Posted in Birthday, The Surprised Life


You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You–in both inclination an character], because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]. Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner], for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].” [AMP]

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord, forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” [ESV]

People with their minds set on You, You keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.” [MSG]

~Isaiah 26:3-4

As those of you who have been following this blog know, I’ve been doing annual birthday posts (232425) since I started med school–but this year my post is a little late (technically I’m only one day past my birthday…month (haha)). 25 was such a year of growth, restoration (which was my word for the year–seriously amazing how God restored so much that felt broken), and challenges. I had my writing published as a CMDA devotional. I switched from peds to family med at the very end of my 3rd year after realizing that I enjoy procedures and feeling the Lord connect all the dots of third year (the love for every rotation, the desire to work with all the family members, the goal to serve overseas, the innate desire to know a patient’s full story, etc.). Finished up my third year of med school and started my fourth year (aka med school heaven).


I traveled to Canada and was overwhelmed by the love and generosity of strangers-turned-friends. God used them to encourage me, especially one sister in Christ who spoke truth and love into my life in such a specific way that it could only be of God. I was blessed with the opportunity to serve with fellow Jesus-followers at a FQHC clinic in Indianapolis and learned so much. I worked with an incredible team to start a group that invests in the mental health of med students. Loved my sub-I rotation and worked with an amazing team at Eskenazi. Went through some highs and lows, but was consistently encouraged by the ministry of Pastor Steven Furtick and Elevation Church. Continued to experience the Lord restoring me. Started a habit of reminding my heart and telling the Lord daily: “I choose You today and every day.

I spent a month rotating in Tulsa, OK and about a week rotating in Memphis, TN and then hit the interview trail hard (traveled all over the country!), met absolutely AMAZING people on the trail, worked some crazy ER shifts and left with my own “war stories,” watched my first patient die, almost died myself during an ice storm (praise God for angels in the form of brave men and a kind policeman), finished off my core med school rotations (that means that “if I become a doctor” will soon have to drop the “if”!), finished off the interview season at a resort on the beach, struggled to make my rank list (as in, REALLY struggled), received the advice to “dream big with God,” spent many nights sitting in my closet (my go-to place for distraction-free Jesus time), heard from the Lord very clearly, experienced His peace, made some decisions, blessed to be encouraged and loved by so many people, watched the Lord answer very specific time-sensitive prayers in such a short time frame, and have seen the Father lean in time and time again, speak very specifically through various people/sermons, and continually say lovingly, “Trust me, child.

So as is my somewhat silly custom, I found verses with the number “26” that I want to “claim” for this year. The Isaiah passage above actually found me when I wasn’t even looking. And here’s the other verse from Psalm 26:3–

“For Your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in Your faithfulness.”

I am grateful that one word from Jesus still has the power to calm storms and bring peace. The Lord has been so gracious and good to me this past year–even when I couldn’t see it or didn’t feel Him near. I know He never once abandoned me. I know He has good in store for me. I know He is good. And I know Him in a deeper way as a freshly minted 26yo than I did at 25. He made Himself known in the valleys and on the mountaintops. He rarely roared above the noise, but was most often found in the moments of vulnerability when I’d reached the end of myself. He taught me that sacrifice is not a one-and-done type deal, but a daily, moment-by-moment choice. Same with trust. And He’s proved Himself not only sovereign and trustworthy and good and loving, but also near. For that, I am very grateful.

My word for 26 is “steadfast.” May my heart be steadfast, grounded in the truth of who HE is and trusting Him wholeheartedly, “with hope and confident expectation.” I’m expecting to be surprised by joy as I keep my heart steadfast on Him.

God’s grace in my life today:

All of the above. Wow, even though most of what I wrote above just barely scratched the surface, I’m overwhelmed by how faithful He has been to restore me and make me more like Him. He is so good.


Posted in Uncategorized

The Grave Clothes

…He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.‘” [John 11: 43-44]

Jesus came to the grave scene and with one command, a dead man walked out alive. This man was brought from death into life…yet Lazarus could have spent that life still bound by the clothes of death. I think it’s so key that Jesus didn’t stop with the resurrection, but made it a point to say:Unbind him, and let him go.

Do you hear the Father whisper that to you? Do you hear Him calling you out of the grave–from death into life? Perhaps you’re like me and He made you alive a long time ago. He didn’t just tweak your bad heart to make it good…He went in and took out your dead heart and gave you a new heart that beats for Him.

