“What’s the one thing you can’t say in church?”

Anne Jackson asked that to her bloggers, which exploded so much that she actually wrote a book called “Permission to Speak Freely” based on her own experience. Her story was especially interesting because she talked about how she battled a porn addiction after an unhealthy relationship. You don’t normally hear about women struggling with porn, maybe racy romance novels, but not pornography. It was really eye-opening for me to realize that there are no stereotypical struggles. We’re all vulnerable to the tricks of the enemy.

So many times we hear about how church isn’t a place for perfect people. It’s a “hospital for sinners”… but is it really? We all like  to put on a front at church. A “holier than thou” image that’s just as bad as any Pharisee in the Bible. I don’t think that church is the place where we hang our dirty laundry, but I don’t think it’s a place for judgment either. So where does the healing come? If we’re all just playing pretend, are our lives really being changed?

James talks about how we are to confess our sins to one another, to share the burden. Is this happening in the church today? Do you even know the people you go to church with? Do they know you enough to know when you’re spiraling out of control?  The early church in Acts met DAILY in people’s HOMES. It wasn’t the once a week drive-thru carwash service that we’ve come to expect every Sunday. 

Secret sins are the ones the enemy uses to keep us down. The whole idea of “suffering in silence” is a lie that we buy in to because we don’t want people to know how messed up we really are, how in need of a Savior we really are. When we look at people in church, often times we are comparing our blooper reel with their highlight reels. The person sitting next to you has their own struggle, even if you’re sitting next to the pastor. We need to just get over that fear and do what the Bible says and share our burdens and confess our sins. You know how the Bible says the truth shall set you free? Well,  sometimes, as Glenn Beck says, “It’ll make you miserable first.” But once you are free from that burden, you can start living in victory.

I am blessed to have a church family that does the whole “small group” thing well. I have close personal friends who keep me accountable, whether I ask them to or not. If your church doesn’t have this, I would suggest bringing it up to the leaders and let them know that it’s an area that could use improvement, or even finding another church. Or finding another small group in your area. We have had a few people come to our small group who don’t even attend our church, just because they needed to connect on a deeper level with other Christians. There are options.

I know it’s scary to put your trash out on the curb for all the neighbors to see, especially if it’s been piling up for a while in your house. My advice is: don’t be a hoarder, because their houses are the ones that get condemned. (Maybe it’s just me but I think this is a clever analogy…) God gives us grace when we fall, so we don’t have to worry about the landing, but maybe you aren’t aware that He also gives us His righteousness so that we can stand back up without being under the weight of our mistakes.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. — James 5:16



Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with how much sadness there is in the world. It breaks my heart to see people so defeated and oppressed by the enemy. As Christians we’re called to care for people, but with entitlement programs, I think American Christians have decided that it’s not their mission field. Besides, it sounds better to say you went on a mission trip to Africa than it does to say you went downtown.

My campus ministry did a local mission a couple years ago. We provided five hundred meals for a women and children’s shelter in Seattle. We also went and did the “Everything Skit” along with shared our testimonies and did worship and prayer. I was so blessed to get to know those women and hear their stories. It’s so easy to judge people when you only take them at face value, but when you hear the pain in their voice and see the hopelessness in their eyes, you realize that there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes.

So what about the people we see on the street holding signs? How many times do we think “get a job!” or “you’re just going to use it to buy booze”? While I may agree that begging and boozing isn’t the way to live your life, I don’t think that treating these people less than human will make them want to rejoin the ranks of every day Americans, do you?

So what’s my plan?

Well, according to my research (Magic School Bus), there are about 330,000 churches in America. In 2009, it was estimated that there were 650,000 homeless people on a given night.  That means that if every church “adopted” just two homeless people, we could wipe out homelessness in America.  There are so many excuses people could use, like “Well, some people have been on the streets so long, they don’t want to come off” and to that I have to ask, how the hell did we let people stay on the streets for YEARS?

And what about hungry people? Is it possible to get America off food stamps? Well, forty-seven million people sounds like a lot, but if you break it down by churches, that’s about 142 people per church. I’m not saying it’s doable for every church, but there are megachurches that spend millions building state-of-the-art buildings, when really, what they’ve been called to do is to help the poor.

I don’t know all the logistics, and not everybody wants to be helped by the church. There’s a lot of cynicism, and some of it is well-deserved. I think American churches have really dropped the ball. It’s not too late to do something, but the problems have grown to be overwhelming in size, so it’s hard to know where to start. So start with breaking down the numbers. See what it is that you can do on a personal level, then talk to your church leaders and see what your church can do on a community level.


“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” — Ezekiel 16:49

Burn It Down

King Josiah is the ish, guys. I used to dread reading the Old Testament (don’t act all high and mighty on me). The genealogy especially bored me to tears. I was like, “who cares about who was whose son?” … But then I realized that the whole time, it was keeping record of the coming of Jesus to the earth. I get excited now. Like maybe God’s got this whole crazy world under control afterall and I can truly be free of worry.

Anyway, this is about King Josiah.

