be encouraged. Sickness, death, mourning, depression, confusion, and pain are not the end of your story. God is still in the darkness and has not left your side. And he promises that “the people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine” (Isa 9:2). So what should you do while you wait for the darkness to lift? “If you are walking darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God” (Isa 50:10).



“But as for me I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.” Psalm 59:16

Sometimes prayers are answered in the most unappealing ways. This season of intense reliance on God has birthed a prayerfulness that I didn’t know was possible. I’ve never been much of a pray-er. I’ve struggled mightily with how my prayers accomplish anything if Jesus is sovereign over all. I’ve fought it because it seems like God only wants to change my attitude and not really answer my needs. But this season? It’s forced all the argument right out of my heart. All I have is Jesus and I turn to him constantly.

I never realized how much access we have to God. He is constantly available. When I’m in the shower blanketed with my own tears — Jesus is listening. At 2 am when my mind is running like a hamster wheel — he’s bending down to hear and comfort. When I have to do more and be more and I have nothing left to give — he’s by my side, strengthening me. So last week when I found myself unable to pick myself up after a discouraging day, I wept openly and called out to God before driving to my baking class.

And he answered. With a car crash. The last possible thing I needed in my day. It was a minor fender bender at 3 mph. But you know what? Jesus was there. The other person involved in the crash was highly over-reactive. In a situation with literally two small dents in the back of her BMW, she asked for an ambulance and was carted off on a stretcher. All the firefighters and police officers involved rolled their eyers with knowing looks, “Ah, one of those types. She’s looking for a pay day here.”

So how did Jesus show up for me? A cop was right behind me when the accident happened. He got right out and spoke with me and the other driver. I never had to interact with her. Being on my own and already in a fragile state, I probably would’ve made matters so much worse if I had dealt with this irrational driver. Any crash is unsettling, but her response was so over the top. But Jesus protected me with a police office for a witness and as a mediator in a high stress situation. And I tell you what, having a car accident immediately shook me from my sadness and forced me into action. I’ve hated feeling helpless over the last months and like I have been unable to do anything to make things better. But at least for that night I had a real to do list that occupied my mind. Even that was grace.

I’m flooded with thanksgiving at how he answers our prayers. He often does not remove suffering or prevent it from coming — but he is with us in it. Tangibly so. He is there to calm, guide, and to give hope. And he also provides a way through the darkness. Sometimes by the physical presence of someone who can help. Jesus is so kind to us. And prayer matters. I may never reconcile all the discrepancies my brain has with prayer. But my soul knows full well its benefits and its effectiveness. Jesus, my rock and refuge in the storm.