But how many of us remain bound in our grave clothes? How many of us remain frozen as the accuser plays scenes from our lives over and over again? As he hits rewind and play, as he pauses certain scenes and revels at the look of anguish on your face, as he writes alternative endings that cause you to despair…as he continues to rewind and play until you forget that there’s more to the story.

As he rewinds and plays and pauses, he slyly allows you to miss out on what’s actually happening in real time in your story. The accuser hates the fast forward button, because he knows something that we often forget: this story has a good ending. Your story ends on a high note. The King wins.

The King won at Calvary–even when all hope seemed lost, when despair seemed logical. Oh, how the accuser must have loved rewinding and pausing the scene of Calvary in the minds of the disciples, reconstructing alternate story lines where they’d never followed Him in the first place and avoided looking like fools, alternate endings where Jesus was never crucified. But while the accuser was busy rewinding and pausing and reconstructing, all of heaven was counting to three. And all the rewinding and pausing couldn’t stop the King’s story from playing. 

One. b3f861d4f9a22535b86b0287e42e0e74



The King walked out and won once and for all. The horrific story line became the heralded story line of His followers. The magnificent resurrection could not happen without the devastating crucifixion. Hear that truth for your life–for your devastation. The King never ends a story with devastation…where there is devastation, there is always resurrection on the horizon. 

The accuser recognized his defeat, but he’s not one to give up. And so he came up with a new plan: if he can’t stop the King from making dead people walk out of the grave, maybe he can convince the dead people to remain in their grave clothes. If they stay trapped in the grave clothes, they’ll never look beyond the devastation that happened to the see the resurrection that will happen.

Oh, but the King will have none of that. And so He firmly speaks those 6 words:

Unbind him, and let him go.”

Hear the words of your King today, my friends. Don’t let the accuser get one more second of convincing you to remain in your grave clothes. Stop replaying those scenes and see the story that’s unfolding before you. The story of life and hope and resurrection. Stop listening to the accuser and start listening to your Advocate.

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous…I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His Name’s sake.” [1 John 2:1, 12].

Whether it’s something you did, something you wish you had done, something someone else did, something you wish someone else had done, something that happened, something you wish had happened…let me whisper this sweet truth to your heart, as the Father has whispered to my heart:

You are loved, whether you feel it or not.

You are chosen, regardless of who has rejected you.

You are made to live whole, even if you are broken.

You are alive, even if the grave clothes deceive you to feel dead.

Dear friend, it’s time to be unbound and let go of the weight of the past, the weight of “what if” and “if only,” the lie of hopelessness, the deception of despair. Your story was not meant to be rewinded or paused. Your story was meant to be lived. 

The King won. The King made you alive

Now watch as the Savior unbinds you and lets you go. May we come alongside each other and follow His command to “unbind him, and let him go.”

The King won. The grave clothes have no place on you anymore. 

Walk in life, walk in hope, walk in victory

Trash those grave clothes…for the King offer you resurrection clothes.

“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?’ Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ And to him he said, ‘Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.‘ And I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.'” [Joshua 3:1-5]

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” [Isaiah 61:10]

Posted in The Surprised Life

Like Those Who Dream

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
    we are glad.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
    like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
    shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him.”

February 29 only comes once every 4 years. Today we prophesy that next February 29, we will look back and proclaim:

The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad. 

Let’s live in joyful expectation, ready to be surprised by our King.

God’s grace in my life today:

He’s in the business of restoration.


Posted in Uncategorized


Last year I stated that 23 was the best year of my life and I was interested to see what 24 would bring.

24 felt like the worst year of my life in many ways.

Many ups and downs…I think I cried more while being 24 than I’d cried the previous 23 years!

But I also feel like I grew more during 24 than ever before (clearly this is not a reference to my height…haha…still repping 5’2″).

I learned what it means to give selflessly, to face fears head-on, to FEEL the emotions of my story, to let down my guard and dive in, to be hurt and disappointed, to be obedient when I’d rather not, to pay the cost of following Christ, to experience despair, to dig deep into “hesed” love, to make mistakes, to feel betrayed, to feel the letdown of failure, to feel like I’m a failure, to struggle with insecurity, to wrestle with God, to feel my hopes dashed, to question His goodness, to pray fervently for heart change, to desperately lament, to embrace brokenness and bring my broken and contrite before the Lord, to express my heart in a new song.