Josiah became king when he was only 8. When he was 16, he began to seek after God. When he was 20, he crushed and burned the idols of Baal. He even burned the bones of the priests on the alters they worshiped at. When he was 26, he began to rebuild the temple of God. And then he heard the Book of the Law for the first time and he was so distraught that he tore his clothes and wept. (You can read 2 Chronicles 34 for more reference).

When I was asked to lead a caregroup (that’s what my church calls a small group Bible study), my first excuse to not do it was that I was the youngest person in the group. My second was that I had been there the least amount of time and it was weird that someone else wasn’t picked. My last resort was that I was afraid. But then halfway through my first year of being the “leader”, my friend and I wrote a lesson together about Josiah. He was young, but he was faithful. And he was chosen.

I feel like even though I am “young”, I have an ancient soul. I have always mother-henned my friends. I have never wanted to do what the world thinks is “fun”. I don’t smoke, don’t drink, never saw the appeal of drugs. I’m not promiscuous and I don’t listen to a word that the media-crazed culture tells me about how I should live my life. I sometimes feel like I would be happiest to have been born in the 30s, raised my babies in the 50s, and died long before we ever got into the mess we are in now.

I would have preferred that, but if I believe that God has always had a plan, then I must accept that there is a reason for me to have been born, here and now, in this city.

I think I like King Josiah so much because he didn’t compromise. He lived to please God. He recognized that he was insufficient, but he knew the Sufficient One. He knew that his generation was crumbling, and he did everything in his power to turn it around. He lit a match and set the world on fire. But if you know how the story goes, you know that it wasn’t enough, Judah got their stuff together too late.

I don’t want it to be too late for this generation. I don’t want to labor in vain. I want to know that what I am doing matters. If I’m called to speak to this generation, I’m going to make every word count. If I have to lose friends because I’m unwilling to give up this ground, well, no war was ever waged without casualties. I’m not saying I’m going to be a belligerent, miserable person, or that I’m callous enough to drop people like they’re hot. I mean that I don’t want to take my eye off the prize. I want to wage spiritual warfare against the lies of the enemy that this generation has clung on to for far too long. I want to fight, and I want to win.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14


Disclaimer: I don’t know if I’ll cross the TMI threshold in this post, I’m going to really try not to.

I was that little girl at kindergarten graduation who, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, replied “A mommy.” I had a baby doll who was quite literally loved to death. She’s somewhere in storage now, but if I find her, I’ll snap a photo. She has been sewn up many times and is even missing an eyeball. Someone put nail polish on her head (Rachel!). I never went anywhere without that doll. I “fed” her, burped her, and even would swaddle her and rock her to sleep.

Fast forward to my junior year in high school. I had surgery on my ankle from a volleyball injury. A bone and cartilage graft, two metal pins, and 35 stitches left me out of school for 2 weeks. I was really behind and feeling overwhelmed. I had really bad stomach pain and thought I was getting an ulcer. I told my mom about it, but she told me I just needed to calm down. But finally one morning, I asked her to drive me to the ER. I got there and had to do all sorts of uncomfortable tests. The only thing they found was a tiny cyst on my left ovary, so they sent me home and told me to wait it out to see if it ruptured or not. Cool.

So, I sucked it up and went back to school… but a few days later I was back in the ER. They did an ultrasound to see if the cyst had ruptured… but it hadn’t. It had grown and basically swallowed my left ovary. They told me to follow up with the OB/GYN who had been on-call asap to talk about “options”. I made an appointment for Friday, where I  was told I needed to have surgery and they could fit me in on Monday.

I remember arriving at the hospital on Monday morning, freaked out and really thirsty. The doctor was telling me about all the complications (removal of the ovary, total hysterectomy, colostomy bag, all those fun things)  and then had my mom sign away on the dotted line. Then I went to sleep.

When I woke up in recovery, I was told that the surgery was a success, they would biopsy the cyst just to make sure it was benign, but they weren’t able to save my ovary like they’d hoped. I remember crying and asking them to just bring my mom back, but they said she couldn’t come back until I was moved somewhere else. I cried alone for an hour before my mom was allowed to come see me, and then we cried some more.

I spent 6 days in the hospital. On Wednesday night they had to move me because of construction in the med-surg floor, so I ended up in the maternity ward. It was kind of funny because I woke up Thursday in the same maternity ward I was born in 17 years before. Yes, I spent my golden birthday in the maternity ward. Ha! But it was also kind of cruel, because I didn’t know if I’d ever be in there again, for a more joyous occasion.

A few months after my surgery, I was diagnosed with PCOS. There are many stupid symptoms that are more inconveniences than anything, but when I read about infertility, the little girl who dreamed of being a mommy died. I read about how many women suffer from it and even if they conceive, there’s no guarantee they’ll make it to full term with a live birth. My heart broke and instead of pressing into God, I pulled away. I didn’t care. I never did anything “bad” but I made a lot of dumb decisions with my life. I stopped caring in school, I was distant with my friends and accused them of using me. I quit trying to play volleyball. My mom noticed how bad it was getting, so she bought me a puppy (a golden retriever for my golden birthday).