And I learned that all of that made me stronger and braver and better…and the process made me a little more like Jesus.

I learned to choose Christ first and foremost. I then questioned my decision because the result didn’t feel good. But let me tell you–Christ is worth it all. Seriously. I used to say that as one who had never really sacrificed anything for His sake. But now I say that as one who has experienced the pain of sacrifice and still can say: Christ is worth it.

If I have You, I have everything. But without You, I have nothing.”
-Kari Jobe, “More Than Enough”

And all I know is everything I have means nothing, Jesus, if You’re not my one thing…everything I need right now. All I need is You right now.
-Hillsong, “One Thing”

24 was certainly a pruning year. God had to shake things up in my life a bit to bring up the sediment that had settled in my heart. And that sediment was ugly and embarrassing and horrifying…but that sediment was also paid for on the cross at Calvary. My sin was nailed to the cross and I BEAR IT NO MORE…praise the Lord, oh my soul! All the sediment that sneered in Christ’s face, that mocked Him, that spat on Him…all of that was in my heart and God in His goodness decided to step in and clear the sediment. It was painful and hurt like hell…but oh my, what grace He shows me. What amazing grace that looks at my selfish, doubting, fearful heart and still chooses me. Over and over again. He never stops choosing me. “There will never be a day You’re uncertain of the ones You choose.” 

seashellquoteSo 24 involved pruning and learning again how to loosen my grip. God is constantly teaching me to live my life with open hands…it’s a recurrent theme in my life. Things get scary when my open hands form a fist…trying to grip something in my hands and then raising that fist against Him when I don’t understand my circumstances. But He ever lovingly and wisely determines what goes in my hands and what stays in my hands. And He pries my hands open. So now we’re back at the open hand stage because I’ve experienced the danger of closing my hands when my knowledge is so limited compared to His.

And recently, He’s been speaking to me about the beauty of keeping my hands open…open to receive all the blessings He has…open to receive all of Him. For every “no” He firmly gives, He also has a bigger and better “yes.” And that “yes” always involves more of Him. Jesus has been giving me more of Himself, teaching me more about His character, and filling me with His Spirit…the Spirit that produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I’m learning every day to abide in Him–to remain, stay, wait.

And He satisfies. He fulfills. He endures. He sustains. He is everything to me. He gives and takes away but BLESSED be the Name of the Lord. His ways are higher, His thoughts are truer, His plan is better. 

So what do I expect for 25? My verses for this year are Psalm 25 and Romans 8:25.

I expect Him to do big things. I expect Him to prove Himself faithful. I expect myself to declare Him faithful every morning and every evening. I expect that my cup will overflow. I feel strongly that God had to take me through a trial so my heart could be in a place ready to hear from Him and receive what He has planned. And as Psalm 25:10 says–“All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulnessfor those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Faithful You have been and faithful You will be.

Christ is enough.


God’s grace in my life today:

I have more peace today than I have had in months. Around this time last year, there was a sense of unrest…but now I feel His peace. He delights in me, He stays faithfully by my side, He is Lord over all, He is the King with ultimate authority, He is my Good Shepherd who knows what it feels like to be a sheep like me, He is my Protector, He is my best friend, He is my everything. And the biggest grace for today is that I have hope for the future. Glorious hope. Lord, I’m ready to see you do big things this year. May “25” be for Your glory and display Your glory.

Posted in Uncategorized

The One With The Ugly Cry

It’s too late now, but he’s here.

I don’t want to see him. He’s too late.

My sister went to meet him–she’s always been the one who cared about what other people think. Fine, let her go “thank him” for finally showing up 4 days too late. I’m staying here in my misery.

He’s too late.

We’d sent for him days ago. Our brother was sick and we knew there wasn’t much time. Surely the message had reached him earlier. We thought he would care–but where was he when my world fell apart? Why wasn’t he HERE? Why didn’t he stop this?

If he cared, why didn’t he hurry here and do a miracle for us like he’s done for the others?

He could have stopped this pain.

But he did nothing…and now he’s here.

But it’s too late.

Our brother is dead.

My brother has been in the tomb for 4 days, and I feel like I’ve been dead inside for 4 days…this pain is too unbearable to live with…I almost wish I was the one in the tomb. At least then I’d be out of this misery.

“The Teacher is here and is calling for you.”

I can see by the look in my sister’s eyes that there’s something different. I’ve seen that look before–everyone who talks to him seems to walk away a little different…a little better.

He’s too late, but this pain feels suffocating and I can hardly bear it anymore. I get up quickly to meet him and go outside. Of course, everyone around me thinks I’m going to the tomb to weep some more, so they’re following me to keep trying to console me. They’ve been trying this for days and it’s not working: they know how miserable I am. At least they showed up when he wasn’t here.

Then I see him.

He’s here.

The tears come back–how is it even possible for me to still have tears left to cry?

As I fall down at his feet weeping, I verbalize the thought that’s been haunting me before the sobs take my body captive once again.

“If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

I can’t stop weeping into my arms. I know I look miserable as I ugly cry–but I am miserable. I’m not like my sister–I can’t keep up a good impression up when I feel this bad. He could have stopped this–He could have spared me from all this pain. But instead he comes 4 days too late and “calls for me.”

In between the heaving sobs, I lift my head to catch my breath…and I catch a glimpse of him.

He’s weeping.

I look around at all the ones who’ve tried to console me the past few days…and then I look back at him.

He’s weeping.

I hear some of my friends saying, “See how he loved him!”

And I hear the whispers of others asking the same question I’ve been asking.

“Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

But I see him weeping and it strikes me that he’s inherently God–I truly believe he is–but yet he’s also fully human…which means he’s not immune to pain. He’s weeping. He’s feeling this pain I’ve been enduring. He’s feeling my pain. And He’s weeping.

The waterworks start and the ugly cry takes over again–seriously, how is it possible to have this many tears left when I’ve already shed so many?

We get to the tomb so he can see where my dead brother was laid in the cave. He’s asking them to take away the stone–what is he thinking?

Of course, my sister speaks up and reminds him that our brother has been dead for FOUR days. And he looks at her with his kind eyes and says:

“Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

Apparently that’s enough to convince my sister–she gives them the go ahead and they take away the stone.

Now my tears have stopped because I’m trying to hear what he’s saying as he looks up in the sky. I push through the large crowd of people–my friends who’d come to console me–to get closer to him.

“Father, I thank You that You have heard me. I knew that You always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that You sent me.”

There’s a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach now. Something is about to happen. Almost as if in a dream, I hear him call my brother’s name loudly.

And my brother–who has been dead for FOUR days–walks out. His hands and feet were bound with linen strips and his face was wrapped with a cloth. But there was no denying it–my dead brother is now alive.

And I’m frozen in place with tears flowing once more as my thoughts run wild.

He wasn’t too late.

He’d had a plan all along.

He let my brother die so he could do something amazing through that death.

He’d healed many, but I hadn’t heard of him raising someone to life.

I’d wanted him to fix my problem by healing my brother, but he’d chosen a different–and more painful–path for this story.

And I wasn’t alone in my pain. It hits me again that he wept…he wept, even though he knew how the story would end.

He knew what he was about to do. He knew my brother was about to come back to life–that he was about to raise my brother from the dead.

And yet he wept. He felt the pain of the story. It wasn’t just my pain to bear, even though it had felt like I was alone, no matter how many of my friends tried to console me. He wept because he felt the pain too.

I, of course, didn’t know the end of the story…all I knew was this unbearably real pain that cuts like a knife to the core of my very being.

All I knew were the nights I’d cried myself to sleep, praying and wishing and hoping for the healing to come…praying and wishing and hoping that he would get our message and just show up and fix everything so I wouldn’t have to hurt anymore.

All I knew were the nights after the death when I tried to move on and accept that the healing hadn’t come…and how those nights ended with me in the fetal position, sobbing until my body shook and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. How I questioned why he didn’t come…why he didn’t care…why he didn’t fix it all…why he allowed this pain to hurt me when he knew how much I loved him and believed him and expected him to do a miracle and bring the healing. I believed he would do the miracle I was begging for…and then he didn’t show up. That’s what I knew.

But he knew the story. He knew the pain. He felt the pain of the story, even though he knew the ending. He felt the pain of death when he could have swept in and saved us all from the pain by doing a miracle when I’d wanted him to show up. He chose to endure the pain of the moment for the hope of the future.

Because look at all these people believing in him now–people I love who’d come to console me. They’d never believed in him before, no matter how hard I tried to convince them that he is God…yet they do now. They get it. But they wouldn’t have believed in him if I hadn’t been in pain because if I hadn’t been in pain, they wouldn’t have come to console me. And I wouldn’t have been in pain if he had just showed up on time–on my time.

But his timing is better. Apparently he’s able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine. Because all I could ask was for him to show up and all I could imagine was for him to heal my brother.

But this story is beyond my wildest imagination.

I look at him again as tears stream down my face and I see him watching me with those kind eyes. I see the glistening of tears in his eyes and I know he must have an idea of all these thoughts running around in my head.

He wasn’t too late.
He’s never too late.
And His plan–even if painful–is perfect.

“Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

My beloved Jesus, I believe. May Your glory be revealed through this story.


God’s grace in my life:

He brings pain so I can learn to trust Him. He sees the big picture, even when I don’t…and it’s better than any single puzzle piece that I’m focused on at the moment. He feels my pain and He is not some faraway god–He is a God who shows up in the middle of the story when everything seems hopeless and He weeps with me. And He’s allowing this part of the story because there’s a beautiful mountain of life up ahead that cannot be fully appreciated without first walking through the valley of death.

{The above story is based on a very true story, but written as my speculation of what Mary may have experienced. Check out John 11 for the Biblical account of that very true event.}

Posted in Uncategorized

Therefore I will wait

Lamentations 3:22-23–“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

For those avid followers of this blog (thanks, dad!!), you may remember that my verse for “23” was from Lamentations. I wanted 23 to proclaim: “Great is Your faithfulness!”

As I was spending some time in His Word today, I turned back to that passage and read the whole chapter…a lot of sorrow10514-Great-Is-Thy-Faithfulness and despair until we get to verse 22! And then I read vs. 24:

“I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.'” (some translations say “Therefore I will hope in Him”)

That verse, without my realization, has encompassed a vast majority of 24…I realize I still have about 4 months of being 24, so maybe that will change. But I have a feeling that verse will forever resonate with my heart.

The Lord is my portion. Christ is all I need. Whether I realize it or not, He is truly EVERYTHING. So often I get caught up in the seemingly big problems of life…but that’s why it’s so important for me to sit in His presence…Because in His presence, all my fear is washed away. In His presence, the worries of the day cease. In His presence, I see my problems for what they are and, more importantly, I see Him for who He is. In His presence, I can trade my anxiety for His peace. In His presence, I see my sin revealed and feel sorrow. In His presence, I see my debt paid and feel gratitude. In His presence, I’m reminded that Christ is all I need.

And let’s be real: sometimes you sit and wait for Him and feel nothing. But as Brooke Fraser puts it so well:


“Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” {Hosea 6:3}John-Piper-Discipline-to-rise-early

I don’t know everything that’s going on in your life, most of you don’t everything that’s going on in my life. But let me
encourage you, friends: time spent in His presence is never wasted time. Press on to acknowledge His presence in your life. Wait for Him–He will show up. Hope in Him–He will come through. If you have a lot going on in your life–whether it’s stress, anxiety, loneliness, fear, despair, work, relationships, school, uncertainty, guilt, shame, sin, etc–just take it to Him. Go to bed early so you can wake up early and start your day with Him. I’m SO not a morning person–but I’m realizing more and more how important it is to start my day with Him. Lay your agenda at His feet and listen to His agenda for your day. Keep pressing on to experience more of Him each day.

Satan is constantly at work trying to bombard you with lies about yourself. He’ll use any means necessary to make you believe you’re not good enough, you’re unlovable, you’re a lost cause, your sin is too much, you’re too far gone, you are ugly, you are stupid, you are hopeless. But don’t believe his lies. I don’t care if it’s a magazine, billboard, Facebook post, person, TV show, or whatever that is feeding you that lie. The most powerful lies as the lies we believe. Recognize those beliefs as lie and press in to hear the Voice of Truth.

The Voice that says you are intentionally created, you are loved, you are redeemed, you are bought with a price, you are forgiven, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, you have a purpose.

Friends, you are so loved by the King of Kings. I don’t have all the answers to your future or mine–I don’t have all the solutions to the world’s problems–but this I know:

“The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”

God’s grace in my life today:

He gives me strength to obey Him and His presence brings peace.