It will be seven years ago in November. It hasn’t gotten easier to deal with, I have to always have check-ups to make sure my hormones are normal, and my doctor keeps telling me that I need to “baby that ovary” every time she sees me. Just this past week I had to have yet another biopsy, which if you have read my previous posts, you know was a testing of my faith.

When I was 17, I thought that God was punishing me. I wasn’t a “good” Christian. I liked to sleep in on Sundays and if you asked me about people in the Bible, I might have been able to sing a Sunday school song to remember who they were. This time around, I felt like God was asking too much of me. I kept hearing the Jesus Culture song “You won’t relent until You have it all.” I thought maybe the dream I have always held of being a mom was maybe getting in the way of God’s plans for me. Maybe I was wanting too much… But today when I got the call that my biopsy came back cancer-free, I was so happy. I remembered Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” So maybe I don’t have to give up that dream, maybe I just need to put my priorities in order. 😉

So why am I writing about this? This isn’t about my personal sob story (well, it is, but it’s not the point). This is about having hope.

Even though the doctors can tell me that there is no “cure” or sure treatment for PCOS, I’m still going to ask God to heal me. Even though there will be moments like this past week that will come again, I’m going to have hope. I believe that if God can open Sarah’s barren womb in her 80s, He can certainly work with a much younger one to yield the same result. Now, I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, I mean, I don’t even have a husband yet…  But I know who my God is, and I know that I can trust in Him. There’s a book called “Trusting The Shepherd” by Haddon Robinson. It’s based off of Psalm 23, and one of the things that really stuck with me was the imagery of the shepherd breaking the wandering lamb’s leg. He does it so that the lamb has to learn to stay near to the shepherd. Sometimes I feel like that is what is happening when I go through something particularly scary or painful. I like to think that God is just teaching me how to stay close to Him.

I hope this post hasn’t grossed you out or had a little too much info into my life. I hope that this post can renew your hope for whatever battle you’re facing. There’s a lot going on these days, both on a global scale, but also in our own personal lives. But God is always right there, waiting for us to call on Him. Sometimes it’s hard to see that glimmer when our eyes are full of tears and our heads are too heavy to lift up, but I pray that you will never stop searching for it.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

P.S. I was so blessed by my friends on twitter this week who prayed for me and made me smile when I thought my world was about to crumble. #TeamBuckLadies for life! ❤

The Time In Between

Waiting is the worst. I like to think that I’m a patient person, but this past week has been a struggle. I feel like my brain and my faith have been playing a game of tug-o-war. It’s sad how quickly I can be so sure of God’s goodness one minute, and afraid of bad news from the doctor in the next.

I think the time we spend waiting on things is when we get into the most trouble. Like, when I’m really hungry between meals a big mac starts sounding like the most delicious thing in the world. Or when I’m waiting on my sister to get ready so we can go out together, I start over-applying my eyeliner until I look like a hooker. Bad decisions come in the in-between moments.

There’s a song by Francesca Battistelli called “Time in Between.” I included the link so you can listen to it and so I don’t have to break it down line by line for you. I’ll just touch on a couple things that I like about this song.

For one, I like how it starts off talking about the time between Jesus was born and the time He died on the cross. I think a lot of Christians forget about this time. Yes, it’s important to remember how He died to save us, but it’s also important to remember that He lived and walked on this earth the same as we do. He knows our struggles and He can feel our pain.

Another part that I liked in this song is when she talks about how easy it is to be robbed of our peace. Peace means nothing is broken and nothing is missing. So when we feel like we’re missing something, we give a foothold for the enemy to attack. There is no better time for satan to strike than when we are moving through a valley in life. That’s why it’s important to always be alert when things feel like they’re going pretty good. It’s in those moments when we feel the most betrayed by God because something happened and we want to know why… when the real reason why is that we weren’t looking.

The part in the last chorus really hit me It says, “It’s the time in between the middle of two thieves that says everything.” For me, it really does say everything. Jesus went to the cross to die in the most painful, disgraceful way imaginable just for me (ok, and you, too). That kind of love is unimaginable.

 My pastor often says, “Salvation isn’t just having the knowledge that you get to go to Heaven. Salvation is having everything that Heaven has here on earth.” I think it’s easy to forget that, even though some people recite the Lord’s prayer on a daily basis. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on EARTH as it is in Heaven…

Sometimes we don’t always see the big picture. Sometimes, the times while we’re waiting for a certain event to happen, we miss out on all the other things that God is doing. Sometimes, we’re like Esau. We give away our birthright for a bowl of soup while we’re hungry. If we could just see that time we spend waiting is making us stronger for the next trial,  or if we could just see that there’s a purpose for the things that happen to us. How many times have you gone through something, that while it was happening you thought you weren’t going to make it, but afterwards, you were thankful for it? I guess what I’m taking a long time to say is that we only know in part, but God knows everything. He’s got the foresight to know that things are happening so that we can get to the end goal. So even though I’m waiting on results from the doctor, I’m going to spend my time looking at God and holding onto His promises in the time in between.


 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

                                                     –1 Corinthians 13